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Thursday, 25 June 2020 15:56

Ross County Using Zoom To Check Up on Players

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Ross County have been holding Zoom training sessions online to keep their Academy players fit and conditioned during lockdown.


The scheme has been lead by Gordon Duff, Pre-Academy Manager, who has led over 16 sessions across all year groups, with around 45 kids taking part or sending in information about their exercise every day.


The online sessions have been greatly appreciated and have had strong positive feedback so far. 


William Urqurhart a player for Ross County’s under-16s, spoke highly of the training: “It had been great to have structured training sessions again to help keep my ability up to scratch.”


Under-18 goalkeeper Logan Ross echoed Urqurhart’s sentiments: “On the mental side it’s especially good because we can keep up to date with what’s going on and we are still able to revise new tactics with the use of technology in front of us, showing and explaining stuff.


“I’m enjoying the new training but I’m finding it hard as it can get frustrating not having a coach there to help if your struggling with a drill, but it keeps me physically fit and some training is better than no training”


County have planned now for various different training sessions across the coming weeks, bringing in special guests to host them. These plans include Personal Training Sessions, Online Yoga as well as some mental health course in Digital Awareness and Resilience courses. 


The club have also been keeping the players and young peoples’ minds active by offering learning resources for pupils whilst schools are closed. 


So far, they have brought out three ‘Learn from Home’ workbooks and a ‘Fun for You’ workbook, ranging in difficulties and styles of drills. 


These were brought out to support young people with enjoyable and interactive material that can help them stay focused on their education even in these tough times. 


These resources were offered to several local schools to aid them in adapting to e-Learning and as a result of this some schools have chosen adapt these workbooks into their Health & Wellbeing modules.


This was just one of many examples of how Ross County has supported their community during these unprecedented times.  


As well as that we’ve seen that the club are driven in ensuring that their youth players can reach their full potential and be the stars of tomorrow. 

Monday, 08 June 2020 11:51

Balloan FC Offer Up Kit Budget to Community

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Inverness side Balloan FC have offered their kit budget to citizens who are struggling to make ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic.


Days before the lockdown, club secretary James Fraser and other members of the Balloan hierarchy and training staff bought almost 200 mini balls and hundreds of cones from their funds. 


They then invited players from all age categories to come and collect a ball and six cones, so that all players would have a chance to practise and play football at home. 


Since then they have been posting several practise drills per week that the players can do with their new equipment at home.


The club prides itself on being one of the top teams in the Inverness Street League, having 180 registered players at the club over three different age categories.


It is also a club that takes its’ community responsibility seriously with lots of events such as bag packing at local supermarkets and race nights, so as well as playing and winning lots of football games every season, being at Balloan keeps a player busy.


After an online meeting with other senior members at the club, it was agreed that the team’s kit budget should be offered as funds to people who need it. 


They announced on their Facebook page that if anybody knew someone who is struggling to pay for bills or food or other essential needs, the club would be able to help cover them. 


The Highland side will also soon be announcing that the remaining kit budget will be be used to fund online study aids for pupils who are struggling to study at home. This is still being set up and organised but will enable pupils to access accounts which will make online education easier and give pupils more ways to enhance their skills and education whilst in lockdown.

Balloan aren’t a rich club and they aren’t a big club. They’re a club that appreciates it’s supporters and the community which most of their players come from. They do what they can to thank them for coming and watching the kids whatever the weather or wherever the location. 


These are strange times and some may say that football is irrelevant during this crisis, but for those in need grassroots clubs like Balloan, with an ear to the ground and strong community contacts, have shown that they are in a unique position to help. 

Middlefield Wasps vs Westdyke Thistle U19
The race for the ADJFA B League title sees its top two face off as leaders Middlefield Wasps host Westdyke Thistle U19
Middlefield Wasps lead the race by three points for now, but have also played three games more than their opponents this weekend. The leaders enjoyed a convincing 5-0 win over bottom side Stonehaven last week in preparation for this clash.
Westdyke Thistle have only lost one game all season, which did come at the hands of Wasps. This will certainly add to their motivation to put the record straight and draw level on points at the top.
Aberdon vs Culter United U16
The top two in the C League will face off this weekend as leaders Culter United travel to face their nearest title rivals Aberdon.
Aberdon on the face of it look as though they need the win more given that they have played on game more than United. Defeat would be a difficult one to swallow and would make their title challenge that much more difficult.
Culter United have been tremendous in the league this season having only lost one game earlier this month at the hands of Colony Colts. A win this weekend would solidify their place at the top and put even more pressure on the chasing pack.
Westdyke CC vs Donside Juveniles U15
Two teams looking to close in on top spot, Westdyke CC and Donside Juvenile will lock horns this weekend.
Westdyke have been pushing hard at the top and are only one point behind leaders Deveronvale. They've only lost one game all season in the league, a defeat to Culter United back in September.
Donside Juveniles have a bit more ground to make up. They are three points off the top of the league but have played three games more than the top two. A win this weekend would keep them in the hunt.
Dyce BC Blues vs Westdyke CC U14
Scottish Cup champions Dyce BC Blues and Westdyke CC face off in a titanic clash at the top of the ADJFA A League in what could be a decisive game in the league.
Dyce have a perfect record in the league so far this season, securing seven wins from seven games. That record has given them a five point lead at the top of the league.
Westdyke have only lost one game all season and know that defeat this weekend could spell an end to their title hopes. Dyce know on the other hand that a win this weekend could effectively hand them the title. The stakes couldn't be much higher this weekend.
Thistle YFC vs East End Lewis Youth Golds U13
Deveronvale Reds currently hold first place in the C League Second Section, but Thistle YFC and East End Lewis Youth Gold are following close behind.
They both have games in hand over the leaders and will be looking to close the gap with a win. Thistle YFC are 13 points adrift with four games in hand. They also hold two games in hand over the Golds and a win would close the gap.
East End are six adrift of the top, and hold two games in hand over Deveronvale. A win for them would effectively turn Section 2 into a two horse race. Both teams will be fighting for their spots this weekend.

Westdyke CC vs CBC Hilton United U17

These two have not met since the first match of the season back in August and their meeting this weekend has more meaning and stakes than their last encounter.

It was Westdyke who came out on top back then, securing a 3-1 win and setting them up for what has been a very impressive campaign so far. They remain unbeaten and sit top of the table, three points ahead of their opponents this weekend.

CBC Hilton have also had a great start to the season. They haven’t lost a game since that opening day defeat and have racked up the goal count in the process and are only one win away from taking top spot.

A measure of revenge will surely be on the minds of United and that will certainly add to the spice in the game. Westdyke will need to be on their game as they face a United team hungry to prove themselves as title contenders.

Dyce BC vs Peterhead BC U16

Two teams both still in the hunt for the league title face off in a vital clash in the ADJFA A League.

Leaders Westdyke will be casting a keen eye on the result of this game, knowing that the winner will likely prove to be their biggest challenge in their quest to win the league title. 

Dyce come into the game in fine form. Having only lost one game in the league this season, a 2-1 defeat against Westdyke, they find themselves in third place, six points off the top with three games in hand over the leaders, one of which will be played this weekend.

Peterhead on the other hand have more motivation than just catching up at the top. The last encounter between these two saw Dyce leave convincing 6-0 winners. A win this weekend would put that loss firmly behind them as well as bring themselves to within one point of Westdyke.

Kintore United vs Westdyke Thistle U15

The entire complexion of the ADJFA C League could change drastically over the weekend, with both of these teams still harbouring hopes at a league title.

Kintore United find themselves at a disadvantage in the race. While they do find themselves in second place, just five points off the top, they have played four games more than leaders Thistle Youth. With very few games left to play it is becoming a more difficult task by the minute. That isn’t to say that they can’t have a major impact on proceedings.

Westdyke Thistle sit third, five points adrift but with two games in hand over Thistle Youth. A win here would keep the pressure up on the leaders, but Kintore will be motivated to avenge their previous loss to Westdyke two weeks ago.

Thistle Youth vs Stonehaven YFC U15

One eye will also be kept on Thistle Youth’s match against Stonehaven this weekend, making the C League one of the most looked at divisions this weekend.

Thistle have been awesome this season, having lost only one game this season against Kintore United. The hold top spot in the league, seven points ahead of their opponents this weekend, who could find themselves back in with a shot at the title.

Stonehaven have played two games more than the table toppers, but a win would move them to within four points of the top, and pile more pressure on Thistle Youth to continue their fine run of form.

With so much still to play for in this league, it is certainly one to keep an eye on this weekend!

CBC Hilton vs Colony Park U14

In the B League, there is still plenty to play for, but a win is what’s required for either team if they want to keep their title hopes alive.

The win is more important you have to say for CBC Hilton. Hilton have had a great season so far and still find themselves with a realistic chance of catching top side Stonehaven YFC. Six points off the top, they will be looking for a crucial win this weekend, but they will need to produce a great performance to beat a strong Colony Park.

Colony Park are unbeaten in the league so far this season and have only dropped points against one team this season against leaders Stonehaven. Park are three points off the top but have the benefit of two games in hand.

The last meeting between these two resulted in a 3-1 win for Colony Park in the first game of the season. Expect another close game between two teams with real motivations to win.

Monday, 03 February 2020 16:14

North Region Round Up - 1/2 February 2020

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Lewis United Rangers and Banks O’Dee Albion prepared for their titanic clash in the A league this weekend with wins to keep them neck and neck at the top of the table. Rangers were convincing 5-1 winners away to Cove YFC and Albion were also comfortable winners against Longside BC.

Westdyke Thistle kept up the pace on B League leaders Middlefield Wasps with an emphatic win over Kemnay FC. Middlefield Wasps maintained their three point advantage with victory over Turriff United, however Thistle still have three games in hand.


CBC Hilton United took over the top spot of the A League with a big win over bottom side Cove YFC. Westdyke’s 1-1 draw with Deveronvale allowed United to take over first place. Westdyke still have one game in hand over their title rivals.

Northstar CFC maintained their lead at the top of the B League with a 6-1 win over FDS 2003. Second placed Ellon Meadows were made to work for their 6-3 win against Huntly, however it wasn’t enough to close the eight point gap between the two.


Westdyke took advantage of the fact that they were one of the only sides to play in the A League last weekend as they extended their lead at the top of the table with a 6-1 win over bottom side Westdyke Thistle.

In the B League Stonehaven United secured a much needed victory over leaders Northstar CFC. A loss for United would have almost certainly seen them out of the title picture but the 2-0 scoreline keeps them within touching distance, with a game in hand.

The result also allowed Culter Boys to close the gap at the top to just three points after their victory against Newmachar Youth.

There are new league leaders in the C League as Aberdon overtook Culter United. United suffered defeat at the hands of Colony Colts, which opened the door for Aberdon to take top spot with a win over Byron Dons in an entertaining 5-4 spectacle.


A large number of games fell victim to the weather on Sunday in the Aberdeenshire leagues, however there were still results that had major league ramifications.

Westdyke took themselves to within one point of league leaders Deveronvale last weekend. A convincing 4-0 win away to Cove Youth United.


Cove United took advantage of their game going ahead last weekend by closing the gap on top spot with a big win over Glentanar CFC. They closed the gap on League C Section 1 leaders Turriff United to five points.

In C League Section 2 Deveronvale Reds also took advantage of their game going ahead with a win over Mormond Thistle to extend their lead at the top of the table to three points.


Banks O’Dee Albion continued their dominance of the A League with a 5-1 win over Thistle YFC. The win maintained their whopping 15 point lead at the top of the league. The only other game in the league saw East End Lewis Youth beat Cove YFC, 3-2.

Two charity matches have been set up in memory of two Aberdeen teenagers.
As reported on the Press and Journal, the family and friends of teenagers Tom Smith and Liam Smith have arranged two charity matches, one this weekend and the other in November, to raise funds for charity Mental Health Aberdeen.
Tom Smith sadly took his own life last October, and the Press and Journal spoke to Cameron Spence and Nicole Yeoman, 20, who are helping set up the fundraising event and determined to make the event a success.
Mr. Spence said, “Tom was a top lad and everyone at school was very close to him.
“People have countless memories of him and that’s why there was such an impact when he died.
“He had, unfortunately, become very ill in his final year and it was tragic that he decided to take his own life.
“A year on, we thought it would be a great way to honour Tom by holding a charity football match with all the proceeds going to Mental Health Aberdeen.
“The game will be played between a Grammar squad and the Rest of Aberdeen.
“Hopefully, we aren’t too rusty and we can put on a decent showing at the 4.15 kick-off on Sunday, October 20, at Spain Park.”
Admission will be £5 and there will also be a raffle on the day as well as other fundraisers for Mental Health Aberdeen.
Another charity game has been organised for Liam Smith, who died after he went missing last November.
That match will take place on the 17th November at Westdyke Leisure Centre in Westhill, and will see two teams, comprised of friends Liam made at Elrick Primary School and Westhill Academy. All proceeds from the day will also be going to Mental Health Aberdeen.
MHA said: “Close friends of Liam have organised this match and we are truly humbled they have chosen to help Mental Health Aberdeen.
“Football played a huge part in Liam’s life, so his friends decided a charity game would be a very fitting way to remember him, while also offering an opportunity to raise awareness of mental health.”
A JustGiving page for Liam's game can be found at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/liamsmith-charityfootballmatch.
Friday, 27 September 2019 11:07

Aberdeen Win Prestigious UEFA Grassroots Award

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Aberdeen have won the prestigious "Best Professional Football Club" prize at the 2019 UEFA Grassroots Awards.
The club, alongside their partner charity the Aberdeen FC Community Trust, has engaged with over 20'000 people in projects focusing on three main themes: football for life, education and healthy communities.
The UEFA Best Professional Football Club prize rewards outstanding grassroots work by a professional club, promoting in particular a holistic approach to grassroots football and providing for a wide range of participants.
The club's Community Operations Manager Steven Sweeney outlines the importance of reaching out to the community. "What price can you put on people feeling better about themselves, and using football as a tool to do that? It's our responsibility as a football club to reach every part of the community."
The club has been working with the Scottish FA to help increase participation in the area and have shared goals, resources and even staff members in order to help grow local clubs and create a joined-up player pathway in the local area.
 "I think what we have got is unique," says Sweeney. "It's quite innovative, and I think it's best practice. The approach is simple. it's just about good people trying to do their best to make a difference to grassroots football."
"I think part of it is the genuine family feel we have at the club," Sweeney reflects. "[An] authentic community spirit that goes deeper than the football club – that's why we're so determined to share the success and celebrate it together with the club's supporters, all our community partners, our city, our region, and Scottish football as a whole."
Friday, 13 September 2019 14:06

North of Scotland U15s Girls Squad Announced

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(Picture courtesy of Scottish Schools FA)
The squad for the Scottish Schools FA North of Scotland team has been announced.
The team will represent the North of Scotland at U15's level, with details of friendlies to be announced soon.
The full squad is as follows:
Aimee Gordine - Aboyne Academy
Demi Taylor - Alford Academy
Darcie Miller - Alford Academy
Becky Bremner - Alford Academy
Rachel Bain - Alford Academy
Demi Porter - Banff Academy
Catie Carter - Buckie High School
Caitlin Carnegie - Buckie High School
Annalisa McCann - Elgin Academy
Emily Graham - Ellon Academy
Millie Urquhart - Ellon Academy
Brodie Greenwood - Hazelhead Academy
Alex Curry - Inverurie Academy
Keryn Stronach - Keith Grammar
Lana Cartney - Lochside Academy
Maddison Finnie - St Machar Academy
Charlie Elliott - St Machar Academy
Donside Community FC 2005’s are hoping to have the time of their lives when they head to the Holland Easter Open next April.
The Aberdeenshire side will be joining over 500 teams from more than 25 countries when they head to the home of total football next year, and team coach and secretary Graeme McDonald says the squad can’t wait to get going:
“The boys are looking forward to it already,” he said. “The chance to play teams from across Europe was what attracted them to the tournament.
“It’s a chance to experience a different sporting culture and make football memories which will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”
This will be Donside 05’s first taste of tournament football (“We have never taken part in a tournament, so it’s a totally new experience for all the boys,” revealed McDonald) as well as their first trip abroad as a squad, and they’re going to make the most of it:
“I’ve been to Holland before, so I know how much the Dutch value sport,” said McDonald. “The boys are in for a treat. We are going to have a tour around the Johan Cruyff Arena, and we’ll also visit a theme park on our last day in Holland.”
Donside followed coverage of 2019’s Holland tournament online and saw just how well Scotland was represented by all the teams that made the trip – with Syngenta Juveniles and East End Lewis United even returning with silverware.
So how do they think they’ll get on when it comes time to go toe-to-toe with some of Europe’s best teams?
As it turns out, results on the pitch are far from the most important thing on the trip. McDonald said:
“The boys are an honest, hard-working team so I’ve got no worries about them giving it their best efforts.
“I think winning the tournament is unlikely, although we’ll certainly try our best, but that isn’t the objective anyway.
“If the boys come home having had the time of their lives, then that will be the best result we could have wished for.”   
If your team fancies joining Donside in Holland next Easter, then visit https://www.eurotournaments.co.uk/holland for more information and details on how to get involved.
Insch and District 05’s league victory this season is reward for the teams hard work over the course of the campaign, says coach Kevin Danby.
His side won the ADJFA Division C-2 this year, beating Colony Colts 3-1 in their final match to clinch the title.
And Danby was full of admiration for the players’ efforts throughout: “We have four coaches and a good group of players – we can’t praise them highly enough.  
“At the start of the season we knew we had some strong teams in our group and to achieve success we would need all of our players to give 110% in every game.
“We have all been impressed by how the team have bonded and applied themselves in games; week in and week out they’ve given maximum effort.
“They are teenagers though, and training sometimes requires a bit more focus. The good thing is that when we point this out, they take it on board.”
It was a fantastic effort to come out on top in an incredibly competitive division – there were four teams in with a chance at the title until late on in the season – that was made even more impressive by the fact that, last summer, they weren’t even sure they’d be able to field a team this season.
Danby explained: “The core of this team has been playing together for about eight years, but at the end of last season we were unsure if we’d continue as numbers were so low.
“Fortunately, during pre-season training we were lucky to gain several players, and this gave us good numbers and strengthened the team.”
From then they’ve hardly looked back; they put in impressive performances to win key games and dug in to grind out results at important times during the season. Danby mentioned two performances in particular:
“There are a couple of key games that spring to mind,” he said. “We played our closest rivals Deveronvale in a game played in atrocious conditions and the players really had to dig in to get the result. We won the game, but it took us a good while to thaw out.”
“Towards the end of the season it was tight at the top of the table and we knew we couldn’t afford to lose a game. We played Mintlaw away and were 4-1 up at half time, but at full time it finished 5-5. A point was ok, but had we lost it was unlikely we’d have been able to win the league. We played away to Mintlaw again the following week and we changed our game plan, which resulted in a win.”
The Mintlaw results meant they needed to win their remaining games to clinch the title and going into their final match they were on track, knowing a win would see them over the line. Danby recalls the match:
“To win the league we knew we needed to win our final game against Colony Colts,” he said. “All of the squad was at the game and a large number of parents and spectators turned up to watch.
“We knew it would be a tight game as the Colts had also been vying for promotion. The coaches tried to keep the players calm and focussed but we started the game nervously. We eventually settled and came out on top in a good game, winning 3-1.
“It seemed like an age for the whistle to go, but when it did there were loud cheers from our supporters and the team went crazy celebrating the league title win.”
After a long, hard-fought season, it’s no wonder they enjoyed their success. Same again next season?  
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