AMsoccer aims to build on French connection

AMsoccer club says it plans on sending a team of young footballers to France in April to build on the success of a recent link up with Cupar’s twin town, Sainte Menehould.

A team of French players arrived in Cupar recently and spent a few days with families in the area.

As well as building their footballing education, the players were also given the opportunity to learn more about the area, and spent time at Falkland Estate and St Andrews.

The team also took in some Scottish football as guests of the Hibernian Football Foundation for the recent Hibernian v Cowdenbeath

AMsoccer founder Austin MacPhee said that, although the event had been a success, he’d like to see more support from the local community on any future link up and says he intends to speak with local elected members to address it.

“Seeing kids develop confidence, language skills and friendships through sport has been great,” he said.

“It’s important we try to encourage them to be comfortable in foreign company as the world is becoming a smaller place.

“The disappointing thing has been the lack of co-operation at both and educational and sporting level within the local community.

“We were not the catalyst for Cupar’s twin-town concept – just thought it was good to support it.

“It’s a matter we will take up with local councillors in coming weeks.”

After arriving, the youngsters quickly took to the field and were put through their paces at a training session on Duffus Park.

Each evening, they stayed with their host families which challenged them to develop their English language skills and gave the local players a chance to practise French.

“It was a genuine pleasure to host two young footballers from Sainte Menehould over the past few days,” said Ken Gourlay, an AMsoccer parent. “They were a credit to their family, school and football club.

“Having been over in Sainte Menehould previously on a football exchange, it was great to be able to return the hospitality.

“I hope the relationship between the two towns is strengthened by this recent trip and that the arrangement continues long into the future.”

The youngsters played on Saturday morning against an AMsoccer under-13 team in freezing conditions, with AMsoccer running out winners in a competitive game.

“It’s fun having foreign players stay with my family and then playing against them,” said Angus Mitchinson, who also played in the AMsoccer project at the Brazil World Cup.

“We had Kenyans stay with us in the summer and then French players this week.”

St Menehould were back on the pitch on Sunday at Cupar’s artificial pitch with AMsoccer under-14s.

For the second day in a row, the Scottish team ran out winners.

Lunch at Cupar Golf Course followed but the covering of snow prevented the players from taking to the course.

The French players and coaches enjoyed their last night with their local host families on Sunday night, prior to a Monday morning assembly at Castlehill School before heading back to Edinburgh airport.

Plans are now in place for AMsoccer to send a team to France to repeat the experience.

Both clubs have extended their thanks to all who made the visit possible.