Central Scotland is a hot-bed of football activity.
Home to pioneering community clubs and the women’s national football performance centre based at Stirling University, this region can make a claim to being at the heart of Scottish football.
Overseeing the health of the grassroots game in this part of the world is Scottish FA regional manager Andy Gilchrist.
A die-in-the-wool football man, Glaswegian Andy has been involved in football his whole life.
“I loved playing football at school and in the Boys Brigade,” he said. “When I was still a teenager I started coaching at my local club Eastwood Juveniles.”
A career in coaching came calling when he entered his first full-time job as an assistant football development officer with Glasgow City Council.
Promotion to a full development officer not long after positioned Andy in 2007 for his latest role as manager for the Scottish FA’s Central region, based at Stirling University.
It’s a challenging role which involves negotiations and collaborations across six local councils to allow the Scottish FA to carry out vital work within the grassroots game.
Andy, a Stirling Observer and Falkirk Herald columnist, added: “This is a fantastic role which is allows me to lead a great team aimed at helping to improve clubs, helping to offer as many exciting football opportunities for young people as possible and offering people of all ages and backgrounds the chance to reap the benefits of this wonderful sport."
Andy’s passion for grassroots football in unquestionable.
“Without grassroots football, we have nothing and it is a privilege to contribute to its health aided by a superb team,” he added.
“I view grassroots as the foundation blocks for all football.
“If we can make it as healthy and vibrant at this level then it will hopefully be felt at the top of the game within the national team too.”
Andy and his team offer a vast array of programmes for aspiring coaches and clubs, along with a host of projects involving Schools of Football, The Tesco Bank Challenge, Midnight Leagues and Street Football to name a few.
“I think our programmes are genuinely tremendous and cover all age-groups all the way through the Player Pathway,” Andy said.
“I am lucky that I have a good team.”
Andy revealed that one of the most exciting projects at present was facility improvement at clubs.
“There is a lot of work going on at present to improve the actual infrastructure through the CashBack for Communities Fund which I think will be very exciting in the next few years,” he said.
You can follow the central team on twitter @sfa_central