Recruitment underway for year four of the Scottish FA's elite player development programme
Applications are welcomed from players at any level of the game, with 30 trials taking place over February and March for children entering secondary school (S1) in August 2015.
The trial process will whittle applicants down to approximately 100 boys and girls, who will join the SFA's elite player development programme at the start of the next academic year.
The programme, which launched in August 2012, has already taken on 300 players during its first three years, all of whom have benefitted from individual skills development, sports science and nutrition, all incorporated into their educational curriculum.
The Scottish national youth setup has already begun to reap the benefits of the seven Performance Schools, with a total of 18 pupils called up to youth team squads and a number of those from the first year's intake (now S3) in line to feature in this year’s under-15s squad.
“The young players who are selected for the Scottish FA’s Regional Performance Schools have a wonderful opportunity to begin a journey to the very top of the game," said Scotland assistant national coach Mark McGhee, who watched over 350 players at this year's first selection event in Ravenscraig, Motherwell, earlier this month.
“It’s encouraging for the most talented young players in Scotland to see that they have a clear pathway in to the National Teams, starting here as under-12s.
“Working with Scotland, it becomes clear that the success of the National Teams can have a huge impact on the next generation.
“I believe that representing your country at a major tournament is the pinnacle of a player’s career. It’s down to the men’s and women’s A squad players and staff to show what is possible at the top of the game, giving young players like these goals to aspire to.”
Scottish FA Chief Executive, Stewart Regan, said: “The Performance Schools are a key part of our £15 million performance strategy and this is always an exciting time of year, as we get ready to select the next group of talented boys and girls.
“We have seen some encouraging results and performances from our National Teams in recent years, and the investment that we are making now, at this level, is designed to bring success in years to come.
The Little Big Shot Regional Performance School Programme is the cornerstone of the Scottish FA’s Performance Strategy. The programme is open to boys and girls, and runs from S1 to S4.
To apply for a place, players entering S1 in August 2015 should visit scottishfa.co.uk/performance. Deadline for applications for recreational club players is 15 February 2015.
Image courtesy of ScottishFA.co.uk