SCOTLAND starlets Gregg Wylde and Ryan Jack had a ball as they joined dozens of Paisley youngsters to give them some tips on how to become football’s next big thing.
Rangers wing king Wylde and Aberdeen ace Jack, who have both been capped by Scotland at under-21 level, coached children at St Mirren Park during a Street Football event.
It was one of almost 200 extra Street Football sessions staged this year, thanks to the support of Robert Wiseman Dairies.
And Scotland under-21 coach Billy Stark hopes the project will help to unearth a few more Braveheart heroes of the future.
Stark told Express Sports: “The Street Football programme is a great opportunity to get young people who may not have an opportunity to play regular football to come along and have a game with their friends in a safe, supervised environment.
“The programme also encourages children to practise their skills and, you never know, we might just spot some future Scotland stars.
“St Mirren Park recently became the home for the under-21s for our European Championships qualifying campaign and the players were keen to give something back to the local community.”
Wylde said he was impressed by the enthusiasm on display during his visit to Paisley.
He added: “It’s brilliant to see kids out playing football and the Street Football programme can play a part in developing young talent further.
“Ryan Jack and I were watching the games and there are some good young players out there who we might see playing in the future.”
Throughout the summer, 189 additional Street Football sessions have taken place across Scotland, providing 484 extra hours of activity, boosted by the support of Wiseman’s.
The SFA Street Football project brings football into communities, giving more youngsters the chance to play more football, more often.
In addition, the intitiave provides young people across the country with positive healthy activities and encourages them to think about including milk in their diets.
The project is credited with contributing to significant reductions in incidents of youth disorder and vandalism in Renfrewshire’s communities.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Brian Lawson joined Wylde and Jack at the latest Street Football event at St Mirren Park, which was provided in partnership with the SFA, Robert Wiseman Dairies, St Mirren FC, Renfrewshire Council, Strathclyde Police, Engage Renfrewshire, Arriva, Active Renfrewshire, CashBack and Strathclyde Fire and Rescue.
It is part of the Safer And Stronger Renfrewshire strategy, which brings partner organisations together to make Renfrewshire a safer place to live, work and visit.
Sandy Wilkie, Wiseman’s sales and marketing director, said: “We recognise the importance of being a part of the communities we serve and our support of the Street Football programme is a great way for us to be more involved, as well as encouraging physical activity in young people.
“We hope that our association with the programme encourages more young people to choose to include milk in their diet, encourage a healthier lifestyle and reach their potential in the game.
“Having Gregg and Ryan at St Mirren Park shows what youngsters can achieve with regular football, practice and a healthy lifestyle.”
Anyone aged 10 to 18 can drop in and play at the various Street Football sessions. To find out where your nearest session is taking place, visit the website at www.scottishfa.co.uk/ youthfootball