Over the summer period, the newly named Scottish FA JD Performance School programme has been extremely busy with graduations, inductions, international success and professional contracts being signed.
In partnership with the Scottish FA, the seven schools deliver an extensive, challenging programme for the country’s most talented young footballers.
The programme is for boys and girls and runs from S1 to S4 and has entered its sixth year.
The Scottish FA employs seven full-time coaches who have responsibility for the delivery of the programmes in each of the schools.
The seven partner schools are as follows:
Hazlehead Academy – Aberdeen
St John’s High School – Dundee
Graeme High School – Falkirk
Braidhurst High School – Motherwell
Broughton High School – Edinburgh
Holyrood Secondary School – Glasgow
Grange Academy – Kilmarnock
48 Performance School pupils begin their journey
The latest group of players were inducted into the programme at Hampden Park on Monday as JD were announced as the title sponsors of the schools.
Fort-eight pupils attended the national stadium with their parents where they were treated to a Q&A with Performance Director Malky Mackay and former Scotland internationalist Stephen McManus as well as recent Grange Academy graduate Harry Cochrane who scored for Hearts' first team in pre-season against Linfield.
85 youngsters graduate on cup final day
On Saturday, 30 May the nation’s eyes were on Hampden Park for the William Hill Scottish Cup Final but it was also a special day for 85 Performance School pupils who graduated from the programme.
They received their certificates from Performance Director Malky Mackay and one of last year’s alumni, Kieran Freeman.
Graduates from the day included Billy Gilmour from Grange Academy who moved to Chelsea, Kyle McConnell from Braidhurst who transferred to Blackburn Rovers, Terry Taylor of Hazlehead Academy who joined Wolverhampton Wanderers and Callum Erskine from Graeme High School who has moved down to Bury.
So far this year, 41 pupils have signed professional contracts with clubs including 14 Scottish clubs.
In May six Performance School pupils joined Scotland Under-17s for their fourth consecutive UEFA European Championship finals.
They won all six qualification matches to qualify for the tournament in Croatia and Scotland were within a minute of securing the point they required to advance to the quarter-finals but a last minute French winner sent them home.
Scotland Under-16s came out on top in an International Tournament at Oriam in July against Qatar, England and Uruguay, scoring 11 goals in the three games without reply.
A 7-0 win over Qatar was followed up by a memorable 2-0 win over England at Forthbank Stadium before a 2-0 victory over Uruguay secured a perfect four days for the Scots.
Six Performance School pupils were involved in the games with Grange Academy’s Finn Ecrepoint and Broughton’s Connor Smith both notching.
McBride joins as coach with McLaughlin progressing
Joe McBride has been named as the new Performance School coach for Holyrood Secondary School in Glasgow.
Joe replaces Brian McLaughlin following his recent appointment as Scotland Under-17s head coach and brings with him a wealth of experience having worked at Celtic, Ujpest, Watford and Cardiff City where he worked with Malky Mackay, the Scottish FA’s Performance Director.