Scottish Amateur Football News Exclusive
Coach Ryan Docherty is confident a transition from Tass Thistle 2004 to becoming the new Kilbride Thistle AFC Under-20 Development Squad will be met head-on in positive fashion, writes Tom Scott.
Any prospect of Tass finishing at Under-17s level and moving to Under-19 was wrecked by the global pandemic, but Ryan and the backroom team have been far from idle.
Moving under the Kilbride Thistle banner is seen as a shrewd move by First Team Manager Sean Kenney, who has a high regard for 24-year-old Coach Docherty.
Said Ryan: “I always wanted to get into Coaching from my School days. Through Craig Hamilton (SFA) I carried out Work Experience around different Schools, Children with Learning Difficulties, and Street Soccer Leagues.”
“I had already paid for myself to complete a couple of Coaching Badges when a Gentleman running my cousin’s team asked me to help him. Ultimately, had to step down due to his job, and I took over.”
“I noticed boys at Tass Under-15s (at that time) were scared to take the ball under pressure, and needed help, plus have a bit more confidence introduced into them.”
“We have gradually improved. The boys have come on leaps and bounds tactically and technically. – working as a unit on shape and playing a high pressing game.”
“They now have an identity, have won three Cups (I have enclosed a photograph from the Final against Crosshouse), and three players were invited into training by Clyde FC Under-21s.”
Ryan, currently waiting to complete the second part of the SFA C Licence, revealed he was set to depart Tass for the Bully Wee in a coaching role.
He admitted: “I told everyone back in May that Clyde wanted me to be involved with their Under-21s. I spoke with various people to seek advice – including parents of our boys – and they said I should go for it – but as you know Clyde FC have since scrapped most of the youth set-up, and now there is nothing between their First Team level and Under-17s at Broadwood.”
“It’s great to be back working with the other coaches and players again to plan – despite Covid-19 – three-week programmes on strength and conditioning, endurance and running.”
“We’ve also had a few offers to link-up with Junior teams / West of Scotland League Clubs, and we agreed in principle to a one- year trial with Ardrossan Winton Rovers. By late September- early October, Ardrossan decided to withdraw from the West League for this season due to Covid-19, so the “trial” was up the spout.”
“I played for Kilbride Thistle over an 18-month spell and it’s a great Club. Sean Kenney was the Coach during my time there, and he actually signed me. We remained good friends after I left , and usually we met up for a Sunday breakfast before he came to watch us (Tass Thistle) playing in the Ayrshire League.”
“When he told me about his plans at the Club moving forward, and his vision for Kilbride Thistle AFC I immediately knew it was the right move for us – in particular the boys. I know it’s right!”
“We will be the youngest team in the League. Games are played on a Friday night, but were scrapped Pre-New Year due to the pandemic. Any club who was in Membership will still be able to play those registered players, which means they will be over-20. years of age. That is a huge advantage already in their favour.”
“Being a new Club, we won’t be able to do that, but as Coaches it’s up to us to help our players deal with the transition and continue their development.”
First Team Boss Sean Kenney has welcomed the arrival of the entire 2004 Squad.
He told me “I have taken some training sessions with them and they have a really good set-up with excellent players, and quality Coaches.”
“They like to play football the right way. Obviously, they will be the youngest at that level, but they should want to progress within what we can offer them.”
“It’s very exciting times for the Club!”