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Wednesday, 18 December 2013 01:37

Eve Barnett tops off great season with award

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Jeanfield Swift Sisters midfielder Eve Barnett recently won the sporting achievement award for Perth & Kinross, which is yet another bit of great news for the under 13’s girls side. I managed to catch up with Eve Barnett and her coach Laura Barnett who is also the proud mother of the rising star. 

The young midfielder recently picked up the award after having a tremendous season with the Perth side. Barnett was chosen from a wide selection of different players, but was chosen because of her brilliant talent and for having a wonderful season. Having scored 23 goals and also set up 23, Eve has clearly earned the award. Barnett said “I am delighted to win the award because I was picked from lots of people to be a finalist and I am really happy to be the winner.”

Eve has had a terrific season, despite starting off ill she managed to get fully fit and gained a place in the regional squad. She has played a vital role in the Jeanfield midfield, alongside Rachel Wolecki who also picked up an impressive record of 30 goals.

The girls have had a big season, as they managed to finish in 3rd place with 24 points, not far from the first spot. They have been on tremendous form, with the girls putting in a consistent strong performance. This is not only down to the players’ hard work, but coach Laura Barnett has been a great coach for the girls. Barnett said “The girls have all done really well this season. They are a really close team and work hard for each other. It was our first season at under 13’s and they finished 3rd in the league, we were delighted!”

Eve has big aspirations this season, and with the girls by her side she will surely achieve them. As her confident builds with every good result and award, she will continue to develop into a fantastic player. Eve said “I would love for Jeanfield Sisters to win the league and do well in the cup. I also want to keep my place in the regional squad too.” Laura Barnett also had great praise for her daughter, saying “Eve has had a good season and is a very talented footballer. Hopefully winning this award will boost her confidence.”

The team are hungry for more success next season, as they can hopefully build on and improve from this season. Laura has big plans for the girls, and will continue to lead them to victory next season. Head coach Barnett said the girls need to “Keep working hard, and continue to keep developing themselves and to enjoy their football.


Friday, 13 December 2013 13:35

Celtic overcome battling Monifieth to reach final

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Celtic Tayside
U14 J Duffy Cup Semi-final
Fairmuir Park
8 December 2013
This was a pulsating cup semi, played at Fairmuir Park, and Monifieth were left to rue some crucial refereeing decisions.  With both sides pressing, Monifieth edged the early part of the game and took the lead on 15 minutes.  Tosh burst into the box and was brought down by the last man - bizarrely, the referee did not show a card when a sending-off was merited.  From the spot kick Mcneill gave the keeper no chance with a drive high into the net.  

Monifieth were on top, however a defensive lapse let Celtic back in on twenty minutes.  Hesitation to attack a loose second ball, and it was bundled over the line for the equaliser.  This lifted Celtic and by half-time they were up 4-1 with their centre bagging a hat-trick - including two great strikes. 
Half Time: Monifieth 1-4 Celtic Tayside

The second half opened with Monifieth in control, and playing the better football.  Good chances came and went for Monifieth before they were reduced to ten men. Armstrong was cautioned for swearing at the referee following a disallowed goal.  However, this did not stop the flow of the game to the Celtic goal, and Farnan switched his side to an aggressive line up.  Monifieth were outplaying their opponents with slick passing football. Hush and Donaghey went close, before Campbell struck the post.  Late on Pickett scored from close in - but this was only a consolation as other attempts were foiled.  

In the end a great team effort was undone by the last 20 minutes at the end of the first half and some strange decisions. 

Best for Monifieth were Matchett, Mcneill, Donaghey and MOTM Gallacher.
Ralston; Barr, Matchett, Armstrong; Hush, Westwater, Gallacher, Mcneill; Donaghey; Tosh, Campbell

Subs: Beattie, Jamieson, Nicol, Pickett, Young
Full Time: Monifieth 2-4 Celtic Tayside
Jeanfield Swifts Girls have had another strong season as they have carried on their development into a better team at all ages. With more players and coaches joining the Perth side, the team has continued to progress and are definitely heading in the right direction. 
Head coach Donna Shaw had big plans for the girls, with new coaching methods and tactics in mind she pushed to move the club to bigger and brighter things. The idea was to start consistent quality throughout all age groups by improving the players’ technical ability and implementing good habits. Donna Shaw said on the Jeanfield Swifts Girls website “We wanted the girls being taught the same good habits at all levels and to get as much time with the ball at their feet and play with smiles on their faces”. 
With these methods in mind, the club can look forward to next season as they now have a tremendous 80 players signed up which will only continue to increase as the club continues to get better. The coaches will also help as well, as they continue to help develop the girls into hard working players. The coaches are focused on teaching girls to play good football, and to work together as a team. “Everyone knows that Jeanfield Swifts are a very welcoming community club, run by good people, who will look to develop players of all abilities.”
The teams’ progress has already started to show, as the 13’s have now had a few players placed in the advanced training centre and more in the regional squad. This reflects well on the team, and also brings some more quality into the team. The 15’s have also had similar success, as Cheryl Cromb Jeanfield Swifts Ladies player has also joined in coaching the girls. Cromb can not only bring her experience to the side, but is a player the girls can look up to as a role model. 
Next season is starting to look like it will shape up well, as the 17’s team will be in full swing providing a full pathway from soccer school 9’s right through to the national 1st division. “Players will no longer need to move away from Perth to achieve their personal goals - this has always been my dream since I arrived” and with the Jeanfield Swifts Ladies now in the first division, the girls have something to strive for as they can look forward to competing at that level. The girls this season will see their technical development start to come into play, and will continue to work on new tactics and skills as the season progresses.
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 16:25

AM Soccer Club book place in final

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AM Soccer Club
Lomond BC
U17's Spring Cup Semi-Final
8 December 2013
After a very quiet November due to free weeks and cold weather, AM Soccer u17s were back in action in a Spring Cup semi-final last Sunday. The pitch had thawed nicely and although AM were short of a Goalkeeper, Harry Galloway relinquished his number 10 jersey and put the gloves on for the day.

AM applied early pressure from the kick off and had willing runners in Heggie and Paterson to support Allan at centre forward. The tone of the half was for AM to play some tidy football through the middle of the pitch but cutting edge was understandably patchy after a six week rest. The first goal did arrive after 25 minutes when Webster curled in a beauty of a free kick and Lee Allan duly obliged by heading into the bottom corner of the net. AM’s best chance of adding to this lead came to Heggie, who had made a clever run infield from left wing to meet an early delivery but he couldn’t quite guide the ball into the net. Galloway kept the lead intact when he held a thunderous header from the towering Lomond centre forward, whilst AM fashioned a couple of shots on target from Richardson and Webster.

The half time chat was mainly geared towards maintaining a high tempo of play and although Lomond’s best chance was scooped over the crossbar at 1-0, AM were causing a regular threat to the away team’s goal. Scott Binnie was breaking up Lomond attacks well and this was offering the platform for Lang and Richardson to dictate midfield creatively. Knox was becoming a thorn in Lomond’s side with his support from right back and a free kick for a crude challenge on him resulted in the second goal. James Lang delivered a low ball into the space between keeper and defence where it was turned in amidst a ruck of bodies. 

Goal number three would soon follow when Allan’s perseverance won AM a corner. Lang’s fizzing delivery was met beautifully by the impressive Janek Adam and the ball nearly ripped the net from its fittings. AM Soccer were now comfortable and forced another corner which would provide goal number four. This time it would be Andy Cameron forward from centre half to neatly control and guide home a bouncing ball which couldn’t be cleared. 

AM Soccer were able to control possession until the final whistle and there was a real sense of irony that all four goals came from set plays when this team are least renowned for scoring in this manner. An excellent result with a thin squad to choose from and a Final for the boys to look forward to later in the season. Thanks to Galloway for standing in and doing well as goalkeeper for the day.
Full Time: AM Soccer Club 4-0 Lomond BC
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 14:57

Monifieth back to winning ways

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Monifeith Athletic
Dundee Thistle
U14's DDYFA Watson McInally League
8 December 2013
Monifieth returned to winning ways - in their first match after their Scottish Cup exit to Celtic, and following a postponement the week before. 

After a two week lay-off the home side were slow out the blocks and made a sluggish start to this league game. 

A number of good early chances were not taken by Monifieth but crucially, right on the stroke of half-time, McNeill headed home Barr's pinpoint corner.
Half Time: Monifieth Athletic 1-0 Dundee Thistle

Gaffer Farnan shuffled the side, as he looked to inject some spark into his team.  Matchett stepped into the defensive midfield role, Westwater slipped back to sweeper and the formation was tweaked to a 3-1-4-2. 

The changes made a difference, and the 14s hold on the game increased. Midway through the half, Hush extended the lead with a great shot into the top corner - the keeper had no chance! 

With Monifieth on top, Campbell added a late third with a tap in from close range.  
Full Time: Monifieth Athletic 3-0 Dundee Thistle
Saturday, 07 December 2013 22:10

Swifts host fine football show in Fife

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Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts 2004 held an invitational 7 aside tournament this morning at Fife's home of football, The Ballast Bank, bringing together 4 of the very best 2004 teams from Central Scotland. 
With players from Celtic, Rangers, Hearts, Hibs, Falkirk and Dunfermlines youth academies on show the standard was high which saw some great football played throughout a surprisingly mild December morning.
The teams taking part were Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts (Fife), Spartans FC (Edinburgh), St Johns FC (Fife) and Garnkirk United (Glasgow).
Special thanks must go to Craig Reid (Hillfield Swifts Coach) for organising the tournament (including early morning pitch inspections).
Forfar Farmington Blues 13’s have had a wonderful season, with plenty of success which has stemmed from hard work from the players and some great coaching. The girls have not only won the league, but made it to the league cup final. They were narrowly defeated by a strong Dunfermline side, but this shows a lot of promise for the next season as the team will be moving into the eleven a side format.
The team’s success can be attested to the team’s great attitude, as they consistently worked hard to win all season. The girl’s work ethic has seen them to victory in the league, having gathered plenty of strong results. This will surely bring the girls confidence for next season, as they will continue to play their brilliant style of football which the coaches have made sure to encouraged the girls to play. The coaches have also had a big influence on the attitude of the girls. Jane McFarlane said “They train well and work hard for each other. We have a saying within the team, ‘Never lose to lack of effort’, and the girls really adhere to this.”
There are plenty of superb individuals in the squad, such as Lois Millar and Erin Thomson, who have helped the team acquire such fantastic results. But the season has definitely been a team effort, as each player is full of talent. Out of ten girls in which one is injured, seven are participating in the East Region girls training which shows the team have a remarkable amount of quality players. “To be honest, and I might be a bit bias, but I think all the girls are great players.” 
Forfar Farmington have improved from last season, and will continue to improve as they progress into the next. Their style of play will continue to get better and better as they improve with each game and each win. The coaches have really worked on installing great passing moves and methods into the team, and it really shows when watching the girls play. “We try to work on playing the game properly with lots of passing, switching the play, passing in triangles, one two’s, over laps and so on. This season the girls have had the opportunity to work on these things.”
There have also been plenty of highlights this season, including the 3-2 victory against Celtic Tayside which clinched the league for the girls. Jane McFarlane said about the game “The highlight which really counted was beating Celtic Tayside 3-2 in what essentially was the decider for the league. We were winning 3-0 at half time, playing great football and really coasting through the game. But the second half the nerves got to the girls. Celtic scored 2 goals in quick succession and with the momentum it looked like they would come through and win the game, but the girls defended like heroes. There was a big crowd at the game, you could really feel the tension. Everyone ran on the pitch when the ref blew for full time. It was a very exciting game.”
Next season is going to be a big challenge for the team, as they will move into a completely new set up. The coaches will need to build onto their existing squad with new players and bring in new tactics as they adapt to the big changes. But if this season is anything to go off of, they will do just fine. They coaches will still focus on bringing the right style of football into the team, which will hopefully carry on to be a success. “The girls have so much to learn as they move up from seven aside to eleven aside. Bigger pitch, bigger goal, new rules, it is going to be a massive learning curve. We can't be too focused on winning, although I'm sure that will still be important to the girls,” said Jane. “It is very important to the coaches that the girls continue to learn to play the game as it should be played.”
Tuesday, 03 December 2013 00:00

Lichties' Martin excited by challenges ahead

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Duncan Martin has recently been called up to the Angus District team, and scored a tremendous goal against Dundee which is a great example of the kind of season Martin has had so far. Having played a major role in Arbroath FC Under 15’s great form, Martin is looking to be a promising young talent. 
Martin started his career at the age of nine with Montrose Vics. Raith Rovers noticed his potential at an early age and signed him. Martin played for Raith Rovers for two and a half seasons but couldn’t continue to travel to training. So, he was snapped up his now current team Arbroath FC and has now been there for two years.
Martin has had a fantastic season so far, having scored many goals and also set up plenty for the team. Martin said “This season has been good. I think I have worked hard and played well, I have scored goals and had assists and although it isn’t about the results it’s a great feeling when you do score.” One of Martin'Los highlights this season was the game against Kirriemuir. Martin not only scored a penalty but also scored the winning goal. “It was my best performance so far in attack and defence.”
Arbroath have also been enjoying their season, as they have had some terrific results. The team have worked hard, and have benefited from having great players in the side like Martin. “I think the team have been very competitive and played well together this season.” The team have had to face new challenges this season, and have handled them well. “We have been up against teams from all over Scotland who all play differently, so it has been good but challenging at times.” 
Duncan has continued to improve, by working hard and by continuing to work with the coaches at Arbroath. His development these past few seasons have shown that he has the promise to become a brilliant player. “I think I have improved this season, and would hope the coaches would say so too!” Duncan’s attitude has also been vital for him improving. “There’s always room to improve and it’s important to listen to the coaches in order to continue to develop.”
The future is bright for Duncan Martin as he continues to play well at the pro youth level, and hopefully Arbroath will continue their good form and have a successful season. “I’ve always loved and wanted to play football. I hope to develop my game further next season and continue to play at this level.”
Tuesday, 26 November 2013 07:22

Futsal thriving from Sao Paulo to Scone

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In Brazil, kids at an early age are playing futsal, a game similar to five-a-sides but with slight changes to the rules, ball and pitch. This is what many Brazilian players, such as Neymar and Ronaldinho, attribute their skill to. Having played this, they have developed fantastic technique and clever passing. Youth players could benefit from this game a lot, as it can offer similar results to the four versus four system and more. 
The rules of futsal are simple. It is usually played indoors with a heavier size four ball which has 30% less bounce than a regular ball. The pitch is smaller than a normal five-a-side pitch, and there are boundaries on the pitch. Instead of a throw-in, there is a kick-in and if a team commits six fouls the opposition are automatically awarded a direct free kick. These rules can help develop youth players from a young as they promote creativity and good ball control.
Futsal started in Brazil and Uruguay in the 1930’s, as a solution to there not being enough pitches. It is just as popular as football in Brazil, but does have fewer spectators. The game is now played in many countries around the world including Spain, Portugal and Italy. Players such as Messi and Piqué played the game when they were young. Cristiano Ronaldo also grew up playing futsal, saying "The small playing area helped me improve my close control, and whenever I played futsal I felt free. If it wasn't for futsal, I wouldn't be the player I am today."
Futsal in Scotland started in Perth in 1997, and now there are three divisions with 20 teams and more than 200 players playing. The Scottish FA runs a national Vauxhall Schools Futsal programme at secondary schools across the country aimed at increasing participation of 12-18 year olds in football, and there are plans for more Futsal based events in the future.
Futsal can offer many benefits to player’s developments, such as better control with the ball. Futsal encourages team work and involves every player in a game, unlike 11 a side where a player can finish a game having only had a few touches. This means players can get a lot more out of a game in training, in more ways than one. As players are constantly moving, they are always changing position on the field. This encourages players to develop attacking and defensive skills, rather than only learning how to defend or attack. The advantages of having a defender that is comfortable on the ball and can play great balls is clear, and every team can benefit from having attacking players which can also get back and defend well. 
The size of the pitch and the added boundaries also offer players benefits, as it offers less margin for error. Players are forced to make sure their touch is controlled and are encouraged to play shorter passes, rather than punting the ball up the field. This can encourage a more controlled fast paced game, rather than a chaotic mess of poor passes. It will also improve passing, as players will not only learn to pass more, but to use skills to get out of tricky situations. 
Futsal can ultimately benefit 11 a side football, as players will develop better skills as we see with the Spanish and Brazilian national teams. Introducing this at a young age will hopefully produce better players for Scotland in the future. It may not be as simple as this, but it will surely contribute to player’s ability in a positive way. 
Thursday, 21 November 2013 00:00

Memorable season for East Region girls leagues

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The 2013 East Region girls season has finished, with plenty of teams and players winning awards. This season has seen a remarkable 1400 players across the region participate in playing every Saturday and Sunday in the various girls leagues. Sam Milne, the girls and women’s football development officer for the East Region, said “It’s been absolutely tremendous in terms of participation for girls playing football.”
This season has seen a lot more participation, and has been one of the best so far. There have been some fantastic teams, such as the 15’s Dunfermline Athletic Girls who recently won the league and the league cup with an unbelievable record, scoring 170 goals and only conceding 18. Celtic Girls 13’s also had a great season, having reached the Scottish Cup semi-final. They will certainly be a team to keep an eye on next season. 
Forfar Farmington have also had a very successful season, as the 15’s completed the league unbeaten, and also won the League Cup with a superb record and had a great run in the Scottish Cup making it to the quarter final. The 17’s team also had a wonderful season, with brilliant players such as Kayleigh Brough and Heather Royale.
There have been plenty of great teams this season, as they have all done well in one way or another. Sam Milne said “Every club is a star club in their own right, whether its ones that do well winning leagues or extremely well in getting more kids playing.”
This shows that next season will be fantastic, with a lot of great players coming through and a lot more coverage will show off these talents. “The game is growing and has a lot more marketing. There is a lot more talent coming through, girls training more and more girls playing in schools.”
Participation has been key this season, and it will continue to get better with each season to come. There are plenty of opportunities for girls to play and there will be more and more next season. “The fact that we ran a festival and 220 girls signed up and wanted to play football and 22 sports leaders came along and helped is remarkable.”