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The first round of fixtures in the City of Glasgow Cup is in the books. The tournament sees Glasgow’s four clubs: Celtic, Queen’s Park, Partick Thistle and Rangers go head to head at Under 17s level, in a group format between August and March for the right to lift the prestigious trophy.
 
Rangers stormed to the top of the table with a comfortable victory over The Spiders at the Rangers Training Centre, a week after current holders Celtic came out on top in a seven-goal thriller against the Jags at Lennoxtown.
 
City of Glasgow Cup: Round One
 
Celtic 4-3 Partick Thistle
 
Rangers 8-0 Queen's Park
 
The Light Blues sported a side that featured many recent Scotland youth internationals including the likes of Zac Butterworth, Kyle McLelland, and Dapo Mebude, Nathan Patterson and Josh McPake but it was Matty Yates who attracted most of the attention with a second half hat-trick.
 
The Hoops looked to have Thistle dead and buried at 3-1 but the Firhill side showed no signs of giving up, and fought back to 3-3 before Kieran McGrath grabbed his second goal of the day in the final minute.
 
Round Two, due to take place in October, will be dominated by the first Old Firm clash of the tournament as Celtic and Rangers face off at Lennoxtown, and should there be a winner the group will have an outright leader. Partick and Queen’s will both be looking to put their first points on the board before they face the Old Firm sides again in November. Their match is scheduled to be played at Lochinch.
 
Rounds Three and Four will be played in November and December respectively, and the latter will see the reversal of the first round of fixtures.
 
Rounds Five and Six both take place in February, and Rangers and Celtic will return to action against one another at the Rangers Training Centre while Queen’s and Partick play at Lesser Hampden. The last round has Celtic hosting Queen’s Park and Partick hosting Rangers.
 
Remaining fixtures:
 
Round Two

Wednesday October 11, Lennoxtown, 7.00pm 
Celtic v Rangers
 
Friday October 13, Lochinch, 7.15pm 
Partick Thistle v Queen's Park 
 
Round Three
 
Wednesday November 8, Lesser Hampden, 7.30pm 
Queen's Park v Celtic 
 
Wednesday November 8, Rangers Training Centre, 7.30pm 
Rangers v Partick Thistle
 
Round Four
 
Friday December 8, Lochinch, 7.15pm 
Partick Thistle v Celtic 

Wednesday December 13, Lesser Hampden, 7.30pm 
Queen's Park v Rangers
 
Round Five
 
Wednesday February 7, Rangers Training Centre, 7.30pm 
Rangers v Celtic

Friday February 9, Lesser Hampden, 7.30pm 
Queen's Park v Partick Thistle
 
Round Six
 
Thursday February 22, Lennoxtown, 7.00pm 
Celtic v Queen's Park 

Friday February 23, Lochinch, 7.15pm 
Partick Thistle v Rangers
 
The City of Glasgow Cup is organised by the Glasgow Football Association and sponsored by City Refrigeration Holdings Ltd.
Tuesday, 12 September 2017 10:11

The goal that inspired a generation: 10 years on

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“It was late in the second half and I had been playing up front on my own. It was tiring and chances were few and far between. As the ball came to me, I was ready to turn on it and knew I was going to shoot if nobody was pressing me. I turned, took a touch, and then luckily for me I caught it perfectly.”
 
You don’t need to be a football anorak to tell which goal James McFadden is referring to. It is without a doubt the most iconic Scotland national team goal of the last decade. That night in Paris was the pinnacle of a career, which began taking shape nearly twenty years earlier. 
 
“I first began playing organised football when I was about 7. I went along to Celtic North Boys Club, but they only had an Under 10s team. This meant I could only train, but I went along every week anyway. It did me good to play with lads a few years older than me.
 
“I progressed to playing with Celtic Boys Club and then went to Motherwell when I was around 12. At the time, you could play with your boys club at the weekend and with the pro club midweek. I kept playing with my boys club and moved onto West Park United.
 
“It was at West Park that I worked with one of my favourite coaches, Bert Rowan. Bert, who sadly passed away whilst I was still at the club, loved the Dutch ‘Total Football’. He worked you hard on the training ground, but it paid off. We were playing brilliant football, winning all sorts of competitions and enjoying ourselves.
 
“I was also playing for the Glasgow Schools select squad. Chris Burke was in the team and I remember being impressed by his talent. Even then, you could tell he had a great chance of making it at the highest level.
 
McFadden was given the opportunity to move to Hearts and he grasped it, signing schoolboy forms with the Edinburgh club. However, Hearts required him to give up boys club football – something the hungry young winger wasn’t prepared to do, so he returned to his boys club and to Motherwell. A few years later he broke through to the Well first team and the rest is history.
 
James went onto a successful and exciting, at both club and international level. However, McFadden still places one moment from his youth career alongside any moment of glory from his professional years. 
 
“I was playing for West Park and it was a league deciding game against one of our rivals. We had been working on a short corner routine at training all season. Although it was a big match, we gave it a shot. A couple of passes and the ball was worked to me on the angle of the area. I had a shot and it went in, which gave us the league title.”
 
When asked if it was anything like his winning goal against Holland in 2003, McFadden modestly shrugs, “aye, now you mention it, I suppose it was similar.”
 
Before bringing the interview to a close, we couldn’t resist asking one last time about THAT goal. 
 
“We had been training in the stadium the night before and, at international level, you play with the chosen footballs of the home team. The balls the French had selected were moving everywhere. I thought to myself – ‘if I get the chance to shoot tomorrow, I’m going for it’.
 
“It was a tough game and France were coming on strong as they pushed for the winner. I’d been putting in a fair shift up front by myself and was beginning to tire. I knew if a chance for a shot came along, I was going to have a hit. The goal kick was a lengthy one and the French player misjudged it.
 
“My first touch was decent, it killed the ball and allowed me to swivel. I took a touch out in front and it looked like the centre half was going to charge, but he backed off. Then I hit it.”
 
And in one strike of a football a nation erupted with joy and a generation of young Scottish players started to dream.  
 
(Gary Curneen, left, during a visit to Hibernian when he took time out from his busy schedule in the USA).
 
Here at YFS we speak to a variety of people, all walks of life and who perform all sorts of roles for the sake of the beautiful game, we were lucky enough to have someone different along to have a conversation. Gary Curneen is the current head women's soccer coach at Cal State University, Bakersfield, and the founder of Modern Soccer Coach Education. His role is full-time in nature at a college in the USA who compete at the Division I level. When asked about the role itself, he said: “Like most people in the game I am passionate about developing players, teams, to succeed on and off the field.”
 
But how does the girls game in America operate, and how does it compare to the rapidly growing equivalent in Scotland?
 
“I'm not familiar with the Scottish landscape so can't compare. The girls game is huge in the States and the players are fortunate enough to have huge amount of opportunities with both games and training. The college game is the destination for most top players and it becomes a full-time environment with training every day and access to top facilities and full-time coaches.” 
 
Curneen originally played in the US, once his playing career was completed he continued life at a coaching capacity for an additional two years. “I originally was going to go into the business world and corporate America but got cold feet. My college coach gave me an opportunity to stay on and help him out, along with getting my masters in business and administration and I took it." 
 
After settling into the role he mentioned that “I realized I had a completely wrong perception of what coaching entailed." He continued: "I got introduced to tactics, systems, training models, science, psychology and was hooked.” He is now owner of a UEFA A licence thanks to the services of the FA in Ireland.
 
Gary has added to this by writing a book Modern Soccer Coach 2014 adding his own take on what he says "sets the greatest coaches apart in today’s game and how to create a culture of excellence within a programme.”
 
So overall the girls game appears to be rich in opportunities, in Scotland the girls game is catching up with more and more clubs linking up with their mens equivalent, more and more work is being done creating the pathway from the younger age groups all the way through to the senior team. “I think cultures in the US and UK could learn a lot from each other. Players in the US excel in the physical side of the game and I think with more resources and funding in the women's game in the UK, it will allow Scotland to continue to excel.” 
 
Adding to that he also mentioned that he had recently came along to have a look at the women’s game in Scotland. “I was there in February and visited Hibs and Celtic ladies teams. I really enjoyed it and was very impressed by the level and the coaching.
 
"Hopefully I can come back more often."
Tuesday, 05 September 2017 12:24

From Saughton Park to Scotland international

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Scotland’s Under 21s take on the Netherlands tonight in the first match of their UEFA European Championship qualifying group. In the squad are some notable first-timers: new West Bromwich Albion signing Oliver Burke and Celtic up-and-comer Anthony Ralston. These players both have stories worth telling. Burke’s combined transfer kitty is in the lofty region of £30m already, and Ralston was invited to train with the full squad ahead of the Lithuania match. But Jason Kerr, a name that might not stand out on paper, has perhaps an even more remarkable story to tell on his journey to the national set up. The Penicuik-born starlet shone at boys club level and has enjoyed a spectacular rise to the top level in just three years.
 
Kerr starred for a Tynecastle side alongside his twin brother, Gregor, which reached five Scottish Youth FA Cup finals between 2010 and 2014 and won three. In the 2014 edition, Kerr grabbed a late – as in last minute of extra time late – equaliser to keep his side’s hopes of a trio of cup wins on the cards. But he and his team mates were to suffer the heartbreak of a penalty shootout defeat at the hands of Antonine FC, a team Kerr would probably describe as a nemesis during his youth career. 
 
But the mark of a proper footballer, or indeed any athlete, is how they bounce back from adversity and Kerr proved he was up to the task. His stellar individual form at Saughton Park continued and on July 1 2015, exactly one year and two months after that painful defeat in the Scottish Cup final, he was signed up by St Johnstone.
 
Kerr has made his mark for the Saints as a central defender, as opposed to the box-to-box, all-action midfielder he was known to be at Tynecastle and at Eskmill beforehand. A trawl through the YFS archives finds descriptions of Kerr darting down the left wing and charging into the box and one would assume these situations are less common now.
 
After two loan spells at East Fife, one of which yielded a League Two winners medal, Kerr returned to Perth in the summer and signed a two-year contract extension. Kerr said that the new deal provided him with the impetus to make his way into the St Johnstone first team, be that from within the confines of McDiarmid Park or on loan at a club further up the pyramid.
 
“It’s great to have the next two years sorted and during that time it’s my intention to push myself into the manager’s plans at McDiarmid Park,” he told Scotzine.
 
“I’ve really enjoyed my involvement with East Fife and it’s given me loads of experience but I’m ready to step up now and whether that’s another loan club further up the leagues or with Saints, I’ll just need to wait and see.”
 
The latter option is where Kerr finds himself now, with Championship side Queen of the South. And, perhaps to some surprise for a defender, he scored a goal on his first full start away to Falkirk.
 
It might be even more of a surprise to see him score tonight, but maybe those charges into the box aren’t so rare after all.
 
Tuesday, 05 September 2017 09:23

The Next Step: Young Buddies

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Every year across Scotland, a handful of young men fulfil their boyhood dreams when they sign full-time for a football club. Here at YFS we're putting the spotlight on the new kids on the block who've just made the grade from youth academy level to the professional game, as they make the next step in their promising careers.
 
As St Mirren gear up for their second year in the Championship, Jack Ross will be hoping to improve on his side’s performance last season. Narrowly avoiding the relegation playoff on goal difference, Saints fans will be hoping for more from their team this year.  
 
In recent years the Buddies academy has produced real gems like John McGinn and Kenny McLean. Allan McManus, Head of the Youth Academy, has recently given three academy players their first professional contracts, who will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of the Scottish internationals. 
Speaking to the St Mirren club website, McManus said: “They are a fantastic bunch. As a team they did really well last season in the Under 17's league.
 
"The biggest thing for me outwith their quality is that they really want to be professional footballers. I don't think people realise when they come in here how hard you have to work to get to the levels required to be a professional footballer.
 
"There's no doubt with all the lads that we've brought in from the academy that it is what they want to do with their careers and they have that discipline and single-mindedness to improve and aspire to get to the first team as quickly as possible."
 
Cameron Breadner
 
 
The left-footed 16-year-old striker signed his professional contract with St Mirren in May and has been playing and scoring goals in the development league for the Paisley side. Breadner raised eyebrows with a spectacular late goal against Dundee back in April, highlighting the forward from Paisley’s potential.
 
While playing for Linwood Rangers YC, Breadner helped inspire the team to victory in the 2013 Under 13's Scottish Cup final, where he scored before Linwood eventually won the game 2-1 after extra time. The striker started the PJ&DYFL Winton Murdoch League Cup final the same year where Rangers went on to lose late on. Breadner was also part of the Paisley and District Schools team that lost the SSFA’s Under 15's National Cup on penalties in 2014.
 
Writing about his contract on Twitter, Breadner said: “Absolutely delighted to have signed my first professional contract with St Mirren. Looking forward to this next stage in my football career.”
 
Matthew Reilly
 
 
Back in May, Reilly signed his first professional contract with St Mirren and will be hoping to make a big impression on the St Mirren Under 20 team. The 17-year-old left winger has already represented Scotland, having been called up to the Scottish Schools’ U18 squad in December of last year.
 
Reilly played for his school team, St Ninian’s High School, regularly throughout his time there and was part of the side that won two Scottish Shields and eight Paisley and District League and Cups in just four years.
 
In May, Reilly – who comes from Glasgow - posted on Instagram, saying he was “buzzing to sign a new professional contract at St Mirren”.
 
David Wilson
 
 
16-year-old shot-stopper Wilson is a local Paisley lad and will hoping to break into the Saints’ development team this season. Wilson was part of the St Mirren U20s side that lifted the Portland Cup back in June and will hope to continue impressing McManus.
 
Wilson was called up for the Scotland U15s squad back in 2015 and impressed during his 30 minute display against Chile, having previously played for the U14s. The goalkeeper is a member of the Grange Academy SFA Performance Academy, which counts Dean Hawkshaw and Robbie Muirhead among its alumni.
 
Wilson clearly has great potential, evidenced by the fact that he is a year younger than many of his teammates. Speaking to the club website, McManus said the step up to the U20s was “massive…especially for guys like David who have actually came in a year younger than the rest of them”.
 
After signing his contract in May, Wilson posted on Twitter: “Proud moment signing my first full time professional contract with St Mirren. Thanks to everyone who's helped me, can't wait to get started.”

 
Saturday, 02 September 2017 16:06

Feature: The car journey home

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Highly successful college athletes in the USA were questioned as to what was their worst memory of sport growing up.  The No. 1 response was ‘The Car Journey Home.’
 
Every week up and down Scotland the car journey home has now extended to the walk back to the car, the car journey home and the return back to the house.
 
It can be heard every weekend straight after a match from the Borders to the Highlands, where more often than not the dad delivers advice on the way back to the car... they can’t even wait until they get into the car.
 
Why did you do that there?  Do you remember when you got the ball off the goalie, why didn’t you pass it down the wing?  Why didn’t you mark properly at the corner?
 
All the child is doing more often than not is looking down or drinking their water pretending to really listen when actually they probably wish the ground would swallow them up.
 
Even Scottish journalist Graham Spiers who took the view that a child should not be pushed during his career in journalism until he had his own children acknowledged, ‘But I find I cannot handle his faults. If he misses a shot, or pulls out of a tackle – as I did for 20 years as a young footballer – I’m filled with contempt and disdain. On these occasions the car journey home can be pretty bleak.’
 
The car ride home is when the child just wants to quietly let the game sink in - whether a win or a loss.
 
They know if they've played well or badly. You don't need to tell them.
 
It is their game and it is their invitation for you to be part of it.
 
It is not easy for a parent but we must remember that the sole reason that our children play sport and will stay involved in sports is fun.
 
Children want you to be a parent when they finish playing not a second coach.  It is very little wonder that many children like their grandparents watching them play as more often than not the grandparents are very proud of them, smile at them and then at the end of the game tell them something along the lines of, ‘Well done- I loved watching you play!  Did you enjoy it?’.
 
Perhaps if you still feel the need to talk after a game to your child that you could maybe ask them some questions that allow the child to reflect on the game/session that they have just been involved in.
 
What were the best bits of the game for you today?  What did you think you did well?  Was there anything that you were not happy with?  What do you think you may need to work on to improve?
 
This at least allows you both to have a conversation, allows the conversation to be led by the child and guided by you.  No more than that, just because your child has let you in with a chat does it mean that you have to impart all of your knowledge on to them.
 
Or perhaps we all should take a step back, be proud of what our children do and simply say to them ‘I loved watching you play’.
 
This article has been written by Gordon Maclelland of www.parentsinsport.co.uk. They can also be followed on Facebook @wwpis and on twitter [email protected]
 
Thursday, 31 August 2017 00:36

The Next Step: Young Morton

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Every year across Scotland, a handful of young men fulfil their boyhood dreams when they sign full-time for a football club. Here at YFS we're putting the spotlight on the new kids on the block who've just made the grade from youth academy level to the professional game, as they make the next step in their promising careers

On the back of a stellar return to the Scottish Championship which included finishing in the play-off places, and reaching the semi-final of the Betfred Cup, the present at Greenock Morton looks rather promising. With a well-crafted blend of both experienced and youthful players Jim Duffy has managed to give fans of The Ton something to shout about.

The first team boasts an extensive array of home-grown talent, such as Jai Quitongo, Mark Russell and Michael Tidser, all of whom worked their way throughout the club from a young age.

Several players produced from Greenock have found success throughout the country, such as former-graduate Brian Graham, a Scottish League Cup and Championship winning striker who now plays his trade for Cheltenham Town after a spells at Hibernian and Ross County.

Perhaps the most noticeable academy product in recent times is once Scotland midfielder Neil Mccan, who enjoyed a successful career at Hearts and Rangers amongst other clubs, winning leagues and cups galore, and representing his country on 26 occasions.

But what does the future hold for the next generation of youngsters at Cappielow Park?

Ben Armour

Glasgow-born, the striker is a relative newcomer to Morton, having spent time at Queen’s Park as a youth player prior to his arrival. Before that, Armour spent his youth career playing for local side Cardonald Thistle.

In September of last year, Armour left The Spiders to join the academy at Morton, featuring in the team regularly throughout the course of the season.

After just less than a season in the development side, Armour made his first-team bow in April 2017, coming on as a late substitute in a league game against Dunfermline Athletic. The landmarks keep coming for the youngster as he scored his first senior goal in pre-season during the summer, netting in a pre-season win over Stenhousemuir.

Around the same time, the 19-year old penned his very first professional deal with the club, signing a contract extension until January of 2018.

Alexander Easdale

Another young-striker making his way through the club is Alexander Easdale. Born in Greenock, the local lad signed professional terms for the first time in the summer with a two-year deal.

Easdale began his youth career for local outfit Port Glasgow Juniors in his younger years, before Aberdeen came calling, a two-year stint at the club followed.

 After his spell up North, Easdale elected to move closer to home and signed for Greenock Morton, where he moved into the under 14 squad.

Recognised for his efficiency infront of goal and intelligent movement, the youngster made his debut for the development side as a substitute against Albion Rovers at Lennoxtown in April of this year, featuring in a 3-0 victory. The 18-year old has progressed right through the age groups under Head of Youth, Derek Anderson’s tutelage, and will be determined to take the next step into the first team.

With the support of over 26-staff members within the academy, including that of Anderson and director Warren Hawke, these two young strikers will be well-supported in their journey to make it to the professional game.

 
Last season the SPFL sanctioned that all top Premiership clubs had the option of putting their Under 20s into the Irn Bru Cup to give them more competition at the top level. And this season they did the same and most clubs gave their youth that opportunity. So how did they fair?
 
It was the top teams in the premiership like Rangers Celtic and Hibs that all went out in the first round and it is difficult to see why when you compare it to the lower clubs of the league who went through. Rangers, Celtic, Hibernian and Hearts are the only teams in Scotland to have their own training facility and those four clubs all went out in the first round.
(Annan Athletic pushed Celtic Colts aside 3-1 in the Irn Bru Cup)
(Annan Athletic pushed Celtic Colts aside 3-1 in the tournament)
 
It's not to do with the youth not getting opportunities. In the most recent Celtic game they played four players who are under the age of 20. At the tail end of last season Pedro Caixinha gave first team debuts to Rangers youngsters David Bates, Aidan Wilson, Myles Beerman, Jamie Barjonas and Kyle Bradley.
 
So why are the Under 20s teams failing? Maybe it is something to with the mentality of the players. Maybe players like Calvin Miller and Myles Beerman, who are getting call ups to the first team, think that they would stroll against the part timers of Dumbarton and Albion Rovers. But they clearly didn’t stroll as they were, in the end, quite comfortably beaten. From watching both games it was clear to see the gulf in class from the lower division compared to the Under 20 sides of the top Premiership clubs.
 
At both Rangers and Celtic the youth teams train with the first team once a week so are the youth not learning from the experienced pros in Kenny Miller, Bruno Alves, Scott brown, Craig Gordon and Kolo Toure? It is clear to see from watching the games that they are not.
 
Then you have the curious case of Hamilton. 83.5% of the Hamilton first team squad all came from their youth academy. So why can’t Rangers and Celtic follow suit. Look at the players who have come through the Hamilton youth set up most notably, James McCarthy and James McArthur who are now main states in the Premier League in England. Also their former manager Alex Neil who is known for bringing through youth player just got Norwich city in to the premier league not too long ago.
 
The main noticable difference between the Under 20s and the part timers is the physicality in the part timers. Players like Ryan Hardie were bullied off the ball.
 
Overall all Scottish clubs must take a look at themselves in terms of youth set up. When Scottish football can get their youth sorted then we might see a difference in the quality of the national team and maybe then we can qualify for a major tournament.
Monday, 28 August 2017 11:11

The Next Step: Young Terrors

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Every year across Scotland, a handful of young men fulfil their boyhood dreams when they sign full-time for a football club. Here at YFS we're putting the spotlight on the new kids on the block who've just made the grade from youth academy level to the professional game, as they make the next step in their promising careers.
 
If you were to ask a group of supporters which Scottish club has produced the best talent from their youth academy in recent years, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear plenty answers of Dundee United. Stuart Armstrong, Gary MacKay-Steven, Johnny Russell and John Souttar are just a few examples of the clubs best products, with the club also attributed plenty of credit for the development of Barry Douglas and Andrew Robertson, who both kicked on after being signed from Queen’s Park. 
There are plenty more promising young talent hoping to make an impact at Tannadice in the next few years and here are five players who have just signed their first professional contracts for the Dundee club. 
Luc Bollan 
 
Powerful 17 year old centre back Luc Bollan looks to be an exciting prospect, towering over many strikers at six foot and two inches tall. The son of former United player, Gary, Luc began his footballing development at Fairmuir FC and even played for city rivals Dundee FC before joining the United developmental squad in 2015. Luc, who has been capped for Scotland school boys in the Centenary shield is commanding in the air but also has the ability to play out from the back and presents a threat in the opposition’s penalty area. 
Declan Glass
 
Edinburgh born Declan Glass is a pacey number ten who is more than comfortable with the ball at his feet. The 17 year old also made appearances in the Centenary shield and was signed from Hutchison Vale by United after a string of impressive performances. Initially a Loanhead player, Glass signed for Vale after scoring twice against them in a losing effort in the 2013 Under 13 Stewart Brien Cup Final. Declan’s not only dangerous in open play but also brings a specific threat from set pieces. 
Kieran Inglis
 
Local lad Kieran Inglis attended St John’s High School, and the 17 year old knows the club well having been with United since the age of eight. The central midfielder has shown he is comfortable in possession of the ball and has excellent ability when it comes to dictating the game and setting the tone of a match. Kieran has been a part of the SFA performance school through his time in high school. 
Archie Thomas
 
Signed this summer from another well regarded youth academy, 18 year old Archie Thomas has found himself at Tannadice after leaving Southampton. Having begun his career at Torquay the Plymouth born midfielder spent the previous two seasons on the south coast. Comfortable anywhere in the midfield, Archie is not fazed by being put under pressure when in possession. Archie has already made his debut for the United first team, playing against Raith Rovers in the league cup group stages in July. United manager Ray McKinnon said to the Evening Telegraph: “He’s been at Southampton and he’s been training with the first team here and doing well”.
 
Jake Davidson
 
With the club from age nine, 17 year old Jake Davidson is born and bred in Dundee having played for his school side Harris academy alongside his development with United. Jake is primarily a centre back but his ability to use both feet allows him to play across the entire back four. Standing at just over six foot tall, Jake is a player that inspires confidence and calmness from the rest of his team and has already played for the Under 20s side multiple times.
 
 

 
Friday, 25 August 2017 10:24

The Next Step: Young Rovers

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Every year across Scotland, a handful of young men fulfil their boyhood dreams when they sign full-time for a football club. Here at YFS we're putting the spotlight on the new kids on the block who've just made the grade from youth academy level to the professional game, as they make the next step in their promising careers.
 
Raith Rovers are a club who have often looked to their academy and promoted promising young players.  These players have often broke into first team positions and have been fan favourites ever since. Players such as captain Ross Callachan, this season’s top scorer Lewis Vaughan and now Rangers defender David Bates all progressed through Raith’s academy. 
 
This season three young and promising players have graduated from Raith Rovers' youth academy. Whether the players will feature for the club's Development sides, go out on loan or even break into the first team it will certainly be a valuable experience that will impact the rest of their careers.
 
Euan Valetine
 
16 year old defender Valentine signed a two year contract and was part of the Under 20 side who won the Scottish Development League East. Under 20’s manager Craig Easton told Raith Rover’s website: “He’s a tenacious full-back who takes a pride in defending, but he loves to get forward and join in the attack and delivers dangerous balls from the left hand side. His attitude and determination is superb and he’s exactly the type of character we’re looking for at Raith Rovers.”
Euan Valentine started his youth career at Hutchinson Vale while he was 12 years old. He found success there and won the Under 13 Stewart Brien Cup.  
 
Kieran Dall
 
Another player who graduated from the Raith Rovers academy is 17 year old striker Kieran Dall.  Dall also signed a two year contract on the same day as Valentine and he will be a part of the Under 20 side. Easton referred to Dall as a “forward with good ability and excellent work rate who can play anywhere across the line” in an interview with Raith Rovers’ website.
 
Dall was playing in the Fife Elite pool and played for local Fife side Glenrothes Strollers.
 
Finally, Raith Rovers also promoted 17 year old striker Jack Smith from the club’s academy. Additionally, Smith signed his two year contract at Starks Park on the same day as Euan Valentine and Kieran Dall. Easton, when speaking to Raith Rover’s website, said: "He’s a clever striker that can score goals and also drop deeper to link the play.” Prior to signing for Raith Smith played for Easthouses FC, of Dalkeith.
 
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