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Fantastic five from North-East make Scotland training camp

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- Five players from Aberdeen FC Ladies were selected for Scotland’s U17’s & U19’s training camps
- Allan Smith, manager of the Premier Team said it’s an objective of the club to have players represented nationally.
- Claire spoke to Allan about all five players who were selected.
The announcement of Pauline Hamill and Gareth Evans’ respective U17’s and U19’s Scotland squads revealed that five ladies from the first team of Aberdeen FC Ladies have been selected to join the training camps at the end of January. Shannon McGregor and Lauren Gordon make the U17’s squad while Becky Flaherty, Cassie Cowper and Donna Paterson make the U19’s squad. YFS spoke exclusively to Allan Smith, the manager of the premier team at Aberdeen FC Ladies, who told of the fantastic opportunity that his players have been given.
Smith told how it is an objective of Aberdeen FC Ladies to have girls from the North-East represented in the national side, sharing his delight at the inclusion of five plyers. He said, “It’s great for the girls up in the North-East and we’re delighted. We’ve been really impressed with the girls representing Aberdeen in Scotland camps and some of the girls have been involved in a number of camps now. Their attitudes are very impressive.”
Each of the players will bring their own strengths to the training camps, and Smith reflected first on the two U17’s players. Of Shannon McGregor, who plays in midfield, he said, “She has one of the best attitudes at the club and is determined to do well. She is a strong and energetic player who is quick and direct, and has great ability who will bring desire to the squad.” Smith then spoke about forward, Lauren Gordon, of whom he said, “She has a real footballing head on her shoulders. She links play and retains ball well up front. She’ll bring great intelligence to the camp.”
The U19’s players are no stranger to the national squads and Smith explained the abilities that have earned these players their places. Becky Flaherty is one of only two goalkeepers to earn a place in the squad. Smith said, “Becky has had two fantastic seasons at Aberdeen and, despite her young age, is one of the top keepers in the league with some of the best hand-on capabilities. If she continues to progress as she has, I have no doubt that she will make Scotland’s A squad .”
Defender, Cassie Cowper, has also been involved in the national set-up previously having progressed through the various age grades of the Scotland camps. Smith said, “Cassie reads the game well and has great distribution from the back. She is a strong, determined player with a willingness to win. Again, she has the capability to make the A squad.”
Lastly, Smith spoke of Donna Paterson who plays in midfield. He said, “Donna has been in and out of the camps for a while now. She has transformed her game since joining Aberdeen and has had a fantastic couple of seasons. She is a rock in midfield and the squad will benefit from having her strength in the camp.”
The achievement of the five ladies suggests that Aberdeen Football Club are fulfilling their objective of developing young players and strengthening the squad. Smith explained, “Lauren, Cassie and Shannon came through the infrastructure and Aberdeen youth, while Donna and Becky came from clubs outwith the Aberdeen set-up but have furthered their development with the club.” 
Not only do the club take pride in the representation of youngsters from the North-East in the national side, but those players benefit greatly from the experience. “The camps are fantastic,” Smith said. “They drive further professionalism into the players and they bring that positive outlook into their football development, maintaining that desire and attitude in the club game as well. The young players really look up to those involved in the national training camps.”
However Smith notes that the girls will benefit in many other ways, and this also inspires the youngsters at the squad. “We have an infrastructure with over 150 girls from the age of nine and up at the club,” he said. “Football continues to have the highest growth in women’s sport and this shows what can be achieved. The opportunities for the girls to make the squads, play friendlies, travel and meet teams from other countries all make for great life experiences, and this is great inspiration for the players and the youngsters.”
The training camps will begin at the end of the month in preparation for difficult UEFA European Championship Elite Rounds later in the year. YFS wish all the players involved the best of luck, and hope that the players from Aberdeen FC Ladies will continue to inspire the youngsters involved with the squad. 

Claire Gulline | YFS Aberdeen Senior Reporter
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