A FORMER Scotland and Arsenal star has signed up to help find Edinburgh’s female footballers of the future.
Pauline MacDonald will take on the newly created role of girls’ development officer to work alongside the city’s education department and the Scottish Football Association to boost girls’ soccer in the Capital.
Ms MacDonald, who retired from Arsenal last year, played for Scotland from 1990 to 2001 and was captain of the national team for five years. In her new role, she will be responsible for promoting and providing support to primary and secondary school girls’ football in Edinburgh.
She will also supply information to groups dealing with children’s and youth football in the Edinburgh area, as well as aiming to increase participation in football for girls between the ages of five and 12.
"It is an honour for me to have the chance to inspire young girls interested in football. Football has always been an important part of my life and the sense of satisfaction that comes from playing within a team, is something I want to share with the girls," she said.
Before taking on the role in Edinburgh, Ms MacDonald, 29, played semi-professional football for Arsenal Ladies FC. Previously she played for Central Fife Ladies, Cumbernauld Ladies, Cove Rangers Ladies and Stenhousemuir Ladies.
She said: "The role of development officer means we can concentrate on girls-only activities. A lot of girls are not very keen on playing in mixed teams."
Ms MacDonald said one of the first things she is going to do is establish participation centres where teams of secondary girls will be able to play against each other.
"At the moment there is no real structure in place in girls’ football. There are no leagues," she said.
Sheila Begbie, assistant director of girls/women’s football at the SFA, said: "We are thrilled to be working in partnership with the education department on the appointment of Pauline MacDonald.
"This is an exciting time for girls’ football in Scotland and in particular in Edinburgh where there is a wealth of talent and determination.
"We are confident that Pauline will continue to develop the already strong infrastructure for girls’ football across the city."
The city’s children and families leader, Councillor Ewan Aitken, said: "I am delighted that Pauline has joined us as girls’ football development officer.
"This is an excellent opportunity to develop and nurture girls’ football, a sport which is already thriving in our schools. I know that with Pauline’s expert advice and tuition we can produce many more talented players."