Brothers Gary and Steven Caldwell – the latest internationals to graduate from grassroots football
Kids growing up in Stirling have more chance of becoming a Scotland International footballer than in any other area of the country.
The finding is part of new research to mark the launch of the 2012 Scottish FA Grassroots Awards, presented by McDonald's and the Sunday Mail, which celebrate the unsung heroes of the grassroots game.
The Scottish FA and McDonald's - with help from The National Association of Football Statisticians and the National Records for Scotland - have analysed the birthplace of every Scotland International since 1970 in a bid to assess the relative strength of the grassroots game across the country.
Since 1970, Stirling has produced more Scotland Internationals per head of population than anywhere else.
In the last 42 years the region is responsible for one International for every 8,270 local citizens.
In contrast the far more populous Glasgow produces one capped player for every 8,300 and is ranked 2nd in the country. The top 5 completed by Dundee, Renfrewshire and North Lanarkshire.
Edinburgh has produced the most numbers of caps per player, on average earning 20 caps each.
Commenting on the findings, Kenny Dalglish, McDonald’s Director of Scottish football, said: “Every International starts at the grassroots level. Grassroots football is flourishing across Scotland at the moment but without the countless number of volunteers, clubs, officials and even parents it simply wouldn’t function as it does.
“The annual Grassroots Awards allow McDonald’s and the Scottish FA to reward individuals for their dedication to giving access to quality football in local communities in Scotland.”
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In addition to the research, The Scottish FA also released new data underscoring the sheer scale of the grassroots game.
• Volunteers now give up to 41,000 hours each week to help young footballers shine, which equates to over four years of volunteer hours in just one season
• A total of 1,043 miles of white lines are painted on pitches every week in Scotland, which equates to painting lines around the Scottish coastline three times in just one year
• Mums and dads across Scotland have to clean a total of 66,940 boots each week.
To find out more and to nominate your grassroots heroes now, go to McDonald’s.co.uk/kickstart or click here...
Follow us on twitter: @2012grassroots / #grassrootsheroes
Nominations are open until 4th June 2012.