Junior football in Shetland will only progress if island squads in the different age groups train together frequently and compete regularly against teams from outwith the isles, according to those running the Shetland Junior Football Association.
A series of trips south are planned for later this year, with the under-11 development squad going to Orkney in May, the under-12s to Orkney in June and Stirling in August, the under-14s to Orkney in July/August, the under-16s to Stirling in August and the under-18s to Aberdeen in April.
A spokesman for the association said: “We feel the junior association is in a better place now than it has ever been. This is in the main part due to the efforts of a few hard working and dedicated individuals.
“Over the past few years the committee have put in place a development plan, which ensures the maximum grant support from the council. We now have a sponsorship deal which will ensure new strips and income well into the future.”
He added: “We believe that to raise Shetland junior football to the next level we have to get these squads training together on a regular basis and play opposition of a higher standard which is only possible by making trips off the island.
“To this end, last year the under-11 squad competed in a competition in Orkney, the under-12s took part in competitions in Orkney and Stirling and the under-14s and under-16s travelled to Orkney and took part in the Aberdeen International Football Festival. We also hosted four teams from Orkney in September to play inter-county matches at under-12, under-14 and under-16 level. At no time in the past has there been a better opportunity for young players to enhance themselves. All this has been achieved through the organisational skills of the committee along with the hard work, support and co-operation of coaches and parents.”
The committee, comprised of president Irvine Burgess (Ness), vice-president Ivor Morrison (Whitedale), treasurer Brian Groat (Rangers), is seeking a secretary and a disciplinary secretary. Anyone who is interested in either of these posts should contact Irvine Burgess or Brian Groat.