Budding Berwick football stars are to benefit from an exciting new football partnership.
Young players of all ages will now see a clear pathway to league football after several of the town’s football sides agreed to co-operate on a number of new initiatives.
Matty Moor, who operates a successful coaching scheme for young children, offers sessions for children as young as four, while Berwick Juniors currently run 11 teams from under-7s to under-15s, and play in the Glendale League and further afield in the Northumberland Pin Point League.
The Juniors have a long-standing partnership with Zeewolde in the Netherlands, and regular exchanges have taken place between Berwick and Holland. A recent development is the Berwick Colts, playing for the first time this season in the Border Amateur League and fielding a side primarily of local 16-18-year-olds. Tweedmouth Rangers are also experiencing a new competition, having successfully applied to enter the East of Scotland League with a home pitch at Old Shielfield.
Berwick Rangers, who hosted the meeting at Shielfield Park, offer semi-professional football in the fourth tier of the Scottish Professional Football League, and in recent years have fielded a team in the SPFL Development League for under-20s, with several local players currently involved.
Berwick Rangers Manager John Coughlin sees the partnership as an essential step in the right direction.
He said: “There’s plenty of evidence that clubs and coaches in the Berwick area are producing talented players, but perhaps there’s been a lack of co-ordination between clubs to see that players get the best possible opportunity to develop and play at the highest level they can.
“The hope is that the Partnership will get people talking, exchange ideas, and support those volunteers who give up so much of their free time every week.”
The first opportunity presented by the new relationship is on Saturday (September 3), when the Berwick Rangers squad will take part in a training session at Shielfield under the watchful eye of Berwick Juniors coaches. Following the session, Coughlin will discuss training ideas and programmes, and explore how they can be applied to young players.
John Bell, vice-chairman of Berwick Rangers and the director with responsibility for youth and community issues, is looking forward to getting more clubs involved: “We hope that this approach will see more clubs coming together, from both sides of the Border.
“We’re geographically isolated from the football networks in Edinburgh and in Tyneside, so it’s long overdue that we get together to see what can be achieved. Berwick Rangers have a poor history of engagement with local clubs, so it’s time we stepped up and helped to get this going.
“The early signs are that people are enthusiastic, and really willing to work together, so it’s a promising start.”