ELITE Soccer Scotland Ltd are continuing to make headway when it comes to grassroots football development in this country.
Founded in 2009, the company has continued to expand its development centres as a result of the hugely popular “The Other Foot” initiative, a skills programme that focuses on developing a player’s technical ability and improving the weaker foot.
With exclusive rights to operate the course throughout the city and strong links with the Active Schools network, owner and head coach Chris Grant has been encouraged by the volume and response since the programme’s inception.
Grant said: “The Other Foot has continued to grow and word has definitely spread. We now have five weekly centres running throughout Edinburgh with about 150 kids attending, so we’re seeing some fantastic development. We’re getting great feedback from not just the parents but boys’ club coaches as well, where they’re playing well for their teams and scoring goals with their other foot. It’s certainly working and we are starting to see the benefits of the programme.
“We’ve also started a new programme called Mini Flicks, which is for pre-school children aged from three to five, based around teaching them basic football skills but also developing and educating them as young people.”
With a multi-range of football development courses widely available to the youth of today, Grant believes he and his team have identified a niche in the market that can produce a new generation of football stars. A recent positive appraisal from Mark Wotte, the SFA’s performance director, has left Grant in little doubt they are moving in a positive direction.
“We are doing something that is unique,” he added. “We are the first company to bring it into Edinburgh and it can only been done through us. I think this puts us at the forefront of groups who are trying to change Scottish football for the better.
“I was at a performance conference at Stirling University last Thursday and Mark Wotte came and spoke to me personally and said that we are doing fantastic work in Edinburgh, so he knows about the programme and it’s great our work is being recognised at national level.”
While reinforcing the significance of getting kids accustomed to having a ball at their feet from as early an age as possible, Grant also revealed he is keen to take the initiative abroad with some third world countries a particular interest.
He said: “It’s pretty basic stuff. The earlier you can get them in, the better it will be for their development. I think primary school children is the key age to get them in to do good quality coaching, but it also needs to be fun-based.
“We’re moving into Midlothian now and our next step is West Lothian and Fife. We want to open it up to as many kids as we can. We would love to take The Other Foot abroad. My dad lives in Cambodia and I have spoken to people there who are keen to get football in schools. Hopefully one day we will have that.”
Elite Soccer Ltd will be opening up courses in April 2013 at Newtongrange and Penicuik. For more details, contact Chris Grant on 07746138465, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.elitesoccer-scotland.co.uk.