"The Quality Mark has made a huge difference to the club over the last seven or eight years," said Peter Ryder. He is the secretary of Ferry Athletic Youth Club, and yet another voice adding to the opinion of many, that the Quality Mark award scheme is having a significant impact on youth football.
Ferry Athletic started off with just two teams back in 1997, but the club has "grown into one of the largest clubs within the Dundee and Tayside area."
"We’re now up to nine teams between the under-nines age group and the under-19s age group," he told Youth Football Scotland. "We also have three ‘4 v. 4’ age groups as well. At present we currently have over 200 players at the club and 30 coaches, so it’s grown into quite a monster over the last five years."
A monster in size maybe, but certainly not in ego. "The whole ethos of the club is to get as many people playing football as we possibly can," Ryder said. "[The] aim of the club, first of all, is to make sure every player that comes to Ferry Athletic enjoys playing the game, and it’s an environment where they can learn and hopefully we can go onto win things this season."
The positive attitude that the club has off the pitch was certainly carried onto it last season, with various teams returning with trophies. That is not the be all and end all for Ferry Athletic though.
"It’s all about making sure it’s a good environment for people to learn, and then hopefully we’ll win things on the back of that," Ryder said.
Now, the club is progressing with the Quality Mark as well. Ryder said: "We’ve now got the Legacy Quality Mark, which is fantastic. It means that kids that come to the club are getting quality coaching, [that] the coaches are all qualified, they’ve got their Stage 1, 2, and 3 qualifications. It means better training sessions for kids which will enable them to play football at a higher standard."
It is not just the nationwide Scottish FA campaign that Athletic are finding useful though.
"The local guys in the Scottish FA, have supported the club really well," Ryder said. "They’re there for you when you need help, when you need assistance. They’re good at running training courses etc. so the relationship we have with the SFA is overall, very strong."
Good luck to Ferry Athletic for the forthcoming season!