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New Coach's Goal to Develop Skills of Young Footballers

5th February 2007

Photograph of New Coach's Goal to Develop Skills of Young Footballers

In an innovative move to encourage the development of football skills amongst young people in the Highlands, Peter Budge from Caithness has been appointed Football Development Officer with The Highland Council, based at The Highland Football Academy.

Peter's main responsibility will be to drive forward the National Plan for Youth Football in Highland, Orkney and the Western Isles.

Peter is a highly qualified coach who is well known and respected in Highland football. Aged 45 and an engineer with UKAEA at Dounreay, he has lived all his life in Wick. After leaving Wick High School he played at amateur and semi-professional level. Once his playing days were over he studied at Largs and Moray College and became a qualified football coach gaining his UEFA ~B~ Licence and SFA Youth Licence. For five years Peter travelled from Caithness to Dingwall twice a week to coach and youth initiative games for the under 17's Ross County teams before becoming the part time manager of Wick Academy F.C. last summer.

He said: "I am really looking forward to my new post. After years of being involved with football in the north I am very aware of the geographical disadvantages encountered by many young players. Part of my remit will be to look at these issues with the main focus on club development, schools programmes, player pathways and coach education. It will be a challenge but I am very much looking forward to bridging these gaps."

The three year post is jointly funded by The Highland Council, the Scottish FA, SportScotland, Orkney Council and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

Andy Gould, Head of Regional Development with the Scottish FA said: "The Scottish Football Association are delighted to be working in partnership with The Highland Council, SportScotland, Orkney Council and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to establish a comprehensive Football Development programme across the Highlands and Islands. Peter will be a welcome addition the already well established SFA Community Programme which as a result of the recent Youth Football Action Plan aims to establish football at the heart of local communities, working in partnership with schools, clubs, leagues and associations. Coaches and volunteers play a huge part in this development and Peter will be working hard to provide opportunities for coaches to progress from throughout the area."

Julia Bracewell OBE, Chair of sportscotland said: "sportscotland is pleased to continue its support for football development in Highlands through its funding of the Highland Football Academy and this new post.

"This is a particularly significant time for football development in Scotland within the implementation of the Scottish Football Association's (SFA) Youth Action Plan and the appointment of Peter to the north region will further reinforce the delivery of this strategic plan. As one of the six regions in Scotland for football, the north area presents particular issues of geography and it is encouraging to see the further development of the significant work that has been carried out over a number of years through local schools, clubs and authorities."

Convener of The Highland Council, Alison Magee said: "The Highland Council is proud to be a partner in the Highland Football Academy. This new post is an exciting opportunity to show our commitment to supporting the development of our young footballing talent in the Highlands and encouraging young people to make the most of their sporting talents and lead active lives."

The 2.25 million Highland Football Academy is a partnership between The Highland Council, Caledonian Thistle FC and Ross County FC. It was officially opened last February, to promote excellence in the game and provide top class facilities for the Highland Football Community. As well as a floodlit grass pitch, outdoor training area, indoor arena, a fitness room, learning suites, sports injury clinic and offices at Victoria Park in Dingwall, there are two grass pitches, a training area and a floodlit artificial pitch within the grounds of Charleston Academy in Inverness.

Highland Football Academy Development Manager Rod Houston is looking forward to working with Peter. "The Highland Football Academy Trust has always had a desire to be at the heart of football development in the area, regarding its role as being more than the provision of facilities. The Trust is pleased to be providing the base for this important new post. On a personal level I am delighted to be working with Peter once again. He will bring his considerable drive and expertise to a vital role in securing and developing the future of football in the Highlands and Islands."

In The Photo
(left to right) Peter Budge, Bruce Robertson, Director of Education, Culture and
Sport and Highland Football Academy Development Manager Rod Houston.

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