Grassroots football depends on the passion, devotion and time of generous people who stay in the background, working hard and committing countless hours of their spare time without ever gaining the recognition they deserve.
One of these people is Karen Carlon, who is stepping down as Perth Youth Football Small Sided co-ordinator after several years in the role. Explaining that "the time is right personally to move onto a new adventure or project", Karen tells us how the adventure started:
"I started 6 years ago when I was invited along to a PKYFA league meeting as a friend had put my name forward for the role. I liked what I heard and thought I would give it a go. At the time of taking on the role, I ran my own football team aged 2001 but we played in the CEFFSA league."
Six years is a fair amount of time, and Karen is understandably overcome with nostalgia while talking about the memories and remembering the coaches and kids:
"I have lots of fond memories volunteering alongside our local coaches who are very committed to their roles within their clubs. My most enjoyable part was organising and running the Charity Football Festivals alongside Crieff JFC. I have been lucky and met a lot of fantastic coaches and kids from out with our Association at the Festivals and hopefully will stay in touch with a few. I was also lucky to be invited to attend a Football Education Trip in Valencia with the Scottish FA. This was a reat opportunity where I met coaches who were all in their roles for the same reasons, to see the children with their clubs develop from a positive experience."
While admitting to missing "probably everything", the now former co-ordinator is keen to stay in touch with football and already looks to the future:
"I am still involved in football, coaching Soccer Tots children aged between three to five years which I thoroughly enjoy. I have a couple of things that I would like to look into a bit more to see if there is any way I could support; disability football and mental health issues."
We at Youth Football Scotland would like to wish you, Karen, all the best for the future and thank you for a fantastic six years of work on behalf of the grassroots community.