BUILD it and they will come. The old sporting saw of Fields of Dreams has found a cutting edge. The traditional game of fives has acquired a technological supporter.

It has all come from the brains, and the feet, of a 43-year-old Scot who has created an app for those who want to play but don’t know where there is a game.

Find A Player is an app that seeks “to take the pain out of” organising and finding players for sports. It’s a sort of Facebook for sporty people. It shows where games of football, tennis or whatever are available in a given area and makes it easy for users to arrange a night at the fives or on court when they are either at a loose end at home or are travelling.

It was created by Jim Law, a native of Strathaven, who went south to pursue a career in banking and finance but is now working with his father on a couple of businesses.

Find A Player, though, is his brainchild and he has devoted much of his time and much of his resources, both financial and personal, to it. It was born of personal experience.

When Law returned from England, he set up home in Glasgow and became aware of a common cause with fellow five-a-side players. “You see the same problem every night on Facebook, Twitter, with guys desperate for a game. I thought this is mad; there are always games, there is always guys looking for people to play in these games. Let’s match them up.”



Who is your inspiration? - I love hearing about anybody that’s out there having a crack at doing something they love, regardless of what it is. Going out on your own is a tough gig so I love hearing people that have gone for it and been successful.

Your five-a side team? - I’m going to be giving away my allegiance here but Brian Laudrup), David Silva, Steven Gerrard, Yaya Toure and Andy Goram. My hamstring is a bit tight so I’ll go on the bench with Ally McCoist and he can just make me laugh and shout abuse at Andy Goram.

Favourite book? - A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz.

Favourite music? - I’m big into my Scottish bands. Frightened Rabbit, Meursault, PAWS, Fatherson, Mogwai, We Were Promised Jetpacks. I was absolutely gutted when we lost Scott Hutchison from Frightened Rabbit – an absolute genius and a huge loss to Scotland.

Favourite place? - Probably Ulu Watu in Bali, a surf spot that is just incredibly relaxing


The range of sports has widened to include basketball, tennis, volleyball, netball, hockey, cricket, golf, lacrosse and bowls. The app even allows the user to find a running companion on the night or regularly.

“The reality was we had games organisers looking for players and players looking for games so it was just a question of how to introduce them to each other. In my naivety, I thought: ‘Let’s build an app.’ The benefits were clear. Research shows 85% hate doing the admin of organising games. So the app deals with making payment quick and easy.

“Research also showed that 90% of players are happy to play sport with people they don’t know. That’s key. That’s what makes the app not only useful but attractive. I am happy walking up to a game with people I don’t know but I didn’t know if that applied to others. But it does.’’

Law, who took two years out of his life to travel extensively, is aware, too, of the appeal of the app to those who spend a lot of their lives on the road.

“People are becoming more transient,” he says. “If you go somewhere for a week for work, how do find a game? The answer is simple with Find A Player. Just put in the postcode, if you know it, or just put in, say, Manchester, and it will show the games available, times, venue etc. Tap on one that seems suitable and it will show the person managing it and you message him or her. That’s it.”

More than 30,000 people now use it with numbers growing daily. Law has had to work constantly to meet the demands of a public that insists on an app being user friendly immediately.

“The bar is set at Facebook, Uber, Just Eat … and if you don’t match that then it’s a case of the user saying: ‘See you later.’ But we have been developing it for 18 months and it is getting great reviews. It is now a matter of getting it out there so the public knows about it. Obviously, the more it grows, the more it becomes not only commercially successful but useful to players and organisers,” he says.

He adds: “There are places that would form a natural progression – the States, New Zealand, Australia, India. China. In India there are 300 million people in the middle class who may want to gravitate to football. This is why we have spent the time, money and energy to get it so we can roll it out to new markets.”

He points out that his invention has its social benefits. “There are parks lying empty that could be hosting games,” he says.

“It is a natural way to make friends. You can’t walk up to somebody and say: ‘Hey I am looking for friends. Can I come to the pub with you?’ But if somebody is looking for a player, you are doing them a favour and it’s more natural. Everyone is winning out of it.”

He is also looking to work with national bodies, many of them concerned with reduced participation rates.

However, the greatest joy of the app is that it has given him a personal satisfaction. He plays fives regularly and particularly enjoys turning up for matches that have been organised through the app.

“It sometimes comes up in conversation after a game and people are amazed that they are playing with the guy who came up with the idea,” he says,

“Listen, I have huge faith in this but I know I might need others to take it to the next level,” he says. “But I always want to be part of it. I understand the market, I understand what it is about. I view it as one of the children. I want the best for it.”

Law admits he became disillusioned with the world of finance because “people were always telling you that you cannot change things because that is the way they have always been done”.

He adds: “I reacted against that. I have always been interested in how to do things better.”

The process of creating an app has been illuminating. “The amount of learning has been unbelievable,” he says. “You never know how much you don’t know until you start something like this.”

So is he ready for that lung-bursting effort as Find A Player grows? Is he set for that draining period of extra time to establish a business?

“Absolutely,” he says. ”I am in it for the long haul.”