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Youth Academy News Update


After a winter break, the Club Academy Scotland (CAS) youth fixtures will be up and running again at the end of the month and Youth Academy manager Alistair Stevenson and his dedicated team of coaches are already back to the task of managing training and games for the club’s six Academy teams – no mean feat of organisation and commitment each week.

The club has over 80 signed players at youth level and they form teams at U11s, 12s, 13, 14s, 15s and 17s levels. The Club plays at Two Star level in the CAS system and with an impending reorganisation of the CAS structure we recentlymade a valiant effort to effectively jump two levels – from Two Star to Four Star (the Three Star level is about to be done away with) from next season.

It was an effort which was unfortunately in vain with the club missing out on gaining one of the limited spaces in that ‘Elite’ level for 2015/16 and beyond but although there was initial disappointment in Perth ranks, Alistair and his coaches and players are fully up for the continuing task of striving to make the Saints Youth Academy the best it possibly can be.

Alistair, who returned to the club for a second stint two years ago past November, says: “We are unwavering in our determination to make the Saints Youth Academy as good as it can be – there is huge potential. It was always going to be a big ask to jump from Two Star to Four Star in one fell swoop and although we made valiant efforts in terms of increasing our coaching roster, our medical cover and the playing and training facilities we ultimately fell just short.

“However, we are going to try and continue to gear ourselvesup as a Four Star club in the way we do things and although we won’t be playing at Elite level next season it doesn’t prevent us from games against these sides and finding other exciting opportunities to pit ourselves against youth clubs teams from Scotland and beyond.

“You never know what might change at national level and so that is another reason to operate as close to Four Star level as we can reasonably afford so that if any opportunity unexpectedly arises we would be close to being ready.

A huge plus is that the level of talent we are recruiting from Perthshire is increasing all the time and that opens up opportunities for us to give those boys additional time at the stadium perhaps before or after school to develop them faster.”

Of course, additional resource in coaching, medical cover and facilities doesn’t come free and the club is assessing the impact of not attaining the Four Star level and the additional central funding which would have come with it but Alistair has a healthy supporting cast when it comes to fundraising.

Alistair continues: “A Youth Academy Committee was formed a year ago and they have been a huge help in many ways – from improving communication within the Academy to the essential task of fundraising.  We are now enjoying team sponsorship, individual player sponsorship and other fundraising at an unprecedented level but we have to maintain and indeed improve that further so that the financial impact to the football club of running the Academy at the level we want to is kept to as little as possible.

“I would add that Saints fans have been massively generous in the bucket collections at games this season and that is hugely appreciated and is making a real difference.”

Finally, to counter rumours and stories circulating in the past week or so, the club would like assure players, parents and all supporters that there are no plans to amalgamate the Saints Academy with that of any other club.

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St Johnstone Football Club Youth Academy, McDiarmid Park, Crieff Road, Perth, PH1 2SJ Registered in Scotland 7629

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