YOUTH football club Edinburgh Red Lions are working just as hard off the pitch as they are on it.
Founded in 2010 by former Polish professional footballer Lukasz Rusin and his brother Wojciech, the club has made considerable strides with their youth development programme in the two years the club has been operating.
Upon receiving recognition as an SFA Quality Mark affiliated club in January 2011, the Lions were confident of securing enough interested bodies to enable the club to enter into the South East Region Youth FA playing competitive football, an ambition that has ultimately prevailed this season with two sides now involved within the league set-up at Under-19 and Under-16 levels of the game.
Club secretary Marcin Nowak has been encouraged by the steady progress made within a short spell, and despite both 16s and 19s squads having so far failed to win a league match this season, Nowak is predicting better things to come.
Nowak said: “At the beginning we had only about 15 kids in one team but we now have five teams with four playing competitive football in the leagues.
“We started out as having entirely Polish players but now have Scots joining us as well. We don’t have a home venue yet but we usually rent the pitches down at Spartans or from the council and everyone appears to be enjoying it.
“We are still a relatively new club and the guys are trying to understand each other out on the park as some of the boys have never really played football before, but next year should be a lot better and we want to start making an impression which I think we can do.”
With squads also represented at Under-11, eight and six, there appears to be a strong network of youth players developing within the ranks.
Nowak reveals the club are in the process of becoming a registered charity with further ambitions to provide greater social and leisure opportunities for the city’s youngsters being one of their top priorities.
“Long-term we want to find a home venue but we are also in the process of registering as a charity club. We want to take kids off the streets and do something for not just the Polish community, but also integrate both nations. We also have Latvian and Lithuanian boys at the club, so we have a few nationalities here now.”
Nowak added: “We also co-operate with other Polish teams in Glasgow and Dundee and we would like to open up clubs there in the future. We try to advertise the club as much as we can through brochures, adverts and websites as we really think we can make a go of this.”
For more details, or anyone interested in joining the Edinburgh Red Lions, please contact club secretary Marcin Nowak on 07533 524304.