St Johnstone star Murray Davidson helped to kick-off the first annual National Vauxhall Schools Futsal Finals at the Bells Sports Centre in Perth today.
The National Finals is the showpiece event of a new programme from the Scottish Football Association and Vauxhall, the Scotland National Team Sponsor, aimed at increasing participation rates in football for 12-18 year-olds.
All 18 schools that have taken part in the first year of the programme attended the National Finals, with Grove Academy, Dundee (S1/2), Grange Academy, Kilmarnock (S3/4), and St Mungo’s Academy, Glasgow (S5/6), taking the inaugural titles.
Over 150 teams have been involved in the Vauxhall School Futsal programme in year one following a trial period in the central, east and south east regions.
Davidson said: “It was great to see so many young players enjoying the games this afternoon.
“Futsal is a fast paced and skilful game. You can tell that these players have been working on their skills and are having a great time. You never know where it could lead for them.”
Jim Fleeting, Scottish FA Director of Football Development, said: “We are delighted with the success of The Vauxhall Schools Futsal programme in the first year.
“The futsal sessions have been very well received and we are looking at plans to extend the programme further across the country.
“Today’s finals event is a great example of the football opportunities available for 12-18 year-olds, and we hope that the experiences gained throughout the Vauxhall Schools Futsal programme will encourage these young people to keep playing.”
Chris Hornbuckle, Head of Sponsorship at Vauxhall, commented: “The Vauxhall Schools Futsal programme has had a huge impact in year one and we are excited about the plans ahead.
“Our commitment to football begins at grassroots and continues right through to the senior national teams for both men and women and the Schools Futsal programme forms an important part of our sponsorship.”
The programme was developed following research conducted by the Scottish FA highlighting a significant drop-out rate of players in this age group at secondary school due to the increase in pressures of exams, part time work, social calendar and boredom.
Futsal is one of the fastest growing games in the world. The Vauxhall Schools Futsal programme is designed to embrace the fast-paced, skill-based indoor alternative to the traditional game to re-engage young players and reduce the fall-out in the 12-18 age group.