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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.”
Thursday, 14 November 2013 14:55

Aberdour take the spoils

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U19's Championship
10 November 2013
The first 45 minutes of this match was a very tight affair with very few clear cut chances although it was the visitors who looked more likely to score.
Half Time: Aberdour 0-0 Kennoway
The second half was another midfield battle with Kennoway going close on a couple occasions through Ryan Muir. However, Aberdour got the breakthrough on 70 minutes with a well worked goal.
Kennoway pair David Neil and Scott Gilbert found themselves on the receiving end of bookings.
Aberdour secured the win on 85 minutes with a second goal. With Kennoway pushing for an equaliser, they got caught on the counter attack by Kennoway who scored to make the final score 2-0.
Full Time: TAberdour 2-0 Kennoway
Monday, 04 November 2013 16:12

Monifieth clinical in cup tie

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Monifieth Athletic
U14's Dundee & District YFA
03 November 2013
In a tight and sometimes physical encounter, Monifieth 14's fine start to the season continued with another deserved victory. For this cup-tie, Manager Farnan moved Matchett into his usual sitting midfield role, and re-introduced Armstrong into the back four.  
The home side started well, and inside 5 minutes were one up when Gallacher gave the keeper no chance with a 20 yard shot that dipped just under the bar and in.  
The home side continued on top, and despite several good chances to extend their lead it was Pitfour who struck next on the counter- attack when their no. 10 slotted home beyond the advancing Ralston. 
However, Monifieth roared back and on the stroke of half-time – from Barr’s corner - McNeill bulleted home a fine header. 
Half Time: Monifieth Athletic 2-1 Pitfour FC
From the re-start the home side’s dominance in midfield really began to tell. Hush was getting the better of his man, Matchett was making his presence felt, Gallacher was box to box and Westwater made good use of the ball with some clever passing.  

It was no surprise then that the home side extended their lead into a commanding position.  Firstly, Tosh slid in a cross from Pickett, and Beattie slammed home Monifieth’s fourth after great work from Hush on the wing. 

To their credit, Pitfour refused to lie down and added a consolation with a fabulous 20-yard volley late on.   
Full Time: Monifieth Athletic 4-2 Pitfour FC
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 00:00

One on one, with Ryan Winter

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Ryan Winter started his footballing career at Ferry Athletic under nine’s as a midfielder, playing with a team of his friends. But from early on, coaches realised he was going to develop into a great talent. Ryan Winter said “I remember always being looked at by pro clubs but stayed there to be with my mates.”
But, at the age of ten Ryan finally moved to Dundee. “I was playing in a soccer camp run by Dundee, and one day I wasn’t really playing well. My dad was moaning about how I played, but then once we got in the car he turned around to me and said “Well done mate, you’ve been picked up by Dundee.” Ryan was supposed to be playing for the under elevens team, but was moved up to the under twelve’s due to an issue with the coaches. It wasn’t hard for him to settle into the team though. “It wasn’t too bad since I sometimes trained with Dundee, plus some of my mates were playing as well.”
Ryan played with Dundee for five years, and started to turn into a brilliant player. Despite being one of the best players in the team, Ryan was dropped from the team. Before joining the under seventeen Ryan’s coach dropped him from the team believing he was too small to keep playing. “It’s frustrating since the coaches have now said that they regret it, but it was just unlucky.” Ryan’s injuries also plagued him, having problems with his ankle ligaments four times in two seasons.  “It was devastating getting released. I didn’t get over it for a year. They said I was technically one of their best players, but just didn’t feel I was big enough.”
Ryan then moved to Arbroath, but struggled to play to his best ability as Dundee still had a negative effect on him. He was once again released for the same reason of not being big enough. “I was then offered to go to Montrose, but was just too gutted.” So Ryan decided to join his first team, Ferry Athletic, to play with his friends once again. “It was weird going back. The manager didn’t like me that much because I left before. I was even sometimes struggling to get a game, even though I was one of the best players.”
After a season with Ferry, Ryan decided to move to his current team Montrose. Although he was playing at a different standard, he was still fit and playing well. Ryan trialled with the team for two months before eventually signing. “I felt a lot better. It was good to be signed back up by a professional team and to be back on the right track.” Ryan started to play to his full potential once again, and grew a lot within the year.
It was a big chance of pace from Sunday league back to pro youth. “The difference was massive, the training was much better and I was working with coaches and players who were also a lot better. Rather than messing about with mates, it was hard graft. But it was great challenge to play against such good players.”
Ryan came on leaps and bounds, having went from a regular in the under nineteens team, to having playing a few games with the first team and now captaining the under nineteens whilst still being in the first teams sight. Ryan still has his future in mind though. “I am happy at Montrose. Depending on how I fill out I could go on loan. But right now I just want to keep doing well and hopefully become full time.”
If you could have dinner with any three footballers, who would they be?
David Beckham, Nolberto Solano, and the Brazilian Ronaldo.
What is your favourite goal that you have scored?
It was in a school tournament in primary 5, we were in the final at Dens Park and I scored the winner.
What has been your favourite moment in football? Personally or otherwise.
My personal one would be coming on against Dundee with the first team, or Alan Shearers against Everton.
What footballer do you idolise and why?
Paul Scholes, just because he is unbelievable. A complete midfielder.
Halloween is coming up, if you could go as anything what would it be?
A life size Godzilla, or maybe Jesse Pinkman.
Friday, 25 October 2013 17:13

Future is bright for Blairgowrie squad

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Blairgowrie Youth Football Club’s Under 15’s have once again continued to improve, as this season is starting to look very promising for the boys.
The club was founded in 2006 by Gayle Tolmie and her husband Gavin because the couple were struggling to find a team for their sons to play in. Since then, the club has come on leaps and bounds and they continue to develop into a fantastic team. Recent results have shown that the club are on fine form, the boys narrowly lost against top Fife club Burntisland Shipyard 2-1 in the Scottish Cup, but then went on to beat local rivals 4-1 in a fierce derby league game. 
The team continue to play well, and this makes the future of the team look promising. Gayle Tolmie, the team organiser, said: “We want to carry on our successful results and climb as high up the league as possible.” This looks very possible for the team, as they have a fantastic attitude which will drive them to do better. “We are a very disciplined team and have worked very hard to get where we are.” The coaches’ attitude is also superb, and will definitely have a great effect on the boys. “We have always said to our boys to enjoy the game.”
There are some brilliant players in the team, such as goal keeper Daniel Madoc-Jones. Madoc-Jones has been developing into a brilliant player, having been helped out by the Junior Club. “The team as a whole are promising.” He is one of many young players who have come out of the area recently, as many players are being picked up by the senior teams. “Senior clubs looking locally for players I think is helping with youth development.” 
Blairgowrie are currently sitting seventh in the league with three games in hand, so it still looks promising for the team to still carry on their great start to the season. Hopefully they can carry on their success from last season, having won the David Seaton Memorial cup and the Christoper Walker Memorial League cup the season before. “The future of this club is bright and as long as our boys enjoy their time, then we will continue to work with them.”