Academy is a force for good

Fo­cus on life skills, not just ball skills

Rutherglen Reformer - - Drive Time Extra - John Gorrod

Cam­bus­lang Football Academy is an in­creas­ing force for good in the com­mu­nity.

Formed in Fe­bru­ary 2013 by Barry Flem­ing and David Buchanan, the pro­ject ini­tially aimed to rein­vig­o­rate two strug­gling clubs by means of a merger.

Now, over 80 play­ers and 20 coaches take part across six teams, with hun­dreds of pounds raised for char­ity in the process. Many of the play­ers now come from out­side Cam­bus­lang, such is the club’s rep­u­ta­tion.

Barry ex­plained the academy’s roots: “The boys were strug­gling week in, week out. David was with the other team and we de­cided to put the two to­gether. I would like to point out that no­body was asked to leave ei­ther.

“We both had level three coach­ing badges so felt that we could of­fer a bit more than oth­ers. The core of the team is still there.”

Fundrais­ing for char­ity is a vi­tal club ethos, as Barry ex­plained: “We al­ways like to give some­thing back to the com­mu­nity. We’ve al­ways sup­ported the Teenage Can­cer Aware­ness Trust.”

At the end of May, a fun day was held and ev­ery­body from the area was in­vited to take part. With all play­ers do­nat­ing their fees and adults giv­ing £ 10 each, the club raised £ 647 for char­ity.

Barry said: “Last year, we raised £270 so we are grow­ing ev­ery year. Geral­dine Lynch paid £ 50 to take the un­der-17s in the game ver­sus the coaches. She is a wee gift from God!”

The academy has now ex­panded to of­fer a ‘Mini Kick­ers’ pro­gramme for three- to five-year-olds and also seeks to pro­vide more than just football coach­ing.

In ref­er­ence to the new un­der-19 side, Barry said: “That’s the age you want them off the street. We took them, along with the other age groups, to the se­nior Scot­tish Cup fi­nal for free, we did bub­ble football and have Christ­mas par­ties.”

Spon­sors are be­ing sought to help with the fi­nan­cial strains that come with ex­pan­sion, and Barry re­marked: “We are in this to help with life skills, not just football.”

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