On Friday 27th May, over 140 young footballers from the south-west region participated in the third Bank of Scotland Midnight League Regional Finals at Somerset Park, home of recently promoted Championship side Ayr United FC.
The Regional Final was a combination of this year’s Bank of Scotland Midnight League programme which has been running since January in communities across all 32 Local Authorities in Scotland.
The Scottish FA introduced the new ‘Community Captains’ initiative to the programme this year. Each team was nominated a community captain to provide more responsibility by organising their squad’s attendance, encouraging good behaviours and promoting the sessions on a weekly basis and, as such, over 20 teams attended the South-West Midnight League Regional Final thanks to the Community Captains.
Former English Premiership and Scotland star Gary Teale attended the Bank of Scotland Midnight League Regional Final to present the medals and trophies and pass on some words of wisdom to the community captains.
Teale said: “I am delighted to see the Bank of Scotland Midnight League Regional Final being hosted at my former club Ayr United. I had some fantastic memories here at Somerset Park and I’m certain that these players will also take these away and cherish today. The programme inspires so many people from players, coaches, volunteers and everyone behind the scene. By giving thousands of young girls and boys free football on a weekly basis is magnificent, and can only have a positive effect on local communities across the country.
Stuart Langan,People, Legal and Strategy – Chief Operating Officer at Bank of Scotland, attended the Regional Final and said: “Congratulations to all the teams on reaching the South West Final at Somerset Park.
"By having Gary Teale here today demonstrates to all the players that it is possible to go from Scottish League football to the highest level in the English Premiership. We can’t thank Gary enough for his involvement today. Bank of Scotland is extremely proud of its 13 year association with the Midnight League and the positive effect it has in communities across the country.
"It’s one of the Bank’s key programmes that further delivers upon its commitment to help Scotland prosper. We are delighted at the success of our first three Regional Finals at Broadwood, Banks O’Dee and Somerset Park and we are looking forward to the final event to be hosted at the Falkirk Stadium”
Also a huge supporter of Midnight League are CashBack for Communities. CashBack is a Scottish Government programme which takes funds recovered from the proceeds of crime and invests them into free activities and programmes for young people across Scotland.
In addition to governing the game, the Scottish FA is responsible for the continued growth and development of the grassroots aspects of the sport by supporting players, coaches, volunteers and referees.
CashBack for Communities has supported the Scottish FA since 2008 to deliver a wide range of activities for young people in their communities. This has included the roll out of the Schools of Football concept and also the Midnight League Project.
Find your local Midnight League session on www.scottishfa.co.uk/midnightleague
If you aspire to become a Community Captain, you’ll get all of the information you need when you sign up to take part.