While the prospects of the Scottish National Team become more and more bleak with every match they play, there is actually some good news to be found in several of the different Scottish “age group” teams. Today I’d like to highlight the achievements of Scotland’s U19 team which yesterday won their qualifying group in the UEFA U19 Championship by defeating second place Switzerland by a score of 4-3 in Falkirk. Scotland opened the scoring through a free kick from Joseph Chalmers, but the man of the match was without a doubt 17 year old Islam Feruz. Between the 52nd and 84th minutes of the match Feruz bagged himself a hat trick (header, right foot, and left foot!) which only fanned the belief that he may be as good a player as Scotland has produced in a generation. His footballing prowess is, however, only part of the story.
Feruz was born in Somalia and as his family fled the country to escape the violence there they took what you might call a “roundabout” route to Glasgow which included Yemen, Tanzania, and England. By the age of 10 he was being scouted by Celtic, and by the age of 11 he was playing for their U14 team. By the age of 14 he was playing for Scotland’s U17 team (for whom he scored 7 times in 18 matches), and by the age of 16 he had been called up to the country’s U21 squad (the youngest player ever to receive such an honor). In all he played for the Scotland U17, U19, U20, and U21 sides during the 2012 calendar year. He also made another move as a 16 year old, from Celtic to Chelsea, where he is currently part of the reserve squad despite having only turned 17 a month ago.
So, while Scotland’s senior team continues to disappoint, keep an eye out for Islam Feruz.