Young footballer could make Peterhead proud as Don
Last week 16-year-old Aaron Norris was presented with the Pride of Buchan award in recognition of his already impressive footballing CV, writes Joshua King.
The youngster, who was sidelined for several weeks last year after a freak ski lift accident, has already represented Scotland at under-16s level.
By the end of the year however, he had made history as part of the team that won the Sky Sports Victory Shield for the first time since 1998.
Scotland defeated England 1-0 at Raith Rovers’ Starks Park to secure the famous trophy, with Aaron coming off the bench to replace Calvin Miller in the 64th minute.
The fall from a Lecht ski lift in February last year had put his place in the team in serious danger.
The injuries he sustained set him back weeks at a crucial time in his career and footballers of Aaron’s age only get a few chances to impress the national coaches.
He missed a trip to Italy but the selectors saw enough potential in Aaron during a ‘best of the rest’ game to include him in the squad for the Victory Shield tournament.
The 16-year-old went on to be one of three Aberdeen FC players to represent Scotland in the competition, a testament to the quality of both Aaron and the Dons’ junior set up.
After Aaron visited Peterhead’s Balmoor stadium for Aberdeen under-20s crunch tie with Rangers last week, his father Kevin, a former footballer himself, spoke to the Buchanie.
He said: “What he’s got on his CV already is ridiculous.
“He’s a very level-headed guy and his feet are grounded.
“But it all comes down to natural talent - you can’t teach talent.
“It’s a fine line between making it and not making it - football is full of harsh realities but I believe Aaron’s got a chance.
Kevin, who played for Fraserburgh, continued: “In my day there was no chance unless you scored goals in the Highland League.
“Now with money being so tight in all the leagues, top teams are looking at this level.”
Aaron, who is described by Aberdeen as ‘a winger with great pace and ability,’ began his football with Peterhead Boys Club and has gone on to represent the Dons at every level from under-10s to under-17s.
He has no doubt about his next move. He said: “I’m looking towards my first full-time contract with Aberdeen.
“It could happen in May this year, but if not I’m young enough to have another shot at it next year as well.
“Of course the dream for any young player is to play in the English Premier League, but right now my focus is with Aberdeen.
And even though Aaron’s career has just begun, Buchan councillors have been quick to recognise his achievements and potential.
Aberdeenshire councillors Stuart Pratt, Anne Allan and Lenny Pirie presented Aaron with the prestigious Pride of Buchan award at an assembly at Peterhead Academy on the morning of the under-20s Rangers tie.
The councillors and Kevin all hope Aaron can be an inspiration to other young footballers in the North East.
Aaron wishes to thank the local coaches who have helped him in his footballing career.
He paid tribute to Buchanhaven Thistles’ school coach Daffy Stewart, Hexagon coach Walter Innes and Peterhead Boys Club coaches Mike McCafferty, James Duthie, Ian Deakin and Eric Fulton.