As part of the Scottish FA's £15m Performance Strategy, seven schools throughout the country have been selected to house the cream of Scotland’s talented young footballers.
There, they will marry their football education with their normal curriculum as part of the Scottish FA’s commitment to elite player development.
Seven coaches have been appointed to work in conjunction with the schools and the players’ clubs to enhance their technical skills at a key stage of their development.
Brian McLaughlin, the former Celtic winger and Ian Ross, the former St Mirren player, have both been assigned to schools. Gordon Craig, Greg Miller, Andrew Goldie, Iain Jenkins and Stuart Glennie bring a wealth of experience in youth coaching to complete the team.
Every year, each school will take up to 20 of the most talented under-12 players in their region – both boys and girls – and provide a minimum five extra coaching sessions focusing on skills development. Over a four-year period, this will provide the most talented young footballers throughout the country with an extra 800 sessions.
Led by Performance Director Mark Wotte, the Regional Performance Schools will be the crown jewels of the Performance Strategy.
A series of football festivals involving senior clubs, boys and girls clubs and school teams helped the performance team to identify the best players eligible for each school in time for August 2012 enrolment.
Wotte believes the new schools will help produce Scotland internationalists of the future and spoke enthusiastically of the relationship between the Scottish FA, education authorities, local authorities and the clubs.
“The creation of the Regional Perfromance Schools is one of the most significant and positive developments for Scottish football in decades. The schools will enhance the coaching provided by clubs by implementing an individual player development programme by our experienced football teachers. Our young players need more contact time with the ball and must develop key skills like balance, agility, speed, movement and co-ordination.”
Regional Performance Schools and Coaches:
Braidhurst High School (Motherwell) - Gordon Craig
Broughton High School (Edinburgh) - Greg Miller
Graeme High School (Falkirk) - Ian Ross
Grange Academy (Kilmarnock) - Andrew Goldie
Hazlehead Academy (Aberdeen) - Stuart Glennie
Holyrood Secondary School (Glasgow) - Brian McLaughlin
St John’s High School (Dundee) - Iain Jenkins