Scotland star Robert Snodgrass returned to his former school in Glasgow to launch a new initiative aimed at increasing participation levels of 12-18 year olds in football.
The Scotland and Norwich City midfielder returned to St Mungo’s Academy to help launch the Vauxhall School Futsal programme, run by the Scottish FA and national team sponsor Vauxhall Motors.
The initiative follows extensive research conducted by the SFA highlighting a significant drop-out rate of players in this age group at secondary school due to the increase in pressures of exams, part time work, social calendar and boredom with traditional football.
Futsal is the fastest growing format for football in the world and it is hoped this fast-paced, skill based indoor alternative to the traditional game will re-engage young players and help reduce the fall out in this age group.
St Mungo’s Academy are one of the first schools to sign up to the new programme and, bouyed by the involvement of their famous former student, they expect to see positive results in the very near future.
“It was great to see the pupils in my former school enjoying the Futsal games today and I am really pleased to be a part of the launch to a programme aimed at keeping young players in the game," said Snodgrass.
“Football has provided me with so many fantastic opportunities and I am glad St Mungo’s have supported the project.”
As part of the programme schools are provided with all of the new equipment required to play Futsal, which takes place indoors during the winter months. Plans are already in place to hold Regional and National Futsal final competitions in 2013.
Jim Fleeting, Scottish FA Director of Football Development, said: “The Vauxhall Schools Futsal programme will help us to make huge strides in tackling the dropout rate of young players.
“The laws of Futsal are designed to protect the skilful players, develop a player’s technique and encourage more goals which is ideal for this age group.
“The fast-past paced Futsal sessions take place in after school sessions during term time and are run by qualified Scottish FA coaches. The response has already been astounding and we have 18 schools taking part across the country.
“We are planning to extend the programme to all regions in the future and who knows some of the players taking part now could go on to represent Scotland at Futsal in the future.”