Members of Forfar Boys Football Club were given the unique opportunity to train with the football coaches of the stars last Monday.
Four of Valencia CF’s first team coaches brought a little bit of Spanish magic to a chilly Station Park to impart their skills and knowledge which have made their country’s teams the world leaders that they are.
And they were so impressed with the performance of the Forfar youngsters that they are coming back next year with 10 coaches for a two-day skills camp.
For two hours boys from Forfar Boys under eights through to under 16s were put through their paces - and their enthusiasm was noted by Jed McCabe, youth development director of inspiresport who attended the session along with representatives from Dundee and Aberdeen Football Clubs.
The company works closely with 27 clubs including Real Madrid, Valencia, AC Milan and Ajax.
He said: “Over the last nine years we have taken thousands of Scottish school kids to training at the Valencia first team complex. I’ve taken Forfar Academy pupils to Valencia twice and they are back for a third trip next year.
“The pupils learn all about the Spanish philosophy. Valencia are renowned for bringing fantastic players to the game. They have a renowned passion. Bringing the Scottish kids to the Valencia first team complex is a great experience for the kids and what makes a big difference is the sun shines!”
Commenting on the skills the Valencian coaches pass on to the boys - including those at Station Park - he said it was not only their mannerisms but the fact they never have to shout or blow the whistle.
Watching the under eights, nine and 10s going through their paces, he added it wasn’t just important to start nurturing the talent at a young age but to pass on the whole philosophy from Valencia.
He added: “They learn life skills, attitude and respect. There is only so much the coaches can do in an hour’s session but ultimately, maybe in the future, these kids will come over to Valencia to the first team complex.”
Jed also praised the professionalism at Forfar Boys Football Club and the way they are developing boys’ football in the town.
He continued: “I have just started working closely with Garry Balfour and Barry Quinn at Forfar Boys and I am very impressed. I am qualified to say that as I work with a lot of kids all over the world. The passion and the organisation they have put in to give these kids an opportunity to feel part of a professional set-up - it oozes professionalism. It’s a great set-up.”
The importance of nurturing the young talent was also noted by Gavin Leavey of Aberdeen Football Club.
He said: “We work closely with Forfar Boys. We launched a scouting network in August. It’s great the club has managed to get the Valencia coaches here, it’s something different for the kids.”
Barry Quinn, Forfar Boys FC chairman said: “The Valencia training on Monday night was a huge success for Forfar Boys and Forfar as a whole. Valencia were so impressed that they have offered to come back across in August next year with 10 coaches for a two-day skills camp!
“Attendance from Aberdeen FC and Dundee FC was also a boost to recognise that football in Forfar is on the up and development of grass roots football is one of our highest priorities. Forfar Athletic Football Club and Forfar Albion Junior Football Club also have the same ethos and we will continue to drive this together.
“We are in the middle of restructuring the club’s finances to create long term sustainability; this in turn allows us to put more and more of these events on in future, watch this space!”