Children’s football festival making a comeback in Galashiels after two years off

A Borders youth football festival billed as the biggest of its kind in the country is making a comeback at the end of the month after two years off due to coronavirus restrictions.

By Darin Hutson
Friday, 20th May 2022, 12:09 pm
Updated Friday, 20th May 2022, 2:23 pm
Girls' teams from Melrose and Lauder taking part in 2019's Scottish Borders Junior Football Association festival of football (Photo: Alwyn Johnston)
Girls' teams from Melrose and Lauder taking part in 2019's Scottish Borders Junior Football Association festival of football (Photo: Alwyn Johnston)

The Scottish Borders Junior Football Association is staging its first annual festival of football since 2019 and 17th overall on Sunday, May 29, at Netherdale in Galashiels.

More than 120 teams are expected to take part in the event, for both girls and boys aged from five to 13, and a total turnout in excess of 2,000, including spectators, is anticipated.

It’s being held in partnership with Live Borders, Scottish Borders Council and the Scottish Football Association and will incorporate the region’s annual football festival for girls aged five to 10, previously a separate entity overseen by the SFA and Scottish Women’s Football, for the first time, with teams from Lauder, Melrose, Chirnside, Coldstream, Galashiels and Innerleithen among those participating in that part of proceedings.

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Teams set to be represented at the wider event include Ancrum, Duns, Earlston, Eyemouth, Gala Fairydean Rovers, Hawick Youth, Kelso, Lauderdale, Leithen Vale, Linton Hotspur Colts, Peebles, Selkirk and Tweedbank Thistle.

Ewan Jackson, chief executive of Live Borders, said: “This event has gone from strength to strength and is now the largest football festival of its kind in Scotland.

“Each year, new elements have been added and it represents a fabulous showcase of football at all levels, with fun, fitness and competition clear to see in every game.”

SFA football development officer Drew Kelly welcomed the addition of the South East Scotland girls’ festival to the event, saying: “This year we have added the SFA south east girls’ festival to the main event, which is a reflection of how much the girls’ game is growing in the Borders.

“We are giving every participating girl a free ticket for the SWF Scottish Cup final at Tynecastle in Edinburgh later in the day, which is why we are kicking off this part of the festival earlier at 10am.”

Association chairman Brian Smith added: “We are delighted to be able to bring back the football festival as it was a sad miss for all the players the past couple of years.

“It brings together youngsters from all parts of the Borders to play football and have a great day out.

“We hope that the event is a huge success and look forward to seeing everyone back again.”

The main festival will kick off at 12.30pm. Spectators are welcome.