The University of St. Andrews Football Club does a great deal of service for communities all over the world. Each year, students participate in volunteer programs for people from all walks of life. The Football Club uses its resources and facilities in order to promote the footballing culture in the Fife area as well as provide people of all ages an outlet to play football.
South Africa is known as the ‘Rainbow Nation,’ a country which speaks eleven languages and consists of people of many diverse cultureal backgrounds. Volunteer South Africa is a program run through the Athletic Union that send students each from different sports clubs to South Africa to run coaching sessions at Rittenbosch, a primary school in the Stellenbosch area.
This past Summer I was lucky enough to join Men's Football committee member Sam Beer and four other Saints Sport athletes in a volunteer coaching trip to the Rainbow Nation. Our volunteering, however, began long before we set foot on the African continent. Almost immediately after we were selected for the trip, Sam and I began to obtain coaching qualifications as well as certifications in first aid and child protection. We then used this expertise to coach and mentor young footballers around St Andrews through the programs Junior Saints and Floodlit Football among others. This sort of local volunteering was instrumental in our preparation for South Africa. When we arrived in at Rietenbosch Primary, the school with which we are partnered, Sam and I felt ready for anything. The two of us spent the bulk of our time training a team of grade seven boys. This training was in preparation for a district wide sports tournament which we hosted in our last week in South Africa. This tournament is held annually in commemoration of the Youth Insurrection against the apartheid regime in 1976. This holiday seeks to bring children from all backgrounds, cultures, and races together through the universal language of sport. Even though all of the teams from Rietenbosch which we coached managed to win, all of the kids present that day were filled with joy—and so were we.
I owe so much to this trip for exposing me not only to coaching, but to an entirely new part of the world which I would have never imagined I would go to. South Africa is a beautiful country complete with breathtaking mountains, beautiful beaches, and the most friendly people you could imagine. I’m incredibly grateful for Elliott Dixon, the assistant coach of the Men's 3s who told me about the trip, for Saints Sport for organizing it, and for The Football Club for helping so much both behind the scenes and in the fundraising process. I would recommend Volunteer South Africa to anyone with an interest in travel, coaching, and football because this trip reminded me why I love the sport to begin with and I am sure it would do the same for you.
Every Saturday evening, school pupils of all ages gather at the University Sports Centre Astroturf and take part in sessions organised by the University of St Andrews Football Club. Since its inception in 2011, the Floodlit Football programme has been hugely successful and the number of taking part regularly hits 50. In partnership with Director of Football Stuart Milne, Fife Council’s East Fife Detached Youth Work Team and Active Schools Scheme, Fife Constabulary, Fife Fire and Rescue and the Scottish Football Association, Floodlit Football has received praise from all quarters and culminated in the Club winning University Volunteer Club of the Year two years in a row, in 2013 and 2014.
We have a successful Community 6 a-side football league programme known as the Saints 6s. Saints 6s is open to both students and staff at the University as well as members of the local community. Teams are grouped into leagues of similar ability and battle it out for the title during a 10 week league campaign. Leagues and competitions run at the following times:
- Autumn League - October to December
- Winter Cup - January
- Spring League - February to May
- Champions League - June to August
For more information on Saints 6's please email Gillian Thomson
The Saints Sunday League programme is a series of 11 a-side football leagues designed for students. Approximately 200 students play in the leagues every Sunday during term time. Teams are grouped into leagues of similar ability and compete for promotion/relegation at the end of the season.
For more information on Sunday leagues please email Scott Grant
The University plays an integral part of the St Andrews & East Neuk Community Football Club partnership group that was set up to offer football for everyone in the St Andrews and East Neuk of Fife area back in 2012. The club is made up of St Andrews United JFC, St Andrews Amateurs FC, St Monan Swallows AFC, St Andrews Colts and Madras College all challenged with working together to offer players of all ability a pathway in the game locally.
St Andrews United JFC
St Andrews Colts
Earlier this year I embarked on my coaching journey with the help of Saints Football. Having played for the Women’s Second team since I came to University I knew that the club would do their upmost to help me gain the coaching attributes and qualifications I would need to become successful. I decided to take some time out of playing but still wanted to be actively involved in football and the club itself, I believed the best way to do this was through coaching. I owe a great deal to Claire Scott – the women’s second team coach – who went over the different options of coaching with the University; coaching within the club itself or coaching with the wider community. I opted to go down the route of coaching in the wider community and Claire put me in contact with the right people in order to do this. I am incredibly grateful for the guidance that I received from Claire and the club as it allowed me to begin my coaching journey with the necessary information and resources.
I have since gained two SFA qualifications in Children’s coaching and aim to have my Goalkeeper Level 1 qualification within the next six months. Without the guidance of the Club, I would never have undertaken these courses. I now volunteer with St. Andrews and East Neuk Community Football Club as one of the goalkeeper coaches for the Girls under 11 and 13 age group. I owe the St. Andrews and East Neuk Community Football Club a great deal as they have provided me with the opportunity to actively coach while providing support and encouragement to gain further coaching qualifications. Since volunteering with the community, it has reignited my love for football. Not only has it improved my coaching abilities and my confidence as a coach but there are not many feelings better than seeing your players improve and progress due to the work both coach and player has put in. Working with young players in the community is such a rewarding and worthwhile experience that I am so glad I have thanks to Saints Football and St. Andrews & East Neuk Community Football Club.
Hi, I'm Izzy and I'm a player on the university's first team. I spent this past summer volunteering for 2 months in Zambia through Volunteer Saints and the Wallace Group.
Every morning, I coached youth development football in a community called Kamwala in Lusaka. It was an extremely humbling, yet rewarding experience and I would highly recommend applying for the program if you are interested in developing communities through sport and education.
I grew up overseas, so I have been fortunate enough to have had a wide variety of experiences in vastly diverse cultures. Yet, my time in Zambia continued to surprise me day in and day out.
Although I have been coaching youth football for 5 years, coaching in a community where a field, football boots and even a ball were commodities helped me grow both as a coach as well as a person. It reminded me to never take anything for granted and to cherish the smaller things in life.
Football has been the medium through which I’ve had some of my most meaningful life experiences and South Africa was no different. In the summer of 2017 I traveled with a group of AU students, including USTFC member and coach Elliot Dixon, to Stellenbosch, South Africa and took part in a 6-week long coaching program at a local primary school. We set out with a few main goals. Firstly, we wanted to design a program that could be implemented that would help young student athletes who showed serious dedication to sport by providing them with opportunities to compete and train. However, another equally important goal was to create as many opportunities as possible for the students to enjoy sport regardless of any future aspirations. We were creating as many opportunities as possible for students to have access to sport on a regular basis. This program culminated in two separate sport events in which the students were able to compete and play with students from other schools. Because of the history of segregation in South Africa as a whole but Stellenbosch specifically, it was a powerful experience to watch our students playing and competing against and alongside students from entirely different backgrounds. I was incredibly lucky to have the support of the USTAFC throughout the fundraising and preparing stages of this trip before leaving for South Africa. Not only did the club provide me with an opportunity to obtain a level 1 SFA coaching license but also gave me ample opportunity to develop coaching and leadership capabilities. I plan to continue to employ the skills learned during my time in Stellenbosch as a fourth year in a leadership position within the USTAFC.
If you would like to donate to our Volunteer Abroad programs, follow this link: https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/development/support/other-fundraising-projects/sports/
Or if you would like to support the Club in another way, follow this link: https://sparc.st-andrews.ac.uk/donate-now/sports