Aberdeen & District Youth Football Association Team of the Week: Dee United Under-18s

As part of our enhanced coverage of the Aberdeen and District Juvenile Football Association, The Press and Journal features some of our local teams.

This week we talk to Dee United Under-18 manager Ben Dugan. The 17-year-old played for the club last season, before deciding to become a manager.

Last name: Ben Dugan

Position: Coach

Crew: Dee United under 18

League: Alba Joints ADJFA 18s Ligue A

Land at home: Sheddocksley

Kit colors: Blue and white/black and white

How did you start this season?

We lost on matchday one, which was a shame, but we got a really good point against Cults in our second game.

Last season it was all about getting players to play, but this year results are being delivered week by week, so hopefully we can really start.

How was last season?

We finished seventh. I was still playing then and we thought it was a good season for our first year.

What are your expectations for this season?

We don’t really know what to expect this season as the A and B leagues have come together. Every team seems to have new players, so it’s a bit unfamiliar.

Our goal is to finish in the first half, but maybe our expectations will change as the season progresses and we’ll start to get more results.

Where do you train?

We train at Inverdee grounds in Aberdeen. It’s a great place to train and the boys get free sessions – our whole club is free.

It’s one of the biggest benefits of playing for Dee United, especially right now during the cost of living crisis.

Tell us a bit about the players on your team…

We have a good group of guys, there are around 20 boys in the team. We’ve had a few days off, but it’s a pretty tight group because a lot of us went to school together.

Why did you decide to quit playing and become a coach?

I played in midfield but I always wanted to coach. I prefer the coaching side, so one of the other coaches here helped me get my badges.

It’s been really fun so far. It’s a different experience than playing, but I really like it and I like being more involved.

Do you think the players will continue to play after youth football?

We have players who are definitely good enough to go and play amateur or youth football, especially our goalkeeper – he is fantastic.

For me, I hope there will be another Dee team that I can help with.

How can we improve youth football to produce better young players?

I think what the Press and the Journal are doing this season – giving the teams this coverage and this support – is really brilliant. It helps to get more recognition from the league and it’s something that should continue.

I said earlier that Dee United is completely free, which is a big plus, and if other clubs did that too, you would definitely have more players signing up.

Reports from this weekend will appear on the Presse et Journal site at 5 p.m. on Sundays.

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