BY SCO Admin | May 20 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Young players get star treatment

— St Ninian’s football fans pick up tips from top Spanish teams

Young pupils from St Ninian’s High School, Giffnock, had the fantastic opportunity to live like footballers during the Easter holidays, as they enjoyed a trip to Valencia and experienced training with some of Spain’s most highly-rated coaches.

Every second year, since 2003 when they travelled to Madrid, S2 and S3 pupils from St Ninian’s have had the chance to visit Spain and learn football tips from the coaches of top Spanish football clubs. A full programme of activities is laid on for the youngsters to ensure they also have the opportunity to experience the Spanish culture and lifestyle.


During this year’s six-day trip, the group of 47 pupils got the chance to see some of the world’s best footballers play as they travelled to Villareal to watch Lionel Messi, David Villa, Andres Iniesta and their Barcelona team-mates take on the local side, Villareal CF (Club de Futbol).

Back in Valencia, the budding young footballers, and four accompanying teachers, travelled to the Valencia CF training complex each day and were put through their paces by the club’s coaches in morning and afternoon sessions. The slick training routines on offer focussed on teaching the pupils how to play football in true Spanish style.


“It was a great experience for the boys—they lived like professional footballers for the six days and loved every minute of it—as did I,” teacher Mark McKean said.

“We played three fixtures against Spanish opposition and it was a fantastic learning experience to play against the footballing mentality and ability of Spanish players.”

Mr McKean added that his S3 football team had clearly taken some of the lessons on board, as they returned home to secure the under-15’s Paisley and District league championship.

Fellow teacher Peter Harkins said that the trip not only gave the students the chance to live like a professional footballer for a week, but also the first-hand knowledge that it takes ‘hard work, dedication and discipline to succeed’.

S3 pupil, Mark Toner, said the Valencia experience had ‘fulfilled many of the boys’ childhood dreams—of becoming a professional footballer—albeit for six days’.

“It was a great experience to be taught by professional coaches how to play football the right way,” he said.

“On the whole, it was an excellent experience for everyone involved.”

Fellow S3 pupil, Michael Walsh, was in similar high spirits following the trip.

“Valencia was an incredible experience to have taken part in,” he said. “Training with the Valencia coaches was brilliant as it developed my skills.”

For S2 pupil, Connor Duggan, the highlight of the trip was seeing so many world-class football players at the Villareal v Barcelona game.

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