A group of young coaches have taken their first steps on the coaching ladder in Donegal thanks to an innovative project organised by the FAI’s Level Playing Field co-ordinator Trevor Scanlon.
Students in Letterkenny’s Errigal College and Transition Year students in Deele College and the Royal and Prior in Raphoe all took part in the recent programmes offered by the FAI Development Officer.
“The programme - supported by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund, through the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation - is aimed at empowering young people to become coaches and to build their capacity in terms of giving them new skills and confidence so they can go into their local clubs and communities and act as coaches,” Trevor said.
He explained that students of the Sports and Recreation course in Errigal College took part in the Kick Start 1 programme and assisted in a number of events organised as part of the Football Against Racism Europe (FARE) week.
“Through the Kick Start programme these young coaches learned how to plan, organise and implement fun soccer activities for kids from 6 to 9 years old, while they also learned about the game of Futsal and how to organise a mini soccer tournament.”
The Transition Year students in Deele College and the Royal and Prior Comprehensive in Raphoe learned similar skills in their Soccer Leaders Award Certificate, an award offered to young coaches under the age of 16.
“It was fantastic that both these schools got on board for the programme and to see the students from different schools and different backgrounds working so well together. The co-operation and enthusiasm for the programme was terrific with Royal and Prior hosting the coach education session and Deele College then hosting the tournament organised by the young coaches.”
That tournament saw over 100 children from four different primary schools come together for the East Donegal Futsal competition for 3rd and 4th class students.
“It was brilliant to see the interaction among the coaches and these young players and it was clear they were enjoying giving something positive back to their communities,” the FAI RDO said.
Students from Errigal College had shown a similar interest and enthusiasm when, as part of their programme, they had organised a Futsal competition for 1st year students at the Finn Valley Centre.
“Five schools and ten teams took part in that competition, around 120 players in total and again the young coaches who had previously organised a blitz for the FARE day in Ballyare showed their ability to put the skills they had learned into action.”
The FAI Development Officer said he was delighted with the way the young coaches had approached the programme and was very thankful to the schools for their assistance.
“The hope is to see these young coaches now progress on the coaching ladder in the years ahead and it is especially pleasing to hear that already some of them have begun helping out at their local clubs putting their new-found skills to good use,” Trevor concluded.