The two teams that represent SAFC in the Club Academy Scotland programme, for developing youth players, have both made a very positive start to the season.
The results for the U14 team cannot be published as the Scottish FA are keen that fixtures are seen by all to be development games, so results are not recorded. However, it is suffice to say that the team for players born in 1999 have won nine and drawn one of their 10 games so far against other clubs involved at Initiative Tier level.
The development of the Stirling Albion young players has been recognised by the Scottish FA in their latest development to ensure Talent ID across the country. Ian Ross, the Performance Coach for the Central Region, has recently invited no fewer than five Albion players to attend two development gathering nights for players resident in the local area.
The selected players are Kyle Banner, Declan McQuillan, Jack Wardrobe, Alan Murray and Keiran Murphy and these players will be given the opportunity to train with the Scottish FA Regional squad, which also includes players from the other local sides and local players signed with SPL clubs.
Another few Stirling Albion FC players have also caught the eye but as they live outwith the Central area they would attend another coaching opportunity.
Stirling Albion’s Head of Youth Development, Stewart Taylor, said: “The progress of our young players has been significant and is testament to their hard work and the hard work of the team coaches, Tom Ogilvie and Mark Woods. It is great that others are recognising their development and we have had a good deal of positive feedback on the way that both our teams are performing and playing the game.
“I am sure the boys will enjoy their opportunity and will work hard to capitalise on their involvement. The other boys should also be encouraged to continue to work hard on their development to gain recognition next time round.”
The U17 team, which is made up with a majority of U16 age group players, has also made a great start to their season. They have won four games, lost three and drawn two of their Club Academy Scotland fixtures and had good performances in friendly games v Falkirk, Dundee United, Hibs and Celtic.
Head of Youth Coaching at the club, Blair Cremin, is delighted by the progress. He said: “Our coaches, also including Peter Digan, Ross Anderson, Craig Johnstone and goalkeeping coaches David Eccles and Graham Hamilton, work hard with the two groups of young players who are showing a great attitude to learning.
“The U 19 team is also doing well with coaches Graeme Donald and Dave Binnie continuing to produce young players who can challenge for a first-team place. Our programme also includes physiotherapists and Sports Science provision as we attempt to give our local youngsters the chance to progress in the game.”
The club recently were subject to a Scottish FA audit to assess the quality of its Youth Development programme. All the signs are that the SFA are satisfied with the programme and its ongoing development.