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After 40 years of youth football involvement in Broughty Ferry, George Ferguson’s view on helping the game grow in the future is to “take out the success at all costs mentality”.
George helped found Broughty United Youth Football Club in 1972 which has developed to cater for under-8s boys all the way through to under-17s and under-11 and 13 girls.
It is a good example of the National Player Pathway which has been agreed by all nine Affiliated National Associations.
This is a long-term approach to the development of players at each age and stage of the game - from childhood through to adulthood - which may evolve based upon future discoveries worldwide into the development and retention of players.
Keeping players in the game after childhood is a challenge the non-professional game in Scotland is working on.
Youth clubs are encouraged to form links with adult clubs to ease this transition.
George’s club is part of Dundee East Community Sports Club which has recently opened a brand new 3G astro-turf facility. It’s a hub for the youth club where players can try out for Broughty United Amateur FC and Broughty Athletic.
For George, links to the adult game are important but he sees it as vital young players have had a positive experience in the youth ranks beforehand.
“We can keep people in the game providing they are enjoying themselves, it is quite simple,” said George.
“We like to handpick our coaches, even if they have all the qualifications. It’s important we get the right kind of mentality which is patient and encouraging. All of this adds up to create an enjoyable experience for the players.”
Broughty United have Scottish FA Quality Mark Community status – a prestigious seal of approval for its contribution to the community – which also means it has incorporated the Positive Coaching Scotland (PCS) programme.
This is a programme used by the Scottish FA which aims to create a football culture in Scotland where young players are developed positively, learn to win through effort and develop skills for life through football.
To pledge your support to the PCS programme, click here.
George points to his club’s code of ethics – created in 2002 – as evidence his club are aware of creating a positive environment for the young players.
“We have had it written down for over a decade that our coaches should encourage sportsmanship and be a positive role model,” he said.
“Now we have PCS to reinforce and enhance this culture.
“Coaches are not infallible, especially if they get some success with the team. They can want more. The key is to win the right way.
“I can see football participation growing if this philosophy remains. It’s all about making it as an attractive environment as possible.”
If you would like to nominate George for a Scottish FA Grassroots Award 2013, please click HERE.