12 youngsters from East Ayrshire have sampled life in the SPL, thanks to Kilmarnock FC and Street Football.
The young players got the chance to join Kilmarnock players and coaches for a week of pre-season training, after being named Kilmarnock FC StreetSport Icons at local Street Football sessions run by the Scottish FA and East Ayrshire Council.
In East Ayrshire one session of free Street Football takes place every week at 22 StreetSport cages. Street Football gives young people aged 10-18 the chance to drop into a local venue and play football with their friends, with help and advice from Scottish FA coaches. In areas without a Street Sport cage, mobile football pitches are used to take the game into communities.
As well as training with their heroes, the 12 StreetSport Icons made a half-time appearance at Rugby Park during Kilmarnock's SPL opener with Hamilton Academical.
Speaking to The Kilmarnock Standard, some of the young players described their experiences:
“The training is quality and getting to mingle with the Killie players was brilliant,” said Adam Smith, 16 from Galston.
“From the training kit and professional drills, through to having lunch with the Killie players this has been a brilliant week’s experience,” said David Fowler, 18, also from Galston.
The Scottish FA's Street Football programme is funded by CashBack for Communities, a Scottish Government initiative that invests the proceeds of crime back into communities.