Cliftonville’s senior stars may be out of action today, but there was no shortage of entertainment on show when the latest installment of the fonaCAB Development League took place.
Every Saturday morning, Solitude plays host to 44 teams across two age-groups, where boys and girls born in 2012-13 contest games consisting of three 12-minute periods in a fun and simplified environment.
“The fonaCAB Development League is a 4aSide competition with no goalkeepers,” explains Cliftonville’s Head of Youth Development Marc Smyth.
“The focus is on development with more touches, more passes and more goals, creating fun and making kids love the game.
“It has been a very popular addition to our underage set-up and, as well as welcoming girls’ teams from Larne, CSP and St Malachy’s, we were recently delighted to see Cliftonville’s Under 6s starting their own journeys within our academy.”
“fonaCAB have a long history of supporting local athletes and local sport so when the opportunity to sponsor the Development League came about, it was a no brainer,” explains fonaCAB Operations Manager, Sean Walshe.
“The formation of the Development League is such a positive move for the local community and helps give so many kids the opportunity to get involved in the game.
“The hard work and committment from Marc and all the other coaches, both on and off the pitch, is out of this world. They’re out on that pitch every Saturday morning, rain or shine, putting the kids through their paces.
“You can see their hard work paying off and the results are amazing. The League has grown very quickly with almost 50 teams now taking part and over 400 boys and girls playing every week.
“With the emphasis placed on having fun, you can feel the sense of excitement the kids get from running out at one of the most iconic grounds in the League.
“It’s very rewarding to know that our sponsorship has helped contribute to building something so special which brings so much enjoyment to so many families across the country.”