By Craig Edwards
Glasgow City Academy has been continuingly working hard throughout this pandemic despite the lack of games and training time on the pitch.
All teams have had to adapt to the new way of training in the past 12 months with time on the pitch being replaced with time on video calls in your own living room. The academy has been no different but all the academy teams have been doing their own unique ways to keep up with training.
Coach of the Under 13s Thomas Smith sets challenges for his side and is helping his players improve skills such as leadership during these times.
“It has been very difficult trying to get things going for the girls but we’ve been managing well.
“I send in a daily challenge and gives them something to do and keeps them active and motivated. We have a meeting once a week where we do a fitness meeting, one of the girls leads the session and gets them involved and gives them a bit of leadership.”
The Under 19s are also working hard over zoom as the assistant coach of the Under 19s explained.
“The team as a whole have adapted very well to the activities and tasks we set them. They started competing against each other to see who could get the fastest 5k.
“We are mixing it up at the moment with zoom calls, one is a quiz ran by a different member of the team each week and the other two we have them working hard.”
Head of Academy Jamie Beattie praised all the work done by all the coaches from all the academy teams at the club in keeping spirits high.
“It’s been very difficult, we obviously want to give all our academy players some content to be doing at home. It is not ideal but there is no other option so the coaches have been quite creative and doing regular zooms with each team, whether that’s fitness zooms or circuits.
“We’ve been making sure we have a lot of content out for the girls, one of the things we’ve been doing is a zoom series, questions and answer session with some of the first team players.”
Jamie explained it is not just the footballing side that the club is focusing on and want to make sure all the players in the youth teams are still able to see and speak to their friends in the team.
“Providing a platform for the girls to come and speak to their friends because as much as we are missing the football element of things, the social interaction that’s had a big impact.”
Furthermore, it’s not just the players themselves that make the academy. The coaches are just as big a part and Jamie said it was important to look out for them with workshops, questions with First Team Head Coach Scott Booth and a very important Breathing Space Mental Health awareness meeting.
While a lot of training has taken place over video call, teams were able to get out onto the pitch for a small amount of time in the later part of 2020 before the most recent restrictions came into place.
The Under 13s were one of the teams that were able to get some games played again and Thomas was delighted for the team.
“We got a few games and it was great, getting the girls involved and enjoying their football again, the girls love it.”
It has been tough for all the age groups throughout the City academy with even the First Team only playing 13 competitive matches in the whole of 2020 but Ross explained how for the Under 19s, the chance of breaking into the first team has helped them keep motivated with Mya Bates and Chloe Colquhoun appearing on the bench against Hearts in November.
“I think the 19s have the best chance in a long time of getting that chance to break in with Kieron being both our head coach and a coach in the first team environment.
“He feeds the girls so much information on what will be required of them at that level.
“Seeing players in that environment gives us a bit of pride in both ourselves but more important the girls pushing themselves to be the best they can be.”
Football may not quite be back as we know and love it, but the City academy players and coaches are certainly doing their best to make good out of a tough situation.
Thanks to Thomas Smith, Ross Inger and Jamie Beattie for their contribution towards this piece.