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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?  
 
Westdyke Thistle 2006 are looking forward to getting their first taste of tournament football when they travel to the Holland Easter Open next April.
 
That’s according to coach Stephen Pirie, who told us the trip is a great chance for the players to develop both on and off the pitch:
 
“The boys have been talking about the proposed trip for a few months now and are all very keen to get going,” he said. “Playing against European teams with potentially differing skill levels and playing styles will challenge them, but we’re sure that they will do themselves justice and step up to the levels required.
 
“As well as playing tournament football, the boys are also excited to be going on a longer trip and spending time together off the field. They’re a great group of boys that always get along great, despite not all knowing each other that well away from football.”
 
Thistle will be in their second season at 11-a-side when they head for Holland next Easter, where they’ll join over 500 teams from 25 countries for a true festival of football.
 
And the hope is that the enticement of the tournament will help motivate the players and give them something to focus their efforts on in the early part of the season.
 
Pirie said: “The coaches have seen the team grow and develop over the past twelve months, stepping up to full size pitches and an 11-a-side format and performing well.
 
“The hope is that it continues in the forthcoming season, and with the trip booked up it gives the boys a focus to look forward to and motivation to continue developing as players throughout the first half of the season.”
 
Westdyke enjoyed a trip to Manchester last year, during which they saw Manchester City get presented with the Premier League trophy at the Etihad, and they’re looking forward to creating more memories when they visit the home of total football next year:
 
“We really want the trip to be an experience that gives the boys a memory that will stay with them for life,” said Pirie. “We have the whole squad committed to attending, as well as an additional 18 parents and coaches to support the boys, so it will be a large travelling group.
 
“Everyone is really looking forward to it. There’s a lot of fundraising to be done between now and March, and we expect the excitement of the boys to grow as the trip gets closer.
 
“We’ve included the tour of Ajax’s Johan Cruyff Arena in the trip itinerary and will be looking into the possibility of taking in a game whilst we’re there. We’re sure that there will be plenty of laughs and fun to be had away from the tournament football – and the ‘Dads’ are sure to beat the ‘Lads’ in a friendly game one evening.”
 
At the Easter Open earlier this year, Aberdeen’s East End Lewis United 2006 were crowned Champions, so can Westdyke follow in the footsteps of their fellow Granite City side?As it turns out, returning with silverware isn’t a priority.
 
Pirie said: “We expect the standard of football to be high at the tournament and the boys will quickly have to get used to playing in the heat and against different styles of play that the European teams will bring.
 
“Every team entering the tournament will believe that they can come home with the trophy, but we’re putting no pressure on the boys. The main aim of the trip is for them to enjoy themselves, give their all in every game and put in the best performances that they can, both individually and collectively. If that’s enough for them to win the tournament then that’s an added bonus.”
 
If your team fancies joining Westdyke in Holland next Easter, then visit https://www.eurotournaments.co.uk/holland for more information and details on how to get involved.
 
Inverness United are looking forward to finishing their primary school-aged football with a bang when they head to the Barcelona Easter Tournament next April.
 
The 2008 born squad - who are not affiliated with a particular school or club - are united in their shared love of football and came together when they learned of the opportunity to showcase their skills on an international stage.
 
Coach Duncan Jones told YFS: “We heard about the competition through Facebook and wanted to sign up in order to test ourselves against teams from other countries and cultures, and to finish off our primary aged school football in style.”
 
United will be joining over 300 teams from around the world when they head to Salou and, although there’s months until kick-off, excitement levels are already reaching fever pitch amongst the boys:
 
“The squad are unbelievably excited to go,” said Jones. “They’ve watched videos of 2019’s tournament and are actively engaged in training specifically for this tournament.
 
“We cannot wait to see how teams from across Europe set up. I’m sure it will provide valuable learning for both players and coaches.”
 
With that in mind, Jones admits the focus isn’t on bringing back a trophy, but the tournament is a chance for his players to show what a side from the North of Scotland can do. He said:
 
“We’re just looking forward to the opportunity to play at such a great event against teams from all over Europe with our best mates.
 
“We’re not ‘in it to win it’ so to speak; we are there to give a good account of ourselves and show what a group of boys from the Highlands can do. Anything on top of that is a bonus, but I know if we apply ourselves, we will be no pushover.
 
“We will need to work as a team and carry no passengers. We’ll need to be fit, sharp and - most importantly – have self-belief to get anything from our games.”   
 
As someone with first-hand experience of playing abroad when he was a similar age to his squad, Jones knows just how lucky the players are to have this chance, and he hopes they’ll cherish it for the rest of their lives.
 
He said: “I played in various foreign tournaments in my younger days and loved every second of them.
 
“I hope the boys will learn to appreciate different styles and – more importantly – the different cultures of others, which is a very important life skill out with football.
 
“I hope the boys will learn the benefit of teamwork and learn from the inevitable highs and lows that they’ll experience when at the tournament.
 
“I want them to look back in 20 years and appreciate the experience their coaches and parents have provided them with and pass this experience on to their own children.”
 
If your team fancies joining Inverness United in Spain next Easter, then visit https://www.eurotournaments.co.uk/barcelona for more information and details on how to get involved.
 
 
Earlier this year, a selection of Scottish teams travelled out to the Barcelona Easter Tournament to take on the best from across Europe – and further afield – in a competition that was full of incredible football and provided the players with memories they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.
 
But now, no sooner than the dust has settled on 2019’s tournament, attentions turn to next year and the opportunity for more of Scotland’s brightest young players to test themselves abroad.
 
Amongst the teams already booked up and raring to make the trip are Deveronvale 2006s. The North Region side will be journeying to sunny Salou at the start of April, where they’ll compete against over 300 teams from a range of different countries.
 
And coach Raymond Morrison is thrilled his young squad will be involved: “We found out about the tournament through Facebook and thought it would be a great experience for the boys,” he said. “They’re really looking forward to the trip and the challenge that awaits them.”
 
The club is putting in the graft to help finance the trip (“We have been fundraising for the past few months and the boys are working hard to raise the money”) but they’re confident it’ll all be worth it when they get there, and that they’ll return better players than when they left:
 
“This will be our first tournament as an 11-a-side team and we’ve never been away as a group so everything will be new for us.
 
“I hope they take confidence as a group and learn more about playing against different types of teams, but most importantly I want them to have the experience of a lifetime.”
 
Despite some great efforts, no Scottish teams returned from Spain with a trophy last time out, so can Deveronvale be the team to bag silverware in 2020? Morrison is confident his players will give a good account of themselves: “We are not just coming for a holiday,” he revealed. “We are hoping to take each game as it comes and to be competitive.
 
“The boys are looking forward to testing themselves against different players and styles.”
 
If your team fancies joining Deveronvale in Spain next Easter, then visit https://www.eurotournaments.co.uk/barcelona for more information and details on how to get involved.
 
 
Sunday, 26 May 2019 17:49

Banks O'Dee Albion Under 17s win the treble

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Banks O'Dee Albion Under 17s picked up a domestic treble in what has been a fantastic season from the Spain Park side. Albion played 45 games during the course of the season, that was ADJFA and Highland League development fixtures, along with 13 cup matches, 11 of them were away from home including the two cup finals.

During that period, Albion scored 241 goals conceding just 34. Lucas Muller came into the team at the start of the season having played for the 2001 age group prior to that and helped towards 23 clean sheets throughout the campaign, a real custodian for Banks O'Dee Albion.

Albion started the season by winning the Highland League Development Cup, beating Wick Academy 2-0 followed by adding the quadruple on top of that with the Under 17s Highland League Development League, the under 17s ADJFA A League, the Raymond Kelly Trophy and the Mark McEwan Regional Trophy.

The only trophy this talented group of players missed out on throughout the season was the Scottish Cup and Albion were knocked out in the fifth round by Dundee side Fairmuir, who reached the final of the tournament.

Recently, Albion beat Lewis United Rangers 6-0 in the Mark McEwan Regional Trophy final where coach Alan Barry and player Kacper Lewecki took time to speak to YFS about their achievements. "It was a really good end to the season and a good win over Lewis United Rangers, we've had a really good attacking team with real composure and having Lucas Muller as our goalkeeper this season has made a huge difference.

"The boys found their formation this season, we changed a few things and are now a bit more settled in terms of the way we play, me and Robin Adair coming into the team created a bit of fire again in the team and Dave McKerron has been at the club for a few years now. This has probably the best squad we have had at Albion in the five years at 11 a side."

In addition to this, Albion have also developed their ex players into professional footballers, Kyle Dalling, Lewis Duncan and Max Barry are all featuring in the Aberdeen reserves set-up whilst Dylan Stuart and Luke Kinsella are first team regulars at Turriff United.

Kacper Lewecki has signed a pro contract with parent club Banks O'Dee and the youngster is looking ahead to the challenge when he said, "I think it'll be a good experience and it'll be a new challenge, I came to Banks O'Dee Albion as I am a 2003 birthday and was looking for a new challenge after leaving Dyce. I have done it here and hopefully I can push onto the next level now.

"We haven't just won the treble, we have won it by playing some good football and have entertained for the people who have came out and watched the games."

Tuesday, 30 April 2019 13:30

Colony Park Under 15s celebrate title success

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Colony Park Under 15s were crowned league champions recently with two games to spare after a fantastic season gaining consistency amongst winning their games however alongside that, the Inverurie side have also played some good football.

Park won 14 games with two draws and two defeats and there is currently a good battle between Culter and Glentanar at the moment as to who is going to join Colony. If Culter beat Banchory in their final game, it will be a play-off between Culter and Glentanar to decide who will be joining Colony in the A league.

Colony coach John Farquhar spoke after his sides 3-0 defeat to Glentanar where the squad was utilised to give fringe players game time about his sides achievements when he said, "The Glentanar game, we gave players equal game time and although the players want to win every week, however from my point of view it's about development, we got punished for it a wee bit, Glentanar are a good side and they are near the top.

"The boys have done their jobs throughout the season, last season, we just missed out on promotion by a point so we were close, it was the Glentanar game last season that cost us promotion and saved Glentanar from relegation as they stayed up by a point.

"I think we needed that extra season in the B League to help us and I think we are a better side this season, we've done well over the course of the season, we only got beat against Glentanar and Banchory however the score that day didn't show a reflection of the game.

"It's been encouraging each week to see the boys turning up to games and going out there with a bit of confidence, we are one of the top sides in the league, I have worked with them for a few years, over the course of the season, they have shown themselves as a good side.

Farquhar won't be continuing with the team next season due to the transition of Saturday football with the coach having other commitments at Highland League side Huntly FC. Farquhar added, "From a selfish point of view, that is the perfect way to go out. 

"In hindsight, it was the right thing that we missed out on promotion last season because it gave us that extra season to get us ready for A League football and they are now ready to go up into the A league."

YFS congratulates Colony Park Under 15s on winning the league and wishes them all the best next season in the A league. Colony has a proud reputation of sides playing at competitive level within the ADJFA against clubs with bigger resources.

The Aberdeen Secondary Schools FA have already hosted a series of cup finals with two more to be played before the curtains close on what has been another fantastic season. 

Hazlehead 3-4 Bucksburn Seniors - President's Trophy Final

The first cup final took place on the 19th March with Bucksburn Academy seniors coming out on top against Hazlehead, Bucksburn took the lead on 15 minutes thanks to Mitchell Argo whose effort cannoned past the helpless Paterson into the net at the far post, Hazlehead levelled just a couple of minutes later thanks to Nathan Rankin who directe the ball over Brogan Coates. 

Bucksburn took the lead again thanks to Lewis Brand before suddenly Hazlehead drew back immediately after thanks to Rankin's second goal of the match, Issac MacLean have Hazlehead the lead for the first time in the match during the 2nd half before Bucksburn responded thanks to Lewis Robertson before a rocket of a strike by Clarke Hendry won the game for Bucksburn.

Hazlehead 2-1 Peterhead Under 13s - Esso Trophy Final

Hazlehead came from a goal down to win the game with Kai Stephen opening the scoring for Peterhead, the Aberdeenshire side were a goal ahead at half time before Hazlehead replied thanks to goals by Noah Benshabat levelled straight after the restart before a Zane Lawson penalty secured success for Hazlehead. 

Portlethen 2-1 Cults Academy Under 14s - Sportsmans Trophy Final 

A double from Cody Whyte and a first half strike by Scott Milne was enough for Portlethen to secure another trophy after gaining the league title, James Whitson netted for Cults.

Hazlehead 3-2 St Machar Under 15s - Gerrard Trophy Final

Hazlehead came out on top in a pulsating game against St Machar with Finlay Hislop opening the scoring for Hazlehead, St Machar then levelled in some fashion thanks to Besses Rai who shot well from six yards which had no chance for Lewis Leiper, Raegan Rintoul gave Hazlehead the lead heading into half time. Rai then levelled with the goal of the game with a volley from long range. Daniel Brown won the game for Hazlehead hammering the ball home. 

Inverurie Academy 5-4 Cults Academy Seniors - J M Low Trophy Final

Inverurie came out on top winning 5-4 against Cults and what a comeback it was! Cole Anderson gave Cults the lead early on before Scott Martin and Finlay Ness added to the lead to put Cults in complete control at half time. 

The Aberdeenshire side have been faced with a lot of games and you could tell that in the first half, they responded after half time, Jamie Brailsford and Murray Liddell reduced the leeway for Inverurie in the second half before Ness got another goal for Cults to make it 4-2. 

Hamish Young and Connor Killoh forced extra time in the dying stages of the game for Inverurie before Killoh turned from provider to scorer finding Brailsford just inside the six yard area who sent a powerful header beyond Muller to win the game for Inverurie Academy. 

Two more finals are set to be played soon, they are Bucksburn v Bridge Of Don Under 13s in the Green Final Trophy and Kemnay v Portlethen Under 14s. 

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