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The Scottish Schools FA has announced their Under 15 girls international squad for the 2018 campaign. Players from the six Scottish footballing regions came together for the recent Inter-Regional Cup, followed by a final trial to select the squad. Those selected to represent Scotland are as follows: 
 
Eildh Adams (George Heriots School)
Lynsey Baillie (Bo’ness Academy)
Jessica Broadrick (Portlethen Academy)
Mirren Easdon (Gleniffer HS)
Monica Forsyth (St Ninians HS Giffnock)
Gail Gilmour (Turriff Academy)
Bayley Hutchison (Kemnay Academy)
Kirsty MacLean (Barrhead HS)
Paige McAllister (Bathgate Academy)
Rebecca McAllister (Our Lady’s & St. Pats HS)
Maria McAnemy (St. Andrews & St. Brides HS)
Robyn McCafferty (Woodmill HS)
Rosie McQuillan St Peter The Apostle)
Kate Nicolson (Balfron HS)
Jenna Penman (Aberdeen Grammar)
Olivia Potter (St Columba’s HS, Dunfermline)
Ellie Jai Reid (St Andrew's HS, Kirkcaldy)
Alicia Yates (Dunfermline HS)
 
The squad have a double header against Wales to look forward to, with away fixtures on February 10th & 12th. This is part of the build up to the Bob Docherty Cup, which takes place in Northern Ireland between 23rd - 26th March.
 
 
Wednesday, 10 January 2018 13:37

Joga Futsal make Scotland proud at Squadra Cup

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Towards the end of last year we published an article about Joga Futsal Academy who were set to represent Scotland at the Squadra Cup, a competition set up by famous futsal club Squadra Mouscron featuring some of the most prestigious futsal clubs in Europe.
 
The main goal for the academy based in Glasgow was to gain valuable experience by playing against some of the toughest teams on the continent.
 
Now the competition is over and not only have Joga Futsal gained that experience, they have shown that they have the potential to compete with some of the best futsal academies in Europe.
 
In the group stage of the competition, the Joga Futsal boys were drawn into a group with Sporting Paris of France, Old Fox Fribourg of Switzerland and the hosts themselves Squadra Mouscron.
 
First up for the boys was Squadra Mouscron and in their first ever international game, they were unfortunately defeated 1-0. A disappointing result but an encouraging one considering the calibre of their opponents.
 
Next up was Old Fox Fribourg. The Swiss side are celebrating their 10-year anniversery during this 2017-18 and Joga Futsal somewhat spoiled the party with an incredible 6-2 victory to give themselves a real chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals.
 
The boys knew that a win in their final group game against Sporting Paris would guarentee them top spot in the group and a place in the final eight of the tournament.
 
Nerves got the better of the team in the opening stages of the match but they battled back to secure a 1-1 draw and while that did not give them first place, it did ensure them a place in the quarter-finals where they were set to take on Spanish side F6 Barcelona.
 
It was here that Joga Futsal put in arguably the best performance of their tournament when they took on the Barcelona side and managed to beat them 4-1 and secure a place in the semi-finals.
 
A place in the final was now a realistic possibility and all that was standing in their way was Belgian side Antwerp. It would prove to be a step too far for the youngsters as they were beaten 4-0. That meant they had to settle for a place in the third place play-off against Old Fox Fribourg.
 
There was to be no repeat of the 6-2 result earlier in the competition unfortunately as they were narrowly beaten 2-1 by the Swiss side.
 
It was a disappointing end for Joga Futsal but no one can take away the fantastic achievement of the players in what was their first ever international tournament and that sentiment was shared by those at Joga Futsal on their Facebook page.
 
"From a futsal aspect, we have competed with teams from all over Europe and managed wins against Swiss and Spanish sides whilst competing with top French and Belgian sides. We have managed to watch some of the highest quality futsal matches the boys will have ever seen, in particular the older age groups. Can be really proud of their efforts on the court in representing Joga and Youth Futsal in Scotland.
 
"More importantly for me is skills away from the court in which they will have developed and meeting kids from other counties, building friendships, learning new cultures and even creating a great bond between themselves as team mates (some had barely met before we travelled), memories they will never forget and I am sure I will never forget. Also to the parents who had been absolutely first class, couldn’t thank you enough for your time and support (Dads are signed up for next year already again).
 
"We as a futsal academy have now put ourselves on the map and built some great relationships with teams across Europe which will only enhance our profile. A number of high profile futsal academies have already invited us over and we will be announcing plans soon. . ."
 
Congratulations to Shaemus Brannigan, Aodan Brannigan, Arran Hughes, Cooper Knox, Lewis Mackle, Joseph Smith and Marc Wilkie on a wonderful tournament and we look forward to seeing what you can achieve in the future.
 
The Scottish FA JD Performance Schools are now accepting applications for primary seven students entering S1 in August 2018.
 
The performance schools, which have been running since 2012, are accepting two seperate applications for young players looking for a spot.
 
The first of these is called a 'Pro Application' and is for players that are playing football as part of an SPFL club youth system. The other is known as a 'Recreational Application' and is aimed at those playing for a team outside of the SPFL structure.
 
The application forms can be found here:
 
Pro Application: Click here
Recreational Application: Click here
 
The aim of the performance schools is to give talented young boys and girls the opportunity to develop their skills within an educational environment. This is with the hope of developing players that can perform at the highest level in Scotland.
 
There are seven performance schools in total. These are:
 
Hazelhead Academy, Aberdeen
St. John's RC High School, Dundee
Broughton High School, Edinburgh
Graeme High School, Falkirk
Holyrood Secondary School, Glasgow
Grange Academy, Kilmarnock
Braidhurst High School, Motherwell
 
So far six graduates of the performance school have made their debuts at first-team level for their clubs. These players are Scott Reekie, Logan Chalmers (both Dundee United), Ethan Erahon (St. Mirren), Dean Campbell (Aberdeen), Harry Cochrane and Anthony McDonald (both Hearts).
 
If you think you have what it takes to make it in the SFA JD Performance Schools the apply now using the links above.
 
The closing date for the 'Pro Applications' is 15th February and it is 1st February for the 'Recreational Applications.' 
 
The squad for the Scottish Students Women's squad for the 2017-18 season has been announced.
 
The announcement comes after a successful trial session at Oriam, Heriot-Watt University earlier this month. The women's side will be looking to build on a successful 2016-17 campaign, during which they secured a Home Nations tournament victory, with wins against Wales and England (pictured above, the squad with the competition trophy).
 
The squad is as follows:
 
Ciara Bonner - University of Stirling
Nicole Cairney - University of Edinburgh
Chloe Docherty - University of the West of Scotland
Rachel Donaldson - University of Stirling
Margaux Durand-Watson - University of Edinburgh
Demi Falconer - University of Stirling
Rebecca Foote - University of Stirling
Alison Lightfoot - University of St. Andrews
Chloe Logan - University of Stirling
Beth Macleod - University of Edinburgh
Beth McKay - University of Stirling
Darcy Molley - University of Strathclyde
Katy Morris - University of Stirling
Carly Noble - Edinburgh Napier University
Sorenza Orezzoli - City of Glasgow College
Charlotte Parker-Smith - University of Edinburgh
Kirsten Reilly - University of Stirling
Tegan Reynolds - University of Edinburgh
Ellie Simpson - University of Stirling
Eleanor Smith - University of Glasgow
Lucy Stanton - University of Edinburgh
 
On the announcement Coach Grant Scott said, "There was a really good standard at the trials and it’s great to have a number of returning players from the successful Home Nations team earlier in the year. I am further delighted to include players from a number of academic institutions as well. The staff team are looking forward to building a strong team mentality with the new group of players."
 
Team manager Florence Haines said, "This squad brings together a mixture of coaches and players with different football backgrounds and it is a brilliant dynamic I’m proud to be involved in. The International Challenge Matches should provide a real test to the squad as we build into next year’s Home Nations."
 
"We aim to provide the opportunity to students at both Colleges and Universities across the country a chance to represent Scotland. It gives the chance to further develop those who may have played age group international level or to offer players their first international representation."
Wednesday, 13 December 2017 10:12

SSFA announce senior international squad for 2017/18

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The Scottish Schools FA Under 18 squad has been selected for this season (pictured above, last season's squad). The Centenary Shield campaign kicks off with a home tie against Northern Ireland at Greenock Morton's Cappielow in March, before a trip to face the 'Auld Enemy' England at York City FC. It then comes to an exciting finalé with two matches in the space of a week - away to Republic of Ireland and finally at home to Northern Ireland, at the home of Queen of the South.
 
ELLIOT ANDERSON Douglas Academy
NATHAN BROWN Stewarts Melville College
KIERAN CHALMERS Dingwall Academy
CAMERON CLARK Springburn Academy
RYAN CONNELLY Beath High School
FRASER CURRID Wallace High School
SEAN FAGAN St Mungo’s High School
NATHAN FELL All Saints Secondary School
JACK HODGE Graeme High
AIDAN KEMP Wallace High
DANIEL MACKAY Milburn Academy
JACK McDOWALL St Ninian’s High Kirkintilloch
REECE RINTOUL Edinburgh College
GAVIN SCOTT Grange Academy
GEORGE STANGER Dunblane High School
DECLAN WALSH St Ninians High School Giffnock
SAMUEL WALKER Stewarts Melville College
WATT Inverclyde Academy
 
The full set of fixtures is as follows:
 
Scotland v Northern Ireland
Greenock Morton FC, Cappielow Park Greenock
9th March 2018, 7:00pm
 
England v Scotland
York City FC, Bootham Crescent, York
23rd March 2018, 7:00pm
 
Republic of Ireland v Scotland
Home Farm FC, Dublin
12th April 2018, 2:00pm
 
Scotland v Wales
Queen of the South FC, Palmerston Park, Dumfries
19th April 2018, 7:00pm
 
The Scottish Football Partnership Trust has been given funding by the European governing body UEFA to help kick-start their new GoFitba project.
 
UEFA awarded the Trust €50,000, (£44,000) after they were nominated by the Scottish Football Association to the UEFA Foundation for Children for the funds to start the project, which will aim to cater to nearly 500 primary school children across Scotland.
 
The project, GoFitba, is a football based health and wellbeing project delivered by The SFPT in association with community football clubs.
 
The 12-week project aims to provide 480 children with a fun platform for physical activity as well as developing an understanding of the importance of healthy eating.
 
The programme will offer them a chance to enjoy an hour of fun football-based activity led by club coaches to develop their physical skills, attitude and confidence, followed by an hour where they will be taught how to lead a healthier lifestyle through diet and nutrition.
 
James Clydesdale, Chairman of The SFPT said: “Football can be a positive tool for personal and community development. We are extremely excited to be delivering twelve projects across the country and to be given the opportunity to engage with local schoolchildren and encourage them towards a healthy and active lifestyle.”
 
And Stewart Regan, Scottish FA Chief Executive said: “We were delighted to nominate The Scottish Football Partnership Trust for this award from UEFA and are extremely proud to have been involved in securing funding for such a noble and worthwhile project.

“The GoFitba project is a fantastic way to showcase what Scottish football clubs and organisations can offer to the young members of their communities. It is projects such as this that positively contribute to changing behaviours and attitudes at an early age and we are delighted to have played a role in funding this initiative.”

The 12 community clubs involved are:

 

Aberdeen Community Trust

Cumbernauld Colts

Dundee East Community Sports Club

Falkirk Foundation

Glenrothes Strollers FC

Inverness Caledonian Thistle Community

Kilmarnock Community Sports Trust

Kilwinning Sports Club

Motherwell FC Community Trust

Pollock United Soccer Academy

Spartans Community Football Academy

St. Mirren in the Community

 
(above picture - 2016/17 University Men's Team)
 
 
The Scottish Student Men's Football squad for the 2017-18 season has been announced.
 
Over 50 attendants from 14 different institutions took part in trials at Dundee University in October for a chance to play for the squad and now the lucky participants have been announced.
 
The squad is as follows:
 
Alec Cadzow (University of St. Andrews)
Callum Davison (University of Edinburgh)
Callum Reid (Heriot-Watt University)
Alex Webb (University of Stirling)
Calum Windram (University of Glasgow)
Conor Morgan (University of Glasgow)
Lewis Grant (Edinburgh Napier University)
Liam Allison (University of Stirling)
Max Condie (University of Edinburgh)
Max Verkaik (University of Edinburgh)
Alex Dodgshon (University of St. Andrews)
Diogenis Serigides (University of Glasgow)
Embrik Skjaeveland (University of Edinburgh)
Finn Daniels-Yeomans (University of Glasgow)
Lewis Hunter (University of Stirling)
Rafa Calbacho (University of Edinburgh)
Robbie McGale (Glasgow Caledonian University)
Ross Kellock (University of Stirling)
Anton Dowds (Heriot-Watt University)
Jack Guthrie (University of Edinburgh)
Kieran Hall (University of Stirling)
Max Bolotov (University of St. Andrews)
Rory MacEwan (University of Stirling)
 
The team will begin their season against Montrose from the Scottish League Two in early February, before taking a trip to Ireland to face the Republic of Ireland's student team in mid-April. The programme is looking to add another two matches to the season in the near future.
Wednesday, 06 December 2017 12:18

Young Scots learn European qualifying groups

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The Scotland U17s and U19s learned their Elite Qualifying groups for this summer’s European Championships, and their qualifying groups for the 2018-19 campaign.

After finishing runners up to the Czech Republic in their qualification group, the U19s have been drawn into Group One in the Elite Round, alongside Germany, The Netherlands and Norway. The top two in the group will advance to the European Championships in Finland in July.

As for the 2018/19 campaign, they are in Qualification Group Four, with home nation rivals Wales, Sweden and San Marino.

The U17s topped their group on goal difference, and have been drawn into qualification Group Eight, with Germany, Greece and Norway. A first or second place finish will be enough for them to earn a spot in the finals, which take place in England this May.

For the 2018/19 campaign, the U17s are in Group Five, alongside Switzerland, Cyprus and Kosovo.

 
The ball seemed to hang in the air for an eternity. As it started to drop towards the crossbar Connor Barron, Scotland’s smallest player, a substitute who had only come on six minutes earlier, started to wheel away. By the time the ball had crashed off the underside of the bar, rebounded down into the legs of the of the England goalkeeper, and had bobbled over the line, Barron was already sprinting towards the corner flag. His jubilant teammates were already chasing after him, arms flapping wildly in celebration. 
 
By the time they had caught up with him, Barron had already crashed face first into the ground. As he lay underneath his teammates in a mountainous celebratory pile on, a million thoughts must have been running through his head. None more prominent, probably, than ‘just how did I get here?’. 
 
This is because Connor Barron wasn’t supposed to be there. He wasn’t supposed to be scoring the opening goal of Scotland’s 2-0 win over England at Forthbank Stadium. He was supposed to be watching at home, like he did two days before on Tuesday when Scotland beat Qatar 7-0. 
 
“I was having my tea when the phone rang”, grinned Barron as he described the moment he received his late call up to the Scotland squad. “I didn’t even know I was on a standby list. When I got the call I was absolutely buzzing.”
 
A space in the squad had become available due to an injury to Celtic winger Scott Cusick. At around 7 o’clock on Wednesday evening, manager Brian McLaughlin gave the call and just four hours later Barron had arrived at the Scotland camp. With the England game taking place the next afternoon, there wasn’t even time for a training session with his new teammates. 
 
It wasn’t even as if Barron was going to have an easy start to his international career. His side were playing England, a significant step up in opposition from Qatar, who were brushed aside two days earlier. It was clear, even 10 minutes into the game, that England would be a much sterner test. England’s team, the back four especially, looked physically imposing and their midfield were classy on the ball. Claudio Osorio, in particular, ghosted around the pitch, finding pockets of space and moving away from defenders with a lovely touch. 
 
Scotland found it difficult to get out. To their credit they stuck to their gameplan of playing the ball out from the back, but due to a combination of slack passing and a lack of options further up the field, Scotland found that the England attacks just kept on coming. 
 
“Unfortunately in the first half we were just too off them”, McLaughlin said afterwards. “Disappointing thing for me in that half was that we didn’t trust our ability on the ball. We preach to our boys to trust your ability, trust your teammates, to take the ball. We just didn’t do that.”
 
Scotland almost went behind just two minutes before the end of the half. England striker Rafael Garcia did well to turn Scotland skipper Ben Cameron inside the box, only to trip over the defender’s outstretched leg. The referee pointed to the spot. There was nothing wrong with Nonso Madeuke’s effort. It was low, to the right and on target but Scotland goalkeeper Jack Newman did so well to dive to his left to make the save, before doing even better to block the rebound from the angle out for a corner. 
 
“Jack saved us”, said McLaughlin. “It changed the game. It was an outstanding save and an unbelievable moment. From there we started trusting each and from then we finally saw all these young boys taking the ball and trying to make a difference.”
 
Scotland had a golden opportunity of their own after half time. This time it was Scotland skipper Ben Cameron who had the chance to open the scoring from the spot. This time his penalty was high but again it was saved by the goalkeeper. “Another outstanding save”, added McLaughlin. 
 
At this point it was a miracle that the game remained scoreless. England were piling on the pressure, and Scotland were giving it a good go as well. Tackles and blocks were having to be made by both sides to keep the game goalless. “The boys did not want to let their teammates down”, said McLaughlin. “If they needed to run an extra ten yards they’d run eleven. They’d do that knowing that the boy beside them would do the same.”
 
Scotland winger Karamoko Dembele was withdrawn with less than 15 minutes left to go. He had looked bright in patches, but hadn’t had enough of the ball in dangerous areas to do any damage. However his replacement, and the only other player on either squad smaller than him, was about to make the real difference. 
 
“I knew I had to make an impact”, said Barron. “Obviously I wanted to get on the pitch and get a game because I want to stay in the squad.”
 
It all came from another Scotland high press. Connor Smith, so busy all day alongside Dylan Forrest in midfield, won the ball back by intercepting a pass from the England goalkeeper Harvey Collins. He got a toe to the ball and suddenly it broke to Barron, 30 yards from goal and with the keeper off his line. 
 
“The ball just fell to me” he said. “I saw the keeper off his line so I thought I’d just have a pop.”
 
10 seconds later and Barron was on the floor. He was Scotland’s hero. Five minutes from time Scotland’s Finn Ecrepont popped up at the back post to score Scotland’s second. The whole team, even the goalkeeper, celebrated in the far corner. Indeed, this was a fine team effort and a hugely impressive victory. But if this afternoon belonged to anyone, it belonged to Connor Barron. The man whose name wasn’t even in the squad at the start of the week, but is certainly now written in history.  
 
 
 
Scotland Under 16’s manager Brian McLaughlin has urged his side to ‘dominate the ball’ ahead of Thursday’s international friendly against England.
 
Speaking after Scotland’s 7-0 victory over Qatar at the Oriam Performance Centre on Tuesday, McLaughlin said his side will not sit back, but will look to keep the ball.
 
“We will have the ball”, he said. “Everything we will work on in training on Wednesday is going to be about how we dominate the ball and how we play in England’s half. That’s what we are here to do and that’s what everything in training will go towards. The boys have got the ability so it's important that keeping the ball is the target.”
 
England will offer a much sterner test than the one Scotland faced against Qatar. Goals from Andrew Winter, Cole Starrs, Michael Sparkes, Karamoko Dembele and Jamie Hamilton gave Scotland a deserved and comfortable victory.
 
“It’s going to be tough”, said McLaughlin. “But we take these games to try and give the boys the biggest challenge we can give them.. England are very good, we’ve seen footage of them. So for us we’ll go out on Thursday and we’re going to again try and do what we want to do. Whatever happens in the game happens. The main thing is that we are better after the game, and we will be.”
 
McLaughlin also indicated that there would be changes to Scotland’s starting 11 on Thursday.
 
“We've always had it in our head that this week was about getting as much minutes for the entire squad as possible”, he said. “That's not going to change, that's never going to change. So there will be changes, without a doubt. There may be players playing in different positions so we can see them. We're just using this as a training camp.
 
“This is the first time they've ever been together as a group. They played a couple of training matches amongst each other about a month ago. So really going into today we weren't quite sure what we were going to get. All we're hoping for for this week is by Saturday we're a better group, better team, and for us we need to have better individual players by next week.”
 
Celtic winger Karamoko Dembele impressed against Qatar on Tuesday, coming off the bench in the second half to score a goal and set up three more in a 30 minute cameo. McLaughlin said that he has seen an improvement in Dembele over the past few months.
 
“Karamoko is an interesting one”, he said. “On the ball he is magnificent. There's no doubt about it, he's exciting, he's magnificent. But without the ball now he's becoming really aggressive at how he closes it down. He wants to do this for the team now and credit to Celtic and credit to the Scotland squad he was a part of last year as well. He's looked at those players and thought 'you know what, this is what I need to do’. He's a special talent.

“I've absolutely seen an improvement in him over the past few months. You see him on the training pitch when we're doing defending or working on how we're going to press, because we need to get the ball back before we can play. He understands that now. He wants to be a part of this. He's a great lad, he wants to be a part of the group and the group want him to be a part of them.”
 
Scotland will face England at Forthbank Stadium in Stirling at 5:30pm on Thursday, before completing their week of international friendlies with a meeting against Uruguay, back in Edinburgh, on Saturday. 
 
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