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Caithness United squads ready for return to partial training after lockdown


By Alan Hendry

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Flashback to December – the Caithness United U13 side who defeated Do Soccer from Tain to confirm their 'invincibles' status for 2019, as they finished off their year in the Moray Firth Youth Development League with a 4-0 victory. Back (from left): Morgan Kennedy, Alfie Miller, Lee Gordon, Matthew Robertson, Tom Armitage, Euan Kennedy (captain), Joshua Hughes, Sam Reid. Front: Steven Esson, Sam Shearer, Jed Armitage, Finlay Bain, Matthew Mackay, Jayden Bremner, Scott McDonald and Lewis Swan.
Flashback to December – the Caithness United U13 side who defeated Do Soccer from Tain to confirm their 'invincibles' status for 2019, as they finished off their year in the Moray Firth Youth Development League with a 4-0 victory. Back (from left): Morgan Kennedy, Alfie Miller, Lee Gordon, Matthew Robertson, Tom Armitage, Euan Kennedy (captain), Joshua Hughes, Sam Reid. Front: Steven Esson, Sam Shearer, Jed Armitage, Finlay Bain, Matthew Mackay, Jayden Bremner, Scott McDonald and Lewis Swan.

The young footballers of Caithness United are gearing up for a return to partial training this weekend after their lockdown lay-off.

The club's two age groups, under-13s and under-15s, have been working on their skills and fitness individually over the past four months thanks to challenges and drills provided by their coaches.

However, under the latest easing of Scotland's lockdown, contact sports can resume for children and young people under 18, subject to guidance – which means United are able to train together collectively for the first time since the coronavirus crisis began.

Coach Alan Kennedy said: “I think it’s safe to say that everyone at Caithness United is absolutely delighted to be getting back to partial training with our squads again, beginning this Saturday.

“I know the boys are, as we have had lots of messages of support through their parents since we announced it a few days ago.

“There are conditions of safety associated with the training sessions, in line with the SFA Covid-19 guidelines, but just to get back out on the park with the boys will be superb.

“We’ve obviously worked hard throughout the various stages of lockdown to try and keep the lads engaged and active by producing several video drill sessions and challenges – but there’s no substitute for getting together and having a collective session on the pitch.

“It has been a long four months but I feel we have been patient, and we are now ready for a safe and controlled return.

We’ve worked hard to try and keep the lads engaged and active – but there’s no substitute for getting together and having a collective session on the pitch.

“On that subject, our chairman, Alan Turner, chaired a Zoom meeting last week to allow all the coaches to go through the SFA guidelines line-by-line, to ensure we will be compliant and ready for the start-up training session.”

During lockdown, the coaches came up with a series of "10 Day Challenges" which involved the players doing a daily series of fitness sessions and training routines while isolated from their team-mates.

This was followed by a set of online coaching videos called Drillz Skillz compiled by Alan Kennedy, Derek Shearer and Steve Bain which were shared on the club's own YouTube channel.

Alan said: “We were so disappointed that our season was cut short, but it was obviously the correct action to take in the circumstances. I am hearing from our other coaches that grassroots football in England is due to return in August, and their leagues can restart in September, so we are optimistic that we will have some positive news in the near future with regard to the return of Scottish grassroots football too – and, in particular, to when the Caithness United boys can expect to be back playing in a competitive league again.

“Our job as coaches is to ensure the boys are all ready for that moment, and I’m certain the squads will be firing on all cylinders when the referee blows the whistle to start their first match."


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