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Club News


9 April 2024

Club News


9 April 2024

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The younger age groups from Rotherham United’s Academy have been flying the flag for the club north of the border in Scotland recently as part of an Easter half-term football tour organised by Sports Leisure Travel.

The U10s, U11s and U12s were accompanied by their coaches for a three-game programme which included time to showcase their maturity off-the-pitch amidst a busy social schedule which had been incorporated into the trip.

Their Scottish opposition included Ayr United, and Hamilton Academical – who they played at the club’s first team stadium – before the matches were concluded against Rangers at the Scottish Premier League juggernauts’ training complex.

The Millers youngsters set out for the trip as they departed AESSEAL New York Stadium early in the morning on Tuesday 2nd April with the coach headed up the M1 for the club’s first series of matches against Ayr United.

A rainy first day in Scotland provided the youngsters with a good challenge against the youth setup at a Scottish Championship side and they were backed by a healthy following of parents and family members who offered their support pitchside.

After putting in the work on the pitch the players were taken to a bowling alley to spend some time in their teammates' company before heading for an evening meal and finally concluding a long day with a late check-in at the hotel where some tired players were able to get some well-earned rest.

Day Two of the trip saw the Academy players treated to a behind-the-scenes look around Ibrox, where they enjoyed a stadium tour from Rangers FC in the morning before another fixture was on the agenda in the form of a clash with Hamilton Academical.

New Douglas Park – the home of the Accies’ first team – was the venue for this round of fixtures with the U10s and U11s on the hallowed turf first before the U12s had their opportunity to play at the venue of a Scottish League One outfit. Once again, parents and players not involved in either game were in the stands cheering on their Millers teammates to provide them with a positive and encouraging matchday atmosphere.

A pizza night followed as the players and staff replenished their energy levels after another round of fixtures before they retired to the hotel ahead of their final day north of the border.

A later start allowed the players and staff to get organised and checked out of the hotel before they made their way to the showpiece fixture of the trip at Rangers’ Training Centre.


Speaking after returning to AESSEAL New York Stadium after an incredibly positive three days, Lead Foundation Phase Coach Dave Atkinson was full of praise for players, staff and tour operators alike.

“We were really pleased with the performances of all the players and the U10s won all of their games during our time up in Scotland.

“Before the trip, we had spoken with the players and explained that we knew that they would represent us to the best of their abilities on the pitch but we stressed the importance of ensuring that they were a credit to the badge off it and they absolutely were.

“For players at the younger end of the age group trips like this can be as emotionally exhausting as they are physically with the excitement of being away from home and in another country – in some cases for the first time ever or certainly away from parents for longer than they might previously have experienced.

“We were genuinely really happy with a lot of the performances and results but a part of that felt secondary to all the life experiences that the lads were able to get being away from home at the same time.

“The trip was designed to give the players a bit of independence as well and while the parents were allowed to come up, they were only doing so to watch the games. After that they would go off and do their own thing and the players would spend time in the company of their teammates and the coaching staff which was made up of myself, our Head of Academy Recruitment Scott Duncanson, our U12s coach Tom Blake and our Player Welfare Officer Emma Hornsby. I’d like to place on-record my thanks to those three individuals and the coach driver who accompanied us throughout the trip.

“One of the most pleasing aspects of the whole trip was upon our return when we received a really positive email from the tour operator Sports Leisure Travel who were incredibly complimentary about how the players had behaved throughout and we received similar comments from the staff at the restaurants and hotels in which we ate about the lads’ etiquette with things like their manners and tidying plates and cutlery away after they had eaten.”



The following is the testimony provided by email to the club by the tour operators Sports Leisure Travel and is being shared with their permission.

“I have had the pleasure of travelling with your Rotherham United tour to Glasgow. It has been a privilege. The coaches and players have been second-to-none. The professional nature of David and his team should be at the level which each pro club should set and trust me, there are others out there who are way off this standard. The players have been taught life lessons, manners and old-school qualities. The respect that they have shown on and off the pitch is a massive credit to your club. I am taken aback by the attention to detail of the coaches and the extreme compassion and education that they have provided every child with.”

James Clarke - Managing Director of Sports Leisure Travel


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