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Scottish Youth Football – Live It – Play It – Love It

Feb 18, 11 Scottish Youth Football – Live It – Play It – Love It

I totally forgot to post this an I’m glad I remembered..

Recently I had the absolute pleasure to speak to, Neil Mackintosh from the Football Development Department at the Scottish Football Association about, what Scotland is doing to improve under age football in Scotland?

Neil said, “In Scotland we have been asking ourselves the same questions that you are doing at present Antonio. 2011 will be an exciting time for grassroots football in Scotland as we are going to implement our first ever National Player Pathway. This involves all the grass roots football leagues agreeing to the same formats, age groups, rules and this will align all youth football in the country”

What is your vision for the future of Scottish football? “Our overall vision is through our Developing Talent Plan which is the Long Term Player Development model that we are working from. This then aligns our Coach Education which is age and stage specific and now the Player Pathway which aligns the competition programme”

National Player Pathway in partnership with the Scottish FA & The Scottish Youth FA

What doe this mean? “To summarise, the Player Pathway has players playing 4 a side up to age 8, 7 a side up to age 12 all of which is trophy free. We then move to 11 a side football and trophies at U-13.”

From March 2011 all children aged 6-9s will play 4v4 football, all children aged 9-12s will play 7v7 and from twelve years onwards they will play 11-a-side. Quote,..

“The pathway is revolutionary as, for the first time in Scotland, all children playing club football will play a format of the game that relates best to their age. The game formats will focus the player on developing the right skills and techniques for their stage of development. However, without the buy-in of the Scottish Youth Football Association, who run youth leagues nationally, the pathway would not be ready to kick-off”. The SYFA will help the leagues to implement the new game formats, while the Scottish FA, with their Community Partner McDonald’s, who will support the transition and ongoing development of all players, coaches and club officials through coach education courses, practical and theoretical in-services and Positive Coaching Scotland workshops.

The launch of the pathway coincides with a new summer season for youth and women’s football in Scotland, with leagues now running from March to November to take advantage of the best weather conditions.

Summer leagues is also something I’m campaigning for, most teams in Ireland haven’t even be able to kick a ball this year; it seems to be the only solution to get the game running for a longer time with no disruptions and on the plus side the weather will be so much better and with it being non competitive parents  don’t have to worry about their kids missing a games.

I would highly recommend a take a look at the Scottish FA  website

what I specifically like about the Scottish FA’s site is that it is very informative, its Child, Parent and Coach friendly and for anyone interestd in getting into Coaching is offers detailed and up to date information about what to do and expect.

Scottish FA south west regional manager, Ritchie Wilson, explains the concept of the new National Player Pathway, the valuable points he makes are:-

  • Offers a consistant approach to the game allover Scotland
  • Better weather
  • All leagues will have to roll this out by March 2012
  • Its part of the Scottish FA national player path way
  • Positive coaching throughout Scotland

Why 4v4? (6,7 & 8 year old)

  • More touches of the ball
  • More 1v1 situations
  • Develops more creative players
  • Encourages attacking football
  • Length, width & depth using the diamond shape


  • Diamond shape, same principles of play of the 4v4,
  • Encourages more attacking and defending situations
  • Long term development

What will this achieve?

  • Looking at long term player development.
  • Programme is now in place re amount of hours for practicing.
  • Try to re-create street football but in a safer environment with structure.
  • Try get kids kicking a ball for longer like in the olds day for 4-5 hours per day

I just do not understand why the FAI is not forcing these changes and coming in line with the rest of Europe. Well done Scotland a true sign of a progressive football nation.

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