Broxburn Athletic Colts United Under 13's have enjoyed a fantastic start to their first season playing 11-aside football, winning 11 of their 12 league games up to Christmas and are sitting pretty at the top of the West Lothian AYFC league. Head coach Willie Fleming has been delighted so far.
"The transition from 7's to 11's was all new to the players and even most of our coaches. In terms of objectives and setting goals, we never really talked about these. All we were hoping for was that the players responded to their new environment, and they have done that superbly"
The league that United are in is a very competitive one, and closest challengers Bathgate Dynamo sitting 9 points behind United, but with 2 games in hand on the league leaders.
As Fleming said, they never spoke about objectives, but he certainly didn't expect them to be where they are. "The players have more than exceeded our expectations so far. Winning 11 out of 12 league games is very special".
Despite the many cups that under 13 teams participate in, the league matches have been the priority for Fleming and his team. "I think our main priority has always been in the league. Cup games are a welcome break from the league, but over the season the team will be judged on how well we do week in week out."
It has been a fairly simple transition for United from 7 aside to 11 aside, with the only problem arising is getting the pitch lined! They managed to keep the majority of the boys that began Soccer 4's all those years ago, and the stability that has given the team has proved invaluable. "We've been really lucky in that eight out of our original nine boys that we started with at Soccer 4's were in our squad for the beginning of this 11 aside season. We took the decision to run with two 7 aside teams last season, and merged them in the summer of 2015".
Given the league position, the season has been a really successful one so far for Broxburn Athletic Colts United, and Fleming is looking for more of the same.
"The team has been excellent in the first half of the season. You are always apprehensive as how the players will react to the big pitches, competitive environment etc, and our main worry is that we would not be able to compete at this level. Our results and league position has proved there is no need to worry.
"Unfortunately we were paired with a top team from Edinburgh in both the Scottish Cup and South East Region Cup, but the players showed great commitment, desire & spirit even in defeat. We've got a great group of boys at the moment, and both the players and coaches are looking forward to the second half of the season".