Stirling Albion FC Youth Development
Stirling Albion Youth Development (YD) offers excellent coaching and highly competitive football at two age groups.
As a result of the recent restructuring of youth football in Scotland by the SFA , the Club has been designated ‘Advanced Youth’ status.
We will have, therefore, two youth teams operating at under 16 level and at under 18 level. The coaching staff is in place as is the administration and support necessary to deliver a high quality programme at Advanced Youth level.
The players involved will feed into the current Reserve Team structure which is largely young players in the under 20 category. That’s what we have currently and those involved all believe that a good player pathway to the first team exists at our club.
The current SFA structure means that Stirling Albion’s games programme is restricted to a six team division but because of the club’s youth development reputation we always have games against the bigger clubs on offer. All the staff are convinced that, if the players involved continue to progress properly and show the necessary characteristics, the player stream will continue. There are talented players in our programme. The individuals involved will maintain a challenging, motivational and safe environment for our young players.
The Head of YD, Stewart Taylor, has taken a very well earned retirement in December 2018 after an involvement of almost 21 years. His contribution has been immense.
The structure from January 2019 is:
- Head of Youth (Coaching) – Mark Wood
- Head of Youth (Admin) – David Brown
- Coaches Under 18 – Mark Wood, Shaun Conlon and Aurelien Mazel
- Coaches Under 16 –- Marc Pincombe and Jamie Baxter
- Goalkeeping Coaches – David Eccles, Graham Hamilton
- Goalkeepers – Monday at Moray Park, Doune.
- U16s- Tuesday 6.00 – 8.00 and Thursday 7.00 – 9.00 at St Modan’s HS.
- U18s – Tuesday 6.00 – 8.00 and Thursday 7.00 – 9.00 at St Modan’s HS .Friday 7.00 – 9.00 at Forthbank.
Matches are played on Sundays.
if you want to learn more, please contact Mark Wood at email@example.com
In 1997 the Scottish Football League introduced a Youth Initiative programme for its member clubs. Stirling Albion FC was one of the founding clubs and operated initially with two teams. Tricia Chillas, the daughter of ‘Mr Stirling Albion’ , Peter McKenzie, Ray Ross a local dentist with an interest in local boys club football and the then Stirling SFA Football Development Officer, Andy Gould were the enthusiastic and efficient drivers of our early involvement
The teams played against all the clubs then including Rangers, Celtic, Hibs, Hearts and Aberdeen and had almost instant success in producing players. Early products were Kenny McClellan, Eddie Logan, Gareth Munro and Garry Kelly. The club won the SFL Youth Cup in its third season and players Alex Williams and goalkeeper Iain Turner were transferred on to Morton and Everton respectively. In 2002 Allan Moore was brought in to the club to oversee the YT programme. Supported financially by Diageo the club had 12 apprentices on a full time Youth Training scheme basis. Allan worked with the players on a daily basis. So impressed with the youth coach was Chairman Peter McKenzie that he offered Allan the first team manager’s job as well. The rest as they say is history. Many of the players developed by Allan who had come through from the youth scheme became regular and successful first team players such as David O’Brien, Jinky Wilson, Stewart Devine and Paul Nugent.
The YD department grew with Head of Youth Stewart Taylor making sure that we had quality youth coaches and players and the structure to support a growing programme. Players produced played in the first team- Scott Christie, Nathan Taggart, Sean Roycroft, Chris Scotland are examples of YD youths who played regularly as first team players.
The SFA took over the Youth Development programme and upped the entry criteria for participation. Meeting criteria targets was always difficult as the demands for higher standards increased but the coaches, support staff and the administration always ensured that a successful audit meant continued support from the SFA.
Players continued to break through to first team – Liam Corr being a good example – while other players left the Stirling YD programme to join full time clubs – Greg Piscacio to Rangers, Connor McLaren to Celtic and Callumn Morrison, Declan McQuillan and Ally Roy to Hearts. More recently George Stanger has joined Hamilton Accies.
The club has always supported the involvement of their youth players in playing schools’ football and it has an admirable record of having had 21 players capped by the Scottish Schools’ FA either at U 15.16 or 18 level since 1991.
More recently the players reaching regular first team status have been: current club captain Ross McGeachie, Lee Hamilton, Sandy Cunningham who scored the goal that won us our last promotion and Cammy Binnie. Currently also in the first team squad are Reg McLaren, Kyle Banner and cover keeper Callum Law while a high percentage of the reserve team squad are past YD players. There can be no doubt that the club has benefitted from having a youth player development programme. Over 70 players from the YD have played in our first team and 47 coaches over the years have helped this to happen. In particular mention must be made of youth goalkeeping coach David Eccles who has been involved with his invaluable input since day one.