First Touch is proud of our reputation from boys’ club level through to senior pro-youth teams, for our approach and delivery to coaching and motivating players from the ages of 6 to 12. We have already established relationships with senior club coaches in order to maximise opportunities for our players, and welcome the chance to do so with anyone who may be interested in finding out more about us.
A number of former and current players are linked to professional clubs, either having signed with them or currently training or trialing with them. We also recognise that some of our players – either by choice or otherwise – may play at boys club level and we aim to realise the potential of all of them to find their own level and what suits them, when they leave us.
We have captured below a gallery of some of our former and current players who have imparted their words of wisdom regarding their experiences with us:
Robbie Crawford, Glasgow Rangers
Robbie is now signed to Glasgow Rangers on a professional contract. Highlights of his five years at Murray Park include trips abroad to represent Rangers in Portugal, Andorra, Italy and Germany and of course playing against the old rivals Celtic. Robbie plays in an attacking midfield role and acknowledges that the early touches he learnt while at First Touch have allowed him to be confident in his play at any level now or in the future.
Mikey McKitrick, Greenock Morton, Kilmarnock.
Mikey McKitrick has followed Robbie Crawford into the senior ranks by signing a two-year pro contract with Kilmarnock. Mikey left in 2006 as First Touch Coaches’ Player of the Year after five years. The skills and confidence gained have prepared him to play centre midfield and captain of Morton for two seasons against many S.F.L squads, before moving to Kilmarnock Under 17′s. Mikey feels his enjoyment, confidence and progress are rooted in the technical awareness nurtured and encouraged by First Touch. His ambition is to continue his development and go as far as possible in the game.
David McNeil, Kilmarnock FC
David is now in his fifth season with Kilmarnock where he plays as a striker for the Under 17′s. “The coaching I got at First Touch in my last two years there is quite similar to what I do at Kilmarnock which helped me in the early days to settle in quickly. If you listen to your coaches it will help when you move on to other – maybe bigger and better – things!”
Iain Beattie, Greenock Morton
Iain plays in a defensive role for Greenock Morton’s under 17′s team with many of his former First Touch counterparts. He has continued to use the skills and knowledge gained during his time at First Touch and believes he was given a great grounding. “ I was encouraged to play football the way it should be played and shown how to develop certain techniques to win balls”. Iain hopes to push himself to see how far he can go in the game.
Conor Nolan, Australian Capital Territory
Over the past two years Conor has been playing midfield for the Australian Capital Territory Academy of Sport ( ACTAS) Men’s team on a sports scholarship.
Conor has continued to work hard and has been lucky enough to undertake two overseas tours with the team, firstly to England and Holland in 2010 and to China in 2011.
Conor’s scholarship with the team finishes in December 2011 but he will be playing again with ACTAS next year on a training agreement as every year they keep a couple of 17 year olds to help the younger scholarship holders. Conor will be back in Scotland next year and hopes to catch up with everyone at First Touch.
Conor continues to practice what he learned in his years with First Touch and trains four nights a week after school with his team.
Lewis Morgan, Glasgow Rangers
Lewis is in his seventh season at Murray Park and currently plays for the U’16 team against other SPL teams. He has also played against and beaten Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Lyon, Stuttgart and CSKA Moscow on trips abroad representing Rangers. Lewis plays a number of positions but prefers his left sided attacking midfield role which allows him to use all the drills and movements learnt at First Touch. Lewis is a dual footed player and acknowledges that is only down to the dedication of his coaches at Group 1 stage were he learnt to dedicate extra time to his weaker foot. Playing with the confidence he takes from his First Touch sessions, he hopes to develop even further and go as far as possible in the game.
Ryan Sinnamon, Glasgow Rangers
After 6 years at First Touch, I am now playing for Glasgow Rangers U16′s along with First Touch team mates Lewis Morgan & Jamie Mills. The experience I have gained at First Touch has been of great help to me when playing against other SPL clubs, it has given me a good insight to the game and in how to read it. It has also helped with passing, shooting and loads of technical skills and most importantly how to be a good team player and to always try and enjoy your self no matter the score and to always give 110% in training and in games. I would like to thank all the coaches that have been responsible in teaching me how to play football over the past six years.
Craig McPherson, Falkirk F.C. Head of Youth Development.
Former Morton, Airdrie and Falkirk player Craig is now Head of Youth Development at his former club Falkirk, where he is responsible for all age groups from Under 10 to Under 19, as well as coach education within the club. Reflecting on his 4 years at First Touch Craig said ” Its been really satisfying for me. Not only have I learned a great deal about coaching through working with some of the best coaches in the area, it has been terrific to watch the boys develop from the earliest stages through to their last year with First Touch.
I’m delighted to have been a part of First Touch and look forward to hearing about their continued success”. Craig’s advice to young players is to “practice all the time, listen to your coaches and enjoy what you are doing.”
Craig Smith, W-League Head Coach Ottawa Fury (Canada)
Craig was born in Canada but grew up in Greenock. Following his professional career in both Scotland and Australia he took up a coaching role at First Touch which gave him a chance to start a new career direction. Craig was amazed at the skills the First Touch boys showed at such an early age and enjoyed seeing his coaching being put to practice in game play situations.
Craig is now a Canadian National B level coach, and has gained a growing reputation working in the Vancouver area, all started by his time at First Touch. At the end of last season Craig spent time in Mexico at the Tashirat Orphange where he coached the kids, this year he is presently coaching kids in India.