TEENAGER Jordan Hunter has been named Player of the Year in Edinburgh’s Bank of Scotland Midnight Leagues, a five-a-side initiative involving boys and girls aged 12-16 on Friday evenings.
With more than 3000 participants across the country enjoying the fast and furious pace that the game often dictates, the former Hutchison Vale keeper was ecstatic at being named in pole position ahead of some stiff competition.
“I’m really pleased to have won this award where there were a lot of players to choose from – it’s a proud moment,” said 16-year-old Jordan. “The level of competition was really high with some of the players involved also playing for football clubs, so there was a lot of ability on show.
“I normally play in goals if I am playing 11-a-side but I like to have a shot outfield in these sorts of games. I think it gives people of this age something worth doing on a Friday night, there is a lot of enthusiasm out there on the pitch.”
As part of the prize Jordan, along with the other regional winners, took part in a training session lead by John Collins. And, despite being a Hearts fan, Jordan admits he found the session a real highlight of his prized trip to Hampden Park.
A guided tour of the national stadium provided an indication of the rituals many players experience prior to kick-off before the winners relocated to Lesser Hampden where former Scotland internationalist Collins began a vigorous training regime.
Jordan added: “It was great to have someone like John Collins put us through a training session where we worked on our technique and other various skills. He gave us a lot of really useful information on how he became a player and the best way to go about conducting yourself. Hampden is superb inside, the changing-rooms are massive but it was also good to see some memorabilia including old strips, boots and a video on the history of the national side. It was just a great experience to be involved in.”
After showing such promise, Jordan is set for a promising career in football, but the youngster is already making inroads towards an alternative role in the game. He has now decided to put all his energy into acquiring the qualifications he needs to pursue his ambition of becoming a full-time football coach which he hopes to begin once his school days have drawn to a close.
The Forrester High School student said: “Since I stopped playing football on a Saturday, I’ve been doing some coaching with the SFA (Scottish Football Association) and helping out. They’ve been really happy with me and have said they might look at putting me through a course to get my badges and levels of coaching qualifications. I have more of an interest in coaching football now than playing. I want to stay on at school until the end of sixth-year but I’m hoping after that I can find myself involved within football in some capacity.”