This weekend the Loch Lomond Festival kicks off for its 15th year, and with 70 teams of boys and girls coming from four different countries, the festival promises to provide another excellent footballing showcase.
Gordon Dickson, one of the co-founders of the festival told Youth Football Scotland that the Loch Lomond Festival is “recognised as Scotland’s finest Youth Soccer Festival.” With the roots of the festival in Balloch, Loch Lomond, due to what Dickson calls “steady growth”, the festival is now located at Stirling University.
After adding a successful under-14s pro-youth academy age group in 2014, Dickson said that “in 2015 we will host an under-17s pro-youth academy age group as well as soccer sevens Boys 2004-2006, Boys 1999-2003 and girls 1998 and 2000 for 11 v 11 matches.”
With teams as notable as Celtic, Partick Thistle and Sheffield United gracing the turf alongside young footballers from across Scotland coming from as far away as Shetland, the quality of the football on show will surely be high and competitive. Not only does the festival attract the best of Scotland, but with five teams travelling from the USA and Northern Ireland being represented in two age groups by Lisburn Rangers, the tournament’s reputation as the premier youth football festival in Scotland is evident.
On top of this, Dickson states that “we also welcome scouts from the Scottish National team programmes and from the UK’s top professional clubs who all take the opportunity to identify the top talent on show.”
It is not all about football though, Dickson said that "the event unites young athletes from around the world who leave our country with the very best memories and many new friends.
"[We] hope that it is a platform for young players to perform in a competitive and sporting manner, but at the same time have fun…We also have a social program which aids the promotion of friendship throughout the event."
Despite the fact that the festival is competitive in the older age groups, Dickson had these words of advice for the players coming to Stirling. “Put 100% effort in to your game, play in a sporting manner and above all have fun and seize the opportunity to meet new friends.”
With a varied list of past winners at the festival, including Rangers SABC, Burnhead Colts, Falkirk FC, Shetland, Upper Vancouver Island United (Canada) and Seacoast United (USA) we here hope that the weekend is enjoyable for all involved and good luck to all taking part!