Dunblane Soccer Club United topped the FVFDA U14 standings this season after an impressive campaign which also included two cup semi-final appearances. They finished the season four points clear of their nearest challengers Strathendrick FC to claim a well-earned league trophy after a hotly contested title race.
Club coach Jochen Clasen spoke to Youth Football Scotland to discuss his side’s title-winning season as well as their plans for the upcoming campaign.
When asked about the team’s performance over the course of the season, he said: “The team performed very well in a league of 15 teams. It was a very competitive and tight U14 league this year. Until about four weeks before the end of season five teams still had a very realistic chance of winning the league. The team also made it to two cup semi-finals, both of which were narrowly lost, so it was even better to win the league this year."
It was a very competitive title race, and the closing weeks of the season were integral to Dunblane's success.
"The most decisive game was the very last one. We needed a draw away from home against the second placed team, which had won the league in the previous year. The boys played very well and worked hard to win that game 2:1, despite being a goal down within 20 seconds from kick-off. The games played in the previous four weeks against strong teams were also crucial. We had a squad of 16 players and all of made valuable contributions during a long and very successful season," Clasen said.
Despite their title success, the coach identified three particularly important lessons his side have learned over the course of the season.
"One important lesson was to pick ourselves up after games which are less successful. We lost only two league games, but also two cup semi-finals. It was pleasing to see that after each of those defeats the performance in subsequent games improved considerably," he said.
"We also learned that in many crucial games what matters most is working hard for the team. Unfortunately, towards the end of the season, this sometimes seemed to be at the expense of playing attractive, quick passing football. Next season we aim to develop and sustain a positive, attractive playing style throughout the season, while still being competitive.
"A third aspect is the need for all players, and coaches, to remain positive and supportive with each other at all times. We very much encourage players to make their own decisions. Mistakes are inevitable. The point is to learn from them."
Even after a resoundingly successful season, Clasen clearly sees ways in which his side can improve in order to surpass this season’s accomplishments.
When asked about the team’s ambitions for the future, he said: "We have three main objectives for the next season. First, we aim to instil even more mutual respect, support, as well as self-responsibility within the team. Second, we aim to develop and nurture a certain style of play, which is based on quick passing positive football. Third, we will put a strong emphasis on player development, which is not merely about improving skills and tactical awareness but also about individual decision making."
Congratulations Dunblane Soccer Club United under-14s, 2014-15 FVFDA League champions!