Edinburgh football coach Ciaran's lockdown efforts recognised by SFA

Ciaran Pugh, a 21-year old football coach from North Merchiston FC, has won the first ever Nationwide SFA Positive Play Award for his incredible lockdown efforts.

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 7:00 am

Ciaran has been keeping in touch with the 250 junior footballers at his Edinburgh-based club every week through online games, fitness and activity during the lockdowns to keep the youngsters engaged, mentally-healthy and happy.

Chris Hull, Ambassador for Nationwide's SFA Positive Play Award, said: "We are delighted to give this award to Ciaran and North Merchiston FC. The club has made massive strides forward this year and has stepped up to the plate for its community during this pandemic and the many lockdown challenges.

"We are thrilled for the club's players, coaches, families and Ciaran to be recognised with this award.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

First winner: Ciaran Pugh

"Ciaran's specific nominations came from club parents in his role as head coach at North Merchiston FC because of the commitment and passion he has for youth development.

"Throughout lockdown Ciaran organised zoom calls to ensure the teams and players were kept included and involved. I am told the players would count down the minutes for the weekly calls and virtual training."

He added: "One parent told us that in a time of great uncertainty for the club, Ciaran kept the teams upbeat and helped the young players to have a focus. Now that they have returned to training, Ciaran has welcomed them safely and given them great encouragement to improve fitness and self-belief.

"Ciaran has gone well above and beyond, he is a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable young coach and a huge asset to his club and community.

"North Merchiston has also linked with the City of Edinburgh Football Development Officer to help engage local primary schools and keep children and young people physically and mentally active during the pandemic.

"They have found innovative ways to keep in touch with their players and parents.

"Ciaran deserves this recognition for his hard work with the club and inspiring behaviour in his local community."

Along with the honour of the Nationwide SFA Positive Play award, the winning club is rewarded with a football bag of prizes including a dozen match balls, bibs and cones.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.