An East End football academy has been helping make dreams come true and giving young players life changing opportunities.

Everyone gets the chance to play at the Easterhouse Football Academy in Edinburgh Road, which has 300 kids taking part.

The Fareplay Stepford ground is undergoing a transformation and is expected to end up with facilities to rival some professional clubs when work is finished.

Glasgow Times:

Taylor Murray is one of the star players emerging from the academy, which was only set up as recently as 2020.

His talent saw him being put through his paces at a showcase in Madrid at the Spanish national team’s training ground in July – where he was judged best performing player.

The 19-year-old from Cranhill was the only footballer offered a professional contract – with a team in Georgia after the showcase – and is now weighing up his options after training with the club.

Taylor said: “For me to train with a professional team never mind signing with one is an absolute dream.”

Taylor joined the Easterhouse Academy in 2021 aged 17. He ended up getting the opportunity to play abroad thanks to the support of agent John Viola who is from Easterhouse and wants to encourage local talent.

Commenting on the academy, Taylor said: “Everyone is offered a chance no matter who you are or where you are from.”

Taylor who has played with the West of Scotland first team and was also captain for a period added: “There is a great set up. It is a great opportunity for young players who want to progress.”

The council have granted the lease of Stepford Sports Park to FARE – a social enterprise.

Daniel Cameron, founder of Easterhouse Football Academy, who works for FARE Scotland said more than 300 kids play at the facilities as well as 150 adults.

He said: “Everybody finds their level – kids can just play for fun. Everyone develops at different stages in their lives.”

Daniel said children don’t miss out on a chance to play due to lack of money and the SFA has helped with funding.

A highlight saw the UEFA Championship trophy visit the grounds in 2021, which Daniel described as a great “honour.”

Since he founded it, the academy has gone from strength to strength.

Under 20s volunteer Dennis Docherty said: “This used to be a run-down place. No-one was using it. The academy means everything to the children. We recently gave out football boots and clothing to people who don’t have much.”

North East councillor Maureen Burke, Labour, said: “We are delighted to have the academy here for the community. To have this on your doorstep is fantastic. A lot of my constituents come here. It is a well run academy for the area.”

Under 20s coach Gary Anderson said: “We are trying to give kids a chance. It stops kids getting into trouble. If we do that with one kid it is a success.”

Commenting on the progress of the academy, he said: “It is incredible how quick the turn around has been. It is down to the hard work and vision of Daniel Cameron.”

Gary said the work at the grounds is nearing completion and will see the facilities on offer include two full sized pitches and two five-a-side pitches.