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Friday, 29 November 2019 10:01

Q&A: Blantyre SA Coach Earns Big Move to Celtic

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A Blantyre Soccer Academy coach has earned a move to take up coaching at Celtic.
Laura Daly, who has been at Blantyre for the past two years, was approached by the Glasgow side off the back of her success at the Academy. Daly had previously spent five years at Motherwell Community Trust before making the short journey to wear the Black and Yellow of Blantyre.
Youth Football Scotland were fortunate to catch up with Laura to talk about her move.
Calum McCaffery: Can you tell us about your background in football?
Laura Daly: Yeah of course. So I’ve played football from as young as I can remember, and my first ever memory of football is when the boys in my primary wouldn’t let me play with them because I was a girl. Something that girls these days are fortunate not to experience which I think is excellent!
I’ve played for numerous clubs such as Celtic, Rangers, Glasgow Girls, Motherwell Development, and I also had a cameo appearance as I’d call it for Airdrie Ladies when they were short of players. But my football playing career started at East Kilbride Girls/Ladies and I will never forget those days.
Unfortunately after a few bad injuries, I gave up playing full time to coach and try give back an unforgettable experience to the girls I encounter along the way! I’ve been coaching for over 12 years now.
CM: How many years did you spend at Blantyre?
LD: I joined Blantyre in December 2017 after a five year spell at Motherwell Football Club Community Trust before my contract expired and they had no funding to renew it. So I went looking for a fresh challenge. So it’s been a relatively short spell at Blantyre but a great spell at the same time.
CM: What are your fondest memories at the club?
LD: I’ve a lot. From building a successful pathway for girls in the local area to play football, to being short listed for a recognition award at the SWF ALBA Awards on Saturday 30th November 2019! I still can’t quite believe it.
CM: What do you think you'll miss most about Blantyre?
LD: Without doubt - the girls I coached and the parents. We had such a bond on and off the pitch and I think things like that are special. Without them I couldn’t have done the great work I managed to at the club. So to all the girls and parents - thank you!
CM: When did the opportunity arise to join Celtic?
LD: Celtic approached me, with what I believe to be, on the back of my success within Blantyre. I had also shown interest in joining the club if it ever became possible as it’s a club close to my heart. But you’d need to ask Celtic that!
CM: What was your reaction when you were offered the role at Celtic?
LD: It was something I couldn’t believe! As a Celtic fan personally - it’s something you dream of. And it was an opportunity I couldn’t say no to as I believe I am ready for this next big test of my coaching ability.
CM: What are your main goals for 2020 at Celtic?
LD: For me, it’s always just about making a difference to the girls within the club I’m coaching at. So I’ll be aiming to help them develop their talent, and push another step closer to the top tier teams within the set up. I also want to contribute to continuing the clubs recent success in 2019 - which I personally think was nothing short of incredible!
CM: Are you excited to be working at a club that has done so well at youth level in recent years?
LD: 100%! I’m just keen to get in the door now and get on the pitch for the first time. The staff I’ve met so far are all lovely and it’s great to be surrounded by so many positive role models for the girls.
CM: Do you have any long term goals?
LD: My two biggest goals in life have always been to get involved with Celtic, which I can now thankfully say I’ve done - and to also follow in the footsteps of Pauline Hamill within the Scottish Women’s National Team as she’s always been my role model and who I look to for inspiration (Pauline if you see this - let’s chat about possible opportunities ;) )
Well done Laura and from all of us at YFS, good luck at Celtic!
Friday, 20 September 2019 14:17

Glasgow City Duo Make First Team Debuts

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The 18th of September 2019 will not matter much to the average person, but for Lucy Ronald and Lucy Sinclair it will be a day that they will never forget.
The two have been almost inseperable for the past few years, having come up through the development squads of Glasgow City, and on Wednesday night the two made their well earned first team debuts for the SWPL Champions.
The two came on as substitutes in City's 2-0 win away to Rangers, with Ronald coming agonisingly close to getting on the scoresheet, only to see her chipped effort cleared off the line.
City Head Coach Scott Booth was suitably impressed with how his young players performed on the night. "I thought Lucy [Ronald] went into that midfield area, looked composed on the ball, made passes, worked hard and defended at times for us as well.
"Sincy [Sinclair] came on at the end as a striker and I think as well as giving a lot, she gave maximum effort, she learnt a lot as well in that shrt space of time.
"I'm just a little bit disappointed that Lucy Ronald didn't actually score that goal! I think we were all on our feet in the dugout wishing that ball into the net but it wasn't quite there."
Congratulations to both on their debuts and we look forward to seeing how they will impact the women's game in the future.
The West Region Cup continues this week with a few scintillating ties and there are plenty of games with league title ramifications. Here are five games to keep an eye out for this weekend.
Thorn Athletic vs Drumsagard FA U13 - West Region Cup Last 16
Both of these sides are in fine form heading into this tie. Thorn Athletic are comfortably on top in the PJDYFL first division, sitting a whopping 17 points clear at the top of the table.
Drumsagard on the other hand are 10 points clear at the top of the GDYFL and have yet to lose a game in the league this season. Hopefully fine form translates into a great game of football.
Glenbrae Colts vs St Patrick's Sports Academy U14 - West Region Cup Last 16
Another two sides in fine form in their respective leagues. Glenbrae are 12 points clear at the top of the PJDYFL first division and are unbeaten.
St Patrick's are in second place in the GDYFL A League, five points behind leaders Drumchapel United with a game in hand. Another one that's too clsoe to call and could go all the way to penalties.
Cambuslang Blues vs DYFL U16 - GDYFL League
Two of the bottom sides in the GDYFL face off, with both looking to put their tough starts to the season behind them. 
With just one point separating the two sides, there is a feeling that this one is a real six-pointer in the making.
Harmony Row vs EKFC Blues U17 - PJDYFL Division One
Two good sides will be looking to climb the first division table this Saturday. 
Harmony Row and EKFC Blues played out a 1-1 draw the last time the two met and there will surely be another close game in store for spectators this weekend.
Ardencaple FC vs Campbelltown Pupils YFC U14 - GDYFL A League
Ardencaple FC have yet to win a league game this season, but will be looking to put that unwanted record to rest when they host Campbelltown.
Campbelltown have one win to their name, against Ardencaple earlier in the season. We will have to see whether home advantage makes the difference this time around.
Joga Futsal Club in Glasgow began their 2019 in some style, winning the The U13 Fenice Venezia F5 Futsal Cup in Venice.
The triumph marks Joga's second trophy in six months, with their U11 side claiming the Montesilvano Futsal Cup last June.
The Venice tournament covered four different age groups, U9's, U11's, U13's and U15's in which had 44 teams were involved from various countries. The U13 section involved 10 teams.
YFS spoke to David Galt from the Joga Futsal Academy to reflect on this impressive feat. "We were made aware of (the tournament) due too our growing reputation as an established Futsal Academy across Europe.
"In the last year we have made four trips to overseas futsal tournaments. At each one we have performed extremely well both on and off the court which has helped to build our reputation around Europe. 
"In the summer of 2018 we took part in the Montesilvano Futsal Cup in which our U13 Squad played Venice Futsal in a really good game. After the tournament the team had kept in contact with us and invited us over and we gladly accepted the invite."
Speaking about his side's preparations for the tournament, Galt said, "Preparations for the tournament were good, we had a number of specific training sessions with our team which focused on various aspects of the game, attacking and defending set pieces, new ideas. We had a number of friendly matches and finished off with some tough opposition against Hamilton Accies 2006 Academy Squad.

"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)."

David also spoke of his pride with his side's achievement. "I am extremely proud of the success in Venice, particularly as several the boys have been away with us now at U13 age group and have been left to feel disappointed with final placings despite positive performances so it was particularly rewarding to see their hard work and commitment towards to futsal being rewarded.
"For others it was their first time coming abroad with us and experience international futsal (which is different to Scottish futsal) so overall couldn’t be any prouder of all the boys involved. Our U13 captain Cooper Knox was also voted player of the tournament which for us was a very proud moment as he’s a kid with a great attitude towards futsal and one we use as a role model for others (despite only being 12) so it was great to see his hard work being rewarded."
There was also an opportunity to reflect on what had been a very successful 2018 for the club. "We started off 2018 with an international futsal trip to France, finishing fourth in the U13 section of the Squadra Cup, a fantastic achievement for our first ever international experience of futsal and competing against some of the biggest clubs across Europe.
"We continued to grow throughout the year, introducing new age groups into our Academy pathway and now in a position to offer futsal to kids aged five through to youths aged 16. June 2018 saw us take both our U13's and U11's boys over to Montesilvano Futsal Cup in Italy, a prestigious tournament attended by teams from all over the world including the likes of Brazil, Japan, USA, and Australia.

"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."

Tuesday, 27 November 2018 12:11

Villa Park ready for UK International Cup challenge

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Coach Jamie Lafferty said it was an “easy choice” to sign his Villa Park side up for next Easter’s UK International Cup.
They’re heading to St George’s Park – the state-of-the-art home of England’s national teams – in April to compete with 99 teams from around the world at the two-day tournament:
“We saw an advert for the tournament on social media and knew straight away it was something we wanted to get involved with,” said Lafferty. “From the facilities, to the hotel and all the positive comments – signing up was an easy choice, really.”
17 players, three coaches and – in Lafferty’s own words – “an army of parents and families” will be making the trip, and although there’s still more than four months until the competition kicks-off, excitement in the squad is already reaching fever pitch:
“The boys are totally over the moon and can’t wait to play on the world-class facilities,” said Lafferty. “We’re looking forward to coming up against teams from other countries.”
As a team, Villa Park have been raising money for the trip by packing bags at local supermarkets and going for sponsored walks, and Lafferty is confident that all their efforts will be worth it when they get down there.
He said: “I’m hopeful the experience will give the team a lifetime of memories; lots of fun and laughter and will be an enjoyable event that will help in their development as players.”
Limited spaces remain for Scottish teams looking to sign up for tournaments next year. For more information on how you can get involved click here.
The 2006's SYFA West Region Development squad has now been announced.
The announcement comes after nominated players took part in a series of trials at Harmony Row.
The full squad is as follows:
Sam Rooney - Giffnock SC
Cameron Dickson - Whitecraigs
Jack Ferguson - Drumsagard BC
Calum Sharp - Ardencaple
Owen Foster - Pollok United
Jon Dunbar - Thistle Weir
Ross McKinnon - Clyde Thistle
Hector Edmund Fullone - Houston BC
Adam Hemmingsley - Busby BC
Lewis Sharp - Ardencaple
Gravine Kalala - Glasgow BC
Connor Boyle - Giffnock SC
Thomas Docherty - Glasgow BC
Kaiden Boyce - Drumsagard BC
Charlie Cooke - Clyde Thistle
Hayden McCormack - Thistle Weir
Nicholas Gallagher - St Peters BC
Toby Mathers - Whitecraigs
Calum Cameron - Thistle Weir
Shaun Kennedy - Pollok United
Fraser Murray - Ardencaple
Calum Young - Drumsagard BC
Kasra Abedi - BSC Lightning
David Aitken - Park Sports
The quality of the trials was so extensive that a reserves list was drawn up in case of injuries, which can be seen below:
Rebecca Taylor - Rangers Girls
Liam Connor - St Andrews BC
Jay Mortimer - Kilbowie Union
John Cairns - Kilbowie Union
Marcus Cameron - Thistle Weir
Ethan O'Hare - Tass Thistle
Congratulations to all selected for the squad!!
Monday, 22 October 2018 16:47

SYFA West Region 2005's squad announced

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The SYFA West Region Development squad has now been announced.
The announcement comes after nominated players took part in a series of trials at Toryglen over the past few weeks
The full squad is as follows:
Jay Bett - Glenbrae Colts
Adam Daly - Dumbarton United
Niven Howes - Broomhill SC
Calum Wong - Hillwood BC
Aeron Fitzpatrick - Johnstone Burgh
Max Giordano - EK Rolls Royce
Lewis Gilmour - Hillwood BC
Luke Deveny - Port Glasgow BC
Aidan Clark - Dunoon YFC
Sam Hunter - Glenbrae Colts
Lewis Taylor - Giffnock SC
Jordan Robb - Hillwood BC
Cole Gibson - Weir Thistle
Stevie Graham - Palace Park A
Lewis Barclay - Giffnock North
Finlay Wright - Giffnock North
Mark Bolger - Palace Park B
Ben Francis - Cambuslang Thistle
Liam Probert - West End Thistle
Nathan Durkin - Kilpatrick
Wallace Whittle - Linwood Rangers
Daryl Airdre - Palace Park A
Ruan Macrae - Cambuslang FA
Craig Darroch - Port Glasgow BC
Stephen Cardle - Glenbrae Colts
Congratulations to all those selected for the squad!
Friday, 19 October 2018 16:29

Accies young stars prepare for big Euro test

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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.

This weekend the YFS cameras will be at the Glasgow City Cup's event taking place across Paisley and Renfrew. We are offering any parent the opportunity to claim a free voucher, which entitles them to a FREE high quality digital image of any print they purchase (no obligation to buy). Please fill out the short form below to claim yours.

Thursday, 12 July 2018 13:16

Positive experience for all at GoFitba Pollok

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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.”