Berwick Rangers have appointed former Coldstream manager Mark Lamb as head of youth development. The club has also announced a partnership with Salvesen Boys Club of Edinburgh which they hope will provide a pathway for talented young players to senior football.
Berwick’s first team, reserves and under-19s will train alongside Salvesen youth teams at the excellent Forrester’s Sports Hub, on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
Although Salvesen have produced several players who have gone on to represent Scotland, the chance to tie up with an SFL club proved an attractive proposition.
John Bell, the Berwick Rangers director for youth development, explained: “In the last two seasons we’ve fielded teams in the SFL U17 and U19 Leagues. It’s been tough, especially last year when we lost two excellent coaches through illness and relocation, but the progress of players such as Ben Miller into the first team demonstrates that it can have its rewards.
“For 2012/13, there is no external financial support available to us as we’re quite far away from meeting the demands of the new SFA Youth Academy, and both the SFA and SFL youth initiatives require that we have SFA Level 4 Coaches in place.
“The connection with Salvesen has been developed over recent months and has a mutual benefit to both organisations”.
Last season Berwick’s three teams ended up training at three different locations, a situation that the club is keen to avoid.
“It’s vital that Robbie Horn and I get to see the reserves and youth team at least once each week,” said manager Ian Little.
“If we do this well, we could have a pool of over 50 players to choose from each week.”
The reserves will be under new management this season, with Mark Lamb appointed as head of youth development and in charge of what will be a predominantly under-21 side in the East of Scotland first division, and overseeing an under-19 side in the East Region of the SFL Youth Division.
Meanwhile. young footballers will have the opportunity to meet the players who will be representing Berwick Rangers this season by taking part in free coaching workshops to be held at Shielfield Park this Saturday (June 23).
The public are invited to watch the first team being put through their paces on the Ivinson pitch in the morning, but the players will be available from 1pm to 3pm to offer hints and tips to young players keen to improve their game.
Manager Ian Little was keen to bring the squad to Berwick early in the pre-season training schedule, saying “It’s important that we foster the relationship between players, the club, the fans and the community of Berwick, and we hope that young players will enjoy the experience of mixing with the guys who they can see in action for the rest of the year.”
Any young footballers who would like to take part are asked to be at Shielfield at 1pm prompt, ready in their football kit and boots.
There are four age groups, 7 to 9 year-olds, 10 to 12s, 13 to 15s, and 16 plus. All participants will receive a free junior season ticket for the 2012/13 season, the first SFL game of which is at home to Elgin City on Saturday, August 11.
For the full list of fixtures turn to page 35.