Edward Gallagher says excitement is building as plans ramp up ahead of jetting off to Denmark to defend their under-15s girls Dana Cup title.
Report/Image: Celtic FC
With exactly half of his 16-player squad returning to Hjorring after last years’ victory and eight debutants, the Girls Academy manager believes Celtic’s ability to offer these trips will help them produce more experienced and professional footballers down the line.
Celtic secured the title last year after an impressive campaign coming to a head with Keira Chuter’s last minute winner against Viking FK, and the 2019 squad’s head coach Gallagher thinks it only adds to the anticipation.
“There is excitement for all the players and staff attending this year anyway, regardless whether they were part of the win last year or not,” he began.
“For the players attending for the first time they have that buzz of getting to travel abroad with their club for the first time and for those who were part of the success last year, they know the hard work required, and the excitement of retaining that winning feeling must be a massive motivation for them.
“We are fortunate to have a lot of players who travel internationally with Scotland, but the experience of travelling and spending time with your club is a truly exciting and rewarding experience.
“Last year was a fantastic experience for the club and all the players involved. The girls worked very hard, playing a lot of football in a short period of time in some very warm weather. The players will have fantastic memories of the tournament that they will take into their senior careers.”
Denmark marks not only Celtic’s return to the Dana Cup, but the youth system’s second international tournament of the summer, following an under-19s group heading out to France in June for the Scania Cup. These are enjoyable experiences and learning curves for all involved, but they are carefully planned by design to ensure the Celtic Academy gives young footballers the best possible education in the game as well as a pathway in their development.
“David Haley and I sit down every few months and think about what we can we do better, what we can do to take the girls academy forward and make it as professional and forward thinking as possible. We’ve added lots of different aspects from hiring more staff, increasing training both on and off the pitch and then finally looking to add different experiences and environments to enhance development. We always try and play different teams to offer our players different learning situations and ultimately prepare them.
“We now have teams going to France and Denmark each year, as well as aiming to take all our academy teams down south to play against WSL Academies in England. All of these experiences aim to further develop our players as we try and push as many as possible towards the first team,” he said.
The tournament will take place over 22-27 July in Hjorring, Denmark.