It MAY involve an early morning rise, but Edinburgh South Football Club’s Inch Park base has no shortage of aspiring raw talent.
The club’s Saturday soccer school academy has welcomed an increase to its weekend sessions where primary school children aged between five and seven can learn and enhance their range of skills within a fun and safe environment.
Edinburgh South FC chairman Brian Waugh is delighted with the response and enthusiasm shown from those attending the weekly sessions.
Waugh said: “It started off with a relatively small bunch six years ago but has grown where we are now up at between 50 and 60 kids on some Saturday mornings. We have seen a real burst in the past 18 months or so and the guys who run the school are doing a fantastic job, particularly head coach Sean Barr.
“It’s about making the children feel welcome. There are some clubs where there are a lot of negative vibes going around with the competitive aspect of it, but Sean just encourages the kids to come along and enjoy themselves.
“There are some kids at that age who have never kicked a ball in their lives, so it’s about introducing them to the sport in a team environment with some positive frameworks for coaching.
“But, equally, it’s the lifeblood of our club where every year we have soccer school kids who will form a development team and through time they will progress into our 11-a-side teams. We want to sustain the numbers at the soccer school over the next few years but also improve the facilities within the club.”
Formerly known as “Inch House Sports Club”, the football club has benefited from the development of an extended changing and sports hub facility which opened in 2011 as part of the Inch Park Community Sports Club project.
With the club working in collaboration with alternative users of the facilities at Inch Park which include both rugby and cricket, Waugh is hopeful further enhancements can be made to the area for the benefit of the overall sports community.
“I would love to have in three or four years’ time a top-class artificial surface which I think will in turn add to the sustainability of numbers at our club for example.
“We can have some decent days with the sun shining, but equally Inch Park can be like a quagmire when it rains. We have already embarked on a lot of work to improve drainage and the overall state of pitches, but the next stage is to look at an artificial surface of some form, but there needs to be both a political and financial will to make it happen.”
With teams ranging from as young as eight through to under-17 level, Edinburgh South is well represented when it comes to youth football across the city’s playing fields.
However, with regards to the club’s own soccer academy, the emphasis is very much focused on participation and enjoying an active lifestyle from a young age.
Waugh said: “We now have our Quality Mark recognition from the SFA, are part of a community sports club, operating a soccer school and have a record number of teams and coaches.
“We view ourselves very much as a community club where if kids from this part of Edinburgh want to come along and play football then we will never turn them away.”
For anyone interested between the ages of five to seven who would like to attend they should turn up on a ‘pay as you play’ basis at Inch Park for a 10am start. Visit www.edinburghsouthfc.co.uk for details.