Blantyre has always been proud of its football heritage having many clubs inside and in the surrounding areas team like Blantyre Victoria, Blantyre Celtic etc. But in 2010 there was a huge change in the community of Blantyre in a footballing sense when Blantyre Boys Club changed into Blantyre Soccer Academy soley at the 2003 age group and this would spark a bright future ahead for the people of Blantyre interested in the sport.
Since being founded back in 2010 Blantyre Soccer Academy now currently works with over 280 young people and the age range of this cohort ranges from 3 years of age through to 11 years of age. They also have an Under 19 and Amateur team which provides a full player pathway for The Academy. Blantyre Soccer Academy is, in line with our attempt is currently seeking to increase our number to 300+ active young people and adults over the next 12 months. After speaking to members of the club they think this is eminently achievable with assistance.
The Academy strives to promote positive living, nutrition, discipline and exercise and instill in young people the advantages of a healthy lifestyle. The Academy seeks to provide young people with positive role models and regularly invites successful sports persons to visit young people so as to encourage them to participate in the diversionary and positive activities promoted by the club.
At present Blantyre Soccer Academy require to travel throughout the local district attempting to source football pitches for our home matches. As a purely voluntary organisation this can be a somewhat arduous and time consuming process for our committee. As the vast majority of our young people come from the local Blantyre area, sourcing a permanent home in Blantyre would be enormously beneficial in assisting the club in moving forward and in consolidating our position as a force for cohesiveness, integration, fitness and our ability to continue to act as a focus for good in the area.
I recently got the chance to talk to Mary Sneddon who is part of the new Under 19's set up within the academy and asked her how her and the team on a whole were liking life being part of the academy and how they as a team wanted to build for the future and she told me:
"We are really enjoying being part of the academy, everyone has been very welcoming. The academy as a whole want its own facilities and also want to add more younger teams in the future to expand again, we as a team are encouraging our players to get in to coaching and helping out with the younger teams, we look to make the academy bigger and stronger for the future and think that is possible because we are in a very professional environment with a lot of supportive people around us".
Also recently BSA picked up the National Grassroots Community Champions Award at Hampden which was presented by Kenny Daglish and just shortly before that BSA Chairman and Under 19's coach Joe McGuire received the South West region's grassroots award for best volunteer in youth football. So promising times ahead for an already very successful soccer academy in the area of Blantyre.