Giffnock North 04 and 05 are the newest teams to pledge their future to Benburb FC by committing to a new progressive youth development setup.
Benburb’s head of youth academy, Martin Montgomery, shared their plans for their ever-growing youth academy with YFS.
Based at Tinto Park, the Benburb academy originated with a core group of players from Palace Park Boys Club, who played at the ground prior to the academy’s initial launch.
Following their addition, the ‘mini-kickers’ (a collective group of four different age groups) joined the project, who are now the 2012-2015 age group team. With these teams already committed, Benburb were quickly beginning to build the foundations of the academy.
With a strong pool of players at a primary level, Benburb prepared to recruit an under-15 side that could develop into an under-17 side over the next few seasons.
“Pirie Park Boys club 2006s were brought in to add depth to the age group with a view to developing a strong under 17 squad over the next 2 seasons.,” Martin said.
“We then took in a significant number of young players from local club SMK who are also a Southside-based club and so fitted the mould in the sense that we have strong desires to enhance kids’ opportunities in the local community.”
With multiple teams invested with the concept of the academy pathway, their plans attracted the attention of an already well-established coaching setup.
“DAB Elite were a readily established and very well ran 2011 set-up and approached us about coming on board and they are now part of the academy as well.
“With each of these clubs we took our time and had numerous meetings to make sure that we felt these clubs and their coaches were right for us and that we were the right fit for them.”
The clubs ambition persisted, to ensure a Benburb teams played at every age on the SYFA pathway. Therefore, this week Benburb’s newest acquisitions to the academy were the Giffnock North 2004s and 2005s.
“Giffnock were no different and, having done our homework, we were well aware of what they could bring to the club both on and off the park.
“Giffnock under-17s took the decision to move to the Central League as their desire is to push the players in the most competitive league possible and at 2004 feel that is the Central League.
“Our 2005s and 2006s will both compete in PJDYFL this season for the same reasons and this will be the blueprint for the entire club going forward.”
Having a playing squad at every level of the SYFA pathway has allowed Benburb to compete at all age groups, while having a continuous stream of players progressing collectively through their own pathway.
“The vision for the academy is that all of our young players will now have a structured development ladder to climb.
“Whether that be taking a step up in age group or working up within their own age group season by season with a view to breaking into the Under 20s development side and ultimately the first team in the new WOSL.”
Additionally, a new under-21 coach with a core group of players from Upper Annandale FC are now also part of the Benburb project, with the expectation for academy players to be challenging for a first team place as early as next season.
While having a structured plan on the park, Benburb have also committed itself to many community initiatives educating young people on dangers in their life, both concerning their mental and physical health.
“The football academy is about so much more than just the football itself.
“Benburb is a community interest club and as such we work closely with several local initiatives to enhance local young people’s chances in life and teach them about life’s hazards.”
These initiatives have included providing education on drug/alcohol awareness, social awareness and employability.
Further to this, the club offer older players the opportunity to become coaches in their own in-house coaching academy. This chance has already been accepted by many under-15 players, who have dedicated their time to help train the younger kids, with both ages gaining valuable skills all within the academy.
“At this point we are all just delighted to have New Tinto Park which is an incredible facility and environment for our players and coaches to work in and we all can't wait to get going.”