West Region (399)
In late February, YFS received an email from Alex Lacy - former Vale of Leven player and current FC Argyle coach. He was setting up a new Academy for his former club, and wanted to get the news out there. When we sent our reporter Alistair Fenton along, we didn't just get a press release - instead, we got a passionate story about the boys Alex coaches, and how bright he thinks their future can be.
During a chat initiated by YFS, I asked Alex Lacy if the SFA’s recent directive on gradual increase of heading practice from age 6-16 in training will have any effect on the development plans of his 2006 team (“not a bad thing, we don’t header it much anyway at those ages”). It offered him the opportunity to passionately open the doors behind the development of this squad.
Like many so-called ‘deprived’ areas in Scotland, this area of Dunbartonshire is recognising the value of such initiatives to help promote inclusivity, community regeneration and individual development, and Alex and his team of four coaches and others have enthusiastically grabbed this opportunity to help achieve these common goals through football.
The recipe for success? Although Vale of Leven’s most ‘capped’ player - 517 appearances over 20 years - when Alex’s initial kick-about with his 8-year-old grandson grew arm and legs the team he formed with Gary Mullen was under the auspices of FC Argyle.
Although one might expect a local rivalry between the neighbouring Alexandria teams, the result was quite on the contrary. The Argyle team’s swap over to Vale seemed the natural fit at that age group to achieve one of many broader goals.
This has allowed to help develop a structured Pathway/Youth Academy system through the ages, with the goal on this occasion being the community-minded wider inclusion to all.
The various boys age groups are covered, but the aim is to extend this further - to include girls, disability, walking football options for all ages and other such related inclusive activities.
Instead of slobbing on the couch, taking on Ronaldo or Messi on their games consoles, the idea is to also channel kids’ natural energies towards all the other social, community and personal benefits initially through football.
Their next venture is a classic example of the broad-reaching ambitious plans for Vale football and community development. A huge amount of effort has gone in to arranging a tour to Torrevieja near Alicante in Spain on 20-24 April, with the full squad, now about 42 in number includes 20 players.
Areas of development covered in such initiatives often go largely unnoticed, but consider these - players, personal fitness, engaging friends and acquaintances in ‘getting out there’ - all of which lead to excellent team-building and team-working skills.
It helps coaches too, to build upon improving their technical skills, but also furthering their team-leading and general man-management skills. Parents, too – through no fault of their own - who are often at a loss as to how to re-integrate into group involvement, can build confidence in such environments, which is key to their own and others personal development.
So, from little acorns grows a huge oak of a community, integrating with each other, carrying out to a wider audience with a football hook, all from kicking a ball about with an eight-year-old five years ago. Vale of Leven are heading to success for sure.
For more information on the new Vale of Leven Academy and how you can get involved, contact Alex Lacy on 07807866743.
Ardrossan Winton Rovers vs Drumchapel United U13
Both of these teams have an outside chance of catching up to league leaders Clydebank in the PJDYFL Division 2 table.
Drumchapel United have the better chance of catching up, having to make up 10 points on the leaders having played the same number of games. United have only lost three games all season and a win this weekend would give them a mental boost in trying to catch up.
Ardrossan have a more difficult challenge, having to make up twelve points having played two games more than Clydebank. The comfort being that there are still plenty of games still left to play.
Linwood Rangers vs Stamperland Juniors U17
The top two face off in the third division of the PJDYFL in what could be a potentially league deciding match.
Stamperland Juniors have the advantage for now, holding a five point lead at the top having played one game more than their opponents this weekend. A win for them this weekend could prove to be the win that effectively wins them the title.
Linwood Rangers stand in their way and will have to put in an impressive performance to defeat the league leaders on Saturday. Having lost just two games this season, they have been impressive to watch.
It’s very difficult to predict how this one will go, but it certainly looks like this is going to be an entertaining clash.
Summerston BC vs Drumchapel Amateurs U17
Just two points separate the top two in the GDYFL U17’s League in what has been a closely fought title race.
Drumchapel Amateurs hold top spot and remain unbeaten so far this season in the league. The only points that they have dropped this season have come at the hands of their opponents this weekend in a 2-2 draw back in October.
Summerston also remain unbeaten in the league, but have fallen behind Drumchapel thanks to having drawn one game more. A win would move them top and give them a key psychological adavantage for the rest of the season.
This is certainly one to keep an eye on!
St Patrick’s Sports Academy vs Ashfield Juniors U13
The top two face off in the A Division of the GDYFL League’s and it’s one where anything can happen.
St Patrick’s currently occupy top spot but have disadvantage in the title race due to the number of matches that they’ve played. They are currently five points clear at the top having played four games more than their opponents.
Ashfield are in great form and will take that confidence boost coming into this game. Juniors have a perfect record in the league, securing seven wins out of seven as they seek to mark their first foray into 11-a-side football with a league title.
Don’t write St Patrick’s off however. They will feel they have a point to prove as they try to hold on to top spot.
Knightswood FC vs EKRR Youth U15
The two undefeated teams remaining in the GDYFL A Division face off in what is sure to be an incredible game.
Knightswood are flying at the moment and have a perfect 10 wins from 10 games in the league so far. That record has seen them open up a five point lead at the top ahead of second placed Drumchapel United.
EKRR Youth however are right on their tale and boast an undefeated record too, despite having drawn one game. They have three games in hand over their opponents and a win this weekend would certainly blow the title race wide open.
Here’s hoping for an excellent game.
EKYC used one of their games in hand over PJDYFL Division 1 leaders Port Glasgow Juniors to their full advantage as they closed the gap to just five points with a big 6-1 win over Hillwood FC Thistle.
The Scottish Cup quarter finalists now have five games in hand over the league leaders and will be expecting to close the gap further in the coming weeks. Meanwhile BSC Glasgow suffered a setback in their pursuit of the league title after they lost 4-2 at home to Hillwood.
In Division 2, Ardencaple closed the gap at the top to just three points after their impressive 3-0 away win at Baljaffray. The win moved them within three of leaders Clydebank, although the table toppers do have two games in hand.
Park Sports Project of the fourth division continued their title chase with a comfortable 8-0 victory away to bottom side St Stephens BC Green. The win moves them within 10 points of leaders Clydebank Mercury with five games in hand.
In the GDYFL A Division, St Patricks Sports Academy kept up the pressure on second place Ashfield Juniors with a hard fought victory over Finnart. Academy extended their lead at the top to five points, however Ashfield still have four games in hand. Clyde Community also kept their title hopes going with a big win away to Thistle Weir.
B Division leaders Lochgilphead Red Star maintained their comfortable lead at the top with an entertaining 6-3 win away to Cambuslang FC. Busby AFC kept pace with a 4-1 win of their own against Glasgow Boys, but still trail Red Star by 11 points with a game in hand.
Cambuslang Colts made it 12 wins from 12 in the C League this season with their triumph against Southside Star. Second place Cambuslang Academy kept pace with a 4-1 win at home to Cambuslang Colts Yellow, but remain 12 points adrift with three games in hand.
With Thorn Athletic not playing last weekend, PJDYFL Division 1 leaders Gleniffer Thistle made the most of their opportunity to extend their lead at the top with a 4-0 win away to bottom side Dumbarton United. Westerton United White missed their chance to leapfrog Athletic, as they fell to a 1-0 defeat at Giffnock SC.
Broomhill BC Greenock’s inaction this weekend afforded Parkmoor the same chance to extend their lead at the top of Division 3. A 4-0 win against OLM United widened the gap to six points, with the league leaders holding two games in hand. Port Glasgow BC also kept themselves in the hunt, beating Stamperland 3-0
In the GDYFL A League, St Patricks Sports Academy moved one step closer to the league title with an impressive 4-2 win away to second placed Knightswood. The win maintained their perfect record in the league and widened the gap to 20 points, with Knightswood holding five games in hand.
B League leaders Cambuslang Red Star also moved closer to the league title, beating one of their closest rivals Rutherglen Glencairn 3-1. The win extended their lead at the top of the table to 11 points. Ashfield Juniors moved into second place with a comfortable win over Harmony Row and hold two games in hand over Red Star.
Hillwood were able to close the gap at the top of the PJDYFL Division 1 table to just three points with their 3-1 win at home to Erskine YFC in what was the only game to be played in the division this weekend. Leaders Giffnock North BC still have three games in hand over Hillwood.
Morton Community missed a golden opportunity to close the gap at the top of the Division 2 table as they were held to a draw with Neilston Juniors Youth. Morton could have moved to within seven points of leaders Stewarton Annick with a win.
Thorn Athletic continued their fine run of form at the top of the Division 3 table with a convincing 7-1 win at home to Erskine Yellow. The win sees them move eight points clear of second placed Cunninghame Youth. Baljaffray also kept their title hopes alive with a big win over Barrhead YFC.
Division 4 league leaders Harmony Row played the only game on offer in the league last weekend, and took full advantage with a 4-2 win away to Dumbarton United Black. They move 12 points clear of second placed Largs Colts, who have two games in hand.
Knightswood maintained their perfect record at the top of the GDYFL A Division with a 5-2 win at home to Giffnock SC. Their triumph makes it 10 wins from 10 in the league so far this season.
And in the match of the day in the B League, leaders Carmunnock FC secured a big win over one of their nearest title challengers Thistle Weir. The win extends Carmunnock’s lead at the top to five points, followed by new second placed side Oban Saints, who beat Rutherglen Glencairn on Sunday. Saints have one game in hand over the table toppers, and can close that to two by winning their game in hand this weekend against Rossvale Thistle.
Glenvale missed the opportunity to close the gap on PJDYLF Division 1 league leaders Giffnock North United as they were to surprise 3-3 draw by Erskine YFC. The Paisley based side are now 10 points off the top, with only one game in hand over their nearest rivals.
In Division 2, Ashfield Juniors were able to close the gap on leaders Giffnock SC Reds, securing a narrow 2-0 win over St Cadocs YC. They move to within four points of top spot now, with a game in hand over Giffnock to play. Elsewhere Baljaffray were so close to pulling off a shock result against Pollok United, but in the end fell to a narrow 3-2 defeat to the league’s third placed side.
St Patricks Sports Academy secured a big win at the weekend over GDYFL A league leaders Drumchapel Amateurs to keep themselves in the title hunt. The win moves them to within 10 points of Drumchapel with two games in hand. A win in both of those games you have to feel is vital if they want to secure title glory come the end of the season.
And a closely contested title race in the B League got a lot more interesting after leaders Cumbernauld Colts Blue were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Cambuslang FC. That draw allowed Dumbarton United to move to close the gap to just one point after their convincing win away to Thistle Weir. With Finnart BC and Cambuslang also closing in on the top, the final stages of this league campaign could be very interesting indeed.
With leaders Glenvale in Tom McPhillips Cup action this weekend, Johnstone Burgh were able to use their game in hand this weekend to beat Glenburn MW 8-0 and move level on points at the top of the PJDYFL table. Burgh remain unbeaten in the league this season, but have picked up more draws than their title rivals this campaign.
Port Glasgow Juniors also took advantage of their title rivals being in cup action last weekend to close the gap at the top of Division 2 with an emphatic 7-1 win at home to Largs Thistle. The two have now played an equal number of games, with league leaders St Cadocs YC holding a four point lead.
In the third division, leaders Stamperland Juniors were able to maintain their perfect home record with a 7-1 win over FC Argyle. Second place Linwood Rangers kept the pace on the leaders with an 8-0 win away to Erskine YFC United. They remain five points behind Stamperland with a game in hand.
There were wins for the top two sides in the GDYFL U17s league, as Drumchapel Amateurs and Summerston BC both earned victories against Ardrossan Winton Rovers and Oban Saints respectively. Just two points separates the two at the top of a thoroughly entertaining league title race.
Neilston Juniors extended their lead at the top of the PJDYFL Division 1 table with an emphatic victory over Largs Thistle. Juniors are looking pretty good for the title this season, holding a five point lead and two games in hand over second placed Linwood Rangers.
"We had tried to obtain some sponsorship to cover the costs of tracksuits/polo shirts/game kits for the trip but unfortunately this was unsuccessful, and we had to cover all the costs.
"It’s an area in which we have struggled so far, It has been a successful year in taking four teams on trips abroad but all have been done with very limited financial support and no fundraising.
"We did receive some sponsorship for our Montesilvano Futsal Cup in June but other than that all costs are covered by their parents, which is something we are hopeful to change for 2019 (anybody out there willing to help please do so)."
"Our U13's finished overall 10th out of 28, despite some overall positive performances including 5-1 against Japanese opposition and a 4-1 victory of hosts Sporting Marconi, another top experience where they all continued to grow as futsal players.
"Our U11's went all the way in the competition coming back home to Scotland as champions, beating Italian, French and Spanish opposition along the way. One of our players was named player of the tournament at U11's age group (Jacob Donnelly) a proud moment for us as coaches and for Jacob, a kid with great commitment towards futsal.
"We have finished off the year with some thrilling matches with our friends from Carlisle Futsal Club, three weeks of fixtures vs Hamilton Accies and the introduction of our Winter Futsal Leagues which has a number of grassroots clubs from Glasgow and surrounding areas and also Academy sides from St Mirren and Hamilton Accies involved."
After a successful 2018, David is looking forward to what can be achieved in 2019. "This year we hope to continue and grow as a Futsal Academy, we will be adding more age groups on to our academy pathway. Despite just being back from Italy a couple of days our preparations for the rest of 2019 are already well under way and we have signed up to tournaments in Spain and Italy already whilst looking into others across Europe for the later parts of the year. Our efforts in 2018 have seen us been invited to America and Australia whilst even have futsal teams from south America get in touch too.
"Success for us is not accounted by the trophies which are won, it is rewarding but ultimately to continue to see kids and youths grow and develop as players and people are the most important aspect. Continuing to provide an environment in which every participant can learn, enjoy and develop.
"For us we just want to continue to grow both the game of futsal but more so continue grow the awareness of the game across the nation. People have become more aware of the game of futsal but now it’s about understanding it as its own sport and not purely just as sideshow to football.
"We understand football will always be the number one sport in this country and not something we wish to change but Futsal only becomes a benefit when done properly. We believe we offer a unique futsal experience here in Scotland one in which offers the best opportunities for both futsal players and football players."
After a 2-2 draw in Switzerland, Accies aim to finish the job against Basel at the Hope Stadium on Wednesday night to advance to the next round of the UEFA Youth League.
Dougie Imrie's side swept to the under 17 league title undefeated last season to earn their place within the elite bracket of European youth football. It is the first time any Scottish club other than Celtic has competed in the competition.
It’s further testimony to a youth set up which regularly brings young players all the way through the system to senior first team football. A CIES (Centre International d’Etude du Sport) survey last year listed Accies as the only British club in the European top 100 clubs to feature home grown players in their starting line-up.
The likes of James McCarthy, James McArthur and Michael Devlin have moved on to big clubs over the years. With a chance to shine in midweek coach Brian Potter says the occasion can only raise the bar even further and inspire the next crop of players to follow suit.
“It’s been a great experience for us all,” he told Youth Football Scotland. “The drive to bring on young players here is well documented. We’ve proven over the years that if you’re good enough you stay in the team. We give young players that opportunity.”
“We start early here and try and keep them in the system. The core of our team on Wednesday will be the boys who went undefeated last season. There’s boys here who have been here for up to seven years and have the Hamilton ethic of working hard and being difficult to beat.”
“Reaching European competition gives everyone at all levels something to aim for, and can only help us attract more young players to become involved. It can only be good for the whole set up here, and improves us also as coaches.”
“We also made a good play of getting into Project Brave. It gives us access to more coaches and facilities, sports scientists, more access to video analysis. It has helped raise the bar even further. Ultimately it’s about giving the kids the best grounding that they can into full time football.”
Tickets on the night will be free to all as Accies hope for a big crowd to see Potter’s side over the line. Adam Douglas’s double in the first leg gives Accies more than a chance against top opposition.
“We drew a recognised team, and it was a great experience to go over there and prepare in a big stadium. It was a difficult game and we did well to get a result. Our aim was to keep the tie alive and it’s all to play for.” Potter says.
Kick off at the Hope CBD Stadium is at 7pm on Wednesday.
Twelve clubs across the country, all taking part in a scheme with one common goal; educating children about the benefits of sport and nutritious food and the effect it has on their health.
The project was set up by The Scottish Football Partnership Trust and aims to teach the kids football skills as well as giving them nutritional advice and a healthy dinner, post-kick-about. It has travelled the land far and wide, with clubs from Dundee to Kilwinning taking part.
The latest club YFS visited was Pollok United Soccer Academy in Corkerhill. The scheme was coming to the end of its 12-week run, and on-hand to celebrate were the then Minister for Public Health and Sport Aileen Campbell, and Glasgow Pollok MSP Humza Yousaf.
“We’re really pleased to be here at Pollok United Soccer Academy to support the fantastic work that happens through the GoFitba scheme,” Campbell told YFS. “I’ve seen it in its former guise as FooTea and have seen how the kids respond - getting a chance to play the game, getting taught about health and nutrition and also getting the chance to have something nice and healthy to eat at the end.”
“It’s a fantastic, well rounded, holistic project and we’re really pleased to do what we can to lend support and to see so many young people enjoy the game.”
Yousaf, on his local patch, was also keen to sing the praises of the project, which was awarded a 50,000 Euro grant from The UEFA Foundation for Children and also received funding from The Kilpatrick Fraser Charitable Trust.
“This project is wonderful because it gets kids talking about nutrition in a way that doesn’t feel like school, doesn’t feel like they’re getting a lesson,” Yousaf said. “It feels like they’re having a good time. They then note that in their journal, take that home and then they’re influencing their parents about nutrition, nutritious eating and healthy habits.”
The success of the project has helped highlight the child obesity problem Scotland currently has, something which Yousaf touched on.
“We know that Scotland has a child obesity problem, we know that,” he said. “It’s got problems around health and healthy eating, so I’m delighted that this project is using football as that hook. This ticks so many of the Government’s agendas, so many of the Government’s boxes.
“We have serious health issues. We can’t sweep it under the carpet and say: ‘Aw we like an Irn-Bru and a pie, that’s just who we are’. That’s great, enjoy some of that stuff, but we have got some real health issues and we’ve got to start at this age. We’ve got to start with young kids, right from the off. They actually influence the parents, and it has inter-generational affects,” he added.
The scheme has been hugely popular, with Campbell and Yousaf both pointing to football being the catalyst for getting those involved. “Well we know that sport is an incredible hook to get young people involved and engaged with health promotion messages,” Campbell said.
“This is a fantastic example of that - using the hook of football, with local clubs rooted in the communities, helping children that need that wee bit of help and encouragement to eat more healthily and delivering those messages through football,” she continued. “It’s a fantastic example of sport being really innovative and doing what it can to increase the health of the nation.”
Yousaf agreed: “It’s the universal language. three billion people are watching the World Cup right now as we speak, so it is a universal language and it’s great. I’ve seen football being used to get men for example to talk about mental health, something which traditionally they don’t do.”