AN EDINBURGH athlete has his sights set on world championship glory with Team UK after hitting a new career high – he’s qualified for the World Cup squad.
Neil Shave, who lives in the Capital, made the Team UK FootGolf side after a great season which saw him ranked as the fifth-best player in the United Kingdom.
Neil, 30, will now head to the Moroccan city of Marrakech in December with the rest of the Team UK side as they bid to be crowned world champions.
The accolade is just the latest in a string of achievements for talented footballer Neil, who gave up playing with Lowland League side Preston Athletic to concentrate on FootGolf, which sees players kick a football round a converted golf course in the least amount of shots.
Neil finished in the top 10 in eight out of the 19 events he played in this year, resulting in him being ranked as UK No 5 for the second year in a row.
His best performances were finishing third in the South West England Open in April, second in the Midlands Open in August and fourth at the Welsh Open in September.
Earlier this year he was named as Scotland captain due to his impressive performances in 2017, which also saw him finishing as UK No 5 and World No 22.
He also trounced former Argentina football captain and AC Milan star Roberto Fabian Ayala in a tournament in Las Vegas in the United States, and was part of the 10-man Team UK side which won the Euro FootGolf 2017 event in Paris – the FootGolf equivalent of the European Championship. He also captained Scotland to their first every victory over England this year in a two-legged tie, winning both ties.
The major tournament in one of the world’s fastest growing sports, the FootGolf World Cup 2018 – now in its third year – will take place over four days in December at the Al Madaan Golf Resort in Marrakech.
Neil and the UK squad will go up against 15 other participating countries for silverware.
Neil, who is also captain of Muckhart FootGolf Club, which plays at Muckhart Golf Club, in Clackmannanshire, said: “Two years ago, when I first stumbled across FootGolf, I never imagined where it would take me.
“Having already won the European Championships in Paris as part of Team UK, qualifying to represent the UK at the World Cup is another dream come true.
“December can’t come quickly enough and I’m already excited to travel to Morocco to try and bring the World Cup home.
“It’s been an amazing year for me so far, becoming the captain of Scotland and then becoming the first ever Scotland captain to win against England.
“It’s a huge responsibility to captain your country but it’s something I’m enjoying a lot.”