The performance coach at Graeme High School has said his batch of new recruits have all the qualities needed to make it in the game.
Ian Ross – who has worked as a coach at the Falkirk and Livingston youth academies as well as being a championship winning boss with the University of Stirling – started term last week with 14 boys and three girls who are part of the elite performance programme at the Falkirk School.
More than £15m has been committed over the next four years by the Scottish FA, with more than 100 of the country’s most promising male and female footballers benefiting from technical, tactical and lifestyle development by specially appointed Scottish FA coaches.
“This is a very exciting project,” Ian said. “We have players here who have been selected after a lengthy process for their capacity to develop.
“The first term is about allowing the players – some of which come from outwith the area of the school – to settle in and establish good working relationships.
“I’m looking to develop a performance culture within the school.
“What is also important, of course, is that the players have fun and enjoy the experience.”
There are seven performance schools placed throughout the country.
Each school has a commitment to making football part of the daily curriculum, designed to double the number of sessions for pupils and help them strive for the gold standard of 10,000 hours of practice.
Scottish FA performance director Mark Wotte has said the ultimate aim of the project would be to see players who have harnessed their skills in this system represent Scotland at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022.
Ian added: “I have great belief in this project. We are teaching the players, who already have ability, how to play the game the right way and how to conduct themselves in a professional manner.
“It will take time, but we will see the benefits in the future.”