Project Brave Statement

Started by AyrUtdAcademy, November 16, 2017, 12:32:42

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The Scottish FA yesterday announced the latest major developments in its Project Brave initiative, with confirmation of the club placings within the new academy structure.

The Boards of Ayr United Football Academy and Ayr United Football Club are pleased to announce that the Academy teams will compete in the Progressive Section, which was designed to ensure that developing, ambitious academies could position themselves to progress to full Elite status.

AUFA is ideally placed to do so and, at latest, will make application for Elite status in June 2018, when the academies will be re assessed. We are already in discussion with the Scottish FA about this next move, as we have fulfilled 73 of the 75 Elite criteria against which we were assessed and although pleased to be an ambitious academy, we are disappointed that automatic entry to the Elite section was not granted.

What does this mean for our young players?
Our teams will compete against the other 7 Progressive teams, in the Scottish FA games programme, three times per season and against the Elite teams once per season. This will ensure that they face the same stiff opposition as they have done for the past few years.The table below shows the new sections. Apart from Ayr United all of the other clubs in the Elite and Progressive categories are playing in the Premiership or the Championship.  At the same time, some Premiership and Championship clubs have not been included in the Elite or Progressive categories.

ELITE: Aberdeen, Celtic, Hamilton, Heart of Midlothian, Hibernian, Kilmarnock, Motherwell, Rangers
PROGRESSIVE: Ayr United, Dundee United, Forth Valley, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Partick Thistle, Ross County, St Mirren, St Johnstone
PERFORMANCE: Dundee, Fife, Greenock Morton, Queen's Park

The standards around our Talented Young Footballers Programme are equal to those of the Elite teams. The Academy staff has been preparing for entry to the new stage of the Club Academy setup for the last year.

Several key full time appointments have been made to the Coaching staff.

A full time Head of Sports Science has been appointed
A full time Head of Performance Analysis has been appointed
A Head of the Professional Programme has been appointed, and
Standards have generally been raised all round.
The newly appointed personnel will of course remain in place, and standards will be enhanced in preparation for the next application. In short, we are not content to remain in the Progressive section. Elite status was, and remains, our goal and while we seek this goal our young players will be offered the same high level standards as their counterparts in the Elite section.

Kieran Balfour

This will undoubtedly improve the players' chances of progressing to first team football and achieving international status. Full time training has been introduced, leading to contracts being put in place for Academy players, positioning them to compete at first team level. Already this season, 8 Academy graduates have made appearances in the first team, with 5 of these, David Waite, Luke McCowan, Leon Murphy, Stuart Faulds and James Hilton making debuts, with Keiran Balfour excelling in the 20's team and patiently awaiting his turn.
Finn Ecrepont has represented Scotland at 16's level and there are others Finn Ecrepont playing for Scotlandin the younger age groups waiting for their chance to show their talents on the higher stages.

Head of Academy, Davie White summarised by saying:
"This is another important step on the Academy's pathway to the top. We have been steadily improving standards since the Academy was formed and this is not the end of that pathway, merely a slight pause before we move on to Elite status. Our staff and volunteers are all aware of our ambitions and I am proud of their commitment and the way that they have applied themselves to providing the environment which our young players experience.
I look to coaches, players, parents and staff to support our objective to remain competitive, maintain high standards and show constant enthusiasm within the Progressive section. We aim to demonstrate to the Scottish FA on and off the pitch that we are ready for the Elite step up when the opportunity arrives!"
AUFA is a Scottish registered charity and is incorporated as a not for profit Company Limited by guarantee. AUFA Pro Youth teams participate in SFA Club Academy Games Programme 1. AUFA Ladies and girls teams participate within SWF. Track the Academy Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat & Youtube.


Can someone advise from the academy who were appointed into the full time posts that were mentioned, are these new appointments to the academy team at present and can they advise how the performance analyst gets his information etc

Many thanks


Update issued via the AUFA website :

QuoteAfter the recent announcement of AUFA success in achieving the Progressive Performance tier for the Scottish FA Project Brave structure, AUFA would like to update all players, parents and supporters of the key progress and appointments we have made to help achieve the Project Brave criteria.
Over the last 6 months AUFA have been developing & improving departments of the Academy and with this, brought new appointments and new roles which will be added to our current structure and personnel

A summary of key appointments and departments are:

Craig Dargo - Head of Professional Program. Craig will manage the 16 to 20s age groups. This will include football and education development of these players, including our School of Football programme and our Ayrshire College Education course as well as conducting daily training sessions. Craig will also assist the Head of Academy with our Coach Education programme we operate internally at AUFA
John Chisholm - Head of Football Science & Medicine. John will manage and develop our Football science and medicine department. He will work with all our children's and youth teams as well as some individual players improving their Athletic ability as well as providing lifestyle advice to players. John will also liaise closely with our Head AUFA Physio, Jennifer Jones and our new AUFA doctor Gregor Purdie to ensure health and wellbeing provision for all AUFA players
Nicholas Proven - Performance Analysis - This new role will see Nicholas video all AUFA games. The process will then see specific software used to Tag certain moments of the games and will then be provided to coaches' and players to review both team and individual performance. Nicholas will also provide data from AUFA games to the Scottish FA to help them select National players for their 15s to 21s National squads
Jim Gallagher - Head of Goalkeeping. Jim will work across all age groups from 9s to 20s working on specific goalkeeping sessions and the development and recruitment of AUFA goalkeepers. Jim will also liaise with 1st Team and 20s Goalkeeping coach Derek Stillie
Shaun Ferrie - Head of Youth Program. Shaun will focus on player development across the 13s to 16s age group, working closely with players, coaches and staff to assist in player development within this department
Ross Armour   - Head of Children's Program. Ross will focus on player development across the 11s to 13s age group, working closely with players, coaches and staff to assist in player development within this department
Grant Ogston - Junior Academy Manager. Grant will manage and coordinate the players within 8s, 9s & 10s age group at AUFA. These players receive additional training with AUFA as well as playing for there chosen boys club
Kev Harper and Steven McLean - AUFA Youth Coaches. Both Kevin and Steven are Scottish FA License coaches and have experience of Pro Youth coaching at other clubs. Both will coach at weekly games and training with AUFA squads. They will be added to the complement of Qualified coaches currently involved with AUFA teams
All the above were new staff and developments that AUFA put in place to ensure our drive to Elite level could be a realistic move

Alongside these summarized above we will continue to have in place the following key positions

David White - Head of Academy

John Crawford - Director of Academy Football

Raymond Pattison - Head of Recruitment

Stuart Galloway - Head of Administration

AUFA Coaches - The current coaching staff also has many experienced and local coaches who will continue to drive forward our player development and assist our desire to achieve Elite level status through their commitment each week on the pitch with our AUFA players

David White, Head of Academy added
"Following on from yesterday's release from AUFA on project brave, AUFA and indeed myself have received a number of enquiries on what does Project Brave look like for AUFA

Above is a summary of the key developments and appointment we have made over last 4 months to ensure we were selected for Progressive Performance or Elite level within Scottish FA Project Brave structure

We are excited to have added the personnel above and, I must add we are delighted to have retained the current coaches and staff we have within the various departments, many of whom have dedicated there time and efforts to AUFA over the last 8 years

AUFA has now around 50 staff and volunteers working hands on or via a support role within our Pro Youth department. Every one of them is driven to providing the best environment they can for our young players and to help support them into AUFC 1st team

Over the next couple of months, the Scottish FA will put in place a new Project Brave games structure which will include change of season, new age groups added to existing pathway and a new fixture list which will include both elite and Progressive performance teams playing each other. As soon as this information is shared with AUFA we will get information out to all involved.

1st team manager Ian McCall and everyone at the Club and Academy cannot wait for the new Project Brave season to start in February 2018"!!

AUFA is a Scottish registered charity and is incorporated as a not for profit Company Limited by guarantee. AUFA Pro Youth teams participate in SFA Club Academy Games Programme 1. AUFA Ladies and girls teams participate within SWF. Track the Academy Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat & Youtube.


Many thanks for the update and clarity on the role of performance official, all the best for the future and here's hoping it will produce players for ayr united.