Written by Nairn County FC January 30th 2018

NAIRN County can today confirm an exciting new addition to the club’s youth development programme. From the start of the 2018/19 season, the club will compete in the Moray Firth Youth League for under-13s teams for the very first time on a one-season trial basis. The new team will be open to players born in the years 2006 and 2007 and will compete in a League that this season contains Alness United, Buckie Thistle, Caithness United, Do Soccer Academy (Balintore), Elgin City, Forres Mechanics, Fort William, Invergordon, Clachnacuddin, Rothes, Strathspey Thistle and Ullapool. As the league is not affiliated to the Scottish Highland Football League, the new team will fall under the club’s membership of the Scottish Youth FA. The club’s Head of Youth Development, Stewart McInnes said: “We very quickly identified a gap in football in Nairn at this age level following the changeover at the club a year-and-a-half ago. It was not feasible for us to go ahead with an under-13s team until now though because of finances and the high turnover of coaching staff we have undergone at all levels at the club. But we feel we are now in a more stable position and are able to progress with this new team with it hopefully going a long way to closing the gap in Nairn between small-sided primary school football and full 11-a-side football. “There is fantastic work done in the town and surrounding areas coaching primary school age teams but the jump from that level of football to Highland League under-15s is substantial, as we have experienced this season. This new team will help to bridge that gap for players giving them up to two years of 11-a-side football against players around about their own age instead of stepping directly into the under-15s and playing against players who can be three years older." “It also means that the club can now present a decade-long development programme through youth football to the first team – two years in the under-13s, two years in the under-15s, two years in the under-17s and a maximum of four years in the under-20s.” Representatives from the club attended the Moray Firth Youth League’s mid-season meeting last night. Mr McInnes revealed: “The meeting went well and we are now working towards having everything in place to ensure our participation in the league next season, which we are confident of being able to achieve." “We have already done a lot of hard work behind the scenes and we have been liaising with the Moray Firth Youth League for the last few months. They were delighted to receive our interest in joining and we are grateful to them for their help in making sure that we can take part next season." “The next step is the recruitment of a coaching team and finding a sponsor. Anyone interested in becoming a coach or sponsoring the new team can contact me on 07802 806899 or stewartdmcinnes@gmail.com.” He added: “We have taken in new, hungry coaching teams who buy into what the club now wants to achieve with its youth development programme at under-15s, under-17s and under-20s levels over the last 18 months and have entered our under-20s squad in the Scottish Youth Cup and three North Caledonian League cup competitions. The establishment of an under-13s team is the next step in ensuring we give as many young players as we can the best possible chance of making it to the first team.” Stuart McInnes

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