Forres youngsters as young as four are flocking to a club that teaches them discipline, teamwork and gets them out of the house in all weathers.
Forres Soccer 7s is expected to break through the 200-member mark this year and could beat its all-time record, as the club continues to grow with its simple approach to getting kids motivated, disciplined and fit.
The club’s motto is simple, it makes football accessible to boys and girls of all ages. It meets on Sunday every week during school term and plays in Grant Park from 10am to 1pm.
Treasurer Tommy Smith said the main benefit is being part of a team, and discipline on the park.
“This may be the first organised team sport they do. Starting at age four they could go right the way through to 12 or 13. It might be the first time they get into a team with a coach.”
There’s no paid staff at Soccer 7s. There are nine board members and 20-25 coaches, and all are volunteers. Many of them are involved because their kids were part of it, but some have stayed on after their young ones have left.
The club is structured into three main sections, Development Fours which is ages four to six, Super Fives which is seven to nine-year-olds and Junior 7s which is for ages 10 to 12.
“We’ve got 190 kids playing this year. Last year, we broke the 200 mark and hopefully by the end of the season we’ll have the highest intake in our 26-year history,” added Tommy.
Forres woman Cassie Smith said her two sons, Olly (6) and Lucas (9), are really committed to coming every week.
“Lucas is in Junior Fives and has been coming for the last five years. Olly has just started in Development Fours. It’s a really good club, really supportive and the training’s really good,” she said.
The club held a sponsors’ day on Sunday 1 September to allow local businesses who support the charity to get a photo with their team and see what goes on every Sunday.
Sponsors include the town’s Highland League team Forres Mechanics, who support the very youngest members.
“It’s a tiny contribution considering all the effort that all the volunteer coaches and parents are making.
“It’s just an absolute delight to see all the kids getting organised sport, encouraged to be disciplined and improve what they’ve got.
“Some of these boys and girls will play for the Mechanics one day, but that’s not the object of this exercise, it’s giving them organised football and I think the volunteers do a wonderful job.”