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Thursday, 04 May 2017 16:32

Interview: Rory McInnes, Clydebank FC

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Every now and again grassroots football throws up a truly inspirational story. Clydebank FC Under 19s are currently enjoying the season of their lives as they prepare for their first ever Scottish Cup final, along with opportunities to win numerous other local honours. However, behind the scenes one player has been quietly going about his business. He's played for the same club his whole life and when dealt a career threatening injury blow, he decided to coach the youngsters at the club, until he was ready to bounce back nearly two years later. Gillen Reid caught up with him to find out more...
Can you introduce yourself?
I'm Rory McInnes, I'm 18 years old. I've just finished my final year at Clydebank High School and I am hoping to go to university to study sports development. I play for Clydebank FC and been coaching the 2010's age group with some of my teammates. I've had an injury that has kept me out of the game for the last two years. 
How did you end up at the club? 
I joined a local football team Antonine when I was 6 or 7 years old but whilst there I played for the team that my current coach, Scott Carson, set up to get me and his son and my friend Jack more playing time. At the time we were considered the second team but we eventually became better than them and beat them. After Antonine we moved to Kilpatrick where we continued to play under Scott and a few other coaches, most notably Paul Mooney. It was then onto Milngavie Wanderers where I enjoyed my best football under Scott and Paul who were subsequently joined by Brian Carmichael. He encouraged me to believe in myself as I hadn't been playing to my potential. After Milngavie Wanderers, me and a few other of the long serving players were asked about the potential of playing under the junior side Clydebank FC. With the history of the Senior side it was a fantastic opportunity and we're now two years at our new club.
What is it that keeps you loyal?
There's no other team that could offer me what the coaches and my teammates given me at Clydebank. My coaches have shown a lot of loyalty to me so I feel as though I should repay them with my commitment. There's been times were I thought I maybe should leave but after a long hard think I realised although there's been hard times the good times have always followed. The coaches have always been able to bring in good players and trophy cabinet has enjoyed plenty of additions as a result.
What was the injury?
At first the injury wasn't diagnosed so I was trying to continue to play but every time I would try to play the pain would come back. Eventually I was sent for scans and the doctors discovered that it was a hairline fracture that spread across the lower vertebrae in my back. I was told that I wasn't to kick a ball for around a year until it healed. Eventually it healed in November of 2016 and with a lot of help from the physios, especially Scott Macauley, who really helped me focus on getting back to fitness. 
How glad are you to be back?
I'm extremely glad to be back playing again, it's made me appreciate playing and that there is more to life than just football. Hopefully I'll be able to put the injury behind me and kick on and hopefully do something in my football career. 
A big thanks to Rory for taking some time out to chat to us today.
Mention Lennoxtown to the average Scottish football enthusiast and most will think of the swish state of the art training facility there owned by Scottish Champions, Celtic. The highly paid players who train at the facility are lucky indeed for not only do they have first class training facilities; their complex sits at the foot of the picturesque Campsie Fells to the north of Glasgow. Lennoxtown though is more than just the home of a professional football side’s training complex, it is a growing community of around 4000 people and many of the youngsters growing up there are football mad. 
There are currently around 200 children and young people attached to the local Campsie Football Club. These range from children of Primary one age through to those playing at Under 21 level. There are also senior amateur teams playing in the area and all of these footballers have to compete for the use of three worn and overplayed grass pitches. The lack of decent changing facilities and the poor state of the playing surface of the pitches is a great hindrance to developing the players of the future in the Lennoxtown area. The winter rain coupled with poor drainage and maintenance of the pitches leads to many fixture cancellations which in turn causes a backlog of fixtures. As the weather improves teams naturally want to take advantage of the lighter nights to play their games and the pitches are totally overplayed. This vicious circle suits no one.
As well as encouraging local youth clubs which foster involvement in the game at all levels, developing and supporting grassroots football is an important part of the SFA’s strategy to rejuvenise the game in Scotland. Participation at grass roots level is vital to help produce more quality footballers and give youngsters the experience of participating in sport at an important time in their lives. It also helps the rising generation of young Scots forge healthier lifestyles for themselves at a time when childhood obesity is at record levels. The Scottish Football Association has long championed the development of modern and appropriate facilities where grass roots footballers can hone their skills and fitness levels. Indeed the game’s governing body could have had Lennoxtown in mind when it pointed out in their recent publication ‘The Big Pitch,’ that, ‘A significant percentage of existing changing pavilions are in poor condition, with many of them also too small for today’s larger playing squads and the increase in participation. They are also very often isolated and so, unfortunately, vandalised. Climate change is also a crucial factor with Scotland experiencing warmer but wetter winters and more ‘extreme weather events’. Unfortunately this means grass pitches are unplayable more often and for longer.’
It seems obvious that the high levels of participation in football in Lennoxtown mean that the town is deserving of a modern, all weather football facility. There are currently 12 teams ranging from infants to under-21s playing in the town and competing for time and space to play. A modern, purpose built facility would greatly ease the problem of cancelled games and give all the teams in the local area the standard of playing facility which would benefit everyone. Indeed such a facility would be an asset to the wider local community as schools, clubs and other groups could use the facility for a variety of sporting activities. There are 2 schools in the local area which could also benefit from the addition of a 3G pitch.
East Dunbartonshire Council are currently refusing to acknowledge the problem, citing all weather facilities in Bishopbriggs and Kirkintilloch as possible venues for Lennoxtown sides to use. However, these facilities are often booked out by local sides from the two towns concerned and the problem of accessing them is compounded by travel issues for teams from Lennoxtown. 
In the face of the Council’s intransigence a local man started a petition to ask the East Dunbartonshire Council to reconsider their decision.  More than 600 people signed the petition in its first few days and the comments they leave about the value good facilities bring to a community are very convincing. Coaches write of the difficulty finding a decent pitch to play on, especially in winter. Parents write of the frustration their children feel at cancelled games and inadequate facilities. Some are concerned their children could be lost to the game if this situation continues.
The ball is firmly in East Dunbartonshire Council’s court; will they play ball or turn their backs on Lennoxtown’s deserving generation of young players. Only the future will answer that question but the Council themselves are committed to supporting the recreation, health and fitness of the population they administer and will surely see the wisdom of giving Lennoxtown the sort of all-weather facility the town and its aspiring footballers deserve?
Giffnock Reds were, to their surprise, placed in the 1st division of the PJ&DYFL 2 seasons ago. Unfortunately, last season didn't go as well as this season and they finished with only 3 league wins and were relegated. To their joy, this season was nothing but a success story and we caught up with Alan Clarke, the team secretary to find out what went right.
Being knocked down to the second division was a fall from grace and brought the team back down to Earth, and this season they had something to prove. Alan said, "Coming into this season in division 2 meant we didn't really know what to expect. While we won our first couple of games against the two Rossvale teams, there was nothing in it, so we knew it was going to be a tough season. We certainly didn't expect that with 2 league games left we would be undefeated." Having such a competetive season but staying undefeated must have been a delight for the boys but also a lot of hard work. Knowing that the competition was tough meant that they couldn't slack off for one game. Every game had to be treated with the same amount of hard work and dedication. 
Alan was tasked with the difficult job of picking a favourite moment of the season, he commented, "I'm not sure I can pick a single moment but if I had to pick one, bizzarely it would be in only one of the two games we lost." Giffnock had a good run at the West Region Cup and Alan's stand out moment came against the team that would go all the way to win it, Park Villa, who were also a strong team in the first division. "At half time I think it would have been hard to pick which team was a top performer in the first division, and which team was in the second division. Park Villa weren't poor, far from it, but it showed us what our boys were capable of and what we, as coaches, can expect from our squad." A strong performance against a division 1 team fired up the coaches and players into realising their potential and gave them an ambition to be where they think they should be, division 1.
Being undefeated in the league makes them a target for every other team, everyone will want to be the team that beats the unbeatable. Alan said "Our biggest challenge has yet to come, two more league wins will give us the undefeated season." The final game of the season for Giffnock is against the team that could well finish second, so that could be a must-watch game. Unfortunately, Giffnock were beat in their 2nd last game, so the undefeated season is no longer achieveable.
Being able to finish undefeated in the league is a huge accomplishment and Alan put a lot of the success down to, Martin Jack, the coach. Alan commented, "Martin Jack - Jacky to us all - joined us at Christmas last season. His dedication to coaching football is a complete inspiration to everyone who interacts with him. Without him, i'm not sure there would be a Giffnock Reds 2002 anymore, and under some of his guidance some of our players have come on leaps and bounds." A good coach motivates, teaches and leads the players and Martin sounds like he's done a great job at keeping the players on their toes and helping them towards winning the league.
Now that they've won the league, Alan has goals and aspirations for his squad. He said "It might sound cliché but it's all about development - not just winning trophies. My passion is to see the boys in ten years time playing at a good level of amateur football, and to do that they need to learn how to be good footballers. Under Martin's leadership - and not to forget Alan Dobson who has been an invaluable partner to Jacky on the training field, in the dressing room and at matches - I am sure the boys can move on to another level." Alan has high hopes for the boys and this league win is a great start for a future in football for the Giffnock Reds squad. 
Thursday, 20 April 2017 16:11

Interview: Roger Domingo-Roca

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So, if you could introduce yourself to our wonderful audience?
My name is Roger Domingo-Roca and I have been staying in Glasgow for almost three years now. I came to Scotland due to work commitments and started coaching a girls’ team a week after landing. I have experience playing and coaching at CE Sabadell back in Barcelona and it was something I did not want to lose when I moved to Scotland. In my last years at the club I was very lucky to work with very knowledgeable people who I learnt a lot from. Conversations with them not only about the game but also about the growing up process of the player which helped me to start developing my own methodology, as well as understanding how to plan all the aspects of the game from young ages up to senior football for both genders.
Coaching is something of interest in YFS, tell us more.
My first role as head coach was when I was 19, which involved developing all the planning during the week and developing the training sessions which included other management roles, as in Spain all this logistical aspect works a bit different than here in Scotland. As years went by and my experience increased I developed my own way of coaching. I have not invented anything, but I learnt and took advantage from past lessons from every coach I had and I tried to apply all these concepts on my planning, periodization, and coaching sessions. For instance, I like to plan what kind of relationships I want the team to develop between different lines (which we call sectorial, intersectorial, or complete structure) and where I want to focus the coaching points on (player, players, or team). All this combined with the adequate tactical objective of the game gives a very rich output. Sometimes it’s better not to give a lot of information to the players, as too much information can create the opposite effect on them. This methodology is possible to apply at all the different age groups doing the adequate changes.
So, what was it that originally inspired you to become a coach?
I had my first coaching proposal when I was 15 years old and I was having a bad time as a player since I was not having as much game time as I expected, but at that time I wanted to play. It was then when I injured my left knee in a training session and after a year of hard work to come back to the pitch I had the same bad injury on my right knee, so I decided to do some coaching during the recovery time as well as taking my first football badges. All this combined with my rehabilitation plan and the few training sessions I could attend. After that I spent a couple of years combining both coaching and playing, but when I was 19 and preseason started, I realised about the reality of defending the colours of a big team and I decided to quit and to keep my focus on coaching, as well as having a better and broader formation not only coaching wise but also in terms of physiology, physical preparation, and the role of Head of Youth.
Using this knowledge base how do you feel footballers in Scotland respond to your methods in comparison to the more traditional SFA approach?
Well, to be fair I am not the most appropriate person to say if my methods work better or worse than others, but my feeling is that when I applied it at its maximum exponent in a 15s team the girls responded very well. The only thing I always try to do is to use a ball. I understand sometimes the players need an exhaustive physical preparation plan, but from my point of view carrying a ball makes it easier for them, even if it’s just adding a small header or a one-two with the coach in a circuit. At the start, I think it was a bit difficult for the players to get used to different concepts, different points of view and different approaches. And in this case, I was not only trying to convince the players but also other coaches who were working with me, as they had never worked with this kind of methodology and terminology so everything was new for them as well. It was a very good challenge for me and my opportunity to show myself that this approach could work in a different environment that the one I was used to in Spain. At the end of the season it was nice to have a very positive feedback from the players, the parents and other people involved within the club.
What would you consider the most positive thing about the girls’ game in Scotland?
If we speak at a senior level I think the competition is growing faster than we could all have expected a couple of years ago. Not only at the SWPL1 where teams are investing a lot to be able to beat City after 10 years of dominancy, but also the SWPL2 and the SWFL1 are more and more competitive every year. Some people might think that in the SWFL1 or in the SWPL2 teams are not good enough, but reality is that during the last years all teams struggle to beat each other in this category, both in the  south and north region (when referring to the SWFL1). The best example to realise that the domestic competition is increasing its level is Scotland’s National team achieving the final stage of the EURO2017. I think this exponential increase of the quality of the game and development of the teams in such a small frame of time is incredible, and we all must keep working to make the girls’ game better in Scotland.
From an academy point of view, I think that one of the positives is that every time more and more girls get started to football. I remember coaching players who started their football adventure when they were 15 or 17 years old. Now it seems that girls chose football as their main sport at an earlier age, what makes it great for the evolution of the game from all the points of view, but mainly from the players’ development perspective. Hopefully this tendency will remain consistent over the upcoming years.
The biggest thing that could perhaps do with the most amount of work?
I think one of the big things to work on is the general unwillingness to learn and change what has been established for a long time. The game is evolving very quick in Scotland and this means that the organisations and the clubs must be in constant change, readapting their approach to the women’s game constantly. It would be good to readapt and review all the methodological build up at least once every two or three years.
I also think that a better communication is needed. I will give you an example: we have players that do physical tests with us during the week, they play a game on Sunday, then they go away with the National team (what implies traveling and all its consequences in terms of fatigue) they do physical tests with the National team, then they play 2 games in 4 days. Then they travel back and have more games with the club. This results in a massive minutes’ overload on the players caused because of a lack of communication between the different coaches. The questions to be asked is why do they have to repeat the physical tests 4/5 days later? In this situation the players are the ones who have more to lose as their injury risk massively increases due to a bad rest-to-work ratio. I think it would be better for the players if we kept all the data from the physical tests they do at their corresponding clubs, so the coaches can send this information to the National team’s coach. Thus, they could develop better individual plans for the players’ physical preparation based on objective data coming from the clubs, where the players spend most of their time.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are to keep enjoying this wonderful game at 100%. At the moment I would like to focus on a new project I started not long ago with one of my best friends, Daniel Blasco, called Sonrisa de Gol (smile goal in Spanish) which involves an in depth description of the methodology, some sessions, and a blog that talks about different sports.  By now it seems that everything is moving in the right direction and some news will come out soon if all goes as planned.
Thanks again to Roger for taking his time to talk to us today.
Thursday, 23 March 2017 17:35

Glasgow Boys charity fundraiser for Revive MS

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Glasgow Boys FC 2005 are raising money and awareness for Revive MS. This charity helps to support everyone affected by Multiple Sclerosis (MS) all across the West of Scotland. We caught up with Michael McKenna, the head coach to find out more about this fundraising.
Michael said “Not only does this bring awareness to an excellent cause it also helps the boys to learn about something outside of football” This attitude is helping the boys to realise the importance of helping out in the community by fundraising for a charity that is focused on helping people close to them. Rather than approaching the main charities, Michael decided to link up with Revive MS as he a has a close, personal link to this charity. This makes the fundraising for Michael and his team more important. Cara Thom, the fundraising manager for Revive MS was more than happy to link up with Glasgow Boys in order to maximise their reach and fundraising opportunities.
Michael and his team have decided to donate 10% of all future fundraising events, making a monthly donation to their Club500. Michael and other coaches are participating in Revive MS’s own sponsored events such as the 10k and ‘Zip Slide Across the Clyde.’ All of the money raised from these events will go directly to Revive MS.
Michael commented “As I mentioned earlier I feel it is important for the boys to learn about others struggles in life.” This is an attitude that is great at a football coach can teach you more than just football, they can be an important, respected figure in a player’s life. “Cara has invited us all over to their new centre in Govan on April 1st so they can not only learn about MS but see what services this amazing charity has to offer.”
This is an amazing gesture from Michael and Glasgow Boys FC and we hope that they are successful in their fundraising. 
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.

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