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Edina Hibs CFC, a credit to Scottish grassroots football

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The clue is in their name, Edina Hibs ‘Community’ Football club. This relatively new club has become the cynosure of the sporting community in south Edinburgh since its formation back in 2011. Despite still being one of the new kids on the block, this fresh community football club are leading the way in terms of footballing philosophy and community involvement. 
The exemplary feature Edina Hibs Community Football Club exhibit is the philosophy which they impose upon the kids within their ranks. It is not a style of football that involves aggression and route one football, it is one in which technique is favoured over strength and ability is sought instead of long ball tactics. 
Many see this style as the correct way to teach youngsters and many would agree. It allows the players to develop as a footballer through having the opportunity to express themselves on the ball, whilst at the same time being forced to read and understand the game taking shape around them. 
There are only positives to be had from this fluid style of football and club chairman Scott Bonar reiterates this point. “As a club we have adopted a philosophy to try and teach the kids a certain style of play which we hope will help in the development of producing technical stars of the future with excellent game knowledge and give young players the building blocks so if any are lucky enough to become pro footballers they will have the correct attitudes and attributes to go as far as they can.”
This message is evident across all age groups at the club, but it all starts in Scott Bonar’s soccer school programme which is in operation at Edina Hibs CFC, who are in fact an SYFA quality mark club. Style of play and performances take precedence over results at a young age and this is clearly and repeatedly articulated to the players involved in the soccer 4’s and 7’s programme. 
The purpose of the programme is to prepare the players for 11-a-side football and ultimately go on to succeed as future stars in the beautiful game. However this is not possible if there is no groundwork in place to allow players to flourish in football, but the soccer school programme provides this core foundation, focusing on technique, finesse, pass and move football.  
“We hammer home the fact that results are secondary, this invariably means the teams at 7’s often don’t get positive results, however we stress to the kids focusing on how we want them to play the game is far more important as this will give them the building blocks and tools to cope with 11-a-side football.” This has already reaped its rewards, as the first team to emerge from the soccer school programme (2001 age group) went on to win the Scottish Cup in their first year of 11-a-sides, while the second group of graduates admirably bowed out in the last 16 phase of the competition, a feat in itself. 
The excellent job that is in motion at Edina HIbs CFC, is epitomised by the boys that are moving on to play for professional clubs, two of these being Marcus Campanile who signed for Aberdeen in 2012 and Kyle Lander, now playing with St Johnstone.
The club has grown and grown since its formation back in 2011. Edina Hibs CFC, now have over 300 boys playing for the club week in week out and are situated across three venues: Bingham Park at which the 11-a-side teams complete there fixtures, Northfield Community Centre and Meadowbank Stadium Astro where the 7-a-side teams can be found.
Developing their enrolled kids as players is not the only concern on the clubs mind and this is where the word “community” comes into play for Edina Hibs CFC. The impact of football upon people’s lives is huge and this community club recognise that important fact and utilise it to try and encourage their players to become better individuals. Scott Bonar states this point “We try to stress to the kids that the only thing they control is their individual effort and we relate this to challenges they face and overcome in and out of football. The message is that all problems can be overcome if the correct amount of effort is applied to solve the problem or difficulty.” 
Football is being used as an educational tool at Edina Hibs CFC and they seem to have struck the perfect balance between football and ethics. The kids are putting their minds to good use instead of lingering at street corners, they are being taught the importance of a healthy lifestyle and to take ownership of their surroundings, all the while being treated with the upmost respect.
This is commendable stuff from Edina Hibs CFC, who are front runners in progressive footballing education, they are not only developing better footballers, they are developing better people. 
Undoubtedly it’s an exciting time for this progressive club with more kids on the hot prospect conveyer belt coming through, teams winning national and domestic trophies whilst providing Edinburgh with a forward thinking club to be proud of. The future it seems can only get brighter for Edina Hibs Community Football Club.

Ryan Crombie | YFS South East Region Journalist
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