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This season marks the last for Drumchapel Amateurs before moving to 11-a-side football and they say they are now ready to take the next step in their development as a team by taking part in the Barcelona Easter Tournament.
 
The Glasgow based side have been toying with the idea of going to an international tournament for some time now and have chosen now to start their preparations for their journey to sunny Spain.
 
The Barcelona Easter tournament is just one of many tournaments that Trans World Soccer organises for clubs all around Scotland. Other such tournaments take place all over Europe from England, to further afield in Barcelona and Holland.
 
Whilst over there they will have to contend with the Easter heat as well as serious competition from some of the best youth sides in Europe, but that is a challenge that Drumchapel coach Paul Richards and the rest of his players are looking forward to.
 
"The boys and parents are really looking forward to it. The boys are getting stuck in with the fundraising and this has helped bring the boys together and we expect the excitement of the boys to grow as the trip gets closer.
 
"We entered a tournament earlier this year at home but This will be our first tournament overseas. This tournament is one we’ve kept an eye on for a few years and we now feel it being our last year at small sided football it’s time to take the next step."
 
 
Richards has been watching his team grow for the past seven years and hopes that his players will benefit greatly from the experience.
 
"The boys will take a lot from this experience on and off the pitch. I’ve seen the 2008’s develop over the past 6/7 years and I think this experience will make them stronger and build a bond between the boys, build their confidence as we transition to 11-a-side next year.
 
Building a stronger bond is what Richards and the rest of the coaches at Drumchapel will be hoping that their players take away, but that doesn't mean that he won't be expecting a certain standard from his players.
 
"We expect the standard of football to be high and I imagine most teams competing will be wanting to win the overall tournament. The boys will have to adjust quickly and get used to playing in the heat and against different teams. 
 
"But if we play to our ability then we’re confident that we will give a good account of ourselves and get some decent results."
 
If you fancy joining Drumchapel Amateurs in Spain next Easter, then visit https://www.eurotournaments.co.uk/barcelona for more information.
 
Fair City will be heading out to the Madrid Youth Cup, in what will be their first venture into international football competition.
 
The Perthshire side will be one of many teams from around Europe taking part in the tournament in the Spanish capital and coach Danielle Millar is hoping that it will prove to be a positive experience for all involved.
 
She said, "The boys are all very excited. We have a large parent involvement too and they are equally excited.
 
"We’re hoping the boys experience the rewards of playing, travelling, eating and training together as a team, giving them a feeling of playing as a pro team would.
 
"We’re also hoping the boys relish the experience of playing international teams."
 
Until this point, Fair City have only been involved in local tournaments and will be hoping that taking part in something a little further from home will be a rewarding experience for them.
 
The East Region side will also have a vocal backing following them, with a large number of parents getting involved as well.
 
Millar hopes that the boys get the most out of the experience.
 
"We will be happy if the boys play well and to the best of their abilities. That will make us most proud & we can’t ask for more than that.
 
"Being our first international tournament , it will be difficult to judge winning against others, let alone the whole tournament...would be a great feeling though!"
 
If you fancy joining Fair City in Spain next Easter, then visit eurotournaments.co.uk/alltournaments2020 for more information.
 
Galston Youth 2010's are counting down the days until their trip to take part in the Barcelona Easter Tournament in 2020.
 
The West Region side will be making their furthest ever trip when they fly ut to sunny Salou in April and Head Coach Lynsey Bertoncini says the boys can't wait to get started.
 
"The squad can’t wait; this is something we have been looking forward to from when we started out as a team. 
 
"They love each week to ask “who are we playing?” so to see their faces when we say a team from Europe will be brilliant. 
 
"The squad take part in many tournaments although our furthest afield to date has been the Edinburgh Cup. We have many very well run local tournaments and the boys love taking part and have built an extensive medal collection over the years!"
 
During the tournament Galston will take on teams from all across Europe, something that excites Bertoncini and her coaches as much as her players.
 
"We are all excited! We are looking forward to seeing the boys playing brilliant football against teams from all over. Also the team building element from the boys travelling together and spending time together over the course of the weekend.
 
"It is an amazing opportunity for my team to play against various calibres of teams from all over Europe and to test themselves. Experience like this will build their skills and confidence all whilst having fun with their peers.
 
"I also hope the boys take it all in and soak up the experience creating memorable moments to look back on in years to come. When they are older with their own kids I hope they look back on their grassroots years with fondness, remembering the experiences like this, the friendships they gained and that it creates a passion for them to want to continue the grassroots experience to the next generations."
 
The team has been together since 2014 and Bertoncini has always made it her goal to get her squad out to a European tournament at some stage and is grateful that the opportunity to travel to Barcelona with Trans World Soccer came up.
 
She knows that the competition will be tough, but is confident that her side will do themselves proud.
 
"Our impressive football, team spirit, positive attitude and not forgetting our enthusiastic parents will all contribute to us standing out!
 
All the coaches believe we can go and win this. We will do Galston Youth FC proud and the boys will make each one of the coaches burst with pride no matter where we finish."
 
If you fancy joining Galston in Spain next Easter, then visit https://www.eurotournaments.co.uk/barcelona for more information.

Head coach Stephen Millar says he was “sold straight away” on next year’s Barcelona Easter Tournament and the opportunity it presents his AC Oxgangs 09 team.

The Edinburgh side travel to sunny Salou at the start of April, where they’ll be joined by over 300 teams from across Europe to compete for the Easter Tournament crown.

As Millar reveals, anticipation is already building: “Our squad is very excited for the trip, it’s all we hear about at training and in matches,” he said. “There is a real buzz about the players as we all have something extra to look forward to and work hard towards. 

“We are currently taking part in a lot of fundraising as well which gives them that added excitement and is bringing them together as a team.”

When they arrive in Spain, Oxgangs will get the chance to test themselves against some of the best and brightest young players from across Europe, and Millar is hopeful they’ll learn lots from the experience.

He said: “I am hoping that our players have the trip of a lifetime and make memories to be remembered for years to come; that they learn from the other teams in the tournament in how they play and set up; and from a team bonding point of view that they learn to work together, trust and help their teammates.

“But most of all I hope this experience boosts their love for the game and they enjoy every minute of the experience.”

Oxgangs are a side with festival experience – earlier this year they travelled down to Skegness for a tournament over a couple of days and, although they didn’t win the competition, they returned to Scotland Fair Play award winners.

Now for the first time ever they’re heading to the continent, and Millar reckons competing in one of the most famous football cities on the planet will inspire his team:

“We will visit the Camp Nou as a team during our stay and some other attractions,” he said. “Spanish football is amongst the best in the world and I am really looking forward to seeing what the youth set up is like and the differences to Scotland.”

When it comes time to take to the pitch, there’s no question the competition will be tough, but do Oxgangs have what it takes to win the tournament? As Millar reveals, the players are quietly confident.

He said: “To give a good account of ourselves at the tournament we will need to get the ball down, pass well and – most importantly – work together as a team.

“I am confident they will do themselves, the club and the country proud. Can we win it? Our boys seem to think so.

“We will work hard, try our best and see where it gets us. The most important thing is that they have fun and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience.”

If you fancy joining Oxgangs in Spain next Easter, then visit https://www.eurotournaments.co.uk/barcelona for more information.

Friday, 30 August 2019 10:15

Murieston United Ready for UK International Cup

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Murieston United 2011s are “buzzing” to compete at the UK International Cup next May says coach Gary Callaghan.

The young West Lothian side are heading down to St George’s Park next year, where they’ll be part of the 100-team international tournament:

“Our boys are buzzing about taking part, but I would say the coaches might even be more excited,” Callaghan revealed. “We can’t wait to play in a state-of-the-art facility and challenge ourselves against a wide range of teams.

“We’ve played in a few festivals in Scotland but this will be a completely different challenge for the boys, and one they’re really looking forward to. Having the chance to play against teams from different countries was a huge incentive for us to sign up.”    

The tournament is taking place right at the heart of English football; as the home to all 28 of their national teams, the Murieston players will be following in their idols footsteps when they take to one of the 12 training pitches next year.

And Callaghan believes it was an opportunity too good to pass up. He said: “The boys can’t wait to play at St George’s Park where some of their footballing heroes like Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling train with England – it’s a once in a lifetime experience for them.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the excitement on their faces when they finally get the chance to play in an amazing tournament at an incredible venue.”

It’s not just the action on the pitch that they’ve got to look forward to – Callaghan knows that the time spent travelling and bonding as a team is priceless, and that the players will take a lot from the experience:

“Our objective is for the team to enjoy themselves and create childhood memories that they can tell their grandkids about when they are older,” he said. “I want the boys to embrace it all; from the bus journey down to staying in a hotel with their teammates, hopefully we will grow closer as a team and they’ll create happy memories that they will cherish forever. 

“We also want the boys to learn as much as possible from the trip as a player and as a person - how to deal with certain things like staying away from home and challenging themselves at the highest level on the football field.” 

For Murieston, this is the main objective of the trip – what happens on the pitch come second. However, Callaghan reckons if they work together and play to their ability then results will speak for themselves. He said:

“Our main objective is to enjoy ourselves and grow closer as a team, and if we do well then that’s a bonus.

“To do well, we will need to work hard and play as a team with lots of encouragement and enthusiasm from each player. Hopefully we build a foundation at the tournament that we can take forward moving up the age groups.”

If your side fancies joining Murieston at the UK International Cup next year, visit https://www.eurotournaments.co.uk/uk for more information and details on how to get involved.

 
While it may not be recorded as a significant moment in the annals of Liverpool FC’s rich history, there was a moment of genius from Virgil Van Dijk in the fixture against Tottenham in March that should be studied again and again.
 
First of all, for those who don’t follow Premier League football, let’s set the scene. Liverpool are chasing a first title since 1990, locked in a tit-for-tat battle against Manchester City in one of the most thrilling titles races in recent times. 
 
On 31st March, Liverpool had one of their toughest tests in the run-in, a clash with fellow Big 6 side Tottenham Hotspur. A loss or a draw from Liverpool would have given the advantage back to Pep Guardiola’s relentless Manchester City side. This is a race that will be won on the finest of margins.
 
With five minutes to go in the Tottenham game, Spurs midfielder Moussa Sissoko broke for a counterattack, creating a two on one situation with Spurs forward Heung-Min Son. Standing in the way of the Spurs mean was Virgil Van Dijk, Liverpool’s colossus central defender. 
 
Quick-thinking could hand Liverpool title
 
As Sissoko strode forward, Van Dijk simultaneously shut out the passing angle for Son and narrowed the angle for Sissoko to shoot at Liverpool’s goal. It was the type of quick thinking that only the truly great players are able to do, seeing patterns and angles that the rest of us mere mortals do not. 
 
The result was that Sissoko fluffed his shot, straight over the bar and the head of Liverpool’s keeper Allison. Some will point to Sissoko’s lack of composure, but this was a defensive masterclass all created by the Dutch maestro, who never needed to put a tackle in. A few minutes later, Liverpool scored the winner, putting them firmly back in the hot-seat in the Premier League title race. 
 
Van Dijk should be studied by young players and coaches who wish to study the art of the game. He has shown Liverpool fans that he understands the art of defending better than any player at Anfield in a generation. Indeed, some are now saying that Van Dijk is the best defender on the planet.
 
Van Dijk considered Ballon D’Or contender
 
If you want to go a little further than that, there is a growing consensus that Van Dijk might just be a serious contender for the Ballon D’Or this year. Online betting site 888sporthave priced him as 13/1 to be the first defender since Fabio Cannavaro to win the highest accolade in soccer. Lionel Messi at 3/5, Cristiano Ronaldo at 7/2, Kylian Mbappé at 7/1 and Neymar at 10/1 are still the favourites, but it just shows how well regarded Van Dijk is to be mentioned in that company.
 
 
Indeed, if you study Van Dijk’s performances, you will see that he has that hallmark of a truly great leader – getting the most out of those around him. Liverpool’s young defenders, like Trent-Alexander Arnold, will constantly look to Van Dijk during the game, knowing the Dutchman will show them where to be and when to move. 
 
 
As with other legendary defenders built in a similar mould, like Franz Beckenbauer and Franco Baresi, Van Dijk is capable of a putting in a thunderous tackle, but he also knows that is the last resort. Positioning is the key difference between a good central defender and a great one. Van Dijk is certainly the latter, and he should be an example to anyone wanting to learn the game. 
Scotland women’s head coach Shelley Kerr hopes her young players can continue to “inspire” the next generation of footballers, as she gears up her side for the women’s World Cup.
 
The women's national side will make their first ever World cup appearance in June, with a match against England. Kerr has been impressed with how her young stars have dealt with their names in the spotlight.
 
“I think they’ve coped really well, certainly as a group they have matured massively. The only way you become mature in sports is by facing many different challenges, and they have certainly faced some challenges in the past campaign.
 
“They have developed really well. Some of the young players have been involved in the recent Euro’s competition, which is a bit of experience heading to the World Cup. There’s still a lot of work to be done in the next 5 months though, in the process to our preparation for the World Cup. “
 
The preparation for the tournament in June begins this month, with the women’s side jetting off to La Manga, Spain, where they will play Norway and Iceland. With many key stars missing from action due to injury and club commitments, Kerr believes her young players can still be successful, without the presence of experienced performers in the dressing room.
 
“Our group of players are playing at the highest levels for their clubs, playing against and playing with some really experienced players. That’s all part of maturing as an athlete and a part in top sport. The better the opponent you play, the better the players you play with, it equips you more to perform.”
 
Kerr is now hoping that the success Scotland’s women’s team have had can help leave a lasting impact on young footballers in Scotland.
 
“That was part of the plan, to inspire the next generation. If you can get more girls playing football it’s fantastic, and it’s deemed as a success. We need to have a legacy aspect, there’s two strands to this qualification, in terms of qualifying for the Euro’s and the World Cup.
 
“We want to perform and have a bit success at these competitions, but there is the legacy part, so it’s also about growing the game. We need to make sure we not only inspire the next generation of young girls, but the whole population. It’s boys, women, girls, men. We want to inspire everyone.”
 
Central Girls Football Academy have bid farewell to four star players as they jet off to America to continue their careers stateside.
 
Shaney McCabe, Kim McAlpine, Morgan Cross and Captain Ellie Kane have left Grangemouth to join U.S. clubs on scholarships.
 
Kane, 18, and Cross, 17, left for the University of South Alabama this past weekend; McCabe, 18, recently arrived at Laramie County Community College in Wyoming. McAlpine, 18, heads to Carson-Newman University in Tennessee next week.
 
For all four girls, the nerves have kicked in but they’re raring to get started:
 
“I’m extremely nervous as it is a bit of a step into the unknown but I’m also excited to meet the girls and start training,” said Kane.
 
McCabe said: “When moving day came that is when it hit me and it was really hard saying goodbye to loved ones but it’s been the best opportunity ever.”
 
Cross commented: “It still doesn’t feel real but I’m looking forward to a completely new challenge and experience.”
 
And McAlpine said: “I’m really excited but I’m a wee bit nervous as well. It was the offer of a lifetime and I couldn’t say no to it.
 
 
The girls leave Scotland having enjoyed lots of success with Central; they’ve all won every domestic cup and league title available, including a treble winning year in 2015 and the SWFL Division 1 title with the senior squad in 2017.
 
They’ve all represented Scotland at various levels as well, and on two occasions all four were on the pitch at the same time – a particularly proud moment for everyone involved at Central.
 
Cross said: “I’m gutted to be leaving Central as I’ve made so many memories and friendships over the last four years. It’s thanks to Central that I have the opportunity to go out to America in the first place.”
 
Kane said: “I’m very sad to be leaving as it is the only team I’ve played for since moving from my childhood boys team. I’ve had the opportunity to see different parts of the world with Central and met some great girls along the way.
 
“I will of course miss the coaches who have taught me everything I know and helped me achieve my dream.”
 
 
All four were part of the Central team that travelled to Florida for the Disney International Cup at Under-18 level last year. Up against teams from the USA, Central America and Brazil, the team won the competition and before long the offers were rolling in from the scouts in attendance:
 
“There were teams from Brazil who are really skilful and teams from Honduras who were big and strong, so there were some things that we found hard,” remembers McAlpine. “But to be honest we went over there and completely dominated which was excellent.”
 
Back home, Head of Football at Central, Ian Dibdin, admits that it will be tough to replace such key players, but is proud of the role his club played in their development:
 
“Would I rather have the girls part of the team? Yes, of course!” he said. “With them we would avoid the drop [from the SWPL2], but if that meant them losing the opportunity of a lifetime then they need to go and the club will just have to get on with it. We have a great philosophy at the club and the many players we have developed are testament to that.
 
“We look to have football all year round for the girls, with training continuing throughout the year and travelling for tournaments during the summer break. It has helped us evolve as coaches and allowed us as a club to widen our experience and knowledge of the game.
 
“The girls getting scholarships is the pinnacle of all these factors; we will wear that badge with pride.”
 
 
And now he’s looking forward to seeing the next generation of players step up and fill the void left by the American-bound foursome.
 
He said: “We enjoy a tremendous youth system and players will continue to come through, I’ve no doubt about it. We use the tag ‘This is the Way we Play’, this sums up our approach to the game and our totally player-focussed attitude.
 
“It’s ultimately up to the individuals themselves but maximising talent has been our forte - for those wanting to work hard, listen and have a good lifestyle.”
 
Whilst Dibdin is confident of the future, the four outgoing players are heading into the unknown. But, when the dust has settled on their courses in America, they’re all excited to be playing football at as high a level as possible.
 
McCabe said: “Hopefully when I finish I will be playing for a high-level team and enjoying life.”
 
Similarly, Kane said: “I’m not certain of where I’d hope to be in five years, I just want to be playing football wherever that may be.”
 
Cross said: “My ideal goal is to be playing professionally after my four years at South Alabama.”
 
“I’m hoping to get a degree in P.E teaching as I want to come back here and keep pursuing my football whilst also being a P.E. teacher. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do,” said McAlpine.
 
Whatever happens, the future looks bright for these four Scottish exports.
 
Friday, 27 July 2018 13:32

Jamie Skinner Goal of the Season 2017/18

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The Jamie Skinner Goal of the Season is back for 2017/18! Previous winners of the award include Erin Curthbert (Rangers FC Girls), Luke Fleming (Blue Brazil BC), Hamish MacLeod (Banks O'Dee Albion) and Callum McCaig (Burnhead Colts). Click here to look back at their wondergoals.
 
This is the hub page for the competition. Check back here for all of the latest news and updates. The format for this year is as follows:

It's final time!
 
We want as many votes as possible this year, and have therefore opened up voting to both Facebook and Twitter platforms for you to get involved in, as well as on our website.
 
REMEMBER: Public voting is worth 40% of the vote this year, whilst 60% will be voted via a select panel of youth football clubs/volunteers/journalists.
 
Voting will conclude on Thursday 16th August, with the winner to be announced on social media on Friday 17th August.
 
Below, you'll find the list of the top 10 final goals. To submit your vote, simply fill out the information below.
 
To view the goals and to get onto our other voting platforms - click on the links below.
 
 
 
 
Ahead of the weekend, we look at a heart-warming story from the 2006 Irvine Meadow boys, who made a fantastic charitable gesture yesterday.
 
On 22nd March it was World Down’s Syndrome Day, which aims to raise awareness of the condition that affects 60,000 people across the United Kingdom.
 
The 2006 Irvine Meadow boys decided that they wanted to help bring our attention to the cause, and did so by donating an impressive £200 to the Down’s Syndrome Scotland Ayrshire branch yesterday.
 
A great show of the young boys character, which is not the first time the boys have decided to donate to a local organisation, showing that there are bigger things in life than football.
 
Last night, a representative from the Ayrshire branch attended the boys training with her son to receive the cheque.
 
It is with great gestures like this that we remember to help those around us who need it most, and the 2006 Irvine Meadow boys exemplify that attitude. 
 
Read more about Downs Syndrome Scotland @ https://www.dsscotland.org.uk
 
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