Across the county, a host of community clubs are nurturing the grassroots game.
Prestwick's Caledonian Youth Club FC has been around since 1985, founded by dads Bill Briceland and Derek Muir.
Professional players Craig Conway and Matthew Kennedy started their paths to success here.
Bill still holds an honorary presidential role at the club, which is close to his heart.
“It has been great to see this club grow over the years,” he said at the ground before a training session on a sunny autumn evening.
“We started off with 12 players and now cater for 300 at various age-groups.
“It’s a terrific asset to the local community here.”
The club is applying for the top level - Legacy status - in the Scottish FA's Quality Mark accreditation programme.
This is where a club can prove it has had a long-term benefit to the surrounding area and has structures in place that secure its future.
David Skeoch is one of the coaches at the club and oversees the Quality Mark process.
“The Quality Mark scheme has been good for the club,” he said. “It has united everyone within the club towards a single purpose.”
The purpose is to make the club the best possible environment for young people to play football.
It currently has ‘Community’ status, the second highest grading, meaning it provides the latest coaching courses and consults regularly with the local community who also feel part of its ownership.
The club has two 11-a-side pitches, two 7-a-side pitches and a 5-a-side 3G pitch for its numerous boys and girls age groups.
Speaking on the 5-a-side pitch before training, Kenny Andres – under-12 coach at the club – said: “The club has worked hard over the years to secure funding that has improved our playing facilities.
“For me, I love coaching because it is the perfect way to unwind after a day at work. There are a lot of good volunteers helping out here, which is a great thing to be part of.”
The club is based in a part of the country that has produced some of the most influential names in Scottish Football. Former national team mcoaches Andy Roxburgh and Craig Brown, head of football development at the Scottish FA Jim Fleeting, and former international youth coach, Ross Mathie, all hail from this part of the world.
Football is a way of life here.
Graeme Mathie, club development manager for the Scottish FA’s South West region, used to play at Caledonian FC as a boy before a successful professional career at clubs such as Coventry City and Motherwell.
“Clubs are all about people,” he said, standing watching a coaching session at the club. “Good people make good football clubs.
“This club has made such a fantastic contribution to the town of Prestwick.”
The club benefitted from its proximity to football developments at Hampden when Ross Mathie, father of Graeme, trial tested seven-a-side goals back in 1996.
Now the goals have become a common feature on football pitches across Scotland.
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