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Thursday, 23 March 2017 17:14

Pollok United finish at the top of the PJ&DYFL

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Pollok United 2003’s won the Paisley Johnstone & District Youth Football League (PJ&DYFL) and we caught up with one of the coaches, Dougie McAllister, to find out how they done it.
Dougie credits the players and coaching staffs work ethic as the main factors for the team’s success. He said “Hard work and dedication by the players and coaching staff to continually improve, players not missing practice sessions and taking on board the advice given to them to develop their skills.” The players and coaches were also willing to put in an extra shift. “High fitness levels were a factor in our success, introducing a third training night at the gym and providing guidance on nutrition pre-and post-game has boosted our player’s fitness levels.” The players and coaches going above and beyond to teach the players has given them valuable life skills off the pitch as well as on the pitch.
Pollok’s biggest challenge was an away game against Langcraigs. It was a hard-fought match which saw Pollok come away with a 4-2 win. Both teams were at the top of the league which meant that every point was crucial and Pollok came away with 3 points to make the difference in the standings.
Pollok made a number of changes between this season and last to help secure them the league win. Dougie said “The introduction of new players into the squad and how the existing players developed alongside each other to produce competition for every position on the park and being able to play in the right manner.” The players being able to mature and work together was obviously successful and the new players brought a fresh atmosphere and hunger to win. “There was a new emphasis on holding possession, passing and build up play, panicking and punting the ball up the field was not allowed.” This attitude has allowed Pollok to maintain a high level of play and made sure that they never panicked on the ball.
Although it was a great season for the whole team Dougie had the hard task of picking the most dominant player. “All the squad have contributed to success throughout the season from back to front, it’s very hard to pinpoint one player but Cammy, our centre, scored a number of goals.” It’s very hard to pick out one player in particular, and the whole Pollok squad had to have played very well and very consistently in order to win the league.
Dougie had some final comments, “By the squad taking on-board, the good habits and practices asked for by the coaches has helped to improve the boy’s fitness and technique. The boys were very dedicated and committed to train 3 nights a week faithfully has led to a high level of performance and the boys look forward to the challenge next season.” Not only have they developed and improved on the pitch, that have also gained some skills off the pitch. “Seeing the boys mature into young men has been a great joy to watch, they are a great bunch of lads with a great team spirit.”
It looks like the effort put in by the coaches have really helped to improve these players in every aspect. 
Thursday, 09 March 2017 03:35

Interview: Glasgow City's Jamie Doyle

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So first of all and most importantly we make some introductions?
My name is Jamie Doyle and I am currently an academy coach for Glasgow City FC. I have been working intermittently with the club for five years, whilst taking a brief spell as head coach of Queens Park Ladies in their promotional season of 2015.
So you are a coach, what exactly drew you to the idea?
There was a couple of things that got me involved in coaching. I had been released from a club and was just playing with my mates to keep me going after injuring my knee pretty badly, so the coach had suggested that if I was going to be out for a while I could go do my first badge or two and help out with coaching the younger squad to keep me involved. 
To begin with I wasn’t really interested in taking up the role until I tried. Secondly when I realised my football brain was significantly better than my football body I eventually admitted to myself if I wanted to make any sort of progress in football it had to be in coaching. So I completed what is now the 1.1 and 1.2 youth pathway and ended up coaching a u14s boys side enjoying every second of it, partly because it made me look like a much more talented player than I actually was. I enjoyed delivering the coaching information I had picked up over time info and seeing them become better players as a result gave me a real buzz.
In your experience what do you believe is the best player you have ever coached?
That’s a really hard question as I've worked with so many talented footballers over my time as a coach, but for me there is certain things I look for in a player and its not always ability. I love the tactical side of the game and players who can read and control a game individually. 
A good example Connor McLeod, I worked with Connor at Glasgow University and his ability to manipulate and alter the tempo of a game even at an amateur level was really impressive. Another Is the recently promoted Katie Rice, as most people familiar with the women's game will testify Katie has the ability when playing well to win games by herself and has done many times. Still to this day scoring two of the best goals I have ever seen, the first a spectacular free kick to win a national cup final and another a casual chip from roughly sixty yards against and under 16s boys side.
Who is the biggest prospect for girls football?
Again an interesting and difficult question. Working at an academy level you see alot of players go through development and eventually start to reach senior football you can start to see their level and the ones you see make it have two key qualities, an absolute burning desire to progress and an excellent work rate. It’s hard to pick just a few but pushed I'd have to say Lauren Davidson and Sophie Allison. Firstly Lauren who has worked incredibly hard at her game and always asks questions and looks to improve every session. She is now starting to see real rewards in this endeavour scoring 3 goals in her last 3 appearances at international level. 
Secondly Sophie who in my opinion is the best all round goalkeeper I have seen male or female, she has it all and is actually an extremely decent outfield player too. An undoubted challenger for the number 1 spot in Scotland A squad. Naturally im biased in my choices as I have worked with both girls but there are some fantastic players out there, Celtic and Rangers have some great young talent and a special mention to Central Girls FA who seem to continually produces stars which is a massive credit to their academy work.
What do you believe is the best thing about girls football?
There are a few things but also some dislikes. I think the Match Day atmosphere is much more positive and relaxed, I played boys academy games and environments can become competitive which isn’t necessarily good for developing players. In my opinion parents have a tenancy to get carried away, coaches not focused on the right things and in turn the footballers allow the “Pro Youth” go to their heads. The girls game has a lot more focus on developing skill and creativity, parents are more reserved and supportive and generally speaking coaches are more relaxed. One down side is the refereeing, I feel the game is treated differently by officials and the game isn't encouraged to be physical which puts our top players at a disadvantage as fouls that are normally given here aren't in internationals or in the Women's Champions league so our players have to adapt to that.
Have you been involved in boys football at any point?
I have indeed. Apart from when I got started in coaching I also worked with my best man Andy Gardner at Glasgow University FC where we took one of the male sides. It was really interesting to see the mens game from a coaching point of view. I also had a brief time with Edusport Academy, although I didn't do very much coaching it was a great opportunity to be involved in Eddie Wolecki Black's back room staff. In fact I would like to use this little Q and A to thank Eddie. As much as I gave my insight into how I got started I owe everything to him. He gave me the opportunity to join Glasgow City and mentored me in his time there teaching and encouraging me to be a better coach and become a student of the game. Eddie is a wonderful coach and a great person and I am forever grateful to him for giving me a real passion for coaching. Anyone who has had a chat with Eddie will understand what I mean he is so passionate about the game and it can rub off on you. He's also passionate about tea no chat with Eddie is complete without a endless supply of the stuff.
Recent arguments suggest that the girls side of things will eventually overtake mens football at some point, would you agree?
Sadly no, the simple reason is generally its men in charge in most environments including media and football. Whoever in charge decides what you see on TV, what you read in papers and this untimely decides how much companies are willing to invest through sponsorship. Women's football will definitely grow further but I think it has a glass ceiling as long as society is predominantly male controlled. Unfortunately for young females you can't be what you can't see. This means most young females don't aspire to be athletes but instead known for what male she dates. Hopefully this can change.
So what are your plans for the future from a coaching point of view?
For the future my immediate plan is to get my UEFA B Licence and then hopefully my A licence but one step at a time. I've coached at every level in Scottish women's football from under 11 to senior except SWPL. I would love a crack at the top level and potentially European football. Its also no secret that I'm a massive Northern Irishman and would love the opportunity to work with the women's national side which is my ultimate goal. 
Hyndland Secondary School in Glasgow, has become the first school in Scotland to receive the SSFA Schools Quality Award, having only fully reintroduced football into the school 18 months ago. Scotland manager, Gordon Strachan, said:
“Congratulations to Hyndland Secondary School on becoming the first school in the country to receive the Schools Quality Award. I have fond memories of playing schools football and the rivalries helped me to improve, while the friendships with team-mates have lasted a lifetime.
“It provides an invaluable step towards realising your ambitions and I urge all of the players to continue to work hard, challenge yourselves to improve every day and that commitment will serve you well in football and in life.”
Maura McNeil, Head Teacher at Hyndland Secondary, was delighted that her School was the first to be recognised with this award, commenting: “To be the first school to receive the Award indicates how much progress our school has made in offering a quality football experience for our young people. Extra-curricular activites such as this play a key role in our young people’s development throughout the whole school and would not be possible without the support and dedication of our teaching staff who give up so much time to provide such important opportunities.”
The school has received great support from the local community with a number of small businesses making donations and sponsorship towards new kit for the school team. Local butcher James Allan sponsoring the junior strip and local restaurant The Hyndland Fox also sponsoring the school team’s (renamed The Hyndland Foxes) senior strips.
Following a competition to design the new kit, S2 student, Ciaran Cochrane’s design was chosen and subsequently produced. Other local businesses including Ivy Property, McCarthy Law and Paulo’s have also generously provided the teams with tracksuit tops, winter bench jackets and new footballs.
Science teacher, Mr Downie, who set up and runs the football teams at Hyndland Secondary School said: “I am delighted. Having not always had a football team when I myself was in school, I was determined that should pupils ask me as a teacher to help them set one up, then I would say yes. That’s what they did, and they have been fantastic. The award is a testament to the hard work, enthusiasm and commitment shown by our students in attending training and turning up for matches. I hope that they will replicate that positive attitude and hard work around the whole school and life in general. Hopefully this award will help us further develop football within the school moving forward, by continuing to gain additional coaching certificates for more staff and to help raise funds to purchase a school minibus.”
With such great recent success throughout the school, they are now looking to secure funds to help them purchase a minibus to help transport pupils to both extra curricular and educational trips. Joe Harkins, President of the Scottish Schools Football Association, who is arranging the presentation of the award, hopes it will encourage other schools across Scotland to also apply for the award: “We are delighted to award our very first Scottish Schools FA Quality Award to Hyndland Secondary School, Glasgow. “The main objectives of our Quality Award Programme are to provide regular organised football in schools for boys and girls at local and national levels as well as ensuring that these teams receive good quality coaching from teachers who have attained SFA coaching certificates. Now that our first Award is being made we hope that this encourages the many other schools who are already meeting our criteria to look to apply for one of our three levels of award - gold, silver or bronze - through the SSFA website or to work towards attaining the necessary SFA coaching qualifications to enable them to do so.”
The award will be presented to Hyndland Secondary this week, with local SPL team Partick Thistle also visiting the school for a special training session to help celebrate the award.
Sunday, 26 February 2017 20:22

St Cadoc's Youth Club on the march

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St Cadoc’s Youth Club celebrated raising £16,000 for charity last week with a cheque handover at Grand Central Hotel with Rangers' striker Kenny Miller and PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart.

The East Renfrewshire club raised £24,000 in total at a Gala Dinner, and donated £8000 each to the Beatson Cancer Centre and St Andrew’s Hospice. The eye-watering sums are a mark of the fantastic progress the club has made in recent years.

The club was founded in 1987 by Mr David Jones to give youngsters a chance to play both football and netball. However, it now welcomes kids from across East Renfrewshire and beyond, with some travelling from as far as Greenock to be part of the club.

This is reflected in the participation numbers, with the club almost doubling in size in the past five years, going from 400 to nearly 800 registered players from the ages of five to twenty.

So what is the secret to their success?

Firstly, there has been a drive to increase the quality of coaching. Former Aberdeen and St Mirren midfielder Ricky Gillies was appointed as Director of Football and coach of the under 19s side.

Soon after David Elliot, formerly of Celtic, Partick Thistle, and St Mirren, was brought on board to coach a 2001s team, who top the Paisley and Johnstone District League. While ex-Queen's Park player Dom Callan also coaches a table-topping 2001 team in Division 3.The coaching at the club, as well as an abundance of talented players, has seen some youngsters progress to the professional game, including Partick Thistle defender Liam Lindsay who has scored seven goals in all competitions this season.

In addition, the club’s progressive outlook and sense of community has been an integral part of its exponential growth. Local businesses have queued up to support the cause, which allows the club to pay for equipment and other essentials, while maintaining low playing fees in order to maximise participation and ensure nobody is excluded.

Another heart-warming example of the club’s ethos is when Leigh Griffiths came to give out awards to players and presented a Special Merit Award to 11 year old Kerri Halpin for her bravery in fighting cancer.

And it is to these causes that the fundraising arm of St Cadoc’s has turned to, most recently in raising the £16,000 for charity at the Gala Dinner in January at Grand Central Hotel, with 360 tickets selling in just 48 hours. The club managed to put together a brilliantly successful evening which included appearances from football stars of the past and present.

Lisbon Lion Bertie Auld, plus other ex-Celts Andy Walker and Murdo MacLeod were in attendance as were current players Massimo Donati, Stephen Pearson , John Rankin , Ryan Stevenson, St Johnstone duo Liam Craig and Zander Clark and Hamilton captain Mikey Devlin.

Such an impressive line-up speaks volumes for a club with an ambition to achieve big things both on and off the pitch. And rest assured, they are not minded to rest on their laurels, with training sessions planned with other stars of the Scottish game.

Yes, St Cadoc’s Youth Club are certainly on the march.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 12:56

Goalkeeping academy swoops for top talent

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Under-14 pair, Colin Thomas and Glen Cameron, emerged successfully through their 3-week assessment programme, working under four different group coaches at the Shot Stoppers Goalkeeping Academy.

Erskine-based Colin is a sporting all-rounder - also being involved with martial arts and cross country running – and was recommended to Shot Stoppers by recently elected Renfrew Victoria Boys' Club Chairman Stuart Wild.

Stuart, who is a former Sunday Mail Grassroots Coach of the Year winner, said:  "Colin came to my team in the First Division from Parkmoor, who played in Division Four. "He had been with them through from soccer sevens, and every time we played against him the boy was outstanding. Colin was a bit nervous about joining us, but soon settled and never let us down from around November until the following summer. "I suggested to his father, Ian, that the best place to go for specialist goalkeeping coaching was Shot Stoppers. I have known their Head Coach and the set-up for over 22 years, and right from the first session with them he quickly realised I was right to point him in their direction.”

"The guys at Shot Stoppers don't coach for the money. They develop young grassroots talent brilliantly, and the fact the Academy is heading towards 23 seasons speaks for itself" 

"As a club, Renfrew Vics have seen the improvement in goalkeeepers who have come through our ranks, and I would encourage grassroots boys/girls to contact them. "In very similar circumstances to his first coaching session with my team, Colin was taken well out of his comfort zone. Working alongside young goalkeepers who have already been part of their set-up for a few years has shown him what can be achievement with hard work - and I am delighted he has impressed the group coaches enough to be offered a full-time slot."

Glen Cameron grasped the opportunity to travel from his home in Alexandria and excel at twice-weekly sessions. Having spent two years at Murray Park and enjoyed match action over an entire season with Rangers, Glen is a product of Dumbarton United, with whom he spent seven years. He admitted:  " Right from the first day when I worked with Group One coaches Stephen Bryceland and Stevie Cameron, I told my parents I wanted to earn a place at Shot Stoppers. "The set-up is first class, everything is done very professionally, and I always look forward to each session, which is different and full of new ideas. His father, Bobby Cameron, said: "Glen is loving the challenge, and thriving in the Shot Stoppers environment."


For more information on the goalkeeping coaching structure, email them at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Monday, 02 January 2017 20:14

Interview: Caitlin O'Hara

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So for our lovely audience, make those introductions?
My name is Caitlin O'Hara, I've been involved in football of the female variety for a number of years, more specifically player coach for Glasgow City Ladies.
A coach you say, tell us more?
I've coached since I was a youngster, maybe 16/17. 
I was down doing some extra training one night at the pitch when one of the youth teams were down. The group of kids looked like they were having such a good time, as did the coaches.  That's what probably caught my eye at first, eventually going on to work with that group, learning from the other coaches and then progressing to taking my own sessions. 
I guess it all snowballed from there. I went on to be an assistant coach at the West Regional Performance Squads at U16s level which I loved. I learned so much about myself as a coach and about the game. I had great mentors and it was a real step up for me working with elite players. It was really out my comfort zone at first but looking back it really shaped me into who I am now as a coach. 
I am currently a lead coach at U12s of Glasgow City Youth Academy, the girls have just made the transition into 11 a-side complete with the challenge of playing in a boys league. The girls have been on a real journey and it's fantastic to see them reap the rewards from their hard work. 
So what drew you to the prospect of player development?
I strongly believe that at youth level winning should not be the be all and end all. It is far more important to develop yourself as a player both technically & tactically. Everyone develops at different rates and stages in their careers. Winning is great, everyone loves to win but it's so much more important to see the process and the journey that you go on. Go outside your comfort zone, challenge yourself against stronger players, faster players because it will be of huge benefit long term.
Personally I don't see the point in going out and playing teams you know your stronger than and putting 10 past them. Who's that helping? What does anyone learn? You will actually learn more being on the other end of that score. It allows you to reflect and think on what you can do better, how you can improve, make quicker decisions, play in tighter areas. I think that's why I was drawn to player development, it's not all about right now in this moment, it's about doing things in your time and seeing the long term benefit. 
Make mistakes, who cares. Football is a game of mistakes, that's the only way you can learn. 
Do you have a specific philosophy when it comes to player development?
I wouldn't say I have a specific philosophy, no. I like the players to get on the ball and move it around. I like them to be creative and express themselves. I encourage them to play with both feet at all times I think it's massive for players even at a young age to be adaptable. Play in different positions, learn new roles and responsibilities. I'd say for me that's what I build my foundations around. I think it's so important to see past the footballer and see the person. Take time to get to know how your players are, how there day was, what interests them. Make sure their environment is fun and somewhere they enjoy coming develop and learn. Build good relationships and team morale. Build confidence and re-assure them it's ok to make mistakes. This way they will play with freedom and they will flourish.
With those foundations do you have anyone in your age group that you would consider a success story?
It's difficult to pick out just one from the age group I'm currently working with as they are still young and finding their feet. Although not a success story, there has been 4 or 5 who have moved up and played at U15 level which is 3 years above them. That gave me a great sense of pride and motives me even more to give a platform to the players so they can go and showcase what they have. In terms of a success story I'd have to go way back to when I first started out coaching with Tommy Little at u13s, he had a great pool of players who all came through the u16s West Regional Squad. The majority have now played for their respective national teams and at first team level, but if there is anyone specific it would be Brogan Hay. She has been at Glasgow City through every single age group and has now made the City senior team.
Even from a very young age she had great technical ability. She would do things on the ball that you just wouldn't believe, what sets Brogan apart from the rest is her attitude.  
She leads by example with her 100% committed performances, inspiring her team mates to offer the same levels of hard work and energy. One to watch! 
Going back to you mentioning your group are in a boys league, how is it different?
Yes we actually played 7-a-side in the boys league as well but recently made the transition to 11 aside earlier this year. It's a lot different, firstly moving into 11 aside already provides its challenges with players having to adapt to the change of size in the pitch and covering bigger distances, not to mention having more players on the pitch and learning different formations and positions. Boys are naturally much more quicker, more powerful and stronger than girls so it gives the girls a chance to play at a higher intensity than what they would if they were in the girls leagues. I wouldn't say there is a difference at all technically or tactically. It's just having to deal with the physical attributes. The girls have to play with fewer touches, in tighter areas and have to make decisions more quickly. The boys don't give you time to take 3/4 touches, get your head up and play or they'll be in on top of you. I'd be lying if I was to say it's been easy. It's been a real learning curve and the girls have had to overcome a lot of hurdles but credit to them. they have dug in and continued to stick to our principles and now they are seeing positive outcomes.
What do you have in mind for this season, for yourself and for your group of kids?
Personally just to keep learning and looking for ways to improve. I've got a great bunch of coaches around me who continue to push me to be better everyday. Eventually hoping to secure my UEFA B Licence if all goes to plan. For the kids, hoping to get as many as possible into regional performance squads, also looking to get a few to turn out for the squads above their age. I'd be more than happy with that.
Tuesday, 20 December 2016 13:23

Two young keepers win Shot Stoppers award

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Two young goalkeepers have been announced as winners of one of Scotland’s top goalkeeping awards. Cameron Gordon & Alasdair Holmes, who play for Peterhead Youth and East Kilbride Y.C. respectively, were nominated for the award presentation staged by The Shot Stoppers Goalkeeping Coaching Academy.

Holmes, who is a former East Kilbride Player of The Year winner, has been in sensational form this season. The same can be said for Gordon, who recently helped his side to a 4-1 win over Linwood Rangers recently in the Regional cup.

Founded back in 1994, the academy has coached no fewer than 90 promising goalkeepers who have gone on to make the leap into junior and senior football.

The success of the academy can also be shown by the sheer amount of honours to be won by former graduates, with over 270 of them coming in the last 22 years, including Scottish Youth Cups, National Lady Darling Cups, Glasgow Easter Cups, Glasgow City Cups, Land of Burns, plus league titles at every level, Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year awards. If there’s one thing the academy can claim to generate, it has to be success.

Head Group One coach Stephen Bryceland, said: “"I have worked with both Cameron and Alasdair from day one, they are not only excellent prospects, but come from good family backgrounds, which is all-important in any recruitment structure."

He added: “You have to remember when Shot Stoppers began back in 1994, there was no other form of specialist goalkeeper coaching, so we have lead the way. We are immensely proud of our structure, and the achievements that have followed.”

From January, Shot Stopper will launch another detailed coaching programme. There will be two challenging Boys' Club categories - 10 to 16 years, and 18-21 years, plus a new and innovative over 21s group (in great demand ) working with junior and amateur goalkeepers.

For more information call the Coaching Hotline on 07403452860 or email them: [email protected]hotmail.co.uk.

Monday, 05 December 2016 21:02

Joga Futsal travel south for challenge match

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Increasingly popular across the country, futsal is a five-aside variant of football. With an emphasis on fast pace and technical skill, the game is generally played on an indoor pitch with hockey-sized goals. Many of world’s top football players have played futsal in their youth, including Pele, Messi and Ronaldo. It is therefore used by many today as a developmental sport for the eleven-aside game to enhance players’ ball control, passing, and even to encourage quick thinking.
Recently, Glasgow-based team, Joga Futsal, became the first youth futsal team to travel south of the border for a challenge match. YFS spoke exclusively to David Galt, owner and founder of Joga Futsal, who shared his team’s experience and his hopes for the future of the sport.
Galt, who currently plays for Queens Park FC, played futsal as a youth and credits the sport with his development in the eleven-aside game. Now through the Joga Futsal Academy, he is able to share his passion for the sport with the youth of today. 
The Academy has been running for almost a year and has sixty-five children between the ages of seven and twelve years old participating in weekly training sessions, and playing at least one game a month. Galt said, “In under a year, we have grown massively as a futsal academy. We not only have youth teams, we also have futsal development centres in which we work with over thirty kids each week which is more of an introduction to futsal and acts as a pathway to our youth teams. We work closely with several boys’ clubs around Glasgow and the West. The winter will see us run Youth Futsal Leagues for fifty teams with over five hundred kids taking part in futsal every week, which is really exciting for the development of the sport in the country.”
Joga Futsal’s recent trip down south follows a festival hosted by the club in August 2016. Galt said, “We were very fortunate and grateful to host a little festival in August for our 2007’s which Carlisle Futsal Club attended. Ever since we have kept in contact and always been really keen to work closely together, which led us to organising a challenge match on November 27th.”
The club took a group of ten kids from their 2006 and 2007 age groups to represent the Academy, though Galt insists that there was more to it than representing the club. He said, “To them it was more than representing Joga Futsal Academy… it was Scotland v England! I couldn’t have asked anymore from the kids. Individually and as a team, they were absolutely fantastic in two very competitive matches- it was a truly fantastic display.”
Galt was delighted with the feedback from the kids and their parents, and expressed his gratitude to the parents for all of their support. He said, “I am a very lucky coach in respect that I work not only with a great bunch of kids but also a fantastic bunch of parents who all volunteered their time to bring their sons down for the game. I really couldn’t appreciate their support anymore and thank them all for giving up a large part of their Sunday’s.”
The club’s most recent excursion is an exciting milestone for the club but Galt believes it is just the start of many opportunities for his team. He said, “With the winter leagues working with over five hundred kids, hopefully the sport will develop even more and we hope to be at the forefront of that in Glasgow and the West. We are also in regular contact with more academies south of the border, and 2017 will see us take on opposition in Manchester and London. We are even looking into the possibility of an overseas trip to Madrid or Barcelona to take part in tournaments which, again, would be an unbelievable experience for the kids.”
Not only is the Academy looking for more opportunities for the players already involved but they hope that they can expand in 2017 and in future seasons. Galt said, “We are looking to expand our Youth teams and Development Centres across several new areas such as Paisley, Ayrshire, East & West Dunbartonshire and North & South Lanarkshire so it is really exciting times for futsal in Scotland. We are just about to announce a partnership with a futsal academy in America, who keep in regular contact around the activities that we are doing and vice versa. Initially the partnership will just see us share ideas but who knows what the future holds.”
Futsal is still developing as a sport in Scotland but Galt believes that the connection between clubs around the country is crucial. He said, “The development of the sport at the moment has been fairly slow. Russell at Futsal Escocia in Fife has been doing an amazing job for a couple of years now and he’s been fantastic in helping us to set up and grow. Unfortunately there aren’t too many people like him who have a passion for developing the sport, particularly at youth level.”
Joga Futsal have also worked closely with Queens Park, who Galt describes as being a step ahead in terms of their development. However the two sides have regular matches and will also compete against each other in the Winter leagues.
The sport is developing more quickly at adult level yet the benefits for youths in the sport are impressive. Galt said, “More people need to get involved with futsal and if they don’t know too much, come along to a kids’ game and see the benefits in attacking, defending, more touches and the fast pace. There are so many so many benefits for kids’ development.” 
The future looks bright for Joga Futsal and everyone at YFS wishes them all the best with their development, and upcoming matches.
Friday, 02 December 2016 17:08

Sons of Struth and Mols launch new kit initiative

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Sons of Struth Football Academy have enlisted the help of ex Ibrox ace Michael Mols to launch their innovative new incentive that they hope will provide the funds for their new Coerver partnership venture.
Their recently launched Adidas kit is being marketed by Lionbrand and the academy will receive a donation for every top sold which they will use to prevent increasing monthly subscriptions at their academy.
SoS academy chairman Craig Houston commented "The Coerver partnership will provide a great opportunity for our academy to improve the technical ability of our kids, add value to our coaches and help us attract even more kids and coaches going forward. This venture should allow us to provide better coaching without asking parents to foot the bill."
SoS Academy won't be the only beneficiaries from the venture as Houston looks to continue supporting Rangers Youth Development Department. He added "we will split the donations we receive with Rangers Lotto who provide funds for Rangers Youth teams. Our relationship with Rangers Youths is great and some of our kids and coaches have already benefitted from trips to the Rangers Youth Academy. Rangers also kindly provided community coaches for our launch open night one year ago. I hope to further develop the relationship through time."
Mols was coached as a kid using Coerver methods and was happy to lend his weight to the project that can let local kids In Glasgow and Fife experience the same methods. Houston explained "Michael has been great and has visited our kids regularly during our first year. A few weeks ago he joined our other ambassadors Marco Negri and John MacDonald at our training and it was a great honour watching three ex pros coaching our kids"
SoS academy have adopted the ethos of "a volunteer club with professional standards" and by joining some global clubs as a Coerver Partnership club they certainly appear to be holding up to that mantra.
By opening a second centre on the east coast Houston expects the academy to rise to 100 kids in the coming months "Marvin Andrews has agreed to assist the east coast venture as ambassador and has already been involved with the first coaching sessions through there."
Houston aims to continue using out the box thinking to deliver a quality training option without overly expensive club fees. He explained: "we want to provide a top quality academy and this unfortunately costs money but by doing things a bit differenly we hope to deliver a quality product at a reasonable cost to parents. We have ordered our own mascot from the firm that's made Chelsea and Manchester United's mascots and once Struthi arrives we will use him to promote our academy throughout the communities and even this provides a sponsorship opportunity which saves us going to parents all the time with an endless number of football cards, etc."
The kit is available now at http://thelionbrand.co.uk/sons-of-struth
Football is a sport loved by children and grown-ups alike all across the country, and it is so unfortunate that due to the expense of kit, equipment and coaching fees, not all youngsters have the opportunity to be part of a club. However Possilpark-based club, Westercommon Star, aim to provide all children with the chance to play football. Club chairman, Brian Land, spoke exclusively to YFS to share the history of the club, and their aims for the future.
Reflecting on how the club was started, Land said, “Westercommon Star has been running on and off in the Possilpark area for over twenty years now. The club was started by local people who cared about the community and the development of young people in the sport of football. Their aim was to give the young people the chance to develop their football skills and abilities, which also enables the young people to work in a team and become confident individuals growing up in an area which has multi-deprivation.”
Several managers have been involved with the club over the years, and Land says each of them have made their mark at the club and enhanced the lives of many individuals within the community. He said, “Our present management team from 2009 are Paul King and Tony Cross, and these guys run the very successful Westercommon Star Amateurs. Tony Cross and Conor Mitchell manage the 2003 team while Paul King and Mark Murray run the 2007’s. It is more of an academy now than just a team as the committee and coaches have worked together since forming the present Star structure to create a team which has impacted the development of Scottish football at various age groups and won leagues and cups to be proud of. Our committee meet monthly and decide on all club issues working with the managers and the parents to ensure all feel included while taking the club forward.”
Land explained how it is important to the club that all children have the opportunity to develop their football skills without money becoming a barrier. He said, “Living in an area of multi-deprivation and seeing some clubs charge up to £50 for monthly fees for kids had led us to mould our club’s structure and provide free coaching for kids. We have vigorously fundraised and rallied various businesses to support our goals in keeping all kids’ coaching free.”
The club have a number of fundraisers each year and a lotto which brings income in, with all of the funds going straight to the kids’ development. The committee also apply for grants, which Land says help to support the club. He said, “The support from Queens Cross Housing via free hall space for our 5’s plus assists us to provide vital coaching for the 2008/09/10’s age groups, who are at a prime stage for learning and becoming our future stars for the club.”
However Land says the best support comes from the coaches, who volunteer their time every week. He said, “We could not survive without the support from our Scottish FA qualified coaches. Some are parents of our players, and some are just gold dust. They continually and selflessly provide coaching to our kids and through this, they put their time and effort into providing over 100 young people and adults with quality football coaching, free of any charges week in and week out. Without this amazing and immense support, we would not be able to operate the quality program we have on offer at Westercommon Star.”
Westercommon Star’s short-term aims are simply to continue what they are already doing. Land said, “We want to continue with the free coaching for the kids, enhance the skills ability, health and well-being of all our players in the club. We also want to continue with coaching development via SFA qualification structure and encourage all our players to continue in their personal development through positive coaching at the club.”
However in the long-term, the club would like to improve the coaching that they now offer by furthering the coaching qualifications that they have now, acquiring more funds and improving the facilities that are currently available. Land said, “We would like to set up partnerships with local organisations and businesses to secure quality facilities local to our club which will be used to develop our academy and to provide quality facilities for the community which will enable access and encourage development at all levels of the sport.” He added, “We also want to increase our coaching qualifications and the number of coaches at the club. We would like to run a ‘Fun 4’s’ league but at present, we do not have enough coaches to do this. Furthermore, we want to ensure funding is in place via sponsors and fundraising to continue the free football that we currently offer.”
It is fantastic to hear about the efforts that so many parents and coaches are going to in Possilpark to provide the facilities and opportunities for children to develop their skills in football, and YFS wish everyone at Westercommon Star all the best for this season and the future.