|SYFA West squad embark on Hungarian adventure|
The Scottish Youth FA (SYFA) West Region Under 17's fly to Budapest in Hungary on the 15th July to take part in the Intersport Youth Festival. The festival is the largest youth tournament in Eastern-Europe with approximately 200 teams from 30 countries. This year sees teams visiting from Austria, Germany, Norway, Italy, Slovakia, Romania, Croatia, Bosnia, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Venezuela and India.
It will be a baptism of fire for the Scottish team, who open the tournament with a match against Venezuelan opposition, which forms part of the opening ceremony. An 8,000 strong crowd is expected for the showpiece match.
Each year the Scottish Youth FA's six regions hold trials for Regional Development Squads. In the West Region this season there are squads from Under 13 – Under 19 age groups. Over 130 players took part in the trials in September 2011 from over 40 clubs spread across the West of Scotland. Now 24 players prepare to make the journey.
All players in the squad are from local grass roots football clubs. Whilst some players may have been at senior clubs for trials or training, none of the players are currently signed by any senior club
SYFA West played in this tournament last year, reaching the Quarter Finals only to be knocked out 2-1 by Pescpi FC from Hungary. Again they played in the opening game, this is the first time a non Hungarian Team has been given this opportunity, and the organisers said that the squad who were there last year were a credit to Scotland and the SYFA. They had no hesitation in asking Scotland to open the tournament again due to their popularity.
Regional Secretary Jim Smith MBE said: "I was delighted when the tournament organisers contacted me to ask for our participation. They were delighted with the squad's showing the year before and their enthusiasm and passion for the game. There was various fundraising and local companies have helped by sponsoring individual players, Glasgow Life have also supported the squad with travel assistance and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have provided two new playing kits this season."
The event takes the form of a youth world cup with the opposition spread from across the globe. The SYFA squad will play in a group of 7 teams against Club Academia Venezolana (Venezuela), FC Angora (Morocco), FC Junior Targu Mures (Romania), KFC Komarno (Slovakia), Mezga FC and Patolma (both Hungary).
SYFA West Region are the only team from the UK participating and whatever happens next with these young players in respect of their football careers, this will be an experience they will remember for years to come.
In addition the SYFA West Under 15's have just returned from the Donosti Cup in San Sebastion, Spain, where they reached the last 16 (click here for full tournament review).
The Under 14 West Region Squad travel to Denmark on the 25th July to play in the Cup Denmark, a Tournament that the Under 16's reached the semi final of last year.
This has been made possible with the assistance of the local youth clubs, supporting players and nominating them for the Regional Squads. The Region have taken on this ambitious plan, which they hope to repeat on an annual basis. Smith said: "We believe that through these activities we will help the young players develop their skills and provide them the experiences they need to reach their full potential. Players and clubs should watch the Regional Website or Facebook for updates on trials for next year's squads."