The Scottish FA will be celebrating the best of grassroots football across the country this week, as part of the annual European-wide celebration UEFA Grassroots Week.
From 23-30 September we will be highlighting just a small sample of the grassroots football activities that take place regularly throughout Scotland that create such a positive impact on communities nationwide.
The UEFA initiative aims to encourage and inspire participation in football from people of all ages and backgrounds, with programmes ranging from youth girls’ football to coach education.
The week will also see the Scottish FA celebrate sportscotland’s Clubs Doors Open Week, which sees grassroots hubs across the country offering ‘come and try’ sessions in recognition of UK Active’s European Week of Sport.
The Scottish FA is proud to be able to champion a flourishing grassroots football programme, with each of its six regions hosting a variety of events and initiatives aimed at increasing participation in the game.
Since the establishment of the regional setup in 2007, there has been a significant rise in the number of opportunities for footballers of every demographic across Scotland, with each region working alongside clubs and organisations to improve the provision of footballing activities.
The Scottish FA is working towards a goal of ‘Football For Life’, which aims to ensure people of all ages participate in and enjoy the beautiful game.
Across the country, a number of strategies are in place to aid the organisation in working towards this goal. One of these programmes, Skills for Life, is working alongside the Scottish Government’s Cashback for Communities initiative that sees seized proceeds of crime channelled back into projects that benefit young people at a grassroots level.
The association’s Quality Mark Award scheme also helps clubs around Scotland to implement a clear structure as they look to achieve their individual ambitions, with the scheme proving to be a roaring success in recent years.
Elsewhere, the Scottish FA’s ‘Playability’ initiative has seen a vast increase in the number of opportunities available to the nation’s para-footballers, ranging from the Football Memories programme to Frame Football.
The School of Football programme, meanwhile, aims to support young people in their move from primary to secondary school with the introduction of daily football and improved attainment in the achievement of an SVQ.
Andy Gould, Scottish FA Head of Football Development, believes the week offers a major opportunity to celebrate the sport across Scotland.
“We’re extremely proud of the work done within the grassroots game in this country,” said Gould.
“We firmly believe that football can be more than just a sport within society – it has the ability to act as a tool to promote physical and mental health and wellbeing in players of all ages, as well as bring communities closer across the country.
“In addition to the physical and social engagement benefits associated with grassroots football, it can also act as part of the player pathway for players to reach the top level of the game.
“The commitment of coaches, volunteers and all other associated with grassroots football cannot be commended highly enough and we’re delighted that UEFA Grassroots Week provides us with a terrific opportunity to highlight and celebrate all the fantastic programmes taking place nationwide.”
For a full list of events taking place in your region during UEFA Grassroots Week, contact your local regional officers: