David Drummond: It’s the best time ever to kick off your career

IN THE first of his monthly columns, the Scottish FA’s manager of grassroots football in Edinburgh offers his views on how the lifeblood of the game is growing in the city

Our investment into the infrastructure of football development in Edinburgh has never been greater.

Our partnerships in Edinburgh have been strengthened this year with additional investment into both Hearts and Hibs with full-time development officers at both clubs.

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Alan White and Willlie Kirk will work alongside Edinburgh City Council’s football development officer Chris Roberts to put on a football programme across the city that will provide opportunities for everyone to get involved, either as a player, coach, club official or referee.

We are working hard with several children’s, youth and adult clubs in the city to bring together communities, creating one pathway for footballers to follow, all the way from early childhood into the adult game.

Regardless of age, gender or ability, we strive to offer a full and varied programme, delivered by our football development officers and supported by our team of regional staff, based at our regional office at Peffermill in Edinburgh.

One of our main objectives as an Association is to increase the number of players involved in the game.

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We have many programmes in place to help achieve this with our Mini Kickers, Tesco Bank football challenge, Bank of Scotland Midnight leagues and Cashback Street Football programmes to name but a few, however, it’ll be no easy task.

We are fortunate that there are many pro-active and well organised clubs in the city, providing opportunities for children and youth footballers to be involved in the game. Our Quality Mark accreditation scheme recognises proactive clubs working to increase youth and community participation. Club coaches and officials are supported by the Scottish FA in gaining coach and volunteer education – strengthening the football community in the local area.

In 2011, nearly 500 coaches from 21 clubs in Edinburgh attended a coach education course delivered by our team of Development Officers from across the Region.

Further to our on-going coach education courses delivered throughout the year, we are hugely excited by the start of the new Performance School at Broughton High School.

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Formerly hosting the city council’s Sports Academy programme, the school has been selected as one of seven performance schools in the country.

The next academic year will see 11 players attend the school on a full-time basis where they will receive a football session every day from our Elite Performance Coach Greg Miller, whilst continuing to play and train with their clubs in the evenings and weekends.

A great opportunity for players to reach the ultimate target of 10,000 hours of practice over a ten-year period.

To keep up-to-date with football opportunities in Edinburgh or to find your nearest Quality Mark Accredited club, visit www.scottishfa.co.uk/southeast or follow us on twitter @sfa_southeast