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PYF Saltire's Winning Club Formula by Paul McLaughlin

PYF Saltires are currently the front runners for the SFL Super League title and the lucrative ticket to Europe this season north of the border. What has led to this sudden surge in form after finishing a massive 17 points behind 17/18 champions Wattcell?

The clue is hidden within Saltires’ acronym PYF: Perth Youth Futsal (Saltires). The Perth club have an attractive track record at youth level as well as developing talent over the years with the end product being evident in the form of the 2018/19 Super League table. Not only that, a large majority of their young senior squad have had exposure to International Futsal both with the national team as well as showcasing their Sal in Europe.

In terms of European exposure, Saltires’ history spans only one season with them competing in the 2014/15 UEFA Futsal Cup Preliminary round where they failed to qualify. The significant exposure for the club lies within their youth structure as their various age groups regularly travel into Europe as well as across the UK to expose their younger players to places where the game is more mainstream and developed. These invaluable experiences gained from their dedicated youth teams has now shown with their U15s winning the Dundee U15 Futsal League as well as wins against Spanish/Catalan sides during a Barcelona Tour last year. It has also paved the way for players to bleed into the adult squad as well represent their country. Bradley Steedman is the latest youth recruit to break into their Super League set up from the development side and was rewarded with call ups for Scotland’s Home Nations and World Cup qualifier squads. An impressive rise up the Futsal ladder was topped off with a debut goal against Bosnia in the World Cup group this year.

With the youth section and players developing at a massive rate, what benefits has the adult side seen in their quest to compete once again on the European stage? The U16 team are currently competing in the SFL Perth division as PYF Development which has created an official pathway to the Super League for these young and talented players. Players such as Dell Newlands and Cameron Robertson are the products of their Academy team and are now regulars in the Saltires side.

Robertson captaining the Scottish Youth Futsal Federation Independent team in Blanes last year.

The ability to promote youth players and have confidence in their ability is due to their steady development through the youth set up as well having experienced youth coaches such as one of Scotland’s founding Futsal fathers Stephen Chatila. A Scottish Cup final win last season against TMT was the catalyst for their increase in adult development with the ability to attract some of the biggest young talent in Perth to help challenge for the title. Scottish Internationalists Scott Smith and Connor McLaren joined their ranks with a track record in semi-professional Football. With the Ballingall brothers at the heart of the squad bringing a wealth of International experiences to the table, the youth players are able to learn Futsal the right way from their more experienced team mates and allow them to learn from effective mentors to shape their Futsal futures.

Smith (Left) & McLaren (Right) in action for the Scottish National Futsal team.

Although Fair City Santos and Wattcell are hot on their heels, PYF will be quietly confident with their chances to clinch the title and to retain their Scottish Cup trophy with only two losses in the domestic league as well as a goal difference of +99. Will their youthful squad be able to make history and become the first Scottish side to win in the club European competition? Only time will tell but make sure to remember the name; PYF Saltires.

Paul McLaughlin

Edinburgh Futsal Project (@edi_futsal)

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