Thursday 28 june
When my sons decided that they wanted to join a football team a few years back I signed them up to their local team.
Over the last 3 or so years I have often been shocked with how kids, some as young as 6 or 7 years old, are treated.
For every good coach there is one who seems to be nothing better than a bully.
For evert decent set of parents there seems to be a group who scream and shout at their own kids, as well as everyone else’s.
It seems to me that football is at times the last place that kids are allowed to be treated badly.
It was no surprise that statistics told me that more young people disengage with the sport they love than stick with it.
It should not surprise anyone that young people dont want to be screamed at for making mistakes or forced to play on pitches that are poorly maintained, in all weathers.
Of course for each horror story there are examples of teams that have well maintained facilities and forward thinking coaches who care more for their kids than they do for
results, which is as it should be.
I have seen brilliant coaches motivate kids and inspire even the hard to reach and it is those coaches we need to learn from.
Since my first involvement I have slowly but surely become more engaged in the whole youth football debate, even meeting with the people tasked by the F.A. to promote the new,
modern methodologies and values that will bring youth football into the 21st century.
I fully and wholeheartedly support what the FA are doing in England with youth football, it needs to be embraced.
But I am now at a point where I feel I need to do more.
So I have decided that in the next few months I will invest some of my own money into a team or club that promotes and supports what the FA voted for http://www.thefa.com/my-football/player/youth-football/youth-development-review
The investment will be simple, up to £5,000 a year for 5 years to support a club in the development of young people who want to play football.
I am looking for a club that promotes diversity, inclusivity, enjoyment and puts the kids at the centre of everything.
I need to make it clear however that I don’t care too much about trophies.
The mark of a well run and properly focussed youth football team is the retention of young people.
If you run a team or club that wins things but doesn’t have enough kids left at age 13 to form one team you are not going to get my financial support.
If you run a team that never turns away a kid and has a policy of inclusion that means boys and girls or all abilities (and disabilities) are welcome then I would love to hear
As well as money will come help for coaches and club staff to develop their own skills through training and visits from other coaches to share good practice.
So if you run a team/club or know someone who would like to know more about what I am offering get them to email me email@example.com