Ballymena United footballer Maurice McDowell has taken up a full-time post as a Primary Schools Coach with the Irish Football Association.
And McDowell has praised Ballymena Borough Council's Community Sport Programme and the Department of Social Development for giving him the financial backing to gain the necessary coaching qualifications. He said: "The Community Sport Programme and DSD funding has been invaluable for educating coaches, like myself, and providing them with quality coaching experience."
Through the Ballymena Community Sport Programme, McDowell gained his IFA Level 1 Football Coaching Award and IFA 'C' Certificate in 2010 before going on to complete his UEFA 'B' Coaching Licence a year later.
The programme was led by Community Sports Development Officer Gary Boyd and delivered by Wesley Gregg, the IFA's Grassroots Development Officer, whose post was also part-funded by the DSD in a joint venture with Ballymena Borough Council and Irish FA.