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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.

My experience at St John’s so far has been very enjoyable but hard work.  It has been very hard year for me this year because I didn’t get into the Regional Squad during my time at St John’s I feel I have become a better person and I know how to look after my body because Jenks has organised nutrition nights

I feel I have been taking what I have been doing in training in to my games a lot more I feel I have become a lot more intelligent with my decisions on the pitch. I think I have become a lot more responsible in my own development

I feel my confidence has improved a lot because I can play a pass without worrying if it goes astray.

Aaron Carlon                                                  March 2015






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                                       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                                      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.

My experience of St John’s and SFA so far has been enjoyable but a hard one. I feel I have improved off and on the pitch as I have become a better person around school and out of school. We have been getting a lot of nutrition work done with us and I now know how to look after my body well.

This year has been a difficult one for me as I didn’t get into the regionals and I have had a lot of injuries during this time but I feel I’m ready to kick on and try and get into the Scotland squads and stay injury free.

I feel I take what we learn in training into my games as we work a lot on midfield rotation and linking up with the striker I play midfield I think it’s helped me a lot during my year and a half at St John’s.

Callum McCleary                                               March 2015







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.

When I first came into the Performance School I first found that training was difficult to adapt to because we never done any of the sessions like this at our clubs. But now it’s much easier.

I feel my confidence has improved since starting second year as I am not afraid to make mistakes and try to do the right things.

I feel I have matured as player since joining the Performance School off and on the pitch which I think has helped me with my school work too.

Dylan Harkin                                                  March 2015






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                                      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                               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                                             January 2014

 SFA Performance School I have learnt how to become a better player by putting the training I get at school into my game and when to use it. I have learnt the positional part of my role in the game and I learn this by doing our individual sessions. Our coach Iain Jenkins helps encouraging us to play our own way and express ourselves on the pitch. I feel I have taken more responsibility on the pitch, I developed this by training at the school and taking more responsibility. I have been able to take our training into our games but I feel I could still put more training into the game I play.

Max Anderson                                                   March 2015






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                                  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.

In the SFA Elite Performance School I have been able to strengthen my body by working on my weaker areas such as my knees and groins. Since 1st year I haven’t had a muscle injury. I have been able to learn a new position by the individual training I have been given by our coach Iain Jenkins. I have improved in that position a lot because of all the training I have been able to do. I’ve been able to strengthen my body with the work I do in the Gym on my core and knees. I have improved in my games with Dundee as well because I have a positional knowledge and my first touch because the skill improvement I have made.

Off the pitch I have learned to be respectful and well mannered. I have grown in confidence since coming to St John’s on and off the pitch.

Cameron Ross                                          March 2015






Since starting the SFA programme it has really helped with both my personal attitude and my football attitude. I had never heard of Jenks before the programme, but I’m glad I do now because he is giving me a brilliant opportunity for me to improve as a player and a person. Jenks and Liam both give up their spare time to provide us with indoor possessions, skills testing, fast passing drills etc. Jenks has helped me to get rid of some bad habits and is giving me new habits to work on, which will improve my game. Jenks has also helped me mature as a person and has been very supportive if we make any mistakes. He also gives us time to recover if we have had a game the day before, I wouldn’t get that at my club. Jenks brings a high intensity to every session that we do and expects the best of us and our brains to be switched on for every session. He brings sessions that we have never seen before and lets us get used to it and then makes it harder and harder until we are pushed. I have also had a lot of support from the teachers and staff inside the school to improve my knowledge.

Archie Meekison                                              March 2015 






I think joining the SFA Performance School was the best decision I’ve ever made.  I had to leave behind my closest friends but it was definitely worth it.  Every day I am always buzzing to go to training during school to skip periods which is so good.  At break and lunch I’m always down at the SFA department to either go in the gym or just hang about with my mates.  Training is definitely better than what I got before I came to St John’s only because our best coaches Jenks and Liam.  As coaches I think they are outstanding, but there are also good experiences in the SFA department as it could be really funny and exciting.  Jenks could be our best mate or our worst nightmare.  I’ve learned so much in school but especially training such as how important recovery is and not to play square passes.  We have a fitness coach called Euan who is very helpful with strength and stretching.  It’s not just Jenks, Liam and Euan it is Mrs Sinclair and Mrs McLagan who are really good head teachers and can help us with our late to class pass for training.  I’m really enjoying this high school so far and I can’t wait for the future in my career. 

Brandon Donnelly                                     March 2015






Before I started St John’s High School and being part of the SFA Performance School I was very shy.  I was in a 60 pupil Primary School and I didn’t have many friends because all the classes were very small. When I received this amazing opportunity to be a part of the SFA Performance School at St John’s I was over the moon to be given the opportunity to do something I have always wanted to achieve and be the best that I can be at football.  I work with the most brilliant coach ever, Iain Jenkins. I have felt safe in and around the school and have been supported all the way by my family making all this happen by transport and believing in me.  Iain made me feel a part of the Performance School because I didn’t know anyone when I came in except my Dundee mates. The training sessions have been brilliant they are very well thought out and they are a massive challenge every day, I feel like I am a much better player and a better person now since being at this school and I would like to give a big thanks to Mrs Wendy Sinclair and Mrs Fiona McLagan for supporting me all the way. Liam who is Iain’s helper is a really good friend and has respected me all the time and is a good coach. I feel like I am the luckiest young player in the whole world and I going to keep improving healthy eating.  This has just been a brilliant this experience so far.

Callum Bisset                                                   March 2015






Since I started St John’s RC High School I have improved in lots of different areas on and of the pitch. In my first year I have already become a more confident and a better player on the pitch as well as being a better person off the pitch. I have been show lots of things that I would never have got at my club from Jenks, Liam and Ewan. Jenks has been a great coach and friend to me, Jenks also gives us possession at lunchtimes and opens the gym in the morning for us. Since I have arrived at St John’s all the staff, Mrs McLagan and Mrs Sinclair have been very helpful to me.

Callum Howe                                                    March 2015 






Since I came in to St John’s I have had a great experience of what it is like being a professional footballer.  When I first came in I was very nervous about the class work and the football but in the wee while we have been here I have loved it loads Jenks and Liam has been a great support for me. I have gained a lot of confidence for Sundays and after every game we have to do a recovery session. Mrs Sinclair and Mrs McLagan has been a great support also.

Cameron Mccormack                                      March 2015 





Since I started St John’s it has been the best experience of my life so far. I was nervous before I started but after the first day I was fine. When I come in early I feel ready for school because of the training we do before the school day begins. I feel fitter and stronger when I play on a Sunday, it helps me a lot. Ewan has told us about what to eat and shown us new exercises we can do when we come in early or at lunchtime. The training is really good as it has a high tempo. Jenks and Liam are the best coaches I have ever had because they let you make mistakes and don’t get on your back about doing things wrong. At every break and lunchtime we are down at his office having a laugh and talking. Jenks can be our best mate or worst enemy if we muck about in sessions. I have learnt the importance of recovery after a game to prevent injuries. I am much more confident now because of playing football every day.

Finlay Robertson                                             March 2015 






Within my time so far at St John’s I have made a lot of progress and have been helped out by staff such as Mrs Sinclair and Mrs McLagan and mostly Iain Jenkins who has spotted things about my game that I would never have noticed myself. He has put them into the sessions to help me get better as a player the sessions we get are a standard above any that I have had previously and we have also had Ewan Greenhill who comes in and shown us stretches and exercises that will help my all round game. I have become a lot more dedicated since the start of S1 and come in early to make myself a better player I think the skills such as singles, doubles and 60 second keepy-ups have been great for me and I have really tried to always beat my score. I have realised how important it is to rest and recover after games. I think the main parts of my game that have improved are always receiving the ball with the furthest away foot which I still need to improve a lot on. My movement has got a lot better since I realised the importance of not making straight runs. I think I still need to really focus on receiving the ball in and around the box to take one touch and finish and improving my left foot to make it stronger and make myself more confident striking the ball with it in games. I have really enjoyed my time and noticed how important it is to practise as much as possible and can’t wait to carry on progressing through the years and keep getting better in all areas of my game.

Grady McGrath                                              March 2015





Since the start of 1st year my confidence has changed from being a shy and nervous person to a confident individual. Everyone has helped me along the way like Jenks because every morning when I come in Jenks cheers me up and so does everyone else. My attitude and diet has changed since coming to the SFA because before coming to the Performance School I had a completely different diet. Ewan has also helped me with my core and flexibility because at my club I won’t get that and Jenks and Ewan also provide sheets which we can do at home. Liam has also helped when Jenks isn’t in and he can take training which means we are always active. Jenks and Liam have helped me improve on my recovery and what the meaning of it is. My game awareness and movement have improve massively from the start of 1st year and has helped me improve on my whole game. Jenks has also helped me as a player, a person and to respect others and teachers. The drills that we do in training have more thought and work effort put into them to try and get the best out of us compared with my club.

Jordan Northcott                                              March 2015






When I first came into the Performance School I was a bit shy but after the first couple of days I felt that gained confidence in my football and in my school work. I have enjoyed my time so far at St Johns and the coaching from Jenks is really good, I have never seen some of the sessions that he does, and I learn how important recovery is in football.   I have also made new friends and have had been supported by the staff in St John’s Also the help from Ewan in the gym doing different stretches and body work to improve us as players. I have also been supported by Mrs Sinclair and Mrs McLagan in my schooling. I feel that I have improved since I came to the Performance School .

Kyle Sneddon                                                   March 2015







Since I have started at the SFA Performance School I feel I have changed a lot and made many friends. Before I started here I wasn’t sure about it, but right now I feel it was the best decision I’ve made. In my short time at St Johns I have settled in very well. Jenks has been a brilliant coach and is one of the most dedicated men in the world, giving up his lunch and mornings to improve us as young professional footballers and in general. Liam has been a great mate and has helped Jenks and all the boys and girls. I’ve learnt that dedication is a big part of football as well as recovery and rest. The training sessions Jenks and Liam take are fantastic but are also far different from our clubs as they test you much more and are also really enjoyable. Jenks has been absolutely brilliant and I feel I am one of the luckiest young players in the Performance Schools in Scotland

Lewis Fraser                                                      March 2015





Since I started St John’s RC High School I have gained confidence from playing with the boys and in my schooling. I am also thinking quicker in school because of football. In my first year of being here I have learned about lots of different things within football and school. Jenks is a brilliant coach and I have learnt loads from him and Liam, Jenks also gives up his own time to do only girls training and for training that we have missed due to weather Jenks and Liam do indoor possession at lunch times. I have become more respectful to my teachers and friends. I think my time here has been easier than I thought because of the help from Mrs McLagan and Mrs Sinclair.

Philippa McCallum                                           March 2015 






I have enjoyed my time at St John’s High School because I have grown in confidence as a person and I have made lots of new friends. Jenks is a brilliant coach and can have a good laugh and he is always there for you when you need him.  Paul and Jim are also two really great goalie coaches and I have learned lots of new techniques that I never knew before and it is making me better as a young goalkeeper. When we come in at quarter to eight in the morning Jenks is always there to let us do skills and work in the gym on the stretching that Ewan has shown us when he comes in to take us for sessions. I have also learned how important recovery days are after our games at the weekend. I would like to thank Mrs McLagan and Mrs Sinclair for all the help that they gave me when I first arrived at St John’s and also throughout the year. Jenks also misses his lunch to give us possessions at lunch times. Liam also helps Jenks and is good to have a laugh and he is also good to have around.

Ross Matthews                                                 March 2015






I like being part of SFA Performance School because it has helped me as a footballer and as a person. I like coming into school in the morning and going in the gym and working on things I need to improve. I also enjoy our training sessions during the day because it gives me more time to improve. My sessions during the day are good fun as well and it’s good to get more time with the football. I like my sessions that we do during the day with Jenks because I get more practice and then I take it to games on Sundays for Dundee United.  I like going to the tournaments with the SFA and playing against the other schools. I like my individual sessions they give me a chance to work on my work as a full back. Since I have been in the SFA Performance School I have become a better person and a better footballer.

Grant Rodger                                                 March 2015






Why I Enjoy the Performance School - I enjoy being in the Performance School because I think that I have more freedom when I play than when I did at my clubs.  I think that the sessions we do all have a very good meaning to them and are all well thought out as Jenks does as much as possible for us.  Jenks helps everyone in sessions, he will bring in the sessions and make them smaller to improve my development so when I do grow and I am stronger that I can play in small areas as well as playing in the 11 aside pitch. The more recent sessions that have been put on with the Angles I have really enjoyed them and I feel like they are helping me understand the game a lot more.

Strength and Conditioning - In the sessions I have learned better techniques for everything that I need to do for getting stronger upper body and lower body. When we get the strength sessions I think I do it to a good standard and learn how to improve in all aspects that I can.  I am more comfortable with the techniques now I can use weights, using little weights during my squats and v-sits etc helps a lot because I don’t get sloppy with my technique knowing that I need to be a lot more careful and I need to keep myself right and stay focused.

Individual Practices - When we go out to do individual practices … we do it collectively. I think Jenks delivers the sessions with a lot of thought and helps everyone in different aspects in the game.  He helps the strikers playing balls over the top of manikins, that helps me and Max to improve a good first touch and able to deal with situations to score goals and get the edge over other players. Or when there are 3 people in the midfield, 2 centre backs, 2 wingers and a striker he teaches us ways to link up the play and become better as a team.

Luke Mackie                                                   March 2015







Being part of the SFA Performance School has helped as a footballer on the pitch but it’s also made me a better person off the pitch as well.  I’ve learned a lot about my position in the last few months and about my defensive shape also when it’s ok to step in to play. I really enjoy the training session we get because area’s we need to improve on will be included in the sessions delivered by Jenks.  He will involve everyone and it is really enjoyable training, we pick up something new every session. The sessions we get I bring in to a game on Sundays. Since I have been in the Performance School I’ve become more responsible and matured as a person and as player.

Jenks also gives us individual session so we can go away and practice on what we need to work on.  It really helps and I have improved a lot and taken it into the games on a Sunday.

In the morning and at lunch times we can go the gym or the hall this helps improve our core, knee and upper body strength. The hall is opened for us if we want to practice skills.

Michael McArthur                                              March 2015







Being part of the SFA Performance School is a pleasure. It has really helped me develop as a player and as a person. All the pupils in the school look up to me and use me as a role model.

Iain Jenkins has really helped me improve as a player on the pitch. He has taught me to step in with the ball from centre back and also always tells us to play on the front foot. He has also told us a lot about preparation like eating the right foods before games on a Sunday or even training sessions and we always need to have our fluids with us. 

Jenks often gives us individual sessions to work on our weaknesses like to get the ball into the midfield early or midfield/ striker movement and defensive shape. The things I need to work on are quicker feet and moving the ball early.

In the morning and at lunchtime we go into the fitness suite to do either stretching or work on our balance or knee strengthening. The gymnasium is also open so we can practise skills.

Since I have been at St Johns I have become more confident, mature and a better person.

Ross Graham                                                  March 2015