Dubai Rovers recently celebrating clinching a superb JFL double, just twelve months after falling narrowly short. GYS spoke to Rovers' Ross Gilmour, to find out more about their memorable season.
How do you and your team feel about being crowned winners of the league?
The previous season we were runners up to FINS FC twice at JFL playing as U13s in the U14s league, we were hopeful that as the boys were a year older we could go one stage further this season and pick up the winners medal. We said at the previous end of season party that winning wasn’t important and while that is true, it was actually such a great feeling when we got our first winners medals and trophy. Our Sponsor EDP provided a great celebration that night! As an additional bonus, we also won the ESM’7 and the Dubai Super (Challenge) Cup this season.
What was your favourite moment of the season?
Winning JFL Term 1. JFL is a competition I have always loved being part off, it’s on a Thursday night and it’s a great start to the weekend and end to the boys school week. Taking the team from near the bottom at U12s to U14s champions was immensely enjoyable and satisfying. We are also fortunate to have a parent who has her own photography business (Lynn Emery) who has captured all the dramatic moments in the season.
Which match was your biggest challenge and why? Was it a turning point?
Our biggest challenge this season was right back at the start in our first match in the JA Youth League, we had lost 3 of our strongest players returning to the UK and an additional unplanned two boys on the eve of season, moral was low as these 5 players were big characters in our squad, we actually lost that day 2:1 against the Go Pro (14’s), but it was a turning point as we seen players from within the squad stepping up and taking on the responsibility to compensate for the players who left, as coaches myself and Ray have been delighted to see quieter members of the squad become leaders this season and also players adapt to different positions which in turn has developed their individual game as well.
What do you think is the biggest reason or driving force for your team's success?
Talented football players who work hard in training and matches, friendship, team work, team spirit, passionate coaches (fathers) and an unbelievable set of parents who back everything we do and provide great support. During EID we recently enjoyed a club trip to Goa were around 9 families travelled and we played a youth tournament and dads tournament it was a fantastic bonding session.
What are the squads plans for the future?
We are planning to continue and are looking at pre-season session’s starting in September. We will move to U16s next year so we see this as a two year program as we will in effect be playing as U15s next year. It will be tough once again going against strong parent run clubs like GC United and FINS who were already at U16s this year and all the usual academies.
We are also looking to continue to train twice a week with coaching from a UEFA B licensed coach who has been involved in the Dubai football scene for a number of years. We currently have two spaces to fill for the squad next season and have a number of boys express interest in joining.
Do you have any other comments you'd like to add?
We appreciate the work that goes on behind the scenes from people like Sid (JA Youth League) Gwyn & Rashid – ( JFL) and Rick (Academy – Development league) who work hard to maintain the leagues. We are also hopeful there will always be a place for parent funded and run teams like the Dubai Rovers, Desert Rangers, Mini Madrid, FINS and GC United.
GYS congratulates Dubai Rovers on their superb achievement and look forward to following the progress of the team next season and in years to come.