Coaches team up to hand junior football a welcome boost

Coaches Gav Wood and Robbie Hawkes
Coaches Gav Wood and Robbie Hawkes

Local football coaches Gav Wood and Robbie Hawkes are teaming up to give the Scarborough & District Minor League a much-needed shot in the arm.

The pair are organising a session at St Peter’s School on Saturday to try and encourage youngsters to take up football and join a team.

The event is open to boys and girls between the ages of eight and 12 and will run between 10am and 12pm.

Scholes Park Raiders Under-12s coach Wood will be encouraging parents to chat with representatives from other clubs, while Hawkes and his team of coaches will be putting on a fun football session.

Wood said: “When I first started with Scholes Park there were 12 teams in our age group, now it is down to five or six.

“As a team we are doing OK for players, but some teams are struggling badly.

“We have organised the event to give a bit back to the Minor League because local football is struggling.

“Robbie is a local coach and he is manager of Seamer Under-Eights so he was also keen to come down and help out.

“There are clubs who can’t field teams at certain age groups, so hopefully this event will be a help to them.

“If they can pick up a few new players then it might boost their teams or encourage them to set up new ones.”

Wood feels that facilities around the town over the past few years have hampered the interest in playing football.

He added: “It is always difficult to find somewhere to play football and maybe there is sometimes a lack of commitment from players to take over as coaches.

“It would be good if the return back to the town of Scarborough Athletic helps to boost numbers, but we’ll have to see if it does.

“I was at Teesside recently doing my level two coaching badge and I was told that football up there is thriving.

“It is a bigger catchment area, but they have three divisions and they are taking the likes of Whitby away from us.

“If that is happening up there, as well as in York and Hull, then I’m sure we can find a few more players from around the Scarborough area to help improve our leagues.”

Former Boro, Pickering and Bridlington Town player Hawkes is hoping to make the pre-season event a regular occurrence.

He added: “I work in schools with youngsters of all ages and abilities as a part of my business, from the word go I’ve always wanted to help improve football in the town.

“When Gav asked me to get on board I jumped at the chance because it is a great idea and a great opportunity.

“We want to make this a yearly event and hopefully it will provide the Minor League with a boost.

“Maybe people don’t know where to take their kids to play football, we are giving them that on Saturday.

“It isn’t a trial because a lot of local teams are needing players to boost their numbers.

“You don’t have to be the next Lionel Messi, it is just an opportunity to get into the game.

“We all kicked a ball for the first time, but having done that I have some great memories of playing the game.

“In 10 years time we don’t want to be taking our players to York and Hull for competitive games, we want to build a successful league in this town.”