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The founder of Ayr-based football club Valspar FC, Jim Gourlay, received his well-deserved place on the Queen's honours list this year. Jim now joins the ranks of Scottish Football legends who have also received this accolade such as Ally Mcoist, Gordon Strachan, and Sir Alex Ferguson.

The club was founded in 1976 by Jim who had no prior experience, just a love for the game and a desire to give young men in his own town of Ayr an outlet and purpose.From 1976 to 2019  Valspar teams have travelled to countries as far and wide as Canada, America, Norway, Sweden and many others. In the early 1990s Jim took a team that won the Austria cup having previously won the Scottish cup.

Jim has spent his career as both chairman and president of the club, as well as scouting for teams like Liverpool and Ayr United. During his tenure at Liverpool Football Club, Jim was responsible for the scouting of 1988 FWA Player of the Year Steve Nicol. As well as this, he was involved in the early recruitment of John Barnes and Emile Heskey. 

Perhaps his biggest recent achievement was, whilst scouting for Ayr United, he spotted a young left sided player by the name of Andy Robertson, who you may remember lifting the Champions League trophy in June.   

Jim Gourlay’s recognition comes well earned, his role within Scottish Football has been pivotal for years and something for everyone with a passion for football to look up to. 

Congratulations Jim!

 
This Saturday sees the beginning of the WOSYFL Cup Finals and we are set to be treated to three close ties, containing six very good sides.
 
The first match this weekend will see Galston YFC and Dreghorn Moorfield face off at U13s level. Following this will be the U16s Presidents Cup final between Glenburn MW and Rowallan FC, before the day is rounded off with the U19s William Nesbitt Cup final between Bonnyton Thistle and Hurlford BC.
 
Let's now look at all the finals this Sunday:
 
 
Galston YFC vs Dreghorn Moorfield U13s - Charles Hogg Memorial Trophy Final
 
Both teams come into this game on good form. Galston currently sit 4th in the 25 team WOSYFL U13s League, having lost just two games in the league all season. And while one of those games did come against their final opponents, they will still certainly fancy their chances of leaving with the trophy.
 
Dreghorn have had an equally inpresive first season at 11-a-side football and they occupy second spot in the league table, having lost just one game this season. Moorfield also have the mental advantage in knowing that they have already beaten Galston earlier this season, winning 5-2 when the sides met back in November.
 
Here is how both teams made their way to Dam Park:
 
 
Galston YFC
 
Preliminary Round: KFA Inter - 10-1 (H)
1st Round: KFA Bayern - 10-0 (H)
Quarter-Final: Craigie Colts - 6-0 (A)
Semi-Final: Irvine Meadow - 2-1 (H)
 
 
Dreghorn Moorfield
 
Preliminary Round: Coylton FC - 10-0 (H)
1st Round: Troon Thistle - 10-0 (H)
Quarter-Final: Stewarton Annick - 8-1 (H)
Semi-Final: Caledonian YFC - 3-1 (A)
 
 
 
Glenburn MW vs Rowallan FC U16s - Presidents Cup Final
 
Glenburn's form in the WOSYFL U16s league this season has been pristine so far, with 14 wins from 14 games played this season in league action. On top of this they can boast a win over Rowallan so far already this season, although they will definitely be in for a more challenging test when they meet again on Saturday.
 
Rowallan have also performed well this season and have only picked up two losses in the league this season. One of those defeats did come at the hands of Glenburn, but since that match Rowallan have been on fine league form, with eight straight wins, conceeding just three goals in the process.
 
Here is how both teams made their way to Dam Park:
 
 
Glenburn MW
 
1st Round: Stewarton United - 10-1 (H)
Quarter-Final: Dalrymple Thislte - 4-3 AET (A)
Semi-Final: Bellfield Royals - 4-3 (A)
 
 
Rowallan FC
 
1st Round: BYE
Quarter-Final: Cunninghame Colts - 8-0 (A)
Semi-Final: Valspar AC - 6-1 (H)
 
 
 
Bonnyton Thistle vs Hurlford BC U19s - William Nesbitt Cup Final
 
Bonnyton come into this game as underdogs, but will take great encouragement from their run in this tournament so far. A win in the semi-finals against a strong Auchinleck Talbot side serves as evidence that Thistle are more than capable of taking any team on on their day.
 
Hurlford are having a great season so far and sit in a favourable position in the league to take top spot and win the title. The Scottish Cup Quarter-Finalists will have t make sure complacency doesn't become an issue, despite having already beaten Bonnyton earlier this season.
 
Here is how both teams made their way to Dam Park:
 
 
Bonnyton Thistle
 
1st Round: Bellfield BC - 6-1 (H)
Quarter-Final: Cumnock Juniors - 10-1 (H)
Semi-Final: Auchinleck Talbot - 3-1 (A)
 
 
Hurlford BC
 
1st Round: Glenafton - 1-0 (H)
Quarter-Final: Coylton - 8-0 (H)
Semi-Final: Irvine Meadow - 3-1 (H)
 
 
 
YFS is looking forward to filming all of these games this weekend. If you would like to pre-order your match DVD, order here @ https://yfs.news/FinalApril19
 
Cumnock Juniors youngster is set to walk 28 miles over four days to raise money for charity.
 
10 year old Lochlan Murdoch will walk around all 12 SPFL Premiership stadiums, as well as Hampden Park and Townhead Park in Cumnock, raising money for JDRF Scotland and The Kris Boyd Charity.
 
JDRF Scotland aims to develop research to help combat Type 1 Diabetes, which Lochlan was diagnosed with five and a half years ago and The Kris Boyd Charity, which offers support for mental health.
 
Lochlan unfortunately broke his leg during the Ayr International Tournament last year and has had to have two surgeries on his knee, which has stopped him from playing football.
 
He decided to challenge himself and get fit by organising this charity event.
 
On his GoFundMe page, he said: "When I broke my leg I got very sad and felt left out and really alone. I lost my confidence because I couldn't play football. I stopped going to watch training and games because I felt so sad at not being able to take part and play with my friends.
 
"So, I decided I wanted to challenge myself and get myself back to being fit and healthy and to reach a new goal. Football is my absolute favourite thing in the world and Kilmarnock FC are my favourite team.
 
"I train with Kilmarnock Development team too and when I am older I want to play professional football like Jamie MacDonald and Kris Boyd. I don't want type1 or being sad to stop me from achieving everything I want to achieve. Andy Rose (Motherwell FC) and Scott Allan(Celtic FC) have type 1 diabetes and it certainly doesn't stop them and they are such an inspiration to me."
 
Lochlan will begin his journey at Townhead Park on the 2nd April and will end at Ruby Park in Kilmarnock on the 6th April.
 
Anyone interested in helping Lochlan's cause can donate on his GoFundMe page by clicking the link here.
 
(Picture courtesy of SFP Trust)
 
Threave Rovers have officially announced the opening of their brand new playing facility at Birkland Road.
 
The facility comes as a result of an “asset transfer” with Dumfries and Galloway Council and will aim to provide the club and wider community with an arena which will continue the advancement of grassroots football in the area.
 
Threave Rovers originally contacted the Scottish Football Partnership Trust to discuss the project and the Trust were encouraged by the ambition of the project by Rovers.
 
Stuart McCaffrey, Chief Operating Officer at The Scottish Football Partnership said, “It is fantastic to see the transformation of Birkland Park into an excellent footballing facility for Threave Rovers Community F.C.
 
“The coaches and volunteers who have worked tirelessly over many months deserve an enormous amount of credit for making this project a reality. From the outset we were determined to play our part in improving the facilities available to the club and more specifically the 180 young players it has across 9 different age-groups including 2 girls’ teams.
 
“We hope our investment in this new football hub will allow the club to continue to develop and grow its playing membership and to increase participation in football locally.”
 
David McMath, Secretary of Threave Rovers said, “The club identified this facility as a must-have if it was to continue to provide excellent opportunities for individual players and teams to grow and develop. We have worked collaboratively with Dumfries and Galloway Council, the SFP and SP Energy Networks in particular in firstly securing and then the construction phase of this project.
 
"The rewards are now there to be seen in that we have created a safe and secure changing and playing environment which will bring long-term benefits to our club.
 
"On behalf of everyone at Threave Rovers Community F.C. and the local community, I would like to thank the following organisations; Dumfries and Galloway Council, The Scottish Football Partnership, SP Energy Networks, Roadbridge, John Jardine Plant, Maxwell Construction, Allan Smith Fencing, James Smith Fencing, SWEAT and The Holywood Trust for their support in making this project a reality as without such partnerships, it would not have been possible.
 
"This new facility is an excellent example of what can be achieved with community engagement. We hope this project can inspire other communities to also see the benefits of such a facility which can only enhance the future of football in Scotland.”
 
Iain Steele, Dumfries and Galloway District General Manager at SP Energy Networks said, "SP Energy Networks is proud to support Threave Rovers and support the construction of the club's new facilities.
 
"They will create a huge number of new opportunities for the club, the local community in Castle Douglas and visitors from further afield. As the owner and operator of power lines in the area, we are completely committed to supporting communities across Dumfries and Galloway.
 
"We're looking forward to seeing the club and players thrive as a result of the new football facilities."
Monday, 19 February 2018 13:27

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."
Tuesday, 28 November 2017 12:36

A perfect season for FC Kilmarnock White

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It’s been a remarkable season for FC Kilmarnock Whites as they emerged as Champions of the U13s Erin Cuthbert League.
 
It was an invincibles season as well for the Whites as they managed to secure a perfect seven wins from seven matches, along with a run to the semi-final of the League Cup.
 
The season began perfectly for Killie, as they got off the mark with an impressive 6-3 away victory to second-placed Kilwinning, and followed that result up with a convincing 9-0 win against East Kilbride Blue. A local derby came up next against Ayr United, which Killie came away with a hard-fought 2-1 victory away from home.
 
To the credit of their nearest rivals, Kilwinning took the League to the final game of the season, but FC Kilmarnock held their nerve, clinching the title with a resounding 10-1 win against Dean Thistle.
 
Youth Football Scotland caught up with FC Kilmarnock White Coach Allan Jones for his thoughts on a very successful season for his side.
 
“It's a great feeling to be crowned league champions. The girls have worked really hard all season long and turned in some absolutely brilliant performances throughout the season.
 
“The girls managed to play a really good style of football this season. They got the ball down and passes it with pace and excellent movement. They were confident in possession of the ball and this is testament to their hard work to get to where they are now.”
 
“It's great to see the girls enjoying their football and it’s there for all to see just how much they love the sport. It's been an absolute pleasure to coach them this season, I couldn't have asked any more of them.
 
“The toughest moment of the season was when we lost to our sister team, the Blues, in the semi-final of the League Cup. However, the girls had done extremely well to get there and we were all really proud of their efforts.
 
When asked about his side’s aims for next season, he replied, “The aim for next season is to keep developing both individually and as a team. The most important thing is that the girls are learning whilst playing with a smile on their face and enjoying their football.”
 
Congratulations to FC Kilmarnock White and good luck for next season.
 
Crosshouse BC Athletic Under 16s sat atop their respective table at the end of the 2016-17 season with 81 points, that’s six points clear ahead of fellow rivals KSC Rovers (second), and 22 points clear ahead of Hurlford Boys Club (third). This stands as quite the victory for The Hoose, however, it also highlights the high standard of the league when you look at that narrow margin of points, and so what does it take to get to the top of the CAYFA table?
 
Back in 2014/15 and 2013/14 they finished seventh in the league (in both cases), and with their 2001 boys having placed second last season in the Under 15s league, it would seem as though The Hoose obviously had something up their red and black sleeves as they built up steam going into the 2016/17 season with their 2001s moving up into the Under 16s league; was it a change in mentality, determination, courage or leadership? Managerial tactics and strategy? Hard labour or luck? Jim Moffat, the team’s head coach, explained what geared them towards success.
 
“Last year was just a great group of boys”, he said, “and good leadership from our captain who was Jamie Montgomery at the time. Being able to get the ball through to my strikers from midfield and always being aware of, obviously, we’ll lose our defenders.” Integrally, he put emphasis on “beat the keeper”, in order to succeed in risking having a poor defence.
 
He added: “Our top goalscorer last season was a boy called Chaz, Chaz scored 42 goals. I think Aaron McKinnon will take over this season, he was our second striker, he scored 35 goals last year. Aaron will be a name to watch out for, if he has his chances and takes them.”
 
Usually an integral part of the youth development leagues is to develop players, and then some of those players will leave to go play pro youth. But at the club things seem to have flipped - pro youth seems to come to Crosshouse.
 
“Well”, he goes on to say, “I’ve not actually lost boys to pro youth, I gained boys from pro youth, they get fed up with pro youth and then they come to us. But this season, I’ve lost my captain, Jamie Montgomery who’s going on to play junior football.”
 
It’s a testament to the sustainability of the club that they are able to switch in and out players at high succession and still keep and meet the bar high for achievement. 
 
“From when we started 11 asides at ages of 12 or 13 it will have been four seasons now. And this is us just going into our fifth season. Out of the four seasons we’ve won three league titles, one runner up, two league cups, two supplementary cups and two football festivals from Cumbernauld Football Festival and Clyde Bank Football Festival”, said Moffat.
 
“It’s been tough. It’s been quite competitive”, he went on. “Yeah, the last season there we went through with only losing one goal in one game, we were close to walking through the season undefeated”, reflected Moffat.
 
Next season they will be up against “more or less” the same clubs and players.
 
“The teams that are going to be there this year, the Under 17s, they’re more or less the same teams we’ve been playing against. Same size of boys. Same competitive boys. I don't see it being any different, myself, going from 16s to 17s. The boys will be a bit bigger and a bit stronger, you know, but at the end of the day it’s a natural progression. They will be playing against players with a similar fitness level”, said Moffat. 
 
Towards the end of the interview, I asked simply on how he felt going into the 2017/18 season.
 
“I feel a wee bit this year that it will be a lot tougher. A lot of other clubs have picked up boys, and obviously, I’ve lost three or four boys this year. I’ve lost my striker, Chaz, who was my top 
goalscorer last year. I’ve lost my centre back which was Jamie Monty, who was my captain as well, I lost him to junior football, as I said. I lost a really good right mid, Mark Williams, a really fast boy that used to play down the wings. Losing these integral players means it’s going to be even more challenging, this season. Strongest competitors this season, I would say, we need to look out for Largs this year, they’ve picked up two or three boys and they’ve always been a team over the last 
two seasons where they’ve maybe been one or two boys short of being a really good competitive team. They won the league cup last season”, said Moffat.
 
The Hoose will try to hold onto their bragging rights this season when the 2017-18 CAYFA league commences again in August.
 

Youth Football Scotland: Website Photos 16/17 &emdash;

(Bonnyton Thistle 2002s, who recently won the Central Ayrshire Youth FA David McNaught Cup)

 

Bonnyton Thistle FC from Kilmarnock will have a senior team on the field next season, after the club’s application to join the South of Scotland Football League was approved.

The move will also see the Ayrshire club set up an Under 20s team, which will play in the Scottish Lowland League Under 20s Development League, which kicks off in late July.

The club, which has been a regular fixture in Scottish Youth FA Cup finals in recent years, are now officially part of the SFA pyramid system for Scottish football, with the South of Scotland League making up the sixth tier. Promotion from there leads to the Lowland League, which in turn provides the possibility of football in SPFL League Two.

The senior side will be managed by former Kilmarnock player Alan Robertson, who also took the Under 20s side at the club and was in charge of its academy. His assistant will be ex-Killie striker and youth coach Paul Wright.

Current Bonnyton coaches Ian Higgins and Neil Wilson will head up the Under20s side along with Graeme Neil, who joins the club after stints with Annbank Juniors and Ayr United. Higgins and Wilson have not only been involved in the club’s recent cup successes but were pivotal in securing a new 3G facility for the club, in the Townholm area of Kilmarnock, which allows them to fill the league’s contractual obligations for the season ahead.

Teams that have followed a similar path from youth to senior football include Cumbernauld Colts and East Kilbride FC, the latter of whom played Celtic in the Scottish Cup in February this year.

 

 

Sunday, 09 April 2017 18:26

TASS ready for Irish adventure

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Story courtesy of Dundalk Sport.
 
The children of TASS Thistle FC from North Ayrshire in Scotland will travel to Dundalk for a sporting visit over the Easter weekend.
 
First up for the Scots is a visit to the ‘Home of Football’ on Good Friday when Dundalk FC entertain Bray Wanderers in an SSE Airtricity League Premier Division fixture at Oriel Park.
 
On Easter Saturday, the astroturf pitch in Muirhevnamor will play host to a seven-a-side five-team blitz for kids born in 2008. TASS Thistle (Coerver® Partner Club) will compete against local clubs Muirhevnamor, Glenmuir (Celtic international Partner club) Quay Celtic and Rock Celtic (Coerver® Partner Club).
 
The trip, which is the first of what will hopefully become an annual festival of football between the clubs, has been organised by Mark Bellew, a native of Dundalk who is now living in Scotland.
 
Mark has strong links with the local football community in Dundalk. A son of Seamus Bellew, known to many in the town as ‘Mr Muirhevnamor’, he played with Muirhevnamor, Redeemer United, Shamrock Celtic and Bellurgan United before moving to Scotland in 2007.
 
Speaking to Dundalk Sport, Mark said he was looking forward to the trip home with his son Sonny, and his teammates and coaches from TASS 2008.
 
“It will be nice to start building a lasting legacy with my father’s name attached,” said Mark. “He loves the Dundalk Schoolboys League and Dundalk FC. It’s just a pity he’s not well enough to attend the event.”
 
“The aim of the tournament is to build friendship between the two countries and to cross religious divides that may still exist between the respective footballing communities,” he added.
 
“Each year, as the kids grow older, we hope their friendships grow too.”
 
Fixtures will be played throughout the day with TASS set to face Quay Celtic and Rock Celtic in the morning matches before meeting Muirhevnamor and Glenmuir in the afternoon.
 
 
The DAGYL (Dumfries and Galloway Youth League) has been taken by storm by Lochar Thistle 2002’s. They remain at the top of the table with an astonishing fifteen wins and 0 loss record. We caught up with the coach, Jordan Hammond, to find out the secrets to their success.
 
He feels like the reason for his team’s success is the motivation and determination to come back stronger than last season. “We finished runners up in the league and a cup tournament in the previous season and managed to win a different cup tournament. I think the boys are determined to deliver on all three fronts this year after narrowly missing out last season.” The team are hoping to make their mark on the league by dominating in cup tournaments and the league.
 
Although they haven’t lost yet it doesn’t mean they haven’t had their fair share of close calls. Jordan said “Our most intense game to date would have to be cup quarter finals against Annan. This was a close game which we won 4-3 but it was very back and forth and a hard-fought victory.” Annan Athletic are closely following Lochar in the league so this game was bound to be competitive.
 
An unbeaten record throughout the whole season would be an astonishing feat. However, Lochar remain confident and this is a goal they believe they can reach. “It has been a goal in which the coaches and the players set upon themselves at the start of the season to try and remain undefeated. I know if the boys are highly determined to do this and with hard work I feel we can get there” The coaches have obviously had a large impact on these players to keep them motivated. “I know all the other teams will be looking to knock us off so we’ll need to be at our best week in, week out.” Jordan realises that Lochar is the biggest competition in the DAGYL and other teams will be looking to hand them their first loss.
 
Teamwork is a huge factor in Lochar and Jordan has emphasised this by saying “No player has been better than another, I see football as a team sport and the boys have really bought into the system that we have put in place for them to play in” This system translates well from paper and training into the real game. “My favourite moment to date would be our away game to Galloway Thistle in which the boys played their best football to date. It was great to witness all the things we have been practicing being put to use in the game” This game against Galloway Thistle ended 9-2 to Lochar. The training and coaching for Lochar Thistle is being used to their full extent and this is show in their results.
 
Lochar are looking to reach the finals of both cup tournaments this season as well as the remaining league run. Jordan said “I am looking forward to our two semi-finals and hoping we can reach both finals for consecutive years but they will be very tough games. I am also looking forward to the league run as we are looking to clinch the title that eluded us the previous season”
 
The confidence shown here by coaches and players is a big reason why Lochar Thistle 2002 are at the top of their league and haven't been beaten yet. 
 
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