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Stranraer FC leave Club Academy Scotland

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Stranraer FC have officially announced that they will no longer be a part of the Club Academy Scotland setup.
The Scottish League One club took the decision to leave the academy setup in favour of joining community boys club football in the Dumfries and Galloway Youth Football League.
Youth Football Scotland managed to catch up with Stranraer FC's Head of Youth Development Allan Jenkins to ask him about the club's reasons for this move, with the location of the club being a key issue.
"At Stranraer a big issue was our geographic location and the amount of travelling we were having to do to participate in club academy, as it was no longer regionalised we were having to travel 3-4 hours to Dundee, Montrose and other places.
"Also the agreement in place that games vs Elgin, Inverness and Ross County would be played halfway at Stirling Uni meant more travelling for "home" games.
"Around 75% of funding received for being in club academy was being spent on travel costs of bus and pitch hire. At Stranraer we select our u15 and u17 sides from Stranraer Academy pupils with a few others joining from a small town called Newton Stewart which is 25 miles away.
"Our location means it's difficult to attract players to travel for training and games so although the club is in the professional leagues at first team level, at Youth team level we are very much a local Community club so we made a decision to try and rejoin the local D&G community league this year at 15-17 levels."
Jenkins also cited the SFA's new youth football initiative Project Brave, and the uncertainty of what football would be available to clubs outwith the project's structure.
"We had been told that under 15's football would only be viable til December 2017, then it would be a case of organising friendly matches until the new playing structure came into play."
He also made a point of the gulf in class between Stranraer and some of the other clubs in Scottish academy football.
"As other clubs have bigger catchment areas and a larger number of potential players to attract we often found ourselves on the wrong end of some heavy defeats in club academy, which was having a negative effect on players.
"Now as a Development coach I fully accept that the result isn't the main thing but I also have a duty to players to make sure they are enjoying the game and getting a chance to develop in a fair environment, which wasn't always the case when players aren't seeing much of the ball and travelling long days with little or no success/enjoyment.
"I felt the level wasn't a fair reflection on the boys ability and the results were having a demotivating effect on their mindset."
This has led to the move away from academy football to boys club football and Jenkins believes that his club has made the right decision to make the move.
"The main difference now for me is that the players are now competing on a more realistic level and therefore getting many more touches of the ball to display their skill and be put in that match situation where the decision making part of the game is so vital in developing and gaining experience.
"Also something simple as scoring more goals and playing the game with a smile on their face which as a coach is great to see and having that wee bit of competitive edge in the league and cup environment is great to get the bit between their teeth.
"This has also led to some national development squad recognition and other senior teams asking some players to train with them. I'm not sure this would've been the case if we would have stayed in club academy.
"I feel the regional league has given our boys the correct level of platform to go and showcase their talents."
Jenkins was also enthusiastic to encourage other clubs in a similar position to Stranraer to also make the move to community football.
"As a Development tool it's great for the boys to see success on the pitch what they practice in training. Being back in the regional league also means a lot less traveling which allows parents to travel and watch games, which in my opinion is great as if any of them go on to make a career they will need that continued support from parents and coaches along the way.
"It has been a case of so far so good for Stranraer moving back to boys club football and without question has been right for our club.
"I know some other clubs who were in club academy have completely folded their Youth set up but if any are in a similar situation to our then I would have no hesitation in recommending the move to boys club football."
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