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The future of football is in your hands

Kieren Mooney, Participation and Engagement Officer at the Scottish FA, discusses the  ‘Youth Ambassadors of Change’ programme, and the many ways that children and young people can get involved and have their say in the future of football. 

Football is one of the most powerful sports in the world for its ability to bring people of all ages and from all walks of life together.  

There are so many benefits for young people who play a part. Whether it is going along to watch your team with your friends or family or pulling on the boots yourself and getting involved, The Scottish FA (click here for more) believes we have a special sport that young people love. The social aspect comes with a feeling of belonging, and we all know the health and wellbeing benefits of participating in an outdoor activity.  

We also know that there are always ways to improve. We want to continue to strive to make football the best it can possibly be for our young people. To do so, we need them involved in making change.  

The Scottish FA is committed to ensuring that young people’s voices are included and respected in all decisions that affect them within the game. The ‘Youth Ambassador of Change’ programme is a key part of that commitment. Every young person has a right to have a say on matters that affect them, and we believe that including children and young people is key to their safety, wellbeing, and enjoyment of football.  

The Programme invites 16 Ambassadors to join us at the Scottish FA for two years to play a key role in decision-making. We want to understand what they are passionate about and where they would like to see change. Once we understand that, we partner them with mentors in key roles in the Association and begin working towards to making that change.  

Opening the floor to young people’s individual creativity and passion has meant that we have progressed in various areas. For example, Anna O’Donnell spearheaded the project that introduced free sanitary products at Hampden Park, alongside Hey Girls (click here for more). The variation is endless with projects making a big difference to young people in coaching, gender equality in sports, our young referees, cerebral palsy leagues, and that is only naming a few. 

Our young people meet regularly at Hampden to take part in Youth Congresses to share, debate, and express their views on key areas. As well as training days where we equip them with material and guest speakers from across the Football Family.  

This is a programme that opens doors into the world of football for our young people and in doing so connects them with other ambitious young people, as well as established and respected individuals already working in the game.  

The summer of 2023 sees us begin the journey again with a new cohort of Ambassadors. Recruitment will be launched on Thursday 1 June, after the conclusion of another exciting season of Scottish football. We would love this opportunity to be shared far and wide to reach the most passionate of Scottish football fans.  

Whether you are passionate about coaching, girls’ and women’s football, inclusivity, referees, marketing or media – we want to hear from every corner of the country. The future of football is in your hands! 

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About the author

Kieren Mooney is Participation and Engagement Officer at the Scottish FA, the governing body for football in Scotland.

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