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Tuesday, 28 November 2017 14:34

Spartans secure top spot in Kirsty Smith League

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After an entertaining season in the U15s Kirsty Smith League, it was Spartans Girls who emerged with the silverware after an impressive season which saw them pick up 12 wins from 16 matches, losing just three to secure the title.
Things began extremely well for Spartans as they managed to pick up an impressive 9-0 win against Boroughmuir Thistle Jags before following it up with a good 1-1 draw at home Boroughmuir Thistle Whites.
After this they went on to win their next three games, the first against Linlithgow Rose, a 7-0 win at home. Then came another high-scoring victory this time it was an 8-2 scoreline at Broxburn Athletic Colts Development. The third was more of an even contest, but Spartans came away with three points after a 3-2 win away to Bonnyrigg Rose.
It was one week after that win when Spartans suffered their first loss of the season when they fell to a 5-2 defeat at Boroughmuir Thistle Whites, but the champions showed what they were made of a week after that with a fantastic 9-0 win against Boroughmuir Thistle Jags. They made it two wins from two against Linlithgow Rose and it was yet another 9-0 victory and that was that result that secured the league title.
They saw out the season with a 3-0 home win to Bonnyrigg Rose and were awarded the silverware that their play all season deserved.
Youth Football Scotland briefly caught up to Spartans Coach Louis Douglas for his thoughts on his side’s impressive season.
“I was very happy with the hard work and the great attitude the girls put in this season. It was good to see so much improvement as the season went on. The Kirsty Smith League was good for us to bring through some of the younger players this season to play the 11-a-side game much earlier than would have been possible.”
Congratulations Spartans Girls and good luck for next season.
Sunday, 22 October 2017 20:58

Tynecastle announce new charity partnership

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Tynecastle have announced a new partnership, which will see charity Children 1st featured on the club's shirts. In addition to this, the club will aim to raise several thousand pounds for the charity.
Speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News, Tynecastle's Douglas Dalgleish said: “We wanted to be associated with a charity that fits with what we have, which is children. Predominantly we are a youth football club. It’s not just a one off 'here’s a strip and on you go'. It’s a partnership to try and raise some funds for a fantastic charity.”
Children 1st's Rajan Johnson, said: “We don’t have money or a budget to go and put up a billboard or do a TV or radio advert. So for a club like this to come along and wear our logo is amazing. It’s good to get our name out there to those people who wouldn’t normally know who we are and they may just Google us to find out what we do. There might be people we can support just by seeing our name on their shirts.”
The new shirt was paraded outside other club partner Ronaq Indian Restaurant, with Rangers captain and club coach Lee Wallace and Hearts captain Christophe Berra alongside three Tynecastle U15s players.

Hutchison Vale FC Under 15’s took this year’s SERFYA Division 1 by storm, winning all but 2 of their matches in one of the highest quality and most competitive leagues in Scotland. We got the chance to speak to coach Norrie Kerr about what makes this tremendous team tick.

Norrie believes one of the main driving forces behind his team is their “great team spirit, belief within the team and a will to win.” These are all very important factors to winning, and nurturing and building this young team’s confidence has lead to them becoming a worthy title-winning side in their challenging division.
Norrie’s favourite moment in his team’s excellent season was winning the final game at Tynecastle playing away from home. He also enjoyed “playing away to Spartans and securing a draw which kept our 4 point advantage at the top of the league” This was a huge psychological boost for Norrie’s squad as this gave them the confidence and belief to go on and win the SERFYA Division 1 title. In Norrie’s opinion, this match was Hutchison Vale’s biggest challenge this season as Spartans FC are Hutchison Vale FC’s main rivals in their division. Norrie thought that this was great for team morale and made the result seem sweeter.
Hutchison Vale FC almost ended this year’s season undefeated, save for a close 3-2 loss to runners up Spartans FC, who finished 7 points behind Hutchison Vale. Norrie thought that winning the league by 7 points in just 14 games was a “great achievement in what is a very competitive league.” However, Spartans FC got their revenge by winning the SE Region Cup and the Scottish Cup. No doubt Hutchison Vale FC will be aiming to prevent Spartans FC from lifting those cups and the league trophy next season.
Despite such a first-rate season, Hutchison Vale FC are striving to get even better. Norrie wants his team “to build on this season's progress and to improve and develop the team.” If Hutchison Vale FC manage to stick to their goals and enhance their squad then they should experience even more success next season.
Norrie also wanted to thank the volunteers who had given up their time for his team, as well as the team and coaching staff on a successful season. 
Congratulations to Hutchison Vale FC on their outstanding season and good luck for next year.
Gartcairn Football Academy finished top of the WLAYFC A League after a great season full of ups and downs. We got the chance to catch up with the head coach of Gartcairn, Robert McCallum to find out the secrets to their success. 
After a great league win, where everyone involved in the team works hard throughout the whole season, emotions run high after the final match. Robert said this about his team becoming league winners. "The players, coaching staff and parents were delighted with winning the league for the first time. We changed the style of football that we were playing dramatically and the players bought into it from day one." Being able to find a style that works for your team and for them to  fall into line and agree with the style is a great thing. Making sure that each player knows their role within their team can make all the difference.
Picking a favourite moment from the whole season can be a difficult task but Robert said this. "I can't really pinpoint a favourite moment to be honest, but seeing the boys play the style that took months to shape and develop, and then scoring goals directly from that shape is brilliant." Seeing that the squad are following what they've been shown in training is great and making sure that the hard work in training isn't going to waste can always make the coach pleased. 
Despite a great season and a first time league win for Gartcairn they still had their struggles throughout. Robert said this about his teams biggest challenges. "In the league, we played Bathgate away from home. All we needed was one point to secure the league, we were down 3-1 and down to ten men but pulled it back to draw 3-3." It was a game of two halves and Gartcairn came away with a hard fought draw and the league was theirs. 
The main reason for a teams success can be hard to pinpoint and it was no different for Robert. He said this about why he thought Gartcairn succeeded. "The style of play change, moving three midfielders into defence, and the training that reinforces that style. The boys were a bit apprehensive at first but when it was apparently obvious the style was working on the pitch they quickly bought into it." The change on the pitch only works when the ethic changes in training. Once the boys buy into the system they can see success and the wins start pouring in.
After a successful season, Gartcairn and Robert have high hopes for the future. He said this about his plans for the future. "For me, keep out of trouble by coaching. For the players, it would be great to see more of the team break through into the juniors. We had two players this year so would like to see more." That's the end goal for coaches and players, to see the players progress into a successful footballing career. 
Robert had some final comments to add about the season. "The West Lothian League are a credit and the teams playing within the U16s this season have proven to be serious competition with 7 teams all capable of beating each other. The East Region Cup, with teams like Tynecastle, Portobello, Hutchison Vale and Spartans is an absolute joy to play in and I would like to welcome both Hutchison Vale and Tynecastle to our pitch in our arranged friendlies in June."
Congratulations to Gartcairn Football Academy and good luck for their future seasons.
Murieston United Blues U15s finished top of the WLAYFC A League after a great season. We caught up with the head coach, Glen Harley, to find out all about it.
Winning the league is a great achievement, and something that everyone involved in the team aims for. So emotions are running high when the league is finally clinched. This is what Glen had to say about his team after the league victory. "It's hard to put into words. Having not won the league the week before it meant that a 'winner takes all' final game of the season. We'd won the league cup the previous Sunday and the boys were in a confident mood going into the game against Bathgate. The manner in which they played on the league clinching game on Tuesday - only two days after the league cup final - was remarkable. It is fair to say that the players, coaches and parents are all absolutely ecstatic to have won the league this year and the awards night is going to be something special." A great season all around for Murieston, winning the league cup final then two days later clinching the league. 
Glen's favourite moment of the season was an obvious and understandable choice. He said this, "We've had some great moments to relish this season but without a doubt, Tuesday's league clinching performance was worthy of winning any league and a great experience."  A great choice from Glen and an obvious one as nothing comes close to a league clinching victory. 
Despite the great season, Murieston still had some challenges that they had to overcome. Glen said this about their biggest challenge. "Our biggest challenge this year was early in January. We'd been on a great run up to then and I think we had only been beaten by Spartans in the regional cup. We went into the Scottish Cup last 16 tie against Blantyre with a weakened side due to injuries and illness. We lost the 3-1 tie and we all felt pretty down. A couple of other defeats, one in the County Cup added to the woes. But we knew we were a good side. We sat down with the boys to talk about it, worked hard at training, got focused again and went on a great run shortly after, right up to the end of the season." Being able to keep the heads high and have the work ethic to go through gruelling training sessions in order to do what needs to be done is a hard task. But the boys managed to push through and work together as a team in order to win the league. 
Being able to pinpoint the main reason for a teams success is a hard task for any coach, Glen said this about why his team done so well. "We made a concious decision at the end of last season to develop the core of 16 players who I and the coaching staff believed had the right attitude and ability to take the team up a level or two. From the very first pre-season training session we could tell that we made the right decision. Their work ethic, attitude and willingness to listen, learn and develop themselves individually and as a team, is what made them so successful." It sounds like the team came together as the season progressed and the chemistry began to form. Team chemistry is one of the most important factors in a teams success and Murieston seem to have worked it out. 
After a great season, Glen still has high hopes for the future of Murieston United. He said this about the future of the team. "All the boys have signed again which is great. We'll look to continue to develop them as much as we can and with the continuing support from Coerver Coaching Scotland, hope to build on the success from the season." Great ideas from Glen, and we hope that the boys continue to find the success they are looking for.
Glen had some final comments to add about the season, he said this. "It's been a team effort, and without the support of other coaches, Wayne O' Connor and Stephen Bowes, and our team secretary Jim Murphhy, and treasurer, Zoe Nicolaou, we wouldn't have been able to help the boys achieve what they have. It's been a great season and one that the players, coaches, parents, family, friends and the club can rightly be very proud of." 
Congratulations to Murieston United Blues and good luck for their future seasons. 
Musselburgh Windsor Blues finished strongly at the top of the SERYFA League B, ending comfortably on 73 points, followed by runners-up Haddington Athletic on 60 points. We got the chance to catch up with Neil Laidlaw, the coach, to learn about what Musselburgh done right.
Winning the league is a great feeling for any team, and Musselburgh Windsor Blues are no exception. Neil said, "We are all delighted that the league has been won. It makes it easier to keep the boys enthusiastic for next year when we step up a league and expect it to be tough." The boys will be going into League A after being promoted this season, they are expecting a bigger challenge and after winning the league so comfortably they will be taking the challenge head on to prove themselves.
Neil has worked with the same team for a long time and his favourite memory of the season shows that he has been working for this moment. He said, "Our first 11-a-side match back in August 2016, we had been working five years to reach that point." A lot of dedication and hard-work went into building this team and to come out and win the league is a great achievement.
Despite ending the season with an astonishing record of 11 wins, one draw and suffering only one loss. Neil and his team still had challenges throughout the season. Neil said this about his biggest challenge, "Our away fixture against Leith Athletic Colts turned out to be a pivotal game, leading 1-0 at half time we had a player sent off for a harsh last man tackle about eight seconds into the second half. The team stuck in under a lot of pressure, eventually grabbing another goal for an important 2-0 victory." Winning an important game after being a man down shows how well the team worked together. They didn't buckle under the pressure, but they dug deep and earned themselves a victory. 
The reasons for their success involved the hard work in training and the chemistry the boys had off the pitch. Neil commented, I think the boys being able to stick to their jobs on the park was a huge factor. Three out of four games we were outplayed but came away with the points due to the lads sticking to their lessons learnt in training over the years. Most of the squad have been together since the team formed in 2011 and the fact that they played together at 4s, 7s and onto 11s is a major factor. Many of the boys have forged strong friendships at the team when otherwise they may not have known each other." Building a strong team chemistry and atmosphere is a crucial factor in the success of any squad. 
After a successful run, the boys are looking to continue their success in the A League next season after their promotion. Neil commented, "We are looking to continue our development in the higher league. We would love to get into a cup final next season and that will be one of our targets. Next year we would like to go to a tournament somewhere outside the UK." Neil has high hopes for the boys, and has no doubt that they can reach these goals after a spectacular season.
Neil had some final comments to add, he said, "The organisation that goes into the SERYFA is what makes this really good, without this, the guys would be having a much more inferior experience, so we would just like to thank them. I'd also like to thank my fellow coaches, Grant Hughes & Ronnie McKenzie."
We wish Musselburgh Windsor Blues good luck for their next season and hope they find the success that they are looking for. 
St Bernards BC Midlothian narrowly clinched the SERYFA Division 2 after a close matchup against Musselburgh Windsor Blues who finished just one point shy of St Bernards in the table. We caught up with the coach of St Bernards, Nicola Inglis, to find out about their success. 
Hard work is key to winning the league. Every team aims for the league title from the beginning of the season and St Bernards were no different. Nicola said this about the teams feelings towards the league win. "It feels great, and we feel very proud of the team as winning the league isn't just about three or four games like in a cup competition. It's about working hard week in, week out and getting results over the full season." The hard work has shown from St Bernards and it all paid off in the end.
After a great season which had many eventful ties, it can be hard to go back and choose a favourite moment. Nicola had this hard task and said this. "My favourite moment of the season was when our captain and central defender Corey Smith scored his first and only goal for the team. The whole squad ran up to him to congratulate him and showed him a great team spirit and camaraderie with the boys." Sticking together as a team is a huge part of the game. Team chemistry is one of the most important factors in a team and can make all the difference. 
St Bernards had a great season but they still had to go through some trials and tribulations to get to the point they are at now, league winners. Nicola said this about the teams biggest challenge. "The toughest match this season was our home match against Musselburgh Windsor in the league. It was end to end stuff and we eventually came out on top winning 6-5." It was a game of two halves and St Bernards just narrowly took the win and added three points to their league campaign. 
The main reason for success can be hard to find or choose, but Nicola thinks this reason is why the squad performed so well. "Our biggest driving force this season was building on and progressing from last season and by winning the league and the league cup, we feel as though we've achieved that." A great showing all year for St Bernards and the hard work and gruelling training sessions have been worth it in the end. 
Although they had a great season, St Bernards still have a lot to look forward to and Nicola said this about the squads future. "Our plans for the future are simple, keep working hard and giving 100% every game and training session and hopefully continue to grow as a team and as a club." A great attitude for St Bernards to have and an attitude like this will surely help them to maintain their success.
Congratulations to St Bernards BC Midlothian and we wish them good luck for the future.
Leith Athletic FC finished top of the SERYFA Division 1 League on 49 points after a very tough battle throughout, with their close competitors Hutchison Vale FC who finished on a close 44 points. We got the chance to catch up with the coach of Leith Athletic, Scott Drever, to find out all about the success of the squad. 
Finishing at the top of the league is a great achievement, and a difficult task for any team. Leith Athletic were no different and the hard work put in throughout the season paid off and was shown in the reactions after the game. Scott said this, "We feel ecstatic at winning the Under 14s Division 1 League - It's a very competitive league with some very good teams. Our boys have been tremendous all season showing an excellent amount of consistency all year." Being able to compete in the highest level, against strong teams and to come out on top is a hard task but Leith Athletic pulled it off. 
Picking a favourite moment from the season is a hard task for any coach and Scott was no different, he had this to say about the moment that topped the rest. "This has to be our last match against Hutchison Vale which effectively became billed as the 'league decider'. We were 3-1 down in the match and came back to win 5-3.  The boys in our team showed great character to come back and win that one against a very good Hutchison Vale side." Having the mental strength as well as the physical fitness to come back from a 3-1 deficit is very impressive. Some teams would drop the heads and continue playing without the motivation to win. Leith done the opposite and kept their heads held high to pull back the win and ultimately, the league.
Despite the great season, Leith still had challenges to face and Scott said this about their hardest challenge to overcome. "We actually played three cup finals in the space of 10 days winning each one in turn, and then we played the league decider. That was four massive games played over an intense 13 day period. This was a massive challenge for our squad of players. They handled the pressure these games bring very well." Again, the mental side of things plays a huge part in youth football and Leith Athletic showed that they were on the stronger side and this pushed them over the top.
The driving force behind a teams success can often be hard to pinpoint but Scott thinks that he's found the secrets to their success. "I think that the pure desire to win matches and to be able to compete at the highest level withing our age group is a strong factor in our success." The boys had something to prove, being part of a great team and they made their mark known. 
After such a great season, winning three different cup finals and securing the league, there isn't much more that Leith can do but Scott still has high hopes for the future of the team. "We are hoping to continue the success and go into next season and continue to play good football." The sky's the limit for Leith Athletic if the squad can remain together and as strong as they have been this season. 
Scott had some final comments to add, he said this. "The league this season has been very competitive and credit should go to all the teams for improving again and upping their game, making it a fun but hard league to play in." 
Congratulations to Leith Athletic on their successful season and we wish them luck for the future.
Broxburn Athletic Colts had a great season in the 1st Division. They finished with only two losses, nine wins and 2 draws. We got the chance to catch up with the head coach of Broxburn, Darren Pegg, to find out what went right for them.
Working towards a league win is something that every team aims for at the start of the season so emotions were running high for the boys at Broxburn when they finally clinched it all. Darren said this about his teams feelings after the league win. "The boys are understandably delighted with the achievement. They are new to the league this season after moving from West Lothian and showed great consistency across the season which was reflected in their final position. All the officials are proud of their achievement." Being a new team in the league and taking the 1st division by storm is a great achievement for everyone involved at Broxburn and their league win is fully deserved. 
Picking a favourite moment of the league can be a hard moment for a coach, especially after such a successful season such as Broxburn. Darren was given this hard task and he said this. "Being behind in the final two league games and having the character to turn both matches around by having the courage to continue playing football the way we have, being brave on the ball and prepared to attack and score goals. Nothing beats the day that you seal the league." An obvious but reasonable pick for favourite moment of the season.
A great season doesn't rule out any challenges for Broxburn, they still had to fight through every game to seal the league. Darren said this about the challenges they faced. "All of them are equally as difficult as the next, any complacency that creeps in can alter the end result. There are a lot of good teams and good players in the league." Treating each game as the same is a great way to remain disciplined and give the team a good attitude coming into each game. 
Being able to pinpoint any reason for the teams success can be a tricky task. There can be multiple reasons for success and Darren said this about his teams driving force. "The guys have the talent and ability to play good football. This is complimented by the efforts John, Stuart, Alan and Craig put in to providing them with an excellent football education through training and advice given. The boys took a real boost and were fully aware of their ability to mount a realistic challenge for the league after beating Leith away 7-1 as Leith were a terrific footballing team and top of the league at the time." Leith Athletic were Broxburn's biggest competitors during the season, finishing only three points behind Broxburn, so to beat them convincingly 7-1 must have been a real boost of confidence for Broxburn. Not only did they clinch the league against a strong Leith Athletic side, they also won the South East Regional Cup against a dominant Musselburgh Windsor FC, cementing their spot as the top U19s side in the South East.
Darren had some final comments to add about Broxburns season. He commented, "Thanks to all the boys who have served the team and club so well over the years and have now reached their final season in youth football, your efforts were greatly appreciated. Thanks also to John McCormick for the support he's given to youth football in the past 8/9 years. I'm sure he'll enjoy his rest." 
Congratulations to Broxburn Athletic Colts and good luck to everyone involved in the team for next season. 
Queensferry Community High School’s under 14’s football team, the 2003s, won their SSFA league for the second year in a row. Here we speak to both of their coaches to find out how they feel about being winners of the league once again.
It has been a tense season for the team. The biggest challenge for the 2003’s was their away game at Craigmount High School which was both a league and a league cup game. And if they hadn’t won the game, they would not only have lost the league; they would have been out of the cup entirely. Any football player can identify with the enormous amount of pressure the team faced but they pulled through much to their delight and to the delight of their coaches Matt Armes and Colin Boyes. The significance of the last minute goal which sealed their success in this match was felt widely by all participants and spectators as Coach
Matt Armes declared: “The relief felt in a game of huge importance was particularly gratifying.”. Despite the pressure felt by all, not only did the boys manage to work hard throughout the game but according to Coach Boyes they also “enjoyed the game while each of them played their part superbly”.
This strong work ethic and sheer enjoyment of the game has been vital to the success of the 2003’s team all season and consequently to their winning of the league. Another contributing factor to their success is the boys’ solid team spirit. Their ability to work together, work for each other and listen to each other has meant that they have “gained the result of some of their phenomenal efforts throughout the season”.
The determination and strong teamwork of the boys is a source of pride for both coaches. They are both sure that these star qualities of the team are the reason they have succeeded and came out on top of the league for the second year in a row.
So after two league wins in a row, what’s next for the 2003’s? Coach Colin Boyes wants to continue to develop the team and “cement the league and to progress further in the Scottish competitions”. And of course there is no doubt that the team will have to maintain their positive, strong team morale as well as continuing to have fun on the pitch and enjoy the game. In terms of skills development, coach Matt Armes plans to “keep it simple, practice on the basics” in the hope that “the rest will fall into place”. The team will revel in the glory of their winning games but will keep “learning from the not-so- good ones” to ensure they build on their capacity to succeed.
The coaches had some final words to add after two winning years coaching the team. Coach Matt Armes thanks the dedication of the parents for driving the boys all over Edinburgh for the whole season and praises the boys on their effort and commendable time keeping! The pride felt all round is evident and now the plan is to go on and win the league cup, which would obviously be the “icing on the cake”. Coach Boyes is sure the boys can win “if they play to their potential … but whether they win or they lose they can be proud of their achievements this season as I certainly am”.
Congratulations to the 2003’s and their coaches!