As the new school year gathers speed, we are delighted to kick off our strategy of offering the opportunity to every six year- old child to get into football.
In partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council, Hearts, Hibs and Spartans Community Football Academy, half the schools in Edinburgh will be taking part in the Tesco Bank Football Challenge where, starting with Primary Two children in year one of the programme, they will receive six weeks of curriculum time football activity before being signposted to their local football club.
In year two of the programme, we will concentrate on Primary Three children, offering sessions to the schools still to be involved in the programme, meaning that, by the end of the two-year cycle, every child in Edinburgh leaving P3 will have had a chance to kick a ball and been given the chance to move into club football.
As we continue to support and develop coaches working at all levels of the game, we have just completed interviews for our new Coaching Internship programme. In partnership with Edinburgh College, we will see 12 aspiring football coaches working at one of our five Schools of Football or 2020 Development Centres, shadowing licenced senior coaches for two hours each week.
The programme will begin in October and run throughout the academic year with the students taking part in a series of workshops and seminars to develop their knowledge and skills and move towards higher football qualifications.
Work has now been completed on the new 3G pitch at the University of Edinburgh’s Peffermill Playing Fields, home of the Scottish FA South East Region, where we will base many of our coach education courses and performance squads going forward. Part funded by the Scottish Government’s proceeds of crime fund, Cashback, it is the largest 3G pitch in the country and is a fantastic addition to the city where local youth clubs are already seeing the benefit of training and playing on a state-of-the-art surface. It was great to be at Hampden recently for the annual Grassroots Awards, supported by our partners at McDonald’s and the Sunday Mail, to see three hard-working volunteers from the South East of Scotland pick up an award.
The event celebrated the efforts of the tireless volunteers who give up their time to provide footballing opportunities across the country but it was especially pleasing to see Doug Johnston from Linlithgow (girls’ and womens’ football), Derek Paterson from Kelso (youth football) and Tony Begg from Loanhead (coach of the year) being presented with their award by national team coach Craig Levein and Scotland legend Kenny Dalglish.
Finally, let’s hope our women’s national team get a great turnout at Hampden today as they meet Spain in the European Championship play-offs. Entry is free of charge as we look to qualify for the finals for the first time (kick-off 2pm).
To keep up to date with football in Edinburgh and to find your nearest opportunity to get involved, visit our website www.scottishfa.co.uk/southeast or follow us on twitter @sfa_southeast
n David Drummond is the Regional Manager for the Scottish Football Association’s South East Region, covering Edinburgh, the Scottish Borders, West, Mid and East Lothian.