Castle in the Spotlight

7. Aspiring Players…

One great thing about Castle Juniors is the way they support those who both aspire to make the grade professionally or simply want to have fun playing football and learn important skills down the line. In the words of Director of Football,  Kyle Spiers, “there are people that want to play football, and people that want to be footballers.”

 It is valuable as a club serving the community that it is accessible to all regardless of ability, that they stand to gain plenty from being a member even if they don’t have high hopes of playing as a profession. They can make friends and carry the communication skills they learn on the pitch into work, school and life, while the presence of partnerships such as with Coerver present a tangible transition into another aspect of football such as, for argument’s sake, coaching.

 The forging of teamwork and problem-solving skills comes naturally in this sport, a vital aspect within the workplace and in life, and it is not at all necessary to be an elite-grade footballer to learn and understand these qualities. It is about creating an environment that is comfortable and rewarding, allowing people of different abilities to work together for a common goal as is also the story at the top level, while also engaging and working with the community to continue this upward trajectory.

 All the while, the value of providing a local hub to develop the best young talent across all genders and ensuring the resources are there to get the best out of them is also important, giving a settled environment with highly-trained coaches and ever-growing facilities. Lewis MacKinnon, formerly of Castle Juniors and now of Rangers FC, recently spoke on the drive and determination required from the individual to make it at that level, how sacrifices are necessary to focus on the highest ambitions and how constant training and self-improvement is always needed.

 The club is also able to help parents understand the bigger picture of the club, what they do inclusively for each player within the camp as a collective rather than necessarily the individualistic standpoint of only their son or daughter. The coaches can help build their independence and decision-making both on the pitch and in life, providing new perspectives while allowing them to learn in their own way, not to mention offering guidance to both child and parent when the time comes to make the next step if they’d like to try themselves at the next level.

 A similar situation applies in schools where Castle Juniors is able to lend a hand and encourage young people to join, as not every teacher in a school is going to have the same level of expertise and understanding of football as a UEFA-Licensed coach. The teachers are qualified and on hand to lend their advice though, and the standard of football and competition in the local area has benefitted from the collaborations the club has had with qualified coaches within schools too.

 Where different individuals have different specialties, these can blend as heads come together and the views from different perspectives are taken into account, which the club believes contributes enormously to continued advancement and strengthening of the relationship within the local community as well as the growth of the level of football in this part of the world.

 In summing up, while not every footballer will grow up to become the next Messi or Ronaldo, Castle Juniors nevertheless cherishes the fact that it can assist members of varying ability levels while providing them with other exceptional opportunities for them to develop their skills. The community aspect is reflected in how they can work with different perspectives and gain ideas from diverse minds, the advice they can give and the ways in which they can continue to raise the bar for all involved, not just the ones looking to become professional.

It comes back to that line, “people want to play football, and people want to be footballers.” Be it casual or serious, Castle Juniors Football Club caters for that and can function for all as part of the ethos they hold so dear.

Bt Lewis Bennett