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SFA Players' Experiences

I have become more confident and responsible since I started coming to St John’s RC High School in Dundee. I have become more of a leader at my own club. I am a lot more passionate about my football and have a lot more desire. I’ve progressed a lot and hope to keep progressing.

Aaron Carlon ( S2)                                                           January 2014



I think the experience so far has been positive.  It has been good seeing what professional footballers’ days are like.  We visited St Johnstone and Dundee United.  It was good to see the players training and how hard they have to work every day, we could also see that although they have fun and have a laugh, they know when it is the right time to do this.

I have also enjoyed the training and learning new skills but I also have fun. It has been great, Jenks has been a really good coach and is very good at coaching us.  I think he is a good coach because he knows a lot about the game and shares his experiences with us.

I really enjoy going to Toryglen with the team, it is always fun and I can see how high the standards are at the other schools. Sometimes I find it difficult because I play a year up.                                                          

Aaron Millar (S3)                                                      January 2014


At the start of first year and the start of the SFA Performance School my confidence was really low and this affected the way I approached training, I found training hard. As the majority of the players were with Dundee United I didn’t feel like a part of the group I didn’t know the others well enough to call them good friends. Iain Jenkins has worked hard with me to boost my confidence and this has made me a better player technically and mentally.

Our visits to Toryglen tournaments with Jenks have been great. Jenks spends most of his day preparing our sessions, giving us advice, sorting out any issues we may have in school and opening the gym for us before school and at lunchtimes. He cares about our development and I am really grateful for that. I have made great friends, changed completely on and off the pitch and I am a much better player than I was this time last year. I want to keep getting better.

Brian Rice (S3)                                                January 2014


Since I have started the SFA Performance School I have changed a lot as a person.  I have gained a lot of confidence from playing football everyday and I am more confident in the school now as I now talk to other pupils, I was a bit shy in the beginning.  Being part of the SFA Performance School is making me a better person on and off the pitch.

I like to take advantage of the optional sessions before the school starts, which means getting up early but I am committed to doing this to help me achieve my goal of becoming a professional football player.  These sessions along with the sessions we do during the school day have helped me greatly and have really improved my game in such a short space of time, particularly the strength and balance work.

Callum McCleary (S2)                                             January 2014


In primary school my confidence in my school work was not very good.  Since joining the SFA Performance School I feel more confident in my school work because I am enjoying school much more and I’m working harder.  I feel more confident now when playing and training since I started the SFA.

Before I joined the SFA programme I did not think I would improve as much as I have done in the short space of time I have been here.

My attitude has changed a lot, before when I made a mistake I used to worry about it but I don’t worry as much now.

Dylan Harkin (S2)                                              January 2014


Being part of the SFA Performance School programme at St John’s RC High School has allowed me the opportunity to combine my football with my education.  My confidence has improved in and around the school as the influences around me at school give me help and encouragement. 

My movement as a player has improved and being part of this school has made me more determined to succeed.  The balance of having education and a sport that I love in the curriculum of the school day is fantastic.  This programme is encouraged and supported by the school, this has helped me maintain a good level of education.  I am also able to reach and achieve the necessary amount of training hours required to become a professional footballer. 

As I no longer need to attend football training in the evening out with school hours this allows me to concentrate on my school work.  This school has brought me closer to my team-mates, this helps during games and training sessions.

I have had opportunities to visit professional clubs like Dundee United and St Johnstone and learn from their coaches.  There are also opportunities to attend regional squad gatherings with other SFA Performance Schools.  The school allows us to attend these gatherings.  The staff in the school will of course help me catch up with any course work I miss when attending these events.

Meeting other people from other clubs and performance schools is really important.  In addition to this, I benefit from having the support and friendship from others at school that are not in the SFA programme.

Jack Allan (S3)                                                         January 2014


Being part of the SFA Performance School at St John’s for 2 years has really improved me not only as a football player but also as a person on and off the pitch.  I also feel I have gained more confidence and life skills such as discipline, leadership, professionalism, respect, accountability and much more.

 This opportunity has completely changed my life and sacrifices have had to be made to give me the chance of succeeding in my all time goal which is to become a professional football player.  Without a doubt it has been completely worth it.  I feel this experience has been made easier for me by the staff at the school such as my subject teachers, PE department staff and in particular Mrs Sinclair and Mrs McLagan who provide time and support in allowing me to focus on my football via my timetable but also making sure that the academic side of school does not suffer.

Most important of all is our coach Iain Jenkins, he has been so supportive and dedicated and he leaves no stone unturned in his quest of making me and the others the best players and people we can possibly be. The training sessions we receive have great thought and purpose put into them by Jenks, the sessions are very intense but thoroughly enjoyable and I can honestly say that I feel I have improved after every training session.

The SFA also provide every resource we as players need such as medical screening, physio analysis, workshops for players and parents covering nutrition, hydration, testing, injury prevention, mindset and the excellent Sports Office Performance Management System which is an online tool we use covering and recording all aspects of the programme.

I feel I have learnt so much more about the game and improved as a player since I started at the school 18 months ago and hopefully will continue to do so in the next 2 and a half years.  I would recommend the SFA performance programme to anyone who is currently considering it.

Kieran Inglis (S3)                                            January 2014


The SFA Elite Performance School has helped me lots with my confidence, attitude and how I see football.  I realise now that it’s not all about what happens on the pitch but off the pitch as well.  I have learnt that off the pitch I should be a role model around the school and to make sure I am eating the right food before and after training and games.  I have made strong friendships with other players in the squad.  I feel I have progressed lots while I have been here and hope to progress more in the future.  I need to be more confident with 1v1 attacking this is something that I am practising.  The SFA is always a safe place to be and a friendly place as well.  Iain Jenkins has been a great coach and not just a coach but a friend, he’s always there if you need help or need to talk about any problems.   

Max Anderson (S2)                                                  January 2014


In my time in the Performance School, I have enjoyed every part of it. Training every day, all the boys sticking together as a unit, getting the gym open every day for us to improve our strength and conditioning therefore helping our overall performance in training and game and we have a great coach!

During the Performance School I have been taught to eat the correct things with helpful presentations from Jenks, this included information on what to eat on a daily basis, what I should eat before a game and when and what foods I should only have every so often.

I have also learnt how to be a better person on and off the pitch by being respectful, professional and leading by example.  I believe I have improved as a footballer (BIG TIME).

Before the Performance School I used to go out every night and play football at the park with my friends and sometimes got a few niggly injuries.  But through the Performance School I have learnt that it is ok to have a rest, to listen to my body, know when to rest and how to use my free time better to improve my skills at home.  During the summer I got quite a bad injury (the worst I have ever had), Jenks told me “Morgs when you get injured you don’t need to rush, it’s all about the timing of when you feel you are ready to come back to train and play again.”  That really made me realise how lucky I am to have a coach like Jenks to guide me in the right direction.

During my time in the Performance School I have trained to play in different positions on the park, by doing this I have learnt a lot about myself, my strengths and weaknesses in different positions, what I need to work on and most importantly to have self-belief.  I can play comfortably in any defence or mid-field position and I am hoping that this will help me in future Scotland trials.

Every day I feel lucky to have been given this opportunity and enjoy working hard to improve my football.

Morgan Miller (S3                                           January 2014


The Performance School has definitely changed my life in a positive way.  The travelling, getting to do football during school time and making new friends is all new to me.  It’s quite challenging being only one of three girls in a squad of twenty five but we just need to prove how good we girls are and need to work hard and be role models to everyone in and out of school. 

I feel that during the space of 5 months my movement, long hard passing, confidence, strength, speed and smart thinking (for football) has improved a lot by being a part of this programme.  Having the opportunity to train with a quality team and a very nice hard working coach that does everything for us,  I respect that. 

The school is great, everyone around me is great and I think I have settled in really well especially with having Leah around me! 

I really want to improve and push myself more to become the best player I can be.

Rachel Wolecki (S2)                                                January 2014


Since I have been at St John’s I think that I have improved a lot as a football player because of the level of training.  Before I used to train three times a week with a game on the weekend but now I train nine times per week, five times with SFA and four times with Dundee United.  I also have a game on Sundays.  I go into school early every day to work on my Personal Improvement Programme.

Being in the programme has made me realise how much preparation there is before I train or play, each night I prepare my kit for the training session the next day. With the workshops we have had I am beginning to make better decisions on what food to eat before match days.  It has made me aware of the importance of rest because of the amount of training I do.

As a person I have responsibilities as a footballer and also as a pupil.  I must respect the decisions of coaches and be able to handle feedback whether it is positive or negative and use this to help me progress. While I am in class I have a responsibility to behave and get on with class work. I really enjoy being in the SFA programme, even though I have to get up at 6.00 am every day!

Scott Reekie (S3)                                           January 2014


Since starting the SFA Performance School at St John’s High I feel I have not only improved as a player but as a person too. I have become healthier, more mature and polite and most of all, more responsible.   I have also matured with my school work as the teaching is very good at St John’s.  Being in the Performance School has also given me many experiences such as meeting Dundee United and St Johnstone players.  Although pursuing my ambition of becoming a professional football player has meant some sacrifices I wouldn’t change it for anything and hope to continue to work hard and achieve my dream.

Zyad Bjeirmi (S3)                                                    January 2014


Being part of the SFA Performance School makes me more confident in class and gives me more time to improve my skills and strengthen my body.  I am more confident when playing football at my club because my training in the Performance School makes me think of my actions on and off the field.  The training advice I am given prevents me from getting injuries to my knees and groin.

It is very important that I show a good example to others in class and around the school.  I am excited about coming to school now.

Cameron Ross (S2)                                                          January 2014