YOUNGSTERS in north east Fife could be mixing with the world’s top footballing names – including David Beckham’s LA Galaxy – if plans for an ambitious £1.5 million soccer centre get the go-ahead.
Austin MacPhee of AMsoccerschools, which runs football coaching classes for children of all ages across the area, plans to build the facility on the outskirts of Cupar.
As well as a full-size outdoor pitch, he envisages an indoor arena with another full-size Astroturf pitch capable of being split into three seven-a-side pitches, as well as changing facilities.
If the project is given the green-light, Mr MacPhee said it would mean Cupar could become a sporting mecca, nurturing the talents of around 500 local children as well as bringing huge economics benefits and football stars to the area.
Mr MacPhee told the Fife Herald that having established his soccer school business four years ago and devising his own progressive training curriculum, he now wants to cement that by providing a facility where all groups could train and play together.
“It would also be a facility which could be used by both amateur and professional clubs across the wider area when bad weather may mean indoor training is the only option, as well as being available for hire to the public,” he said.
“Local schools could also use this centre; it would be a huge asset to Cupar and north east Fife as well as to the rest of Fife.
“The former First Minister Henry McLeish recently said that 12 such centres should be built across Scotland at a cost of £500 million to the public purse.
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“However, we all know that in this climate it’s never going to happen.
“I want to make this a reality for local children; the bank is behind me and so are a number of local businesses and landowners.
“I would have 500 children going through the doors every week, as well as providing the ability for up to eight 11-a-side teams to be playing here.”
Mr MacPhee went on: “If we get the go-ahead for this it will be so exciting; the kids do fine in the facilities they have, but they’re not ideal.
“They could make a lot more progress in the right environment.”
The links Mr MacPhee has forged through the sports tours business also opens up new doors to youngsters who show signs of making it big - and that could become even better if teams such as LA Galaxy could come to Cupar as part of their pre-season programme.
“Youngsters in the soccer school get the chance to meet many of the players we have visiting us,” he said.
“We have 28 overseas clients just now but only two want to visit Scotland because they know facilities are poor.
“This would really change things and it’s not outwith the realms of possibility that it would include Beckham’s team.”
Mr MacPhee and his manager Lindsay Sharp were due to meet with planning officials in Kirkcaldy yesterday (Thursday) to detail their plans.