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Friday, 25 August 2017 17:15

SYFA Chief Executive steps down

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A statement has been released on the Scottish Youth FA website, as follows:

The Board of the SYFA has announced that the Chief Executive, David Little, is stepping down from his position.
Mr Little has held the position since the formation of the SYFA in 1999 and in recent months he has been at home recovering from surgery following a serious illness in 2016.
SYFA Chairman John McCrimmond said “David has played a key role in the SYFA for almost two decades and on behalf of the Board I would like to thank him for his contribution to the sport during that period. He leaves with our best wishes for a full recovery.
In David’s absence, members of the Board have stepped in to assist SYFA staff with the ongoing operation and management of the organisation and we will continue that arrangement whilst we undertake a recruitment process for a permanent Chief Executive.”
Youth Football Scotland would like to echo the words above and thank David for all of his help over the last seven years, in making our organisation feel like a very welcome part of the Scottish Youth FA community.
Football is one of, if not the most popular sports game in the world. Tracing its roots back to England, it is now played by children, adults, amateurs, and professionals in pretty much every single country on earth. With football players earning millions a year, and football betting becoming so popular it is almost a sport in itself, its popularity is showing no sign of slowing down. At Sbat football, you can check out a great range of tips and tricks that will help you in your way if you are considering placing a bet on a game whether you are a beginner or a pro.
But how did your favourite game start, what is the history behind it and how did we get to where we are today? Football was invented and developed in the UK and it was first codified in London in 1863. The idea was to unify private school and university games, although there is documented evidence of the game being played since 1581 in Nottinghamshire, although there are some differences between the two. The actual world “football” can actually be traced back to 1409 with a similar word being used in France at around 1314, but England holds the title for being home to the oldest football club and for founding the FA Cup in 1871. By 1888, the first Football league had been formed and it is for these reasons and milestones, that England retains the right to say that they invented the game.
The first set of proper, unified rules was created in 1848 and were referred to as The Cambridge Rules which were then followed by Sheffield F.C’s own set in 1855 and J.C.Thring in 1862. These were all merged together in 1863 when the Football Association was formed although some clubs still used the Sheffield Rules until 1878, whilst some exited the scene altogether and formed Rugby Union.  The introduction of the offside rule came in 1866 and the player C.W.Alcock was the first player to ever be ruled offside on March 31st 1866. The oldest football trophy in existence is the Youdan Cup which dates from 1867 and originated in Sheffield and by later that year, the game had been introduced to Paris, France- much to the joy and amusement of the French spectators.
By 1923, the popularity of football had picked up pace and teams were now playing in divisions. Wembley Stadium opened in 1923 and it hosted its first cup final which was played between West Ham United and Bolton.
Tragedy struck in 1958 in the shape of the Munich air disaster when eight players lost their lives, decimating most of the Manchester United team. From the early 60’s onwards, British football passed through a period known as the Golden Age. This signalled the beginning the games modernisation as well as England winning the world cup in 1966 with a controversial win over West Germany, with Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters scoring the winning goals. England are yet to win a World Cup since, much to the disappointment of their loyal fans!
So there is a roundup of the first 100 years of football history, and we hope you found it educational!
With 2017 well underway, what is in store in terms of football for the rest of the year? It can be difficult trying to keep up with all the various teams, leagues, premierships, and tournaments out there, but luckily we have compiled a shortlist for you of all the must-see events! I am guessing you are partial to a flutter on your favourite teams- I mean, who wouldn’t be keen to win money whilst enjoying the match? So, you can view odds for all English football matches coming up here at William Hill! But for more info on football in general for the next few months, please read on!
24th of May sees the Europa League final between Ajax and Man U held in Stockholm, Sweden and it remains to see which two teams will make it to this tense playoff.  By May 27th we have the long-awaited FA Cup Final as well as the incredible Scottish Cup final- we highly recommend placing a sneaky bet on these two as depending on who makes it to the last two- you could be in for quite a prize! The next day on the 28th we are treated to the League Two Play-Off Final at Wembley, and the Championship Play-Off Final on the 29th!
June is set to be a rip-roaring month for football and the action kicks off on the 3rd with the Champions League final held in the lovely city of Cardiff- definitely worth a flutter if you ask me! Then we have a short wait until the 10th with the first of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers with Scotland V England in Group F and Azerbajan v Northern Ireland in Group C. A week later on the 13th we have more World Cup Qualifiers with Serbia v Wales, Republic of Ireland v Austria thrashing it out in Group D for a place in next years Cup. Then if you are die-hard fan you can check out the European Under 21 Championships in Poland between 16th-30th. This is a great opportunity to check out up and coming talent and to pick your ones to watch for your betting memory bank!
Moving into July, it is a quiet month for football with the American Gold Cup between7th-26th, and the Women’s Euro in Holland starting on the 16th.
Things start to pick up as we move into August with the Premier League 2017/18 due to start on the 12th with fixtures still TBC- time to start planning your betting strategy for the next season!
Another round of World Cup qualifiers in September with Malta v England, Lithuania v Scotland in Group F, and San Marino v Norther Ireland from Group C on the 1st, and Wales v Austria, Georgia v Republic of Ireland in Group D on the 2nd. A few days later on the 4th England and Slovakia, Scotland and Malta (Group F) and Northern Ireland and Czech Republic (Group C) will battle it out for top position. Then on 8th and 9th we have Norway v Northern Ireland (Group C), Lithuania V England, Slovenia v Scotland (Group F) and Wales V Republic of Ireland (Group D). This is a great opportunity to place some accumulator bets on the outcomes of multiple games- you could be in for a big win if you bet wisely!
As we head into the end of the year, things seem to dry up a bit but remember that the Premiership is still to announce its dates. 2017 presents you with multiple opportunities to fine tune your betting skills in time for next year’s World Cup! So, make sure you check out all of these games, keep track of teams and players performance and use it to help you make bets that you are sure are going to come in!

Fauldhouse United 2000's player Lewis McClure has real fight and determination about him on the pitch, and now he's showing that off the pitch as well. On Sunday 28th of May, Lewis will be running the Edinburgh Marathon, and is raising money for two charities very close to his heart. 

"I've always had the goal of completing the Edinburgh Marathon and to be able to raise funds for two charities that are close to me at the same time is an absolute pleasure and bonus. I'm aiming to raise £1000, equally, between the two charities, MS Society Scotland and Crohn's and Colitis UK."

MS Society Scotland

"In particular, the reason I'm raising money for MS is because I have seen how it has affected one of my friends and how serious it can actually be. The donations would be able to fight against and hopefully find a cure for the horrible illness. It will also raise awareness to show that this illness is more serious than many think."

Crohn's and Colitis UK

"One of the main reasons I chose Crohn's and Colitis UK is because many of my friends have it as well as my coach, Steven. It is a great charity and Steven does it complete justice with the work he does compulsively. For me, it's great to raise awareness and funds for less of a well known cause since I feel like they will benefit from it more as well as doing it for Steven. He's my coach and has done a lot for me when I suffered a long injury last season that affected me both physically and mentally. He played a big part in my recovery and continues to do so even now that I am fit and back in the squad. The least I can do is give back not only to the charity but also Steven."

YFS is backing Lewis on his mission of raising funds for both charities, and you have the chance to do so as well by donating on his just giving page by Clicking Here.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017 16:18

LIVE STREAM: Spartans FC v Edinburgh City

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Live stream begins tonight at 7:30pm. Watch it by clicking here.
Monday, 13 March 2017 16:52

Interview: Alan Burnett, grassroots referee

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Following the recent YFS TV Live Debate Show on grassroots refereeing in Scotland, we caught up with Alan Burnett. We asked the Category 5 member of the Glasgow Referees Association about all things refereeing. Read the interview below...
Tell us about your experiences with negative touchline behaviour
Negative behaviour on the touchline is a regular occurance. Referees are the usually targets but not always the sole person on the receiving end. It’s said to be a referee you need to have thick skin and that is certainly the case when you hear some of the shouts from the touchlines, which is just abuse sometimes for the sake of it.
What should a club's parental code of conduct include and what sanctions should there be for breaking it?
Parents when signing their son/daughter to a team should also have a form to sign, insisting their behaviour at the side of the park should be to encourage the players, be positive and allow the coaches to do their job, along with the referee as well. Any parent that steps out of line should firstly be giving a verbal warning one on one from the coaching staff. If it continues then they would be banned from being on the touchline and only able to sit in their car if dropping their child off. If they simply ignore and continue then them and their child are then asked to leave the club.
Should referees be required to provide more post-match analysis on the behaviour of a touchline, rather than just filing a report if they break the rules? (i.e. rewarding positive sportsmanship)
I would disagree with a referee being asked to add anything there and then, especially if the behaviour hasnt been great. However, I would agree that if a referee feels it’s worth noting down a positive thing from the game, such as respectful behaviour or such is that its beyond being a good sportsman, then they should be able to add it to any report, email or team line if there is a section for notes on there.
Tell us about your experiences with Scottish grassroots referees.
My own experience as a grassroots referee is more positive than negative, especially from personal point of view. It has given me more confidence, given me the opportunity to be able to manage difficult situations that other people don’t usually find themselves in and manage my time more with sending in team lines and misconduct forms. Doing these reports and emails has certainly improved my own literacy skills, having not left with a higher from school. Meeting new people has been a massive thing as well and made lasting friendships over the years of being involved. There is a phrase we use, ‘the referee family’, which it really is. The friendship and support you get, especially when you’re on your own for 90% of the time to do games, is invaluable.
What should a club/players/coaches be able to expect from their matchday referee?
Professionalism from the start. Showing up early, at least 40 minutes before kick-off. Dressed smart in either a shirt and tie, suit or even a presentation tracksuit that still enables you to be looking the part. Speaking to players and coaches in a courteous manner. To apply the laws of the game at all times to the best of their ability and knowledge. Get the big game changing decisions correct (i.e penalty decisions and sending offs). Minor errors are going to occu and to therefore move on and focus on the game.
In the USA, young players at the age of 14 are required to take a basic refereeing test. Those who pass are then required to referee 10 soccer sevens games, before they become qualified for paid work. This generates more young referees and makes it more affordable for Under 12 teams to have proper match officials in their transitional season. Would this work in Scotland?
Yes it would be a great idea. And it then allows the players to see it from a referee’s point of view and give back something to the younger players who are playing 7 a sides and getting ready for 11 a side football. It also means if we can get people interested in refereeing at a young age that we will generate a larger number of long term participation at grassroots and then onto the top leagues.
Should there be more education for players, coaches and clubs about the laws of the game?
Yes there should be. Referees participating in the league should be invited to a league meeting and given the chance to explain the rules and any changes. And to inform them what is expected from the referees from Hampden.
Wednesday, 08 March 2017 19:01

Scottish Youth FA suspend clubs for PVG failure

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A press release issued by the Scottish Youth FA on 8th March 2017 stated:
The Scottish Youth Football Association has confirmed that 18 of its 3,500 clubs have been suspended due to a failure to complete the necessary PVG checks for coaches and officials. 
The suspensions will affect around 350 of the 60,000 youths who participate in SYFA competitions, but it is anticipated that most of these will join other nearby clubs. 
The announcement comes after the 3,500 clubs across 39 leagues were warned last year that they would risk suspension unless they ensured their coaches undertook the mandatory vetting procedures which are an essential element of the SYFA's operations. 
SYFA chief executive David Little said: "We said late last year that clubs which do not expedite these compulsory checks would lose their member status and that those volunteers without a PVG certificate would be placed under a precautionary suspension. It is encouraging that the overwhelming majority of clubs take these responsibilities extremely seriously, but those that have not complied have now been suspended from all competitions. 
"It is disappointing that we have been forced to suspend these 18 clubs, but player safety is our number one priority and we were determined to ensure that a strong signal was sent out across the country that these standards are non-negotiable. 
"A total of 488 volunteer officials who have not completed PVG checks within three months of joining a club have been placed under precautionary suspension until such time as their checks are complete. It is a key principle of SYFA membership that, until they have been cleared by the Disclosure Scotland process, volunteers joining clubs are only allowed to participate in activities under the direct supervision of a PVG-checked coach or official, of which there are more than 15,400 registered with the SYFA."
Wednesday, 22 February 2017 15:51

Malky Mackay discusses 'Project Brave' plan

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(picture, Sky Sports)

The new Scottish FA Performance Director Malky Mackay has outlined plans to increase the standards of players in youth academies throughout Scotland, as Project Brave, the Scottish FA’s development plan, begins to come into effect.

One of the biggest proposals is to reduce the number of elite academies across the Scotland, with the target being to reduce the current total of 29 down to 16. The number of elite players is also a concern, with Mackay aiming to take the total number down from just under 3000 to just over 1000 players. Some clubs may lose their elite status as a result of the proposal, as Mackay aims to maintain the very best standards.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Mackay said: “The 19-21 year olds, that where we are finding a problem. The elite youngsters are not getting enough football, they are not getting the chance to become prepared enough to become Scotland players, and first-team players for their club. I think that’s something that everybody has highlighted, and it is about how we fix that.”

He added: ““The markers that clubs are having is ‘how many first team players have come through their club, how many have gone out on loan, and how many have become Scottish internationals?’”

Other plans that Mackay wishes to implement is the return of reserve leagues within Scottish football, a league which has been defunct within the country since 2009. Amongst this, the former Cardiff City manager proposes the introduction of Fustal throughout Scotland during the winter months.

Mackay also spoke about the number of Scottish players currently playing first-team players in the country, and believes we could start to see the numbers improve: “In England last weekend, 30% of players in the Premier League last weekend were English, in a country of 60 million, and that’s how few English players were playing. A lot of countries have had various times in their history where they have struggled with this, we have also done that, and I think we have come out of the other side.

“We still have to strive to make our youngers players better, and get them playing competitive football against eachother at a high level.”

Mackay was speaking at schools throughout Scotland, as he outlined the plan to numerous young players around the country. The message is clear; keeping the very best players playing at the highest level possible, against the best opponents possible. 

Wednesday, 15 February 2017 00:50

Six young Scots taking Premier League 2 by storm

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This season Swansea have been spending time in the lower reaches of the English Premier League. However, underneath the glitz and glamour of the first team, there is no denying that but there are plenty of positives to take from the Welsh side’s U23 squad, who are currently seven points clear at the top of Premier League 2's second tier. Non more so than the growing Scottish contingency waiting patiently for opportunities to impress. Six of the all conquering squad are from north of the border. Jay Fulton, Stephen Kingsley, Oliver McBurnie, Botti Bia-bi, Ryan Blair and Adam King have all impressed to the point where they have secured deals to be part of the Swansea setup and collected some first team appearances in the process. 
Jay Fulton is a third generation footballer. His grandad Norrie Fulton scored the winning goal in the Scottish Junior Cup final for Pollok, and his dad Stephen who spent time with Hearts and Bolton Wanderers.  Jay started his professional career at Falkirk and made his first team debut at the age of 17, eventually reaching over a century of appearances. This impressive run secured him a two and a half year deal at the Welsh outfit. He opened his account in a 4-1 victory against Peterborough last August, and he has featured in the Premier League. His consistent performances earned him a new deal, keeping him at the Liberty Stadium until the summer of 2018.
Stephen Kingsley’s rise has been equally impressive. The 22 year old defender originally played for his local team, Riverside FC in Stirling, before he was added to Falkirk academy and subsequently impressed enough to secure a transfer to Swans. He eventually made his first team debut last January in a premier league match against Arsenal. His performances have also earned him a Scotland cap, coming on against France.  
Next in question is towering striker Oliver McBurnie. The former Bradford City youth has made an impact for Scotland at U19 and U21 level, and is getting ever closer to the Swansea first team. He scored twice on his EFL Cup debut earlier this season, and more recently won the Premier League 2 player of the month award.
Adam King has recently signed a new three-year contract which will keep him at the Liberty Stadium until the summer of 2019. Originally making a handful of appearances for Edinbugh club Hearts, the Scotland U21 international is thriving in his environment after loan spells at Southend and Crewe, boosting his development and netting five goals.
The final two subjects are Botti Bia-bi and Ryan Blair, both of which moved from the Falkirk side to link up with the development squad at Swansea. Bia-bi impressed at youth club Clydebank, before forcing himself into the first team picture at the Bairns. A six figure fee was involved in his move to Swansea, which is a sign of how much promise the London born striker has shown.
Four of the six have come from the ranks of Falkirk and technical director Alex Smith recently voiced his pride in seeing the young footballers making headway. An exciting future awaits for this batch of players and the Scottish football community will be keeping an eye out for what we all hope will be several international squad members in the years to come.
Next week, Scottish coaches from throughout North America will come together for the fourth annual meetup. The details are:
LOCATION: The JW Marriott Hotel, 900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015 (approx. 8-10 minute walk from the LA convention center)
DATE: Friday, January 13th, 2017 from 1:30pm to 3pm. (We will look to gather for a social that night too, details will be finalized at the meeting).
GUEST PANEL: Jim Fleeting (Scottish FA), Lachlan Cameron (Chairman of Ayr United, resident of the LA area), Colin Miller (Ex Rangers, Dunfermline & Hamilton Accies, now Head Coach of FC Edmonton) and one more TBC.
Last year the event welcomed 100+ North-American based Scottish coaches’ to the meeting and it looks forward to a great turnout again this year. Tunnock’s tea cakes and Irn Bru are on the prize list again!
For more information contact Eric McAleer on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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