Tesco Bank Football Challenge introduces 20,000 Scottish children to the beautiful game each year
Scotland's top grassroots football participation programme, the Tesco Bank Football Challenge, is underway for the 2016/17 season.
Now in its seventh season, the community programme run by the Scottish FA in association with Tesco Bank, introduces 20,000 six- to eight-year-olds - Primary Two and Three pupils - to football each year, helping to engage them in a healthy and active lifestyle.
This year's programme was kicked off by Hearts and Scotland goalkeeper Jack Hamilton, who met pupils at his former school - Nethermains Primary School in Denny, near Falkirk - as they enjoyed a training session with Scottish FA coaches before taking a few shots against the Jambos' number one.
“It was great to visit my old school today and see that [the children] are so engaged in the Tesco Bank Football Challenge," said Hamilton, who was first called up to the national squad this summer for the friendlies with France and Italy.
"Running about, playing football with my pals here was where my love of football began and hopefully this visit shows the kids where that can get you. At their age, the most important thing is having fun with football and instilling the importance of a healthy and active life.”
More than 120,000 children across 2,200 schools in Scotland have now engaged with the Tesco Bank Football Challenge since in launched in 2010. In six years, the programme has trained more than 7,500 teachers and volunteers to support the growth of football in schools.
SFA Director of Football Development Jim Fleeting said: “A big part of the Tesco Bank Football Challenge is showing children the positives that come with a healthy and active lifestyle, and it’s fantastic that Jack Hamilton was able to visit the children and demonstrate this today.
"It’s vital for us to promote the importance of keeping fit and healthy from a young age and our coaches work incredibly hard to do this.”
Image courtesy of ScottishFA.co.uk