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Case Studies

This section lists some of the Case Studies from the clubs community programmes.

A message to all at St Albans City Youth FC from Craig Mackail-Smith

A message to all at St Albans City Youth FC from Craig Mackail-Smith


Craig with the City Youth 2002 County Cup Winners

I played for both the Midweek Youth and Sunday Team for St Albans City Youth from the age of 14-18 and had a fantastic time.
I first played for the St Albans City 1st Team when I was 16 and was involved in some of the matches for 4 years.
It didn’t work out for me with the 1st Team so I joined Ryman Division 1 team Arlesey Town where I played a whole season of men’s football and really enjoyed it for the first time. A fond memory of that year was playing Dagenham and Redbridge in the FA Umbro Trophy drawing 3-3. I set up all 3 goals and went on to score 2 in a 4-2 victory in the replay.
I signed for Dagenham when I was 21 which is when I played football full-time. This was an amazing feeling as this was a dream come true. I had a great 2 ½ years with the Club in which time we gained promotion to the Conference and Football League.
I moved to Peterborough for a fee of £125,000 and had an amazing 4 ½ years scoring 99 goals in 200 appearances and winning 3 promotions, 2 to the Championship and 1 to Division 1. I was lucky enough to get called up to the Scotland National Team being in the squad which played Brazil, one of the best international teams in the world, making my dreams come true!

Craig playing for Scotland

I then signed for Brighton for a fee of just over £3 million. I spent 4 years at the Club but it was my most difficult spell in football as I was side-lined for 15 months after rupturing my Achilles. I did go on to win 6 more caps for Scotland including one against world champions Spain in a European Championship Qualifying game.
When my contract ended at Brighton, I joined Luton Town joining up again with manger John Still. I have enjoyed one season at Luton and am looking forward to the coming one with enthusiasm.

Craig on the field for Luton Town FC

I am now 32, having been blessed with a good career - better than I could have hoped for when I signed my first professional contract at 23 proving that you don't always have to be young to get a chance in the game.
I had a fantastic time in the St Albans City Youth set up and feel it gave me a really good start on my journey in the game.
Luton Town FC, Scotland and St Albans City Youth FC


Football Foundation - Case Study - Young Coaches Programme

Project: St Albans City Youth FC Young Coaches Programme

Grant amount: £35,400

Project summary

The Project set about working with the local schools to train up young coaches. Giving them career skills, life skills and making them more useful people at School and in the Community. The work was based around sport, mainly football, and involved 14 to 18 year olds delivering sport to younger children.

What was the grant spent on?

  • Coaching courses
  • Training events
  • Coaching equipment
  • Mentoring and evaluation
  • Event management

What are the long term benefits of the project on the community?

Local young people running teams, leading training session, running events and becoming role models in their local community.

Young people working together in small and large group making a positive contribution to the community.

Coaches with disabilities were included in the programme allowing them to develop at their own pace and to be treated the same as everyone else on the programme.

Tell us about the positive affect on individuals

Coach Sam Mardle aged 19.

Sam had not done any coaching until he was included on the programme 2 years ago. Since then he has passed his Level 1 and Level 2 courses. He is now working full time in coaching as a Community Coach.

The club arranged for him to take educational trip to Gambia and USA which has helped him to become a top coach and a better person.

He has worked with disability groups, mainstream groups, boys and girls of different ages. He has managed events involved 200+ children.

He has progressed so well on the programme. He is currently considering an offer to work full time in America in 2012.

How has the Foundation's funding made a significant positive difference?

The club has managed to attract additional funding to create a project of over £100,000. It has also led to the creation of new partnerships between local support agencies (YMCA, SSCO'S, Herts Sports Partnership, Leisure Connections to name a few) with the result of greater cohesion in the community. Over 10,000 young children have received additional coaching as a result of the programme and 220 young coaches have been trained and qualified to Level 1 and above.

If you would like to find out more about St Albans City Youth work in the Community visit


Name: Brett Thomson

Position: Director & Senior Coach CUSA Ohio

I wanted to touch base with you about Sam Mardle's visit.

First I know you know Sam but this was our first meeting and I wanted to let you know he made you and your club very proud, he is an absolute gentleman. He is a credit to your Coaching Programme.

Listed below are some things Sam did while he was here both on and off the field.

Attended  the US Soccer D License both weekends (Fri - Sun).
Did training sessions with the following teams from the club

  • U12 boys Top Team
  • U9 girls 3rd team
  • U8 girls (assisted with 4 teams, 1st to 4th teams)
  • U13 girls top team
  • U14 girls top team

Observed a training session I did with my U13 girls top team on zonal defending
Attended our coaches training night with all coaches from the club (about 50 coaches), this lasted about 3 hours. Topics covered gk warm up prior to game, technical session on dribbling & moves, technical juggling club, team management.
Observed our GK Technical Director run sessions for GK of all ages
Attended a lunch with the Club President

Again thank you for allowing Sam to come to America he was an absolute joy to be around.  His level of teaching is tremendous for someone of his age.  He has a unique ability to once the session starts to lose him self in the session and tune everything else out except to teach within the session and game. Thank you again  Brett