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Tuesday, 04 August 2015 16:20

Pitreavie Pumas look for consistency

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One thing is not in doubt for Pitreavie Puma 2002s this season - they will continue to learn after a strong showing last time around.

Last season was mainly a good one for the Pumas, with some memorable wins over their rivals muddled with a loss of form that affected their league position.

"Last season overall, looking back was very good for us," coach and club secretary John Battrick told Youth Football Scotland.

"We had some really great performances but as with most teams we had a little sticky patch where our performance level dropped.

"However, as coaches we kept the lads heads up and eventually we played through that and towards the end of the season our performance level picked up again and we started playing to how we know that the team can play."

Their bounce-back ability is encouraging for the side as they go into their first 11-a-side season. Other signs of note were their performance against big rivals and when forced to field a weakened side.

It was the matches against their rivals that really raised the bar for the Pumas last season.

"[The highlight was] playing one of our main rivals through at their patch, who were unbeaten up to that point, and beating them 3-1. Another was travelling away from home again, this time with a depleted squad due to injuries/illness and drawing 5-5 with another of our main rivals, which felt like a win," Battrick said.

Another sign of progression this season would be the side’s performance in the Armadale Falcons 11-a-side tournament. "We played some great football and in the final completely outplayed the opposition but unfortunately got beaten 1-0 from a break away by the other team," Battrick told us. “Everyone involved with the team was so proud that day of the achievement in our first 11’s tournament."

Battrick was keen not to target a particular position in the league, stating he just wanted them to do “as best as possible.” He told us, “Our plan is to have more structured training sessions focussing on the points that need addressing with individuals; some players have the same weaknesses as others, building up confidence in these areas whilst also making sure that the team continue to work together and for each other.”

Battrick hopes this approach will help gear the boys up for a good season in their development league and potentially a cup run, as well as performing well in the big games against their rivals.

“Beveridge Lions Reds, Real Fife, Blue Brazil, AM Soccer, Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts, Lochgelly Albert,” were some of the names Battrick reeled off when asked about rivals. It would seem that the Puma’s consider nearly every team in the league as fierce opposition, which some would not consider a bad thing. It shows a willing to perform well, and plays into the hands of the ‘every game is a big game’ mentality.

The team will start preparing for their biggest season yet on the 27th July, with their first pre-season tournament on the 1st August at AMsoccer. Battrick added, “This is our first 11-a-side tournament at AMsoccer but at the 7-a-side tournament we did really well and actually got the fair play trophy also when we last took part so we are really looking forward to it this year.”

Battrick sounds confident of the season ahead, and that is reflected in his opinion on the squad, of which they will add no new signings. “We have a really talented bunch of lads and we are looking to concentrate on further developing them rather than add to them,” he said. “One thing last year was actually keeping hold of one of our younger lads who is really promising, he is a year younger so was thinking of dropping back a year but in the end to our delight he decided to stay with us,” he added.

Good luck to the Pitreavie Pumas over the course of the 2015/16 season!

"The Quality Mark has made a huge difference to the club over the last seven or eight years," said Peter Ryder. He is the secretary of Ferry Athletic Youth Club, and yet another voice adding to the opinion of many, that the Quality Mark award scheme is having a significant impact on youth football.

Ferry Athletic started off with just two teams back in 1997, but the club has "grown into one of the largest clubs within the Dundee and Tayside area."

"We’re now up to nine teams between the under-nines age group and the under-19s age group," he told Youth Football Scotland. "We also have three ‘4 v. 4’ age groups as well. At present we currently have over 200 players at the club and 30 coaches, so it’s grown into quite a monster over the last five years."

A monster in size maybe, but certainly not in ego. "The whole ethos of the club is to get as many people playing football as we possibly can," Ryder said. "[The] aim of the club, first of all, is to make sure every player that comes to Ferry Athletic enjoys playing the game, and it’s an environment where they can learn and hopefully we can go onto win things this season."

The positive attitude that the club has off the pitch was certainly carried onto it last season, with various teams returning with trophies. That is not the be all and end all for Ferry Athletic though.

"It’s all about making sure it’s a good environment for people to learn, and then hopefully we’ll win things on the back of that," Ryder said.

Now, the club is progressing with the Quality Mark as well. Ryder said: "We’ve now got the Legacy Quality Mark, which is fantastic. It means that kids that come to the club are getting quality coaching, [that] the coaches are all qualified, they’ve got their Stage 1, 2, and 3 qualifications. It means better training sessions for kids which will enable them to play football at a higher standard."

It is not just the nationwide Scottish FA campaign that Athletic are finding useful though.

"The local guys in the Scottish FA, have supported the club really well," Ryder said. "They’re there for you when you need help, when you need assistance. They’re good at running training courses etc. so the relationship we have with the SFA is overall, very strong."

Good luck to Ferry Athletic for the forthcoming season!

Monday, 27 July 2015 12:17

Kingseat aim high again

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The 2014/15 season was an exceptional one for Kingseat Athletic Colts under-15s, only dropping three points all season in the league. Coach Sam Gibson put the magnificent performance down to the effort of both coaches and players. He told Youth Football Scotland that "last season we had an exceptional effort from the team and everyone who is involved within the club. The coaches stepped up the training to a new level to try and boost the players in their match day performances, which it did. However, the players deserve a lot of credit as they played out of their socks every game.

Despite the terrific performance last season, Gibson ensures that the players will not get carried away. "We are hoping for a strong and steady season and to build from what we have achieved last season. We are hoping to finish in the top half of the table", he said.

They are currently in pre-season, which Gibson says has been good so far. "We have started it at a high pace and hope that we can keep it like that. We are introducing a lot of new things to training. We have yet to have any friendly matches but would be hoping to get one or two in before the start of the season."

The team, yet to make any signings ahead of the new campaign, were also keen to establish the mantra of the club. Gibson stated that the biggest rivals to the Colts next year would be Cowdenbeath and East Fife, "but to us here at Kingseat, we treat every game the same and every team with the same respect."

Good luck to Kingseat Athletic Colts over the course of the 2015/16 season.

The 2014/2015 season was one that showed a lot of promise for Ferry Athletic 2002s. There was a strong challenge for the league, though they ultimately finished in third place, and a dramatic win in the Ross Ballantine Cup final, after Ferry’s Stewart Hogan plundered in an extra time stunner in what was virtually the last kick of the game. 

"Despite losing 13 players to pro-youth teams over the course of the previous 18 months the team performed really well in their first season at 11-a-side," Ferry Athletic secretary, Scott Foran, told Youth Football Scotland.

"We managed a third place finish in the league and had our day in the sun when we won a dramatic Ross Ballantine Cup final 1-0 against a very good Montrose team. We also enjoyed an excellent Scottish Cup tie with Rossvale BC going down 6-5, after extra time, in very windy conditions.

"The low point of the season was a disappointing defeat against Forfar, in the league, that all but ended any hope of the league title for us."

Despite this disappointment Ferry Athletic are gearing up for another shot at the title in what is sure to be an incredibly competitive division. Furthermore, the continuing development of the club’s players is also a priority.

"Our aim is to consolidate on last season’s progress and hopefully see all the boys continue to develop, not only as individuals but also as a team," said Foran.

"It will be a very competitive league in the DDYFA under-14’s this season, with some very good well matched teams, however another cup win and a prolonged league challenge should be our aim."

In their quest for league glory Foran suggests that there are as many as five other sides capable of claiming top spot.

"Fairmuir, DUSC , Broughty , Montrose , Dryburgh and ourselves, on last season’s form, are all capable of winning trophies. However, as was proved last season, on any given day the majority of teams in our age group can take points from each other," he said.

With transfer movements dominating the news at professional level, through the summer, Ferry Athletic have done some summer deals of their own. Three new players have joined to supplement the squad and the staff will look to bed them in as they continue with their preseason preparations.

“We have continued training twice a week, since the end of the season, with sessions going very well. We have 16 signed players and that will be our pool for the season barring any departures.”

"We are due to play in the AM Soccer Tournament in St Andrews, on 1st August, and the Fairmuir Tournament in Dundee, on 9th August, which will be a great build up for the season start on August 23rd.”

With a long and competitive campaign on the horizon for Ferry Athletic every member of the team will have to be called upon to play his part. With such strong competition Foran emphasizes that "all the players we have are as important to the team as the next. This is reflected in the great team spirit we have at Ferry Athletic under-14s"

With this spirit and the quality that Ferry Athletic 2002s possess these bold aims should be within their reach. No doubt they will be expecting to add more pieces of silverware to their collection by this time next year.  

An unbeaten league season is quite an achievement for any team. A 100% win record is simply amazing. Add two further cup triumphs to this league success and you are talking about something truly outstanding. That is exactly what Fairmuir 2002s have managed to pull off this season.

Fairmuir cruised to victory in the J Clenaghan League finishing top of the pile after winning every one of their games. The team in second, Dryburgh Athletic, won every game bar two – the fixtures against Fairmuir. They also followed up this league success with two cup wins in the space of eight days. Firstly they sealed the Brown cup after a dominant 5-0 win in the final, with Dryburgh on the receiving end once more. A week later they dispatched Montrose 2-0 in the Diamond Jubilee Cup

"The team was simply flawless in what was their first competitive season," manager Graham Buchan told Youth Football Scotland.

"Not only did we win the league but the boys did a fantastic job in securing the local treble, winning every game in the process. I really couldn’t have asked any more of them and any manager would be proud of their squad after such a successful season with a 100% win record locally."

When asked what games proved pivotal in their league success Buchan pinpointed four key games.

He said: "Definitely the two fixtures against a very strong Dryburgh team which saw Fairmuir win both games. Other important fixtures that proved to be more of a mental challenge, for the boys, was against rivals Logie Harpe but, again, the boys did not disappoint as they won both fixtures convincingly."

Despite local success Buchan concedes that there was some disappointment to be found in the way they exited the Scottish Cup losing 3-2 in extra time at the last-32 stage. There was some pride, however, to be taken in the fact that they were the last team standing from the Dundee area.

They can also be proud of the fact that, in the Easter holidays, they travelled to Holland to participate in a tournament there. Eventually they finished runners-up after losing on penalties in the final. No doubt they represented Dundee, and Scotland, admirably and will look forward to doing the same as their globe trotting adventures take them to Barcelona this summer.  

Despite such a dominant display throughout the year Fairmuir have continued to work hard to further improve their game.

"There was a real problem at the beginning of the season with the boys starting some games very slowly which could easily have cost us," says Buchan.

"This was worked on at the training ground which saw great improvements. The boys have learned that ability isn’t everything! Without hard work and 100% effort, ability counts for nothing. Hard work pays off."

Buchan is also keen to stress that Fairmuir’s accomplishments in no way rests with one or two individuals in the squad, saying: "I’m not one for singling out individuals as no individual won any trophy by themselves. It was a great team effort from the beginning of the season to the end. Every one of my players deserves a special mention. Jamie Lockhart, Blair Henderson, Nathan Johnston, Mark McCrory, Evan Adam, Jack Todd, Jay Kidd, Curtis Smythe, Ethan Samson, Logan Bonella, Keir Murray, Josh Hamilton, Jimmy Wilson, Liam Clark, Jocky Stewart and Jay Coupar. Well done lads."

So what does next year hold for this impressive group?

"Next season will be no different from this season," said Buchan. "The boys have a target of winning the treble again along with a better push in the Scottish Cup."

No doubt after the progress and the attitude they have displayed this season Fairmuir boys 2002s will most certainly be one of the teams to watch again - not just locally but throughout Scotland. 

To go through a league campaign unbeaten is truly the sign of an extraordinary team, and Ferry Yellows 99s proved their quality as they captured the Maryfield League with a remarkable invincible record.

Manager Graham Bell spoke to Youth Football Scotland and provided some insight into Ferry Yellows excellent season. "For a team to go the entire season without dropping a point and only conceding nine goals is an outstanding achievement. The team has quality throughout", he said.

Bell also added however that he was "dissapointed to go out of the Scottish Cup and Queen's Jubilee Cup so early".

When asked which games he found to be the most pivotal in the league triumph, the Ferry Yellows manager replied "There were two games that I felt were decisive in our league win, both against Dryburgh, who we always have good competitive games against", Ferry Yellows proved victorious with a 5­-1 victory on both occasions.

Bell pointed to two key qualities which drove the team towards the league title: "A close team spirit and desire to win, it keeps you turning up to training and learning".

Two of the key figures in the champions side this season were goalkeeper, Callum Langdale, who his manager described as an "excellent shot stopper", and top scorer Kyle Anderson, who contributed towards the cause with an impressive 50 goals this campaign.

Bell is hoping for further success next season, with cup success.

"Next season we want to go on and win the league again, and make up for the Scottish Cup dissapointment of last season", he said.

Congratulations to Ferry Yellows 99, 2014/15 Maryfield League champions!

Thursday, 09 July 2015 14:15

Double delight for ACSC

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Arbroath Community Sports Club under-14s won the Dundee and District YFA Watson McInally League after a superb unbeaten campaign. They finished eight points clear of second-placed Lochside, winning 14 and drawing four matches to wrap up the title. 

They also won the League Cup and coach Stuart Donaldson was delighted with the team's effort.

"It's my first year in charge of this group of boys, and what a fantastic year it has been. The key to our success for me has been purely down to hard work and determination both in games and at training as well. That mixed with the talented group of young lads we have had been vital throughout the season," Donaldson told Youth Football Scotland.

"The boys have been faultless in terms of effort levels and there hard work has payed off massively in an undefeated league campaign resulting in our league trophy and our cup success completing a double trophy win in our first year together. The boys really do deserve all the success that has come there way this year and I can be more proud to call them my football squad."

Congratulations to ACSC under-14s, 2014-2015 DDYFA Watson McInally League champions!

St Johnstone under-20s have gone the extra mile with an outrageous skills video, based on the Soccer AM bin videos that have taken the professional and youth football world by storm over the last 12 months.
 
See the video, arranged by player Dylan Easton, below:

 

See the team's reaction to the video's success below:

Forfar Athletic have announced that five of their development squad have signed professional contracts at the club. 

Cameron Clark, Kerr Hay, Michael Kennedy, Jason King and James Yates have all put pen to paper after playing for the development squad on amateur contracts last season. 

Hay has made three substitute appearances for the first team, scoring once, while defender Kennedy has played in four cup matches for the club.

Clark, King and Yates are yet to make an appearance for the Forfar first team. 

The Forfar Athletic development squad won the SPFL Development League East by eight points, seeing off competition from Cowdenbeath and Alloa Athletic.

The first team squad finished third in SPFL League One last season, and missed out on promotion to the Championship after a play-off defeat to Alloa. 

Click here for photo gallery

It was smiles all round in Inverkeithing on Sunday as Hillfield Swifts 2006s opened their doors for an invitational festival of football to brighten up the close season.

The club played host to teams from Syngenta Juveniles, Lochend YFC and Crossford Colts, and there was plenty of fancy footwork and silky skills on display across two pitches to keep the watching fans entertained.

With the recent cancelation of the Pitreavie Festival, the occasion was a great opportunity for the players to dust off their boots and for the supporters to stretch their vocal chords in preparation for the season ahead.

Event organiser Jamie Kinnear said it was definitely something the club would look to turn into an annual event.

"It’s great for the boys to get a chance to play in the close season and to keep them engaged with football through the summer, we’ll see how today goes but it’s definitely something we would like to continue," he told Youth Football Scotland.

Even the rain held off until after the medals had been handed out; and judging by the smiles on the faces of those leaving on Sunday, it certainly looks like Inverkeithing will be the place to be during next year’s festival season!