Scottish grassroots club collects prestigious UEFA award

Gartcairn Football Academy scoop silver award in UEFA's Best Grassroots Club category

A Scottish grassroots club less than 10 years old has been honoured by UEFA.

Gartcairn Football Academy in Airdrie received the silver award in the Best Grassroots Club category at the 2016 UEFA Grassroots Awards.

The club was formed in 2007 with just seven children playing across two age groups and a club mantra of ‘those who wish to play, shall play’.

They have certainly lived up to it, growing in less than a decade to provide football for over 400 children, looked after by 74 volunteer coaches. Last season, they started their first junior (adult) side, who play in the Central District Second Division.

Gartcairn were named Community Football Club of the Year at the 2015 Scottish FA Grassroots Awards, but chairman Robert McCallum believes this award even tops that.

“We thought we hit our peak when we received the national award but when you realise that people from UEFA were talking about a wee team from Airdrie it is a great feeling," said McCallum.

“It’s an amazing achievement not only for us but also to let people know that grassroots football is not on its knees like some people think.

“We are all volunteers and if Gartcairn had to fold tomorrow then the local council would need to hire nine full-time staff members to put in the equivalent work that our volunteers do which shows the work everyone at the club puts in.”

SFA Director of Football Development Jim Fleeting, who presented the award on behalf of UEFA, said: “Gartcairn have a history with the Scottish FA of being an excellent club, that allows young people no matter their talent, a game of football.

“They’ve always been a brilliant club and we’ve rewarded them in the past at the McDonald’s Grassroots Awards. The club is so inclusive which is great for everyone as it allows the children taking part to be more confident and develop as individuals.

“They thoroughly deserve to be recognised by UEFA.”

Belgium's RWDM Girls, a multi-cultural club in the Brussels municipality of Molenbeek, were named UEFA's Best Grassroots Club, whilst the bronze award went to Village Amateur Football Club in Balkany, Ukraine.

Congratulations to everyone at Gartcairn Football Academy from all of us here at Club Website!

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This article appeared in The Clubhouse - the monthly newsletter from Club Website. To get the best grassroots news, offers and competitions straight to your inbox every month, sign up today!

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