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Wednesday, 15 November 2017 10:38

Scottish FA make Project Brave announcement

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The Scottish FA has made announcement regarding the implementation of Project Brave. An official statement on their website said:
The Scottish FA is delighted to announce a landmark step in Project Brave, with the confirmation of club placings within the new academy structure.
Our goal is to work with the clubs to improve the overall standard of young Scottish footballers which, in turn, will enhance the domestic game and boost the national team in their efforts.
Applicant clubs were graded according to a criteria-based system and an assessment of Measurable Performance Outcomes (MPOs).
The aim was to bring greater focus to talent development and optimise playing opportunities.
Enhanced funding for achieving MPOs will encourage best practice, with the objective of Project Brave to harness the success of the strategic plan and ensure a more efficient pathway to first-team football.
Those not selected for the ‘Elite’ top tier will still have access to a level of funding from the Scottish Football Association to support the running and improvement of their academies.
Following the judgement of the Club Academy Scotland assessment panel, the Scottish FA can confirm the status of applicant clubs*.
Heart of Midlothian
Ayr United
Dundee United
Forth Valley
Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Partick Thistle
Ross County*
St Mirren
St Johnstone
Greenock Morton*
Queen’s Park
The statement continued:
Scottish FA Performance Director Malky Mackay said: “This is a significant milestone for Project Brave.
“Club Academy Scotland is a fundamental part of the process and a lot of work has gone into developing the criteria used to assess the clubs.
“From Day One this has been a collaborative activity.
“The clubs have been engaged at every step, with daily dialogue to help with their applications.
“We have been heartened and inspired by so many of the positive things we have seen in regards to the development of young Scottish footballers and our aim is to assist clubs and encourage them to hit the highest possible standards.
“What I would like to stress is that the bandings are not fixed and they will be reassessed in June 2018.
“No door is closed to clubs outside of the Elite bracket with aspirations to move up.
“As a result of the conversations we had with clubs, a new middle tier was created.
“The ‘Progressive’ category was designed to ensure ‘smaller’ but ambitious clubs with academies could find their natural place in the system, with scope to push on.
“For those in the top tier, we will continue to monitor their work in conjunction with our independent auditors.
“This is only one more step but we believe it’s a crucial one.”
*May be subject to appeal.
Monday, 06 November 2017 11:57

Scotland's most exciting football prospects

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After Scotland failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup to be held in Russia next summer, their attention is now firmly fixed on the upcoming major tournament, Euro 2020.  Two decades have passed since Scotland last qualified for a major tournament, when they were knocked out of the group stages at the 1998 World Cup in France. Hungry for success, the Scots are pinning their hopes on the new batch of exciting youngsters coming through the ranks.
With promising talent on the horizon, it might well be a golden generation for Scottish football. Here are some of Scotland’s most exciting football prospects.

Tony Gallacher- Falkirk

One of Scotland’s brightest young stars is Tony Gallacher. Already targeted by the Catalan giants, Barcelona, Gallacher has featured on several occasions for Falkirk. The youngster made his first league appearance in December 2016, starting a Championship match against Dumbarton. This was followed this up with seven appearances in the first-team this term, along with six cup fixtures. While he’s still finding his feet, the 18-year-old is becoming a staple in The Bairns’ side.
Gallacher operates in the left-back position and tends to move forward at every opportunity. With a strong left-foot delivery, any defending teams will need to ensure his runs are tracked. The youngster has made seven appearances for Scotland’s Under-19s, delivering an assist for one goal, before picking up the ‘Man of the Match’ award in an International Challenge Match against Sweden.
It will be a struggle for Falkirk to hold onto one of Scotland’s best youth players, as reported interest from Barcelona has been matched by several Premier League sides, including Manchester United and Stoke City.

Ronan Hughes- Hamilton Accies

It’s hard to believe, but one of Scotland’s rising stars may not feature for the national team when his time comes. Ronan Hughes, an 18-year-old Hamilton midfielder, qualifies for the Welsh national side through his father. Scouts from Welsh (Euro 2016 semi-finalists) have been seen monitoring his performances numerous times.
The central midfielder became the Accies’ youngest player when he faced Inverness Caley Thistle at only 17 years and five months of age in 2016. An exciting talent to watch, Hughes is comfortable on the ball and has a wide passing range.
The electric midfielder is also generating a lot of interest, with a string of Premier League clubs displaying their interest. Crystal Palace made a play for the youngster, however, the teen opted to stay put at with a guarantee of game time. Hughes made two brief appearances off the bench in the Scottish Premiership last term but is yet to feature this season so far. Tipped as one of the Scottish Premiership’s top young players alongside Rory Currie and Liam Burt, Hughes is one to watch.

Matthew Knox- Livingston

When Matthew Knox made his Livingstone debut on Boxing Day 2016, he became their youngest player ever, at just 16 years and four days. Now, at only 17-years old, the young striker isn’t short of experience when it comes to being alongside professional footballers. Knox has completed three training stints with Manchester United and admitted it was “surreal” to be sitting with the likes of Paul Pogba and Wayne Rooney in the canteen. After United academy chief, Nicky Butt, decided not to sign Knox as part of his under-23 squad, Livingstone was desperate not to lose him again.
Despite sitting on the bench for seven of the ten Championship games this season, Knox is yet to have featured for the Lions. Knox is itching to get onto the pitch, and is expected to make the bench in their next match against Brechin. Things are surely looking bright for the young striker, that even the bookmakers are favouring Knox to get some game time. That said, with Livingston favourites to win, it would be a wise move to place your bets early, although there’s still the option to bet in play on any game.

Jack Aitchison- Celtic

Celtic undoubtedly have the hardest squad to break into in Scottish football, but Jack Aitchison is trying his hardest to ensure that he joins an elite group of academy products. The 17-year-old has already made three appearances for The Bhoys, netting one goal and assisting another in the process. While Aitchison hasn’t featured in the first-team this season, his contribution in the UEFA Youth League has been vital with one goal and three assists in just three matches.
With his 18th birthday still almost six months away, Aitchison is knocking on the door of the matchday squad; somewhere he got quite familiar during Celtic’s last title-winning campaign. He said that Kolo Toure has been the biggest influence on his push for a place in Brendan Rodgers’ first-team. The retired former Arsenal defender, who is now the technical director at the club, has given the youngster some advice on his attacking movement.

Will They Stay?

There’s plenty of exciting young football talent to watch in Scotland. With these youngsters poised to do great things, it’ll be difficult to stop the bigger teams knocking on their door. Will they be lured down south? Or can they stay and make their mark for Scottish football? 
Saturday, 04 November 2017 11:26

Scottish footballers plying their trade in England

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Certain names are going to come up when people list the best young Scottish footballers playing in the English leagues. A lot of people will list George Boyd, for instance, who has had one of the most successful careers in the Premier League in general.
During his five seasons in Stevenage, he was able to earn more than thirty goals in all competitions. His career has really only been more successful since then, and he has managed to stay in the game for longer than a lot of other people in similar situations. Many people love George Boyd, and he should only manage to attract more attention in the English Premier League in the next few years.
James McArthur the midfielder could be considered another great player. The fact that he is in a lot of demand at this point in his career should be even more impressive to a lot of people. He has already managed to win some career honors, and he has a lot of fans by this point in time.
Liam Bridcutt will have a somewhat longer career ahead of him than some of the other great football players from Scotland. He was loaned to Leeds United for a reason. A lot of people are enthusiastic about seeing him back at this point, but it seems that he is a player that is popular enough that people might see a few more transitions throughout his career.
It is interesting to compare different players in leagues like this, especially when compared to some of the historical players. Ryan Giggs has received 134 substitutions throughout his career. This might be one of the main things that he is known for in the future, and that is not something that some players would want regarding the statistics that made them famous.
Alan Shearer is a player that has managed to get a couple of different records that some people would like and that some people would hate. Some people take pride in all of their accomplishments as long as they are dramatic. He has missed more Premier League penalties than anyone else while also scoring the most at 56. Players will usually stand out due to some impressive statistics, and they do not always have to be consistent.
There are lots of little known facts, stats and trivia about the English Premier League that some people might find interesting. They might find some of these facts frustrating as well. When people look at the lists of the Scottish players in the English leagues, it is clear that they are all quite young. Most of these players are under the age of thirty-five, and it might be harder for some of them to be able to continue their careers past a certain point no matter how many people love them.
Still, there are professional athletes that are continuing their careers at later ages these days, so this might be the sort of thing that will change in the next few years or so. They will be remembered in some way. 
Friday, 25 August 2017 17:15

SYFA Chief Executive steps down

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A statement has been released on the Scottish Youth FA website, as follows:

The Board of the SYFA has announced that the Chief Executive, David Little, is stepping down from his position.
Mr Little has held the position since the formation of the SYFA in 1999 and in recent months he has been at home recovering from surgery following a serious illness in 2016.
SYFA Chairman John McCrimmond said “David has played a key role in the SYFA for almost two decades and on behalf of the Board I would like to thank him for his contribution to the sport during that period. He leaves with our best wishes for a full recovery.
In David’s absence, members of the Board have stepped in to assist SYFA staff with the ongoing operation and management of the organisation and we will continue that arrangement whilst we undertake a recruitment process for a permanent Chief Executive.”
Youth Football Scotland would like to echo the words above and thank David for all of his help over the last seven years, in making our organisation feel like a very welcome part of the Scottish Youth FA community.
Football is one of, if not the most popular sports game in the world. Tracing its roots back to England, it is now played by children, adults, amateurs, and professionals in pretty much every single country on earth. With football players earning millions a year, and football betting becoming so popular it is almost a sport in itself, its popularity is showing no sign of slowing down. At Sbat football, you can check out a great range of tips and tricks that will help you in your way if you are considering placing a bet on a game whether you are a beginner or a pro.
But how did your favourite game start, what is the history behind it and how did we get to where we are today? Football was invented and developed in the UK and it was first codified in London in 1863. The idea was to unify private school and university games, although there is documented evidence of the game being played since 1581 in Nottinghamshire, although there are some differences between the two. The actual world “football” can actually be traced back to 1409 with a similar word being used in France at around 1314, but England holds the title for being home to the oldest football club and for founding the FA Cup in 1871. By 1888, the first Football league had been formed and it is for these reasons and milestones, that England retains the right to say that they invented the game.
The first set of proper, unified rules was created in 1848 and were referred to as The Cambridge Rules which were then followed by Sheffield F.C’s own set in 1855 and J.C.Thring in 1862. These were all merged together in 1863 when the Football Association was formed although some clubs still used the Sheffield Rules until 1878, whilst some exited the scene altogether and formed Rugby Union.  The introduction of the offside rule came in 1866 and the player C.W.Alcock was the first player to ever be ruled offside on March 31st 1866. The oldest football trophy in existence is the Youdan Cup which dates from 1867 and originated in Sheffield and by later that year, the game had been introduced to Paris, France- much to the joy and amusement of the French spectators.
By 1923, the popularity of football had picked up pace and teams were now playing in divisions. Wembley Stadium opened in 1923 and it hosted its first cup final which was played between West Ham United and Bolton.
Tragedy struck in 1958 in the shape of the Munich air disaster when eight players lost their lives, decimating most of the Manchester United team. From the early 60’s onwards, British football passed through a period known as the Golden Age. This signalled the beginning the games modernisation as well as England winning the world cup in 1966 with a controversial win over West Germany, with Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters scoring the winning goals. England are yet to win a World Cup since, much to the disappointment of their loyal fans!
So there is a roundup of the first 100 years of football history, and we hope you found it educational!
With 2017 well underway, what is in store in terms of football for the rest of the year? It can be difficult trying to keep up with all the various teams, leagues, premierships, and tournaments out there, but luckily we have compiled a shortlist for you of all the must-see events! I am guessing you are partial to a flutter on your favourite teams- I mean, who wouldn’t be keen to win money whilst enjoying the match? So, you can view odds for all English football matches coming up here at William Hill! But for more info on football in general for the next few months, please read on!
24th of May sees the Europa League final between Ajax and Man U held in Stockholm, Sweden and it remains to see which two teams will make it to this tense playoff.  By May 27th we have the long-awaited FA Cup Final as well as the incredible Scottish Cup final- we highly recommend placing a sneaky bet on these two as depending on who makes it to the last two- you could be in for quite a prize! The next day on the 28th we are treated to the League Two Play-Off Final at Wembley, and the Championship Play-Off Final on the 29th!
June is set to be a rip-roaring month for football and the action kicks off on the 3rd with the Champions League final held in the lovely city of Cardiff- definitely worth a flutter if you ask me! Then we have a short wait until the 10th with the first of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers with Scotland V England in Group F and Azerbajan v Northern Ireland in Group C. A week later on the 13th we have more World Cup Qualifiers with Serbia v Wales, Republic of Ireland v Austria thrashing it out in Group D for a place in next years Cup. Then if you are die-hard fan you can check out the European Under 21 Championships in Poland between 16th-30th. This is a great opportunity to check out up and coming talent and to pick your ones to watch for your betting memory bank!
Moving into July, it is a quiet month for football with the American Gold Cup between7th-26th, and the Women’s Euro in Holland starting on the 16th.
Things start to pick up as we move into August with the Premier League 2017/18 due to start on the 12th with fixtures still TBC- time to start planning your betting strategy for the next season!
Another round of World Cup qualifiers in September with Malta v England, Lithuania v Scotland in Group F, and San Marino v Norther Ireland from Group C on the 1st, and Wales v Austria, Georgia v Republic of Ireland in Group D on the 2nd. A few days later on the 4th England and Slovakia, Scotland and Malta (Group F) and Northern Ireland and Czech Republic (Group C) will battle it out for top position. Then on 8th and 9th we have Norway v Northern Ireland (Group C), Lithuania V England, Slovenia v Scotland (Group F) and Wales V Republic of Ireland (Group D). This is a great opportunity to place some accumulator bets on the outcomes of multiple games- you could be in for a big win if you bet wisely!
As we head into the end of the year, things seem to dry up a bit but remember that the Premiership is still to announce its dates. 2017 presents you with multiple opportunities to fine tune your betting skills in time for next year’s World Cup! So, make sure you check out all of these games, keep track of teams and players performance and use it to help you make bets that you are sure are going to come in!

Fauldhouse United 2000's player Lewis McClure has real fight and determination about him on the pitch, and now he's showing that off the pitch as well. On Sunday 28th of May, Lewis will be running the Edinburgh Marathon, and is raising money for two charities very close to his heart. 

"I've always had the goal of completing the Edinburgh Marathon and to be able to raise funds for two charities that are close to me at the same time is an absolute pleasure and bonus. I'm aiming to raise £1000, equally, between the two charities, MS Society Scotland and Crohn's and Colitis UK."

MS Society Scotland

"In particular, the reason I'm raising money for MS is because I have seen how it has affected one of my friends and how serious it can actually be. The donations would be able to fight against and hopefully find a cure for the horrible illness. It will also raise awareness to show that this illness is more serious than many think."

Crohn's and Colitis UK

"One of the main reasons I chose Crohn's and Colitis UK is because many of my friends have it as well as my coach, Steven. It is a great charity and Steven does it complete justice with the work he does compulsively. For me, it's great to raise awareness and funds for less of a well known cause since I feel like they will benefit from it more as well as doing it for Steven. He's my coach and has done a lot for me when I suffered a long injury last season that affected me both physically and mentally. He played a big part in my recovery and continues to do so even now that I am fit and back in the squad. The least I can do is give back not only to the charity but also Steven."

YFS is backing Lewis on his mission of raising funds for both charities, and you have the chance to do so as well by donating on his just giving page by Clicking Here.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017 16:18

LIVE STREAM: Spartans FC v Edinburgh City

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Live stream begins tonight at 7:30pm. Watch it by clicking here.
Monday, 13 March 2017 16:52

Interview: Alan Burnett, grassroots referee

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Following the recent YFS TV Live Debate Show on grassroots refereeing in Scotland, we caught up with Alan Burnett. We asked the Category 5 member of the Glasgow Referees Association about all things refereeing. Read the interview below...
Tell us about your experiences with negative touchline behaviour
Negative behaviour on the touchline is a regular occurance. Referees are the usually targets but not always the sole person on the receiving end. It’s said to be a referee you need to have thick skin and that is certainly the case when you hear some of the shouts from the touchlines, which is just abuse sometimes for the sake of it.
What should a club's parental code of conduct include and what sanctions should there be for breaking it?
Parents when signing their son/daughter to a team should also have a form to sign, insisting their behaviour at the side of the park should be to encourage the players, be positive and allow the coaches to do their job, along with the referee as well. Any parent that steps out of line should firstly be giving a verbal warning one on one from the coaching staff. If it continues then they would be banned from being on the touchline and only able to sit in their car if dropping their child off. If they simply ignore and continue then them and their child are then asked to leave the club.
Should referees be required to provide more post-match analysis on the behaviour of a touchline, rather than just filing a report if they break the rules? (i.e. rewarding positive sportsmanship)
I would disagree with a referee being asked to add anything there and then, especially if the behaviour hasnt been great. However, I would agree that if a referee feels it’s worth noting down a positive thing from the game, such as respectful behaviour or such is that its beyond being a good sportsman, then they should be able to add it to any report, email or team line if there is a section for notes on there.
Tell us about your experiences with Scottish grassroots referees.
My own experience as a grassroots referee is more positive than negative, especially from personal point of view. It has given me more confidence, given me the opportunity to be able to manage difficult situations that other people don’t usually find themselves in and manage my time more with sending in team lines and misconduct forms. Doing these reports and emails has certainly improved my own literacy skills, having not left with a higher from school. Meeting new people has been a massive thing as well and made lasting friendships over the years of being involved. There is a phrase we use, ‘the referee family’, which it really is. The friendship and support you get, especially when you’re on your own for 90% of the time to do games, is invaluable.
What should a club/players/coaches be able to expect from their matchday referee?
Professionalism from the start. Showing up early, at least 40 minutes before kick-off. Dressed smart in either a shirt and tie, suit or even a presentation tracksuit that still enables you to be looking the part. Speaking to players and coaches in a courteous manner. To apply the laws of the game at all times to the best of their ability and knowledge. Get the big game changing decisions correct (i.e penalty decisions and sending offs). Minor errors are going to occu and to therefore move on and focus on the game.
In the USA, young players at the age of 14 are required to take a basic refereeing test. Those who pass are then required to referee 10 soccer sevens games, before they become qualified for paid work. This generates more young referees and makes it more affordable for Under 12 teams to have proper match officials in their transitional season. Would this work in Scotland?
Yes it would be a great idea. And it then allows the players to see it from a referee’s point of view and give back something to the younger players who are playing 7 a sides and getting ready for 11 a side football. It also means if we can get people interested in refereeing at a young age that we will generate a larger number of long term participation at grassroots and then onto the top leagues.
Should there be more education for players, coaches and clubs about the laws of the game?
Yes there should be. Referees participating in the league should be invited to a league meeting and given the chance to explain the rules and any changes. And to inform them what is expected from the referees from Hampden.
Wednesday, 08 March 2017 19:01

Scottish Youth FA suspend clubs for PVG failure

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A press release issued by the Scottish Youth FA on 8th March 2017 stated:
The Scottish Youth Football Association has confirmed that 18 of its 3,500 clubs have been suspended due to a failure to complete the necessary PVG checks for coaches and officials. 
The suspensions will affect around 350 of the 60,000 youths who participate in SYFA competitions, but it is anticipated that most of these will join other nearby clubs. 
The announcement comes after the 3,500 clubs across 39 leagues were warned last year that they would risk suspension unless they ensured their coaches undertook the mandatory vetting procedures which are an essential element of the SYFA's operations. 
SYFA chief executive David Little said: "We said late last year that clubs which do not expedite these compulsory checks would lose their member status and that those volunteers without a PVG certificate would be placed under a precautionary suspension. It is encouraging that the overwhelming majority of clubs take these responsibilities extremely seriously, but those that have not complied have now been suspended from all competitions. 
"It is disappointing that we have been forced to suspend these 18 clubs, but player safety is our number one priority and we were determined to ensure that a strong signal was sent out across the country that these standards are non-negotiable. 
"A total of 488 volunteer officials who have not completed PVG checks within three months of joining a club have been placed under precautionary suspension until such time as their checks are complete. It is a key principle of SYFA membership that, until they have been cleared by the Disclosure Scotland process, volunteers joining clubs are only allowed to participate in activities under the direct supervision of a PVG-checked coach or official, of which there are more than 15,400 registered with the SYFA."
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