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January 11, 2018 2:41 pm Author: AFC Media Team

The Youth Academy will host a brand-new tournament involving eight of Scotland’s Academy teams.

In partnership with Katoni Engineering, the Katoni Cup will take place this Saturday at the Aberdeen Sports Village and will see teams from U12’s (2006) level play in the competition with a mixed format of traditional five-a-side rules and futsal. The teams are split into two groups of four with an eventual winner coming after a knock-out system.

Gavin Levey, Head of Academy Coaching at the Club explained: “We felt we had an opportunity that was a little bit more traditional, but having a crossover with futsal and five-a-side rules, and we wanted to make it a competition. The Academy kids nowadays in Scotland don’t play a lot of competition and we thought it was chance to showcase the best talent this country has. Sometimes we hear a lot of negative things about youth football and the game, so I think clubs have to be shouting out and doing more to demonstrate what they can do and achieve.”

“There’s a lot of good work going on in this country with Project Brave and I think it’s going to be a real step forward for our game. With the competition side of it, if you’re a club that doesn’t go abroad for tournaments you’re not going to get competition until U16 level.”

Our Academy sides play in development fixtures each week, so travel to play in international competition, with each side going on annual trips to take part in tournaments on the continent.

Gavin added: “At Aberdeen three years ago, we made the conscious decision to take the academy teams abroad to play against some of the top academies in competition. We’ve learned so much from these experiences and had so many lasting memories and learning opportunities. Saturday is one-day event that allows the clubs to come together and play tournament football. Whether the kids win or lose its part of learning and that’s part of growing up.

With the Dons looking to get the go ahead for the new facilities at Kingsford, it opens up an opportunity for the Youth Academy to host more events like the ones they regularly compete in abroad.  The young Dons sides took to the pitch at the Gothia Cup, the world’s largest youth football tournament, last summer and Gavin hopes that plans can be in place for The Dons to host similar events in the near future.

“We have massive ambition to host an International tournament in Aberdeen and that’s a vision that myself and the guys in the Academy share. This tournament allows us to try something new thanks to Aberdeen Sports Village. They’re close with us and are good partners and their staff are right behind what we’re doing here. Huge thanks also go to our partners at Katoni for helping us run the tournament and they really believe in what we’re doing at the Club and that’s trying to develop the potential of the top talent in the local area.”


Good luck to the young Dons this Saturday and Stand Free!

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