Student wins top SFA volunteer award
Ayrshire College student Sophie Watson has won the Scottish Football Association’s (SFA) Grassroots Regional Best Young Volunteer Award.
Sophie, 19 from Kilmarnock, studies HND Coaching and Developing Sport, and volunteers on a weekly basis at the Rose Reilly Football Centre, coaching football to girls between the ages of 5 and 12.
Sophie is part of the SFA’s Volunteer Inspire Project (VIP) and has recently gained employment with Kilmarnock Football Club’s Community Sports Trust (KCST) to coach two evenings a week.
Ayrshire College delivered a five-week summer programme in partnership with KCST, Vibrant Communities, Active Schools and the Kris Boyd and Rose Reilly Football Camps, which Sophie volunteered at. She delivered coaching sessions to more than 250 kids during each week of the programme.
Sophie said: “This was totally unexpected. I only started coaching when I started at college, and last year when the opportunity came up to do the VIP Programme I was quite nervous to do it at first. I gave it a go and absolutely loved the programme and the values it has given me as a coach.
“I’ve committed a lot of my own time to coaching so it’s really special to have won this award. Coaching is something I’ve got such a big passion for. I think it’s important that there are more females that do coaching, so that there are role models out there.
“I’m humbled to have won this award, I still can’t believe this. It’s one of my greatest achievements – not just in college, but in life in general.”
Johnny Sinclair, Sport & Fitness lecturer at Ayrshire College, said: "Massive congratulations to Sophie on winning the SFA Grassroots Award for Best Young Volunteer in the South West region. Sophie is not only an exceptional student, but an outstanding role model for young girls in sport.
"It has been great to see Sophie develop into a first-class coach over the past 12 months, through opportunities provided by Garry Hay, as part of the SFA My Volunteer Inspire Project. Sophie has also gained valuable coaching experience as a Lead Coach at the Rose Reilly Football Centre which is organised and promoted by Cherryl Fulton at East Ayrshire Vibrant Communities. Sophie has built a strong rapport with all the young participants, and I admire her desire to make a difference to grassroots football in the local community."
Cherryl Fulton, East Ayrshire Active Schools Co-ordinator, said: “Sophie has a very unique skillset, which is the ability to communicate with and motivate any client group she encounters. I have had the pleasure to witness first-hand at the numerous coaching sessions how she relates to the children and makes them smile regardless of the person or their ability.
“Sophie has established a great reputation for being honest, hard-working, reliable, and talented. She is a very humble person and has a great deal of self-confidence in her abilities as a coach. Due to the volume of coaching hours Sophie has undertaken, she has developed natural confidence in standing in front of a group and giving clear instructions.
“Her contributions to the wider community make Sophie stand out from the crowd. She has made such a positive influence on the children at the Rose Reilly Football Centre that she has worked with. The girls look up to her, she acts as an excellent role model to all the girls at the Football Centre.”
13 October 2021