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South East Region (484)

Playing in Barcelona will be a “dream come true” for the Musselburgh Windsor 2007 boys, says team secretary and coach John Fortune.
The Windsor team will be amongst over 300 sides heading to Spain next April for the Barcelona Easter Tournament, and everyone involved with the squad is raring to go.
Fortune said: “From the first time we made the team aware of our intention to travel and play in the Barcelona event the squad, staff and supporters have been excited and cannot wait to go.
“The squad have played numerous teams across Scotland and England, but to travel and play against some of the best teams in Europe at their age, in what is a superb and prestigious event, will definitely take it to the next level for them.”
This Windsor side has competed at numerous tournaments and festivals over the years – including down in England - at 7-a-side and 9-a-side. They’ve have had varying degrees of success at these events but, as Fortune explained, the experience they gain is far more important than results on the pitch:
“Recently we entered the Heston Rovers 2007 Cup in Dumfries, which was our first competitive event at 11-a-side. The fundamentals of how we have coached and developed the team over the years proved to be successful and despite playing some strong opposition, we came away winners of the event.
“These tournaments and trips have allowed us to produce a quality, bonded team that I am sure will have success in the future.”
Now they’re ready to take on Europe. And Fortune revealed that the opportunity to compete in Spain is something the players can’t wait to experience. He said:
“With the knowledge that the country has produced footballing idols like Iniesta, De Gea, Alba and Ramos the idea of playing in Barcelona is a dream come true for many of the boys.”
But they’re not just going for a holiday; they’ll be competing against teams from all over the continent, and the Musselburgh coaches expect they’ll take a great a great deal from their clashes with European competition:
“The team has always had a close bond,” Fortune explained. “They win together, lose together and gain experience together.
“Playing teams from other countries will not only provide a great insight into how football is played across Europe, but will also provide a chance to learn about language and cultural differences in sport, which they can then bring back to include in their academic and personal development.”
So, it’ll be a worthwhile trip regardless of results on the park, but do they have what it takes to return victorious? Fortune is optimistic:
“In addition to playing good quality football, to do well at the event the team will have to continue to keep the football and fair play values that they have learnt and developed over the years.
“With the quality and attitude of the players in the team, there is no reason why we can’t do very well at the event.”
If your team fancy joining Musselburgh Windsor in Spain next Easter, then visit https://www.eurotournaments.co.uk/barcelona for more information and details on how to get involved.  
Boroughmuir Thistle U15 Purples enjoyed an experience they’ll “remember for a lifetime” during their history making trip to AC Milan this April.
The Scottish team became the first girls’ squad to take part in the ‘Milan Experience’ during their five-day long trip to the home of the European giants.
They had the opportunity to sample life as a Rossoneri superstar; from undergoing medicals and taking part in media sessions, to training at the same facilities as the club’s women’s and youth squads - they even got the chance to test themselves in games against Milan’s U14 and U15 girl’s teams.
They also toured the club museum and had the chance to meet Milan legend Franco Baresi – a player so iconic his number six shirt was retired after his final season with the club.
To top it off, on the Sunday they travelled to Caravaggio to see the women’s first team take on Atalanta, before heading to San Siro to watch the men play Lazio.
And to make things even more exciting for the girls, pictures from their trip were displayed on the big screens for all to see prior to kick-off.  
It was an incredible experience, and one the girls have taken so much from says tour organiser and parent Scott Freeborn:
“Whether they play football for the rest of their lives or they go on to do other things, it’s something they’ll never forget,” he said. “I was talking to one of the mums a few days ago who mentioned her daughter had been contemplating focussing on netball.
“Now she’s come back she said she’d do it again in a heartbeat; she loved being part of the team and all the debrief sessions they spent together.
“She came out of her shell in a sense – on a personal level as well as a football level – and now she’s fully motivated to work hard and be as good as she can be.
“And she wasn’t the only one, a lot of [the girls] are ambitious and want to be elite players in the Scottish game and they’ve learned a lot from travelling and spending time together.”  
The trip wasn’t just a big opportunity for Boroughmuir Thistle, it was a chance for AC Milan to show their commitment to the growth of women’s football at the club – meaning the red carpet was rolled out and they went above and beyond to make it as incredible an experience as possible.  
Freeborn explained: “It was a big deal because this is AC Milan’s first ever partnership and training camp on the girls’ side of things, so they’re making a big deal out of it.
“They’ve taken a lot of videos and interviews which they are going to use to create a video package for their own PR.
“They really went the extra mile for our girls in terms of the training sessions.”
It was a partnership that began about 18 months ago, when a club parent with strong Italian connections put Thistle in touch with Brescia WFC, who were former Italian Champions, and a relationship was born.
In Easter 2018, a team of older girls had travelled to Brescia for a training camp, and the idea was to continue that arrangement, but as Freeborn explains, plans soon changed:
“A few months after [the Brescia trip], AC Milan decided that they wanted a top division women’s team, so they actually bought out the rights to Brescia’s league place and a lot of the staff and players came over – including the guys we had contact with.
“Basically, everything moved lock, stock and barrel over to AC Milan and they were very keen to keep things going.”
As well as three training sessions with the Milan coaches, where they got to experience first-hand the in-house techniques developed at Milan over the years (“There was an opportunity for our coaches to learn from them as well, which was great,” said Freeborn), Thistle also got to go toe-to-toe with the regions best young players when they took on Milan’s U14 and U15 teams.
Although competitive matches, the results didn’t go their way, but Freeborn knows the girls learned a lot from the fixtures.
He said: “My understanding is that [before the first match] the girls felt a bit nervous about going into a game with one of the biggest teams in the world and they maybe didn’t play the football they’re capable of.
“They discussed being relaxed, confident and putting into practice what they do in training because they’re all good players who have made a good start in the League.
“And they did that in the game against the older girls, they played much more like they can do.
“They held their own against an older team, so it was a great experience for them.”
As with the rest of the trip, the Scottish players were made to feel right at home by their Italian counterparts after both matches, and Freeborn believes it’s a credit to everyone involved in their trip that they were made to feel so comfortable.
He said: “The AC Milan girls were not stand-offish after the game; they hung around swapping Instagram accounts and they’ve been messaging our girls since they got back.
“For a Scottish club to go to a big powerhouse brand like AC Milan and be made to feel so welcome is really nice to see.”
All Star Events is hosting the first Inner City School Football Tournament at The Oriam in Edinburgh on Tuesday 21 May 2019, from 10am until 2pm.

The event organisers are a group of Edinburgh College Year 2 HND Students. The four-strong team at All Star Events are passionate about bringing children together in sport and could think of no better event to organise than a school’s football tournament.

Event team manager Andrew Fraser said: “We are delighted to be using the Oriam’s indoor 3G pitches for soccer 7’s school teams for this upcoming tournament. This was an event that we have wanted to do for some time allowing all levels of Primary School teams a chance to play at these facilities in the friendship of sport. On conducting research, it was apparent that very few primary school football teams had a league, cup or any competition they could feasibly enter.”

Sixteen school teams from all over the Lothians will face each during the tournament. There will be two Cups available based on team abilities, allowing all levels of teams to participate. The winning teams will receive a trophy and all players will take home a participation medal.

This event has partnered with “Sporting Start”, a charity that enables young people in Edinburgh and the Lothians to experience and enjoy sport. They help individuals and groups who face financial - or other opportunity limiting barriers - to access or participate in sport. They aim to provide funding support to help with coaching, courses, events, facilities and sports equipment, for example.

Sporting Start was founded in memory of Martin Macari, an inspirational and talented sportsman whose life was cut short by cancer aged 47. A passionate advocate for the power and joy of sport, Martin was a role model who led by example as player, coach and leader across multiple sports. 

As a father, one of Martin’s greatest hopes for his children was that they develop a love of sport from an early age and thrive from the many ways sport would enrich their lives. He strongly believed that every young person should be given this opportunity.

Andrew said: “On searching through sporting charities for this tournament the team came across Sporting Start. A charity that was initially unknown to us, but we discovered that both the team at All Star Events and Sporting Start shared the same ethos in regards to youth sport in the Lothians and we are delighted we have partnered for this tournament.”

The tournament has also received sponsorship from Football Nation, who will be providing event tracksuits; Bala Sports, who will be providing Fairtrade Match Balls; Scotmid and various other local businesses which will help the event to be a lasting experience for those pupils involved. The event is also hosting a Fairtrade Fruit and Water stand that all participants are free to enjoy throughout the tournament.

“It is hoped that the success of this tournament will allow it to become an annual event allowing more schools to be part of a footballing experience for their pupils,” added Andrew.
The event will be a seven-a-side format, with every team playing five matches – and possibly a sixth if they make the final. Group stage matches will last 15 minutes and knock-out matches will last 20.

There are a limited number of spaces still available to primary schools and if you would like further details, or information on how your school can participate, please contact the organisers on [email protected]com or directly on 0131 297 9625.
Coach Gordon Kaye says it was “a bit of a no brainer” to sign his Lochend U12 side up for this Easter’s UK International Cup.
The squad – along with Lochend’s U10 and U11 sides – will be part of a 100-team international tournament this April at English Football’s state-of-the-art St George’s Park complex.
And Kaye believes the opportunity for his experienced team to get a taste of one of the world’s top footballing facilities is too good to miss:
“We’re quite tournament happy,” he said. “We’ve done a few before and they’ve all gone really well.
“It’s great for the kids and it’s great for the parents to get together, so when we got the email [about the tournament] and saw the Youtube video we thought we were on to an absolute winner.
“To go to a place like St. George’s Park, which is one of the best training facilities in the world, is an amazing opportunity for the boys and I’m sure the vast majority of them really appreciate that.”  
The Lochend U10’s, U11’s and U12’s will all be heading down in the same coach, which will save the club some money, but that hasn’t stopped everyone pulling together to raise funds for the trip.
Kaye explained: “We have a little bit of money left over from the last fundraising – not a huge amount, just enough to get us started – so that’s handy.
“We did some bag packing in late December and we had a small get-together where we did a little bit of fundraising - we’ll probably have some sort of charity dinner-like affair as well.
“Last time we had a penalty shoot-out competition and we managed to get Leigh Griffiths to come down and help us out which was tremendous.
“He’s quite pally with one of our former coaches so we invited him down and obviously the kids loved that.”
And Kaye is confident that all the effort the club has put in over the years to be able to go to tournaments like this will all be worth it, and that the team will end up stronger if they continue to make the most of opportunities like this Easter’s.
He said: “We’ve started to hear the boys talk about it in the changing room, they’re getting really excited about it.
“I mean, for them any sort of tournament is something they’ll jump at – especially if it means going away and staying together.
“So, it’s something that’s really keeping them going and it’s great advertising for the club; it’s a way of convincing people to stay as well as getting new people in because we’re seen to do these tournaments and the kids have access to these kinds of opportunities.”
One of the factors that drew Lochend to the tournament was the chance to test themselves against teams from around the world, and Kaye is confident the boys will come back better players:
“They’ll be playing with different kids which helps because even though you can get friendlies with different opposition up here it’s quite hard,” he said. “You generally end up playing the same sort of teams.
“But now we’ll be playing against kids from completely different areas and I hope they’ll take a lot from that.
“It’ll be a good experience for them generally to understand what it takes to go away to a tournament and play football in a different area so that’ll be good, and hopefully they’ll be able to expand their footballing horizons and enjoy the whole experience.”
The UK International Cup takes place at St. George’s Park from Friday April 19 to Sunday April 21. Keep an eye on the YFS website and social media channels for more coverage.
The draw for the first round of the SWF U13's South East Region Cup has been made.
The draw sees a Boroughmuir derby taking place as Boroughmuir Thistle Jags take on Boroughmuir Thistle Violets.
The full draw is as follows:

Boroughmuir Thistle Violets v Boroughmuir Thistle Jags

Hutchison Vale v Hibernian FC 

Hearts FC v Blackhall Athletic

Spartans Douglas v Blackburn United

Spartans FC v Cockenzie Star

Dunbar v Boroughmuir Thistle Whites

Haddington Athletic v Dalkeith Thistle Cardo

Edinburgh South v Murieston United Blues / Blackburn United Black

Broxburn Athletic v Tranent Colts

Arniston Rangers v Hibernian Greens

Boroughmuir Thistle Purples v Musselburgh Windsor Whites

Blackburn United Yellows v Penicuik Div 2 / Murieston United Whites

Musselburgh Windsor Blues v Loanhead Youth Miners FC

North Berwick v Hibernian Whites

Penicuik Div 3 v Hearts Development

Lauderdale v Linlithgow Rose


All ties are scheduled to be played in the 24th March

The draw for the first round of the SWF U15's South East Region Cup has been made.
The draw sees a Boroughmuir derby taking place as Boroughmuir Thistle Jags take on Boroughmuir Thistle Purples.
The full draw is as follows:
Arniston Rangers vs Edinburgh South CFC
Blackhall Athletic vs Tranent Colts
Bonnyrigg Rose vs Spartans FC
Boroughmuir Thistle Jags vs Boroughmuir Thistle Purples
East Lothian Girls vs Blackburn United
Hutchison Vale vs Dalkeith Thistle
Linlithgow Rose vs Hibernian FC
Murieston United vs Musselburgh Windsor
All ties are scheduled to be played on Saturday 2nd March.
February marks the month where many of the SERYFA cup finalists will be decided and there are more than a fair few on display this weekend. Here are five games in the South East Region to keep an eye out for this weekend.
Craigroyston CYFC vs Linton Hotspur FC Colts U13 - George Salmon Cup - Last 16
The top two in the SERYFA 3rd division face off this weekend for a place in the George Salmon Cup quarter-finals against Musselburgh Young Stars.
The previous meeting between these two sides produced a 1-1 draw, however there must be a winner in this one, which should make for an entertaining match.
Musselburgh Windsor vs Lasswade Thistle U14 - Willie Bauld Cup - Semi Final
A potential meeting in the final against either Hutchison Vale and Edinburgh South CFC awaits the winner of this tie. Lasswade Thistle won the league title last year but remain five points behind Windsor, having played a game less.
The last meeting between these two sides saw them play out a 1-1 draw, so expect a close game that could go all the way to penalties.
Hutchison Vale Colts vs St Bernards BC Midlothian U15 - John McConnell Cup - Semi Final
Hutchison Vale Colts have had a tough start to this season in the first division. They are without a win in the league so far and yet are still one game away from a cup final.
They face a tough task in St Bernards, who have won both of their previous meetings this season, but anything can happen in cup competitions and an upset could very well be on the cards here.
Spartans FC Whites vs North Berwick Colts U16 - Division 3 League Cup - Semi Final
North Berwick Colts have been impressive this season. They are currently 11 points clear at the topof the SERYFA third division and have lost just three games all season in the league.
This makes them a target and Spartans Whites will certainly be motivated to book their place in the League Cup final at Colts' expense.
Hutchison Vale vs Leith Athletic U19 - Colin Campbell Sports Cup - Quarter Final
This game should have goals written all over it. The last meeting between these two sides in the league saw Leith win the match 7-4 so here's hoping for another goalfest this weekend.
Leith currently sit top of the table, unbeaten in league competition and Hutchison Vale will hope to get a measure of revenge as well as book their place in the semi-finals.

Leith Athletic secured the Under 15 SERYFA Divison 1 title for the second year in a row last season, we heard from their coach Keith Owens as he reflected on another successful season.  

Owens was incredibly proud of his side’s success because of how difficult he felt the league was: “the standard of the opposition this year was fantastic and the league was very competitive with 6-7 teams able to take points off each other.”

Owens believes “Team spirit” is the major reason the squad has been so successful: “We do not make a lot of changes to the squad each season and the vast majority of the boys have been here for all three seasons. Our philosophy is to retain the boys who want to be here and then encourage and coach them as best we can to achieve whatever is the best the squad can achieve.”

For Owens and his side, making sure the players are enjoying themselves is paramount. “We pride ourselves on providing an environment where the kids learn the game but importantly enjoy the game.”

This also reflects in the style of football Leith try and play: “We wanted them to play football and be known as a good football team, we were not willing to allow success to be at the expense of their development, performance or enjoyment.”

Looking back over the season, Owens was able to pick out Leith’s biggest challenge of the season, way back on the first day: “The very first game of the season was our biggest challenge.”

Playing away against Tynecastle, a combination of injuries and holidays left Leith was just ten fit players. “Although we lost the match 3-2, I seen enough fighting qualities in our boys that day to know we weren’t going to be far away.”

Owens also picked out his favourite moment, a victory against Spartans Reds: “Deep down I felt that if we lost that game we would have been out of the running, even though it was away back in August.” “Our boys did brilliantly in securing the victory by the odd goal, I genuinely felt after that game, although the league was only four games down that it was going to prove pivotal in our season.”

With a new season upcoming, Owens is hopeful for further success: “We have been really lucky to have been able to compete at the top end of the 2003 year group for three years and instilling qualities into the boys that they can take into their life is always very rewarding, to watch the team grow into a very good football side.”

The success could very well continue as Owens has been able to keep most of the squad intact. Two players have departed but the rest are expected to remain: “Next season will be more of the same, encourage the boys to develop further, continue enjoying the game, put the effort and commitment in and see where it takes them.”

Leith will kick off their season at the Under 16 level on Sunday as they host Longniddry Villa.

Many teams would be happy with one piece of silverware to mark their first foray into 11-a-side football, but for Edinburgh South CFC they managed to secure a league and cup double in what was a memorable campaign for the SERYFA Division 2 champions.
Now as they move into Under 14’s football they can look forward to challenging matches against Division 1 winners Lasswade Thistle and Scottish Cup and South East Region Cup champions Hutchison Vale.
On top of this they were crowned Edinburgh Cup champions, beating Longniddry Villa to lift the trophy at the home of Bonnyrigg Rose Juniors.
It will certainly be a tough ask to compete with the quality of the teams in Division 1, but CFC coach Kenny Mantle believes that his side are ready for the step up.
“We're very excited about moving up to the first division next season and testing ourselves against the best teams at this age group.”
On his side’s achievements, Mantle said, “It was an amazing feeling and a fantastic achievement from my boys in what was a difficult league.”
To maintain a title challenge is no easy feat and a feeling of togetherness is sometimes all it takes to separate teams come the end of the season and Mantle was keen to point out that his side’s teamwork was extremely vital in the closing stages of the season.
“A lot of my boys are at school together therefore they're pals as well as team mates. This makes them even more of a team when their backs were against the wall. Everyone played for each other right to the end.
“We were away to North Berwick at the end of April. Everyone had been beating them fairly convincingly and my boys didn't travel well and we had a very poor game. We went behind in the first minute and struggled to take any kind of control in the match.
“We were behind three times and eventually ground out a 6-4 victory by scoring two goals in the last five mins. It was then that I realised the determination they had and they showed true grit to dig out the result.
“This gave them the belief that if they keep playing the game properly and don't panic you will always have a chance.”
Finally Mantle wanted to express his gratitude to his players and his pleasure in managing his players’ previous campaign.
“It's been an absolute pleasure coaching my team this past year and we had an exceptional first foray into 11 a side football together winning a double in our first season. I look forward to many more successful seasons in the future.”
Congratulations Edinburgh South CFC U13’s and best of luck for next season.
Heriot-Watt Under-20 sides league victory last season was an achievement of Leicester City proportions, reckons head coach Banji Koya.
The Watt held off a late Cumbernauld Colts challenge to win the Lowland and East of Scotland Development League for the first time back in May, an accomplishment Koya regards as remarkable considering the restrictions his team must work within.
He said: “It was a David and Goliath achievement.
“The league starts in August, but we don’t have our first trials until the third week of September [when the University term starts] so most teams have played four games before we even have a squad.
“And we can only use what comes into the Uni. Teams like Spartans can go and handpick players from the best teams, whereas we can only work with what we’ve got.”
But building a squad isn’t the only challenge Koya and his Heriot-Watt team face season after season; the realities of a University schedule means relying on a settled team is nigh on impossible:
“I’ve never had the same starting eleven at any point all season,” said Koya. “Because we are a University team a lot of the boys live away from Edinburgh and sometimes they go home for a week or so.
“Also, during Easter the University closes for a whole month and most of our players go home, so we just have to work with who’s here. It’s the same in December.
“In a nine-month season we only see the players for five months.”
It hasn’t been easy. In the three seasons Heriot-Watt had competed in the league prior to their title winning campaign they’d never finished higher than fourth – and finished rock bottom in their inaugural season.
Since that difficult first campaign, Koya and the coaching staff have developed ways to maximise their limited time on the training ground. It’s certainly working; even before becoming champions they’d steadily improved year on year – although Koya is quick to downplay the role of the coaches in the Watt’s upturn, instead praising the players for their efforts and commitment.
He said: “Our training methods are based around just playing football.
“We try and get the fitness together and work on communication, that way things that take six weeks might take us three because we’re getting them used to playing with each other.
“It does help a little bit but it’s still really difficult and I can only commend our players.”
So, how did they make the step up from a competitive side to a title winning team?
“We have a partnership with Currie Star and when their 19s folded five of them came into our 20s,” explains Koya. “Because they were all local they had the opportunity to do a pre-season, meaning at the trials we were able to fill the positions around them. I wouldn’t say it was a head start – but it was better than nothing.
“Also, the intake of players we had last year was good, as was our team spirit and our character - that was one of the key things for us.”
They got off to a great start; they won five of their first six league games – which included a 9-1 victory over Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale and a 9-2 defeat of Burntisland Shipyard in the season opener.
But, even as they started climbing the table, Koya admits that – clichéd as it is – the team were taking things one game at a time:
“We didn’t think we could win the league,” he said. “My role in the 20s is to develop the players. When we’re working in training we’re all focussed on the process, whether that be counter attacks, transitions or whatever.
“If we do all those things well, then we know there’s a good chance we can win but our feet were always on the ground.”
It wasn’t until a dramatic match away to title rivals Cumbernauld Colts in late January that that started to change. A depleted Watt side withstood a late onslaught from the ten-man Colts to win 2-1 -  a result Koya feels gave his team the belief that they may actually be able to upset the odds:
“I think there was a moment in the game with ten minutes to go that we had a left-back as a striker, a centre-half as a right winger and a guy who had not played for the 20s before playing centre midfield,” he said. “We dug out a 2-1 win and I think that gave us the confidence.
“I think from that day on we just kept pushing and pushing.”
And push they did. A difficult run of games towards the end of the season saw the Watt face the rest of the top five teams in the league during April – at a time when many of their players had returned home for the summer – but they battled through, meaning by the time they travelled to Bonnyton Thistle in the penultimate game of the season, they knew three points would be enough to seal the title.
They didn’t have it all their own way; trailing 1-0 midway through the second half it looked as if the title could be slipping through their fingers.
Or so it seemed until three goals in the last 20 minutes – including an incredible Mark McGovern free kick in the dying minutes – turned the game on its head and ensured the title would be heading to Heriot-Watt for the first time ever.
Koya described how he felt at the final whistle:
“It was unbelievable,” he said. “Personally, I was happy for the club to achieve something of such high prestige but for me the players we had were excellent people and to see all their efforts over the season come to fruition was the highlight for me.”
With the new season looming, attention has now been turned to the forthcoming campaign – and the challenge is only going to get tougher. The influx of Junior teams means that there will now be two conferences in the Development League (Heriot-Watt are in Conference A) so the standard of opposition looks set to increase. And - as ever - players move on and the cycle resets for the Watt, meaning once again they have to build a new team from the ground up.
Koya is well aware of the challenges the new season will bring, and is once again setting very modest ambitions. He said: “Winning the league won’t be our main target.
“It will be a rebuilding process. Our aim will be to compete in every game and then come the end of May we’ll just see where we are.”
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