Spartans Connections is the para football section of The Spartans Football Club and is delivered in close partnership with the Spartans Community Football Academy. We welcome players who have a wide range of disabilities including physical and learning disabilities and mental health challenges.
Spartans Connections celebrates its most successful season ever!
Season 2016/17 has been brilliant at Spartans Connections. We won the Scottish Football Association Pan-Disability Premier League and also finished runners-up in the Championship League. Our Lions team, who won their league last season and got promoted, finished up in a credible 5th place in their new higher league. Our tournament success has also been tremendous. We finished as winners and runners-up in the Richardson Trust Tournament and also won both the Street Soccer tournaments we entered.
Last season we organised our first ever tournament, the Jim Martin Cup. Jim Martin was a founder member of The Spartans Community Football Academy. He was committed to creating a facility that that was more than just football are we are proud to honour him through our tournament. This season we wanted to make the competition bigger and better and Dean, who is captain of our Premier team and works for Central Taxis was able to help is secure generous sponsorship so that we could organise and run the event. We also introduced the Central Taxi’s Trophy so there were two trophies up for grabs. On the day we had teams from Spartans Connections, Pilrig Park School, Edinburgh College and Claremont Colts. The teams competed in two leagues with the winners, Claremont Colts and Spartans Connections, meeting in a final that went to a penalty shoot-out. Spartans Connections were victorious and took home the Central Taxi’s trophy. The Jim Martin Cup is unique in that we mix players from each of the squads that enter so that people make new friends and teammates. Jim’s family were there to watch and once again his mum presented the Cup to the winners who were captained by Pilrig Park and Connections Cougars.
Off the field we continue to make more local connections. Pilton Community Health Project ran a healthy cooking course for a number of our players which was enjoyed by all. We worked with Edinburgh College’s Entry2Sports course and their students organised a competition match for us. We are now looking to do this as an annual event. Matthew Moir, one of the Entry2Sport students joined us to help us coach at our Pilrig Park school sessions. He was committed, enthusiastic and keen to learn and we are delighted that he is now volunteering with Spartans Connections as our Connections Tournament Officer. We’ve also hosted Edinburgh College sports science students on placements and we are looking forward to welcoming more students in the future.
Our links with Pilrig Park special School has seen us develop a pathway from school football into senior football with the Connections squad. This year three of the school’s players joined our league teams and we are planning to develop our school links further. We will also continue to deliver football at Rowanfields Primary School and partner with FABB (Facilitating Access Breaking Barriers) helping them out with summer activities with young disabled people and we are in the process of setting up a youth club at the Academy this summer.
Spartans Connections continues to grow. We now have over 60 players of all abilities from school age to over 50’s. Some players join us for fitness and fun and others enjoy entering into the competitive teams. This season we welcomed four new female players which is great and we are keen to see more women join us. The Walking Football Club that runs every Monday is also well supported by Connections players who have become regulars!
Next Season’s training starts in August and the league campaign kicks off in September. We are currently the top SFA Pan-Disability club in Scotland and will be working hard to maintain this position next year as well as growing and strengthening Spartans Connections. If you would like to join us or find out more please contact Gary Betts at: firstname.lastname@example.org or at the office on 0131-552-7854.