Whilst I was updating our list of players I decided to mark beside them the players that are either signed or are currently in training with professional clubs and I was pleasantly surprised. We are not all about elite level players but we want all our players to be as successful as they can be. To have 32 out of 129 youth team players with professional clubs is a remarkable achievement and the boys and girls should be enormously proud of themselves. The clubs are varied and include Rangers, Celtic, Hearts, Hibs, St Johnstone, Livingston, Dundee, Hamilton, Dunfermline Athletic and Alloa. Further to the 32, we have around 60 players that were previously involved with Futsal Escocia that are now focusing on their football and we wish them all the success on their journey. I always look out to see how they are all getting on.
Our structure allows players to play at a level appropriate to their ability rather than their age and having these players involved has been of massive benefit to the players around them and is undoubtedly one of the reasons why we have success with teenagers being awarded pro contracts. They have developed more with better players around them and up against them.
As an Academy and Club it is great to see that players are recognising that futsal can benefit their football and if it doesn't work out for them in that environment we can hopefully provide them with a platform to be successful in futsal. We have a few older players that just focus on futsal now and I think that is brilliant. With the creation of the adult leagues and first teams we have a pathway until their career finishes and some have a real chance of representing their country in the future.
We are about 10 years behind England in terms of futsal but there's a number of English players making a name for themselves that come from futsal backgrounds. Max Kilman of Wolves is probably the most well known as he has featured for the England national futsal team and is now a regular in a Wolves defence that have been doing extremely well. He is now linked with a move to Chelsea and tipped for an England call up. If you look at England's current youth national teams the captains of the u18 and u17 and u16 squads are all from futsal backgrounds, including Charlie Patino who recently scored on his Arsenal debut.
I am not for one minute saying that our boys and girls will go on to achieve the same success but with ambition, hard work and desire why can't they?
Apologies if I have missed anyone out.