Yarrow Park will be the home of the Borders’ first ever fully professional football club in the next few years if current manager Steve Forrest and his team have anything to do with it.
Despite the senior outfit finishing bottom in their first season of Scottish Lowland League football and being knocked back when trying to enter a second team into the East of Scotland League, the Selkirk boss is determined to plough on regardless, and this week he and the club have announced ambitious plans to build a new squad of full-time players.
“We have been working on this plan since Christmas and are now ready to put it into practice,” said Forrest.
“In terms of facilities and club management, we are the best in the Borders and now is the time to give the playing side a complete overhaul.”
Forrest and assistant manager Paul Doig are to be joined by another two members on the coaching team who will oversee selection and tutoring of the new young squad.
Funding agreements with the Scottish Government were reached last week for the new Modern Apprentice posts and the club hopes to get sponsors on board to enable them to field a squad of around 20 players on full-time contracts in the East of Scotland Under-20s league with a view to moving up to the senior squad in the future.
“It’s a similar idea to the old YTS scheme, which is the same avenue that both Paul and I took,” explained Forrest.
“We are looking to build a young infrastructure as quick as we can and create as many opportunities as we can.”
As well as undertaking the same training regimes as professionals, the players will also do an SVQ in sports management, be put through their SFA coaching and first aid certificates, as well as learn about finance, cooking and nutrition and carry out general chores at the club.
“We are also looking for additional funding, so I would urge anyone looking to invest in an forward-thinking, ambitious football club to please let us know,” added Forrest.
At the moment, funding is only available to provide contracts for people with birth dates between 1994 and 1998, but the club are working to include older players in the future.
Doig added: “This season is going to be big for us. We have seven very talented players from France joining our first team, and they will also be used in community projects around the local schools and teams. These are exciting times for Selkirk Football Club and everyone involved is putting 100 per cent effort into making it work.”
Open trials for players between the ages of 16 to 20 years old will be held on Saturday, June 21, when players can win the chance to become a professional footballer for a year, with the possibility of extending their contract thereafter.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.