It’s been a labour of love for Will Hoggan.
However, after five and a half years he will finally see his head of community role at Stenhousemuir come to an end this week – and he’s taking on a new challenge at Motherwell.
If you’ve been involved with football and the Warriors, the chances are you will have bumped into this enthusiastic and passionate coach, who loves nothing more than to be on the pitch helping players of all ages and abilities.
Will’s work within Stenhousemuir has seen its community programme become one of the most highly regarded in Scottish football. The club were awarded the SFA Legacy award in 2014 – the first professional club in the Central region.
He also headed up a number of development programmes through the Warriors in the Community for boys, girls, schools, summer holiday camps, amateurs and over 35s.
Through his time at the club he set up a walking football team and has led a mental health football programme, which is recognised by Fifa as leading the way in tackling issues on mental health in football.
The 32-year-old, from Slamannan, told The Falkirk Herald: “It was a proud moment receiving those awards and to see players enjoying themselves and developing.
“I just wanted to do more in the community. There was a pitch lying empty here most of the week at Ochilview and we wanted people to come along and feel part of the club and come to watch Stenhousemuir play.
“We wanted to be the community hub in the area and not have people travelling elsewhere.”
Will always wanted to be involved in football and having realised he wasn’t going to make it as a professional footballer, coaching was, in his mind, the next best thing.
He left Braes High School at 16 and sought an opportunity to do sports coaching at Falkirk FC. Initially as a volunteer, he combined his time at Falkirk with studying for an HND in sports coaching and development at Forth Valley College. He put in the hard hours and proved his worth and got a full-time position at the club.
He was mentored by then head of community football at Falkirk Tom Elliot, now at Clyde, whom he says wouldn’t be where he is without his help and support.
William was there for nearly 10 years in total, coaching at all levels in the Falkirk Foundation and latterly as an academy coach. A brief spell at Coasters as general manager followed before he jumped at the chance to join Stenhousemuir.
He said: “I enjoy being on the pitch in the summer and coaching the children.
“There’s some office work that comes with the job but nothing beats being on the pitch and seeing the players develop.
“A great example is Tiwi Daramola. He came to us when he was seven through our Young Maroons programme and has now signed a professional contract with the club.
“That’s a proud moment and a good example of how we develop players.
“The Stenhousemuir 2002s were treble winners at U16 level two years ago. They were unbeaten in the league and won both cups – it was the club’s first ever treble.
“We have got a lot of good players in our programme, but it’s not necessarily about players going on to play in the first team, it’s about developing them as people through football and moving them on to bigger and better things.
“Hopefully they also see it as a pathway to remain with Stenhousemuir whether that be as a coach, player, supporter or volunteer.”
Will begins a new chapter in his coaching career, starting at Motherwell Community Trust as community development manager on Monday and he’s relishing the new challenge.
He said: “I’m looking forward to it, I’m nervous and excited at the same time, I’ll be getting to know the new players and coaches and see what they are doing.
“It’s a similar role from what I was doing at Stenny. It’s a new challenge, I’ll get to know what they are doing in schools and giving my experience.
“I’ll miss the guys I worked with and the players, staff, volunteers and the community aspect. I’ve enjoyed my time here.
“It’s a massive community club – a great club. You grow attached and I’ll certainly be along to see them play and look forward to seeing the great work continuing at Warriors in the Community.”