South East Region (486)
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.
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!
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
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."
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!
Bonnyrigg Rose Colts U13’s were the team on everybody’s lips during the 2014-15 season and, due to their magnificent performances, clinched the SERYFA Division Two title. “The Invincibles” was the name given to Arsenal when they secured the Premier League trophy after an unbeaten season, however, 11 years on and it’s another team in red and white, Bonnyrigg Rose Colts, who now have the right to call themselves by this laudatory title.
The second division side managed to manoeuvre their way through the campaign without succumbing to a single defeat. No small achievement, which is furthered by the fact, Bonnyrigg Colts were one out of only two teams across all the SERYFA divisions and age groups to remain unbeaten.
"It was a remarkable achievement to go throughout the season undefeated but what made it even better for me was due to the fact the team also had success in cup competitions we were always playing catch-up in the league and had a huge back-log of games to play. In the last month of the season the lads had to play 11 games in 30 days. So to maintain their focus and win so many games in such a short period of time certainly made it sweeter when the boys finally achieved enough points to clinch the league title," coach John Quinn told Youth Football Scotland.
What makes the achievement of winning the league even sweeter is the fact that it was the team’s first season at 11-a-side and Bonnyrigg Colts excelled where so many others fail, and being able to secure a league trophy at such a young age is the ultimate confidence booster.
"I'm sure it means a lot to the lads to be crowned Champions and it's a perfect reward for all their hard work and effort they have put in throughout the season. Hopefully now they've experienced how it feels to win the league and play in a cup final which will give them the inspiration to continue to work hard and once again hopefully achieve success in the future," Quinn said.
Everyone looks up to successful teams and try to emulate the unique tactics that have proved to be the key to their success. Many have tried to replicate the “Tika Taka” of Barcelona or the fast paced, dynamic football of Bayern Munich. Can we add on Bonnyrigg Rose Colts to that list? Quinn certainly thinks so.
“Without a doubt the key to our success was having a strong and effective squad of players, not just in the starting 11. Throughout the season we have been fortunate to be in a position where we didn't actually know what our strongest starting 11 was, which was a great headache to have. So many times in games we were able to make changes that never weakened our side, in fact many occasions the changes made us stronger so this was certainly an obvious advantage to us in many games we won throughout the season,” Quinn said.
Being crowned unequivocal champions of the Division Two comes with a prize of leaping up into the top division, giving the boys a chance to compete amongst the biggest and best clubs across the South East region. After such a compelling and credible campaign in Division 2 it now lies with the team and coaches of Bonnyrigg Rose Colts to do themselves proud in the highest division.
“Our aims for next season will be the exact same as it was at the start of this season. We will prepare the boys pre-season to go out, play football, pass & move the ball and develop in their game but most of all enjoy the new challenge of division 1 and as long as they continue to do what they have been doing this season they will more than hold their own against these stronger teams. This is a challenge I'm sure our boys will relish,” Quinn said.
Congratulations to Bonnyrigg Rose Colts, Under-13s SERYFA Division Two champions!
Spartans FC Youth won the SERYFA under-19s Division 2 this season, beating nearest rivals Newcraighall Leith Vics by a single point.
They won 16 out of 20 league matches to round off a brilliant season for the North Edinburgh team and head coach John McLean laid the foundations for the success early in the summer.
"At the beginning of June 2014, myself as head coach and my colleague David Hiddleston trialled a number of players in the hope that we could make a serious challenge for promotion from SERYFA Division Two. As things turned out this great bunch of players strove to develop their own skills and their ability to work hard as a team, McLean told Youth Football Scotland.
"After an early set back losing our second game which should have seen the three points come to Ainslie Park the team increased their efforts winning a number of games and the belief grew from there. They secured top spot on November 1st and stayed there until the season's end.
"Skill, teamwork, strength in depth of squad, determination and good organisation have been the keys to not only our league success but in achieving two cup final appearances."
Congratulations to Spartans FC Youth, 2014-15 SERYFA under-19s Division 2 champions!