Education and football both go a long way to helping young people grow into adults. Whilst some people may view the technical side of the game as being the most important aspect of the game; Mossend 2003s coach Russell Sanderson, who also acts as the club’s community officer, feels that education and nurturing young players should always be the first priority;
“I think it’s about commitment, about giving something back. I want to give something back, I felt the time was right, my son is 12 now. The way society is now, t’s about nurturing and educating young kids into becoming adults.” Sanderson told Youth Football Scotland.
Sanderson’s involvement with the community and education of player’s stretches back to several years ago, during a match, when one of his player’s was caught up in a racial incident, it left the coach determined to make a difference in the attitude of young players; “It was dealt with at the time, It left a bad taste in my mouth, I didn’t like how it was handled. So one of my friends is the governing director at Kilmarnock, I spoke to him and he said to contact The Red Card. So I did that and they brought the kids to out their education workshop at the Matt Busby centre”, he said.
“We had representatives from Police Scotland, Scotland YMCA and pulled a lot of community people in. I think we've been involved in delivery to about 800 kids and young adults now, Red Card got a grant from Scottish government to do adult delivery, so that will be something different. That’s something I’m interested in doing.”
Sanderson is keen not to limit his influence to just the local community, as he looks to broaden his horizons and make a greater impact abroad; “We have a thing called Mossend Kits for Kids, what we do is we give all the old kits and send them abroad, so it’s not all about educating and nurturing kids in this country. It’s about going elsewhere, and I think it’s the next step. These kids have nothing, they probably don’t have a football and just have a bag wrapped up with rags. We’re doing what we can to help.”
As well as that, the club have set up another initiative called the Well Foundation. With the aim of providing clean drinking water to less fortunate locations, Mossend have already purchased two wells in Pakistan so far, and look to purchase more in the future.
Sanderson finished with an important message, to help the less fortunate: “Our kids are fine, they’re playing football and feeling happy and loving it. But these kids have nothing, so why not give them something?”