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The 2015/16 season will see Currie Star and Heriot-Watt team up at under-19 level for the first time although the partnership has been running for a few years previously. Currie Star have been competing with an under-17 team but there have been a few issues managing the jump in level up to the Heriot-Watt under-20s. This new merger looks to address some of these problems and try and create a smooth transition between the different age groups. 

Chris Sellar, chairman of Heriot-Watt University Football Club said of the merger: "Both clubs have been in partnership for a few years now, however we have found the jump from Currie under-17s into Heriot-Watt 20s, who play in East of Scotland/ Lowland Leagues 20s, has proven to be slightly too big. Going in partnership on a joint under-19s team reduces that jump and makes for a more complete player pathway."

The jump in question currently sees players aged 17 come from leagues of players the same age into a different league system where they are potentially playing against players up to three years older. 

This can be a huge gulf and understandably players can become disillusioned with the game at a time where their development is at its most important. This merger could provide a solid link between the under-17s and under-20s and help players acclimatise to the older age groups whilst keeping both clubs competitive at both levels. 

The two clubs felt that the move to form a joint under-19 team was an easy decision to make according to Sellar: “It was actually the logical step to go. We have a great admiration for John Brock (chairman of Currie Star Football Club) and everything he is trying to achieve with a number of good people who share their passion for developing people and footballers. The players will benefit from playing at some of best facilities in Scotland at Heriot-Watt and Balerno. It will also allow Heriot-Watt to develop our own young recruits within a safer environment before jumping into the under-20s and then hopefully onto the East of Scotland first team, rather than going straight into amateur football if there is no space in the under-20s squad."

One of the other advantages of developing the joint under-19 team is that the university opens up to the local community to a greater extent than before. The facilities at Heriot-Watt University are excellent and it is a mark of the commitment to the local clubs that these facilities are available for use.

"The motives to Heriot-Watt are to increase our talent pool and to have some influence on their development to ultimately increase performance of our weekend teams. There is also a selflessness in supporting the local community. We don’t want to open our doors to anyone but we want to be a bit more open in providing more and better opportunities to people within our wider community," Sellar said.

"I think it is vital that players are able to pick up a ball through our partners at Play 2 Learn at four years of age and are able to develop through to potentially East of Scotland senior football, without having to move out their local area. With Oriam, Scotland’s National Performance Centre, coming to the University we are blessed with superb local facilities and we intend to maximise these for the benefit of local clubs as part of a partnership approach to football provision.

"Paul McGovern, who has taken the Currie Star under-17s up to under-19s has done a fantastic job with that team and through his coaching ability will create a stimulating and positive environment for existing Currie Star players and the influx of Heriot-Watt students. Our only expectations we would want to see fulfilled is that the players have fun, develop their footballing ability and people skills and have a sense of belonging to both Currie Star and Heriot-Watt and what we are collectively trying to achieve. Long term, we hope this becomes the norm for both clubs."

Playing their home games at the new 3G pitch in Balerno and splitting training between Heriot-Watt and Balerno, the initiative is looking to not only provide a platform to reduce the jump between under-17 and under-20 but it is hoping to promote an encouraging atmosphere and most of all a place to enjoy playing football.

The world-renowned Gothia Cup entered the knockout stages recently, with Scotland having five representees remaining in the tournament.
 
The club with the greatest success story so far, Tynecastle, went into the round of 64 with all three age groups remaining. The under 14s, who finished group 23 in first place, met German opposition in Walddofer SV, and they coasted past the south-German side, picking up a 3-0 victory to put themselves into the next round. The under 15s joined them, as they edged their way past Swedish opponents Kiruna FF with a 2-1 win.
 
So it was up to the under 13s to round off the perfect afternoon for the Edinburgh side, against Braishfield Bees, from south of the border. They did not let them down at all, as they stuck eight goals past their fellow Brits and let in none at the back. All three Tynie groups move onto the last 32.
 
Two more sides were still representing the country, one of them, Hazlehead Academy under 14s, had to beat A.S Mexico if they wished to join Tynie. Unfortunately the Mexican side proved to be a step too far, as they went out with a 3-1 loss, largely down to a frantic second-half spell which saw all four goals scored within eight minutes. A valiant attempt from the Aberdeen side who should be proud of their efforts.
 
The other team hoping to make it into the hat for the round of 32 was Currie Star's under 14s first team, who finished group nine in first place. In their way stood Swedish side Skanor-Falsterbo IF. An early goal from Jamie Stephens was enough to seal the west Edinburgh's sides place in the next knockout stage with a 1-0 victory.
This leaves Scotland with four representatives in the following round.
 
Commiserations to Hazlehead, and best of luck to Tynie and Currie Star in the knockout round of 32 on the 2015 Gothia Cup!

This year saw Broxburn United 2001s crowned the South­ East Region YFL Second Division Champions for 2014/15, adding to their fantastic league cup victory.

Speaking to Youth Football Scotland, Broxburn head coach Terry Irvin expressed his delight at his side's double this season. "The team have exceeded our expectations this year. Winning the League Cup as well as the league. Our aim was to get promotion at the start of the season, but to win in the manner which they did was fantastic," Irvin said.

The manager pointed towards three specific results as being crucial factors in deciding the league title. "We played Polbeth Dynamos towards the end of the season and we scraped a narrow victory," Irvin said. "I think the nerves were very evident but they got the result in the end. Also a couple of victories against Broxburn Badgers gave the boys the confidence to push on."

The team's effort on the training pitch has been a key factor to their success on the park this season.

"The difference between this season and the last is that has been that the player's have recognised that if they train and played hard then the rewards would come. Their never give up attitude has pushed them on so much," Irvin said.

"Whilst there were some fantastic indivual performances over the season, a massive emphasis was put on winning and losing as a team, and the boys duly delivered"

"As a coach they have been a joy to work with. If a defender made a mistake then the strikers would do their upmost to cancel things out, and if the strikers were missing sitters then the rest of the team would be blocking everything defensively."

However, the manager was not getting too carried away when looking towards next season's ambitions. "Next season our first aim has to be to keep ourselves safe in the top league. If however the boys can continue to progress as they have this season then you never know what can be achieved," he said.

Congratulations to Broxburn United 2001s on their league triumph this season!

Click here for Craig Gowans Memorial Match photo gallery

Click here to donate to the Craig Gowans Memorial Fund

The Craig Gowans Memorial Match finished last night after a gruelling 105-hours, which smashed the world record for longest football match played.

Eighteen players on each team stayed at Spartans' Ainslie Park Stadium since Saturday, with the score finishing 774-707 to the red team. With the players resting for no more than six hours at a time, there will be 36 tired legs today. It is finally time for a well-earned rest!

The players doubled their initial target and raised over £75,000 for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation on behalf of the Craig Gowans Memorial Fund.

The players had to play through the night, and battled against a torrential rainstorm on night three, but were spurred on by pipers and drummers, as well as hundreds of friends and well-wishers across the five days of action. 

They even had former Rangers and Scotland manager Alex McLeish along to lend his support to the cause. 

Craig Gowans was a former Falkirk FC footballer, who died in an accident at the training ground at the age of 17.

Hutchison Vale Football Club is one of the most successful teams in  South East Scotland, producing so much young talent with many former players involved in international teams now as well as managers. Currently there are 74 former Hutchie players who are playing professionally and 14 ex-players in management. The 11 first team coaches, managers and three assistant managers are spread mostly throughout Scotland and England with one even in the United States.

One full time manager is Gary Locke who has been appointed as the permanent manager of Kilmarnock, after being at Hearts since 2010 where he managed to get to the Scottish League Cup final in March 2013. He went to Lasswade Primary school located in Bonnyrigg where he played for Hutchison Vale before starting his professional career at Hearts in 1992 until 2009.

Another familiar name is Gary Caldwell who had a 14-year playing career, playing with Hibernian, Celtic and Wigan Athletic where he won the FA Cup after beating Manchester City in 2013. He also played a part in his national team, Scotland as well, racking up 55 caps and being added to the Scotland National Team Roll of Honour. He scored the only goal of the game in Scotland's famous 1-0 win over France in October 2006. After retiring in February 2015 he was appointed as Wigan Athletic in April this year and will lead the team in League One this season.

Celtic assistant manager, John Collins, is another name on the list of former Hutchie players. He had a very successful career playing for the likes of Hibs, Celtic (where he became their first million-pound player), Monaco, Everton and Fulham as well as playing for Scotland 58 times including Euro 1996 and the 1998 World Cup. Collins played for Hutchison Vale between 1980 and 1984 where he was Captain for all four seasons before signing for Hibernian where he played for six years.

St Mirren’s new manager Ian Murray was born in Edinburgh and played for Hutchison Vale before joining Hibernian in 1999 which led to a 16-year career at Rangers, Norwich and Hibs. He was made managerr of St Mirren after the departure of Gary Teale. He formerly managed Dumbarton for three years until joining the Saints in May. 

Tommy Wright was a former winger for many different teams, of course starting at Hutchieson Vale before going to Leeds where he went on to many different teams. He made appearances for Oldham, Leicester, Middlesbrough, Bradford, St. Johnstone, Livingston and ending at Doncaster. Wright was the Assistant Manager for Oldham Athletic before following the former first Team Manager John Sheridan to Chesterfield where he was Assistant Manager until Sheridan was sacked and Wright was made the Caretaker Manager.

Hutchison Vale is a very good team and with all of their six teams in the 1st division of the SERYFA there could be many more players who go on to the professional game.

 

Full list of ex-Hutchison Vale players now in management:

 

Gary Caldwell, Wigan Athletic manager

John Hughes, Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager

Darren Dods, Brechin City manager

John Collins, Celtic assistant manager

Mark Burchill, Livingston manager

Gary Locke, Kilmarnock manager

Ian Murray, St Mirren manager

Danny Lennon, Alloa Athletic manager

Colin Nish, Cowdenbeath player-manager

Gary Naysmith, East Fife manager

Brown Ferguson, Stenhousemuir manager

Tommy Wright, Oldham Athletic assistant manager

Lee Bullen, Sheffield Wednesday first team coach

Paul Telfer, Indy Eleven assistant manager

 

 
Wednesday, 01 July 2015 14:08

Rangers Soccer School comes to Lothians

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On Monday the 6th of July, Rangers will be holding a five day Lothians summer school at Middleshot Square in Prestonpans. Vince and Susie Raeburn of Youth Football Scotland will be going along to provide coverage of the day.
 
The Rangers FC website describes the course, saying: “Participants will receive expert coaching and take part in warm ups, training drills, games and exciting tournaments to showcase their new skills.
 
“Courses are open to kids aged between 5-16 years, whether you’re just starting out or training to be part of the first team! Participants will be suitably grouped together under the guidance of highly qualified Rangers coaches to progress individual abilities. Develop skills, meet new friends, get outside but most importantly have fun in a safe environment.
 
“Technique focused sessions will challenge boys & girls to maximise their potential with innovative sessions replicating that of the first team and Rangers youth academy.”
 
 
 
 
The Saltire Soccer Centre in Dalkeith was the venue for this years Mayfield & St Luke’s Friendship Shield match. The end of season event which has been running now for nine years sadly saw two of the four teams participating withdrawing from the event.
 
This certainly did not dampen the spirits of both the Mayfield Primary and Burnbrae Primary players who took to the field to face each other hoping to be crowned Mayfield & St Luke’s Friendship Shield winners 2015. The format of the match was 7-aside made up of two 25 minute halves with each team being made up of a mixture of pupils from p6 & P7.
                                                                                           
The game itself was a real cracker with some fantastic football being played by both teams in a very competitive game. Great goals, wonderful saves, lots of goal mouth action and some wonderful skill meant you could not take your eyes of the game or you would definitely miss something.
 
Mayfield got the game underway and were two ahead in two minutes when Rian put them in front when his shot came of the left hand post and in, then a corner in from the right by Fraser crashed off the Burnbrae player, finding the back of the net for number two.
 
Both sides came close again with shots going wide from Mayfield’s Jordan and Burnbrae’s Mark after good set up play from Lewis F and Lewis M. Mark reduced the deficit on 10 minutes when he got a goal back for Burnbrae firing beyond Craig in the Mayfield goal.
 
Mayfield restored their two goal lead on 12 minutes when Rian got his second of the game when his shot took a deflection to wrong foot Reece in the Burnbrae goal. The game was end to end stuff with both teams playing good football and the deficit was reduced again on 15 minutes when Mark claimed his second of the game to make it 3-2.
 
It was goals galore with Mayfield opening up a two goal gap again a minute later when Corey-Lee played a great ball forward which was brilliantly controlled by Rian, who then lashed the ball home for his hat-trick. They further increased their lead just before half time when Rian collected his fourth and Mayfield’s fifth of the game after latching onto the ball after Reece made a fine save from Christopher.
 
Into the second half and Burnbrae had a lot to do after going into the half three goals behind. They came close to getting one back on 29 minutes with Lewis F’s shot just drifting wide of the left hand post. A minute later and Reece was picking the ball out of his net again after Jordan made it the half dozen for Mayfield, leaving the keeper with no chance with a fine finish.
 
Mayfield then went on a goal rush scoring a further four goals in a five minute spell. Rian incredibly claimed his fifth goal of the game with a great finish finding the top far corner and then with a quick brace in a minute he collected his sixth and seventh goal of the game.
 
 
Reece was fantastic in the Burnbrae goal making save after save to stop Mayfield being well into double figures with 10 minutes still to play. Football is a funny old game with a eight goal advantage and the game seemingly out of sight for Burnbrae, Mayfield were subjected to a late rally from their counterparts.
 
A great finish from Lewis F, lashing his shot into the top corner on 47 minutes got the ball rolling for Burnbrae. He then followed up with another fine strike a minute later to reduce the deficit to six and then completed what was an amazing three minute hat-trick a minute to further reduce the goal difference to five.
 
What a come back from Burnbrae and they were not finished off yet. Robbie with the last kick of the ball brought the score back to a respectable 10-6, which was certainly more reflective of how the game had went. A fun penalty shoot out followed with both sides scoring some crackers, alongside some wonderful saves from their keepers to make sure it finished all level on the spot kick front.
 
Mayfield Primary School squad: Craig, Fraser, Corey-Lee, Rian, Blake, Lewis, Christopher, Josh (c), Jordan and Rohan.
Burnbrae Primary School squad: Reece (c), Lewis M, Mark, Brendan, Robbie, Lewis F, Daniel and Ben.
 
After all the excitement and exertions of what was an enthralling game, both teams retired to an adjoining room for the presentation, a bite to eat and something drink. Mr Jamie Dougal from Burnbrae Primary thanked Mr Wood, Deputy Principal of Mayfield and his team for coming along to participate and complimented them on the quality of their football.
 
He then thanked Kenny Atchison for giving up his time to come along and referee the game, followed by a thank you for Keith Wright, Football Development Officer for Midlothian Council for his help. Head Principal of Burnbrae Primary then thanked Mr Dougal for all the work he had put in on the day but also the time he put in to organise the event.
 
Burnbrae, who had won the trophy the previous three years were first up to receive their medals. Then it was the turn of Mayfield to come forward to receive their medals and lift the Shield for the first time in four years.
 
The principal reason behind the event is to bring pupils from different communities together for a fun day playing football and meeting new people. When asked about his thoughts on the day, Teacher and event organiser, Jamie Dougal replied, “It is an event we really forward to and the boys are always up for it. The action today was absolutely brilliant and I thought it was a close game, obviously Mayfield ran away with it a little at the start but I was really proud of the Burnbrae boys and how they came back into the game showing real determination."
 
He continued, "It's nice to see kids being active and taking part, playing football with one another, it's is just a really positive event. One of the reasons for the event is so that kids can make friends with other kids from different communities and come together. The spirit between the two teams was absolutely brilliant and this was emphasised when the Mayfield captain came over to our keeper praising him on his great saves which is great to see amongst young lads."
 
Lewis F, Mark and Lewis M from Burnbrae Primary all expressed how much they enjoyed the day and how they had been looking forward to playing in the event.
 
Mayfield Primary School's Deputy Principal, Mr Wood when asked about his views on the day he said, "It's a great event that has now been going for many years now and the boys are always asking me, when's the shield?, whens the shield?. They all know it's about this time so they have been harassing me about for the last few weeks."

Mr Woods carried on, "It has been a great occasion today and with us not having a school football league, although we do attend SFA festivals this is something we enjoy and we have kept it going over the years between certain schools. People really keen on football in these schools get together, holding something like this which is a bit different. So overall its great from my point of view."

Mayfield's team captain, Josh was full of praise for his team stating, "I thought it was a great all round performance today from all the lads, a great turn out and we played some incredible football." On the event itself he added, "It is something we always look forward to and it is the highlight of the football season."
 
 

 

 
The next generation of Hearts stars have pledged their future to the club with five Wee Jambos signing professional contracts.
 
Callum Morrison, Kelby Mason, Leon Jones, Lewis Moore and Daniel Baur have all made the step up to full-time football after penning pro deals at Tynecastle under the watchful eye of Director of Football Craig Levein and U20s Player Development Manager Jack Ross.
 
Speaking exclusively to Hearts News about the youngsters coming on board, Jack said: “It’s exciting for them. We had a conversation with them all quite a while ago about having the opportunity of coming in full-time and they’re all delighted to get that.
 
“It’s probably been a long time coming for them to come in and officially sign and they’re looking forward to starting over the next couple of days. It’s exciting for them and hopefully the start of a long career with Hearts.
 
“We were fortunate over the course of the season to see them all play, not just in the academy but in the U20s. Al lot of them had game-time with U20s, which was challenging for them because they were playing above where they probably could’ve been at that time, but I think they gained invaluable experience from it.
 
“It allowed us as a coaching staff to assess them and we had them in often during their school holidays and so on, so that allowed us to see them within the training environment. 
 
“They all have different qualities and they’re all at slightly different ages and probably at different stages of their career, but you always get surprised by one or two and you look forward to seeing how they adapt to the full-time environment because it is demanding.
 
“It’s been a relatively short period of time in football for our new structure to come into place but I think in that time we’ve managed to create a message within the club with what we’re hoping to do with the players that are here and the players that we bring through, and I think that will fall through the academy. Hopefully the players recognise that and, after speaking to them and their parents over the past few months, they know what’s expected from them.
 
“It’ll be different for them, undoubtedly. For us who are around the club every day you can get kind of blasé about being pitchside but it’s such a big thing for them to come in and experience this kind of thing. It’s also a huge incentive to have the opportunity to maybe come here and play at first-team level, it’s a fantastic carrot for them to have.
 
“Last year was a difficult period because the focus was very much the first-team, which will always be the priority, but last season the priority was very much to try and win the Championship. This year we’re now fortunate to be in the position where we can recruit more players and there will be more of a squad, as such. 
 
“There will be challenges throughout the season; players going out on loan and players moving up to be involved with Robbie, but it should allow us to give them an every greater opportunity. Last year was challenging for them as well because we expected a lot from them and they complimented and helped the first-team in a lot of ways.
 
“It will assist the club moving forward and it will hopefully be the structure for years to come. I think we’ve taken massive steps forward from where we were this time last season.”
Wednesday, 24 June 2015 17:22

Hibernian FC Statement - Development squad update

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Hibernian can confirm the following Academy players have progressed into the Development squad for the 2015/16 season – Ben Stirling, Kevin Waugh, Oliver Shaw, Alasdair Smith and Adam Watson.
 
Academy Coaching Manager Eddie May believes the players have merited the opportunity to step up from the under-17s into the full-time Development squad.
 
May said: “Overall this is very positive news – all these players stepped up to the mark over the course of the season and demonstrated their true worth to the squad.
 
“They did well at under-17 level and continued to excel when given the opportunity to play for the Development squad.
 
“The upcoming season will provide them all with a good learning curve and we look forward to seeing them continue their development at the football club.”
 
Ben Stirling (defender, born: 16.8.1998, Edinburgh)
 
May said: “Ben came into the Development squad last season and did very well – he is capable of playing in a number of different positions; right-back, centre-half or in midfield.
 
“He plays for Scotland under-17s in midfield and has the capability to play at a very good level.
 
“He will be aiming to continue to make strides further forward during the upcoming season and to push Aaron Dunsmore for the right-back spot and eventually challenge for a first team place.”
 
Kevin Waugh (defender, born: 29.4.1998, Edinburgh)
 
May said: “Kevin can play either left-back or left centre-half and a lot of people at the football club believe he is best suited to the latter position.
 
“Joe McBride was extremely happy with him whenever he was given the opportunity to feature for the Development squad last season.
 
“Very comfortable on the pitch – Kevin has great self-belief and determination.”
 
Oliver Shaw (striker, born: 12.3.1998, Edinburgh)
 
May said: “Oliver can play as a centre-forward or just behind in the ‘number 10’ position.
 
“He is very quick and very slight, but he’s got fantastic natural ability and he isn’t afraid to make mistakes.
 
“He scored a lot of goals at under-17 level and he’ll be aiming to build on that with the Development squad during the upcoming season.
 
“His Dad, Greg, played for Falkirk and Dunfermline and he has kept him grounded. Oliver is a very intelligent player with a fantastic attitude and he works hard to improve his game at all times.”
 
Alasdair Smith (midfielder, born: 13.4.1998, Edinburgh)
 
May said: “Ali plays a deeper role in midfield – he’s very physical, athletic and can use the ball well.
 
“During the upcoming season, hopefully he can use all his attributes and move forward.
 
“He overcame injuries to play very well for the under-17s. He is a ball-winning midfielder and I’m sure he’ll do very well playing against older players – he will meet that challenge.”
 
Adam Watson (midfielder, born: 18.6.1998, Melrose)
 
May said: “Adam is an attacking midfielder, who can play off the front at the top of the diamond.
 
“He has got great ability, takes people on and makes things open up in the final third. Again, Adam has got a fantastic attitude and just wants to learn.
 
“We’ve got high hopes for Adam – he excelled during the second part of last season.”
 
Midfielders Jack Breen (born: 11.6.1999, Bellshill), Callum Donaldson (born: 22.10.1999, Edinburgh) and Fraser Murray (born: 7.5.1999, Glasgow) have all signed pro contracts, but will remain part of the under-17 squad before going full-time with the Development squad next season. 
Monday, 22 June 2015 11:50

Leith Athletic celebrate quadruple

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Leith Athletic under-21s performed magnificiently this season, bringing home four trophies including the South East Region YFA Division 1 title.

They saw off stiff competition from Tynecastle FC, who finished three points behind them.

"The team has been fantastic this season. We went close to winning the league last season, but we went a step further this season along with retaining the Sports Asiist South East Region Cup down at Dunbar. We won the William Johnston Cup and retained the William Bauld Trophy from last season. So four trophies was an excellent achievement," head coach Steven Chalmers told Youth Football Scotland.

"Both league games against Tynecastle I would say were decisive. Towards the end of the season we lost league games against Tranent and Edinburgh University and being 2-0 down against Musselburgh Windsor with 15 minutes to go. Many would think that our league challenge would be over but we showed a lot of character to get ourselves back into the game and drew 2-2. So I would say that one game was a really decisive match in the season."

Chalmers made sure that complacency was not a factor in Leith Athletic's season.

When asked what the team had learnt this season, he said: "To treat each opposition you face like they are league champions. Give them respect. Don't underestimate anyone and never give up."

A star striker is vital for any team competing for silverware, and Leith Athletic have exactly that. 

"Every player in the squad has played their part and contributed to the success we have had. Our striker Steven Froude scored 58 goals in 38 games. Other players such as Alan Murray, Callum Man, Euan Morrice and Kevin Hamilton had a say in various games throughout the season," Chalmers said.

As for next season, Leith are able to call on the majority of their squad as they look for more silverware.

"The difficult thing about under-21 football is it's a constant cycle of rebuilding. We lost eight players due to being overage. But we are able to keep a core of the existing squad and will look to strengthen further in the hope of repeating the success of the last two seasons," Chalmers said. 

Congratulations to Leith Athletic under-21s, 2014-15 South East Region YFA Division 1 champions!