Tag: coaching

CPD Events for Coaches in England

Below is a full list of CPD events across the England. Click on the event topic to be taken through to the relevant booking page.

FA conference events

Dates Time Topic Location

17 Feb 2018

All day Futsal Conference 2018 St. George’s Park

15 April 2018

All day Goalkeeping Conference 2018 St. George’s Park

CPD webinars for all coaches

Dates Topic Location
12 Feb 2018 Webinar: psychological development – youth phase Online



26 Feb 2018

Webinar: psychological development – professional development Online

12 Mar 2018

Webinar: psychological block – goalkeeping Online

26 Mar 2018

Webinar: modern trends Online

16 Apr 2018

Webinar: goalkeeping Online

28 May 2018

Webinar: systems of play, playing in the half and half positions Online

30 Jul 2018

Webinar: developing observational Online

CPD events for Level 3 & 4 coaches

Dates Topic Location

11 & 12 Feb 2018

FA In and Out of Possession: Developing Midfielders SGS College, Bristol

21 Mar 2018

Paul McGuinness: Intimidation by skill Southampton Solent University

21 & 22 Mar 2018

FA In and Out of Possession: Developing Midfielders Macclesfield RUFC

1 Apr 2018

Craig Hinton: TBC Oxford City FC

8 Apr 2018

Paul McGuinness: Intimidation by skill Rugby Town Juniors FC

15 & 16 Apr 2018

FA In and Out of Possession: Developing Midfielders St Neots Town FC

29 Apr 2018

Craig Hinton: TBC Durham County FA

5 & 6 May 2018

FA In and Out of Possession: Developing Forwards Brooksby Melton College

7 May 2018

Paul McGuinness: Intimidation by skill Cheshire FA

12 & 13 May 2018

FA In and Out of Possession: Developing Forwards Barking FC

20 & 21 May 2018

FA In and Out of Possession: Developing Forwards Brighton & Hove Albion Training Ground

County FAs also host CPD events which you can find out more about by contacting them directly.

Alternatively, if you are looking to access some great coaching insight, guidance, tips and features, why not check out The Boot Room – The FA’s official coaching magazine. This popular resource is published monthly and features articles by coaches from The FA, grassroots football and professional club academies. While it may not contribute directly to your CPD hours, it certainly makes for an interesting, educational and enjoyable read.

Another great resource is The FA Coaching Community powered by Hive – our new coaching social media and community platform. Free to join, it brings thousands of coaches from across the game and the country together to enjoy great coaching content and engage in discussion. Registering takes a matter of minutes and once you’re in you’ll have access to even more coaching insight articles, interviews and top tips. To sign up, visit www.hivelearning.com/thefa.

The FA also have a range of free online CPD courses available.

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Lessons I’ve learnt in my first year as a Grassroots Coach

As a coach I have realised every coach is different and hath both different temperaments and reasons for being involved in football. Some play for the win, striving for the precious 3 points a victory brings. Others do the job for the hope that their team and the individuals in the team will show improvement.

Our team has played against teams whose coaches have said very little during a match. Only the slightest amount of direction, heaping the praise when it is due. Other coaches have screamed, shouted and barked orders at their players. I have sometimes wondered how they expect 9, 10, 11 or 12 year olds to compute all the information that they are bombarded with from the touchline.

It has shocked me sometimes how coaches can expect this at such an early age. I myself have sometimes sat on the fence in the past and have been unsure which method is best. However being involved first hand I have taken to trying to guiding the players without being vocal all of the time.

This has sometimes led to criticism that I should be more hands on, but it is my belief that self-learning is pivotal in a player’s development. It improves problem solving and allows them to be more expressive. This then leads to enjoyment of the game for the players not only on an individual level but as a team. It helps them build there confidence and positive reinforcement is key.

Not only are the players always learning….coaches are too.  Football for me is a constant learning experience. However your coaching ethos can be helped by the coaches not only in your team but in your club. I have been lucky enough to work with some truly special coaches within my club. They have  welcomed me into the club and have helped me in my early days and still do. They have helped me with sessions and have been kind enough to allow me to attend theirs. We have shared best practices which allow us as a club to develop further.

Also upon taking my F.A. level 1 course I was also lucky to work with an F.A. Mentor. He was there for direction, development and to ensure that you were comfortable in giving your sessions. His expertise and wisdom of the game enabled me to engage my team more positively and develop them better.

I believe these figures are essential in the modern grassroots game of football. They help guide you through some of the challenging periods during a coach’s journey and allow you to overcome obstacles to become a better coach.

My 1st year as a coach has been at times challenging, but it is ultimately gratifying. I have loved being back involved with football as it was my favourite sport when I was a kid. I have enjoyed watching my team develop as individuals and a team. But for me as long as I can turn up to training and to a match on a Sunday and know that the lads are enjoying their football with a smile on their face……then I am a happy man and a happy coach!!!!!

Written by guest author Nick Minns

Breaking!!! FA Announce new plans for 2018

A series of new initiatives and investments to impact the whole of English football, please see FA announcement below;

We have today announced a series of new initiatives and investments which will have a significant impact, both on the FA itself, and for all of English football.
The announcements include a range of measures aimed at improving the culture of the organisation and considerable new investment into every level of the game. These include:-
Quality pitches and changing facilities remain our biggest challenge in the grassroots game. This money will allow us to accelerate our efforts to deliver more and better football facilities for the grassroots game. In partnership with Sport England and the Premier League, this increased investment will support a range of new and existing facility programmes to meet the needs across grassroots clubs, County FAs, local authorities and education sites.
One such new initiative includes a mini-pitch programme which will be piloted in 2018, and if successful it will be rolled out across primary schools and grassroots clubs up and down the country.
Such new initiatives will complement existing programmes such as the Parklife community hub scheme which has been successfully rolled out in Sheffield, with further hubs to follow in Liverpool, London and a further 15 other cities and towns in England. The £9m is in addition to the £20m a year already invested by us into football facilities, all delivered through the Football Foundation and will, alongside the investment of our partners, help to ensure that by 2024 over 80 per cent of all football will be played on quality football pitches.
There are 64,000 mini-soccer and youth football teams. The youth game is thriving, witnessing a seven per cent year-on-year increase in team numbers. We want the first experience of football for all those children to be the best it can be. In order that they can enjoy and learn their football in a safe and fun environment, and also improve the standard of football being played, we are investing to ensure every one of those teams has a Level One qualified coach. We will make funds available to clubs to get their volunteers onto the coaching pathway and improve the standards of their mini-soccer and youth offering.
The largest community clubs are the most sustainable and deliver the most development outcomes in terms of the number and diversity of the teams they run. For the first time, we will invest directly in 150 of the biggest clubs to support this vital community development work.

Clubs will be invited to put themselves forward to enter the programme, which will offer a range of support from business capacity building and direct facility investment. Each club hub will be supported to recruit/retain a UEFA B coach to not only work across its own teams but act as a coach mentor across grassroots clubs in its region. The UEFA B Licence is a coaching licence one level below the UEFA A Licence. As of November 2017, there are currently 11,095 UEFA B coaches in England.

We will increase our investment in the women’s game. Over the next six seasons, an additional £50m will be invested into women and girl’s football taking the total investment from the 2018-19 season onwards to £114m.

We believe that no-one in the world is matching this level of investment. It will go into every level of the women’s and girl’s game from school programmes and SSE Wildcats centres, the initiative to encourage girls aged 5-11 to play football, through to investment into the Women’s Super League clubs and development of regional high performance centres to feed the talent pathway to the Lionesses.

The announcement also includes a range of substantial new strategic investments in the game which will be made from the 2018-19 season.

This will total around £180m per year going directly back into football, which is up from £123m in the previous year, representing a 46 per cent increase.

We are a not-for-profit organisation that is now able to make this new investment due to increased revenue from the sale of the Emirates FA Cup and England broadcast deals, a new long-term partnership with Nike and the consequence of the corporate re-structure in 2015 which has enabled The FA to operate more efficiently.

The FA;

The new investments include:-

• More than double the Emirates FA Cup prize fund from the 2018-19 season. This will benefit all participating clubs at every stage of the competition.

• Pay off the Wembley National Stadium debt. This will be done by the end of 2024, ensuring we can remove the burden of debt repayment from then on. At present repayment rates, this means £2-3m saved every year after 2024 and invested back into the game.

• Significantly increasing our investment into grassroots facilities by £9m per year. This money will support a range of new and existing facility programmes to meet the needs across grassroots clubs, County FAs, local authorities and education sites, including a new mini-pitch programme in primary schools and grassroots clubs up and down the country.

• Increasing our investment in grassroots participation activities by nearly £6m per year.

• Investing directly into the 20,000 grassroots affiliated clubs to ensure that each of the 64,000 mini-soccer and youth teams has a minimum of a Level One coach, to provide our youngest players with the quality coaching they deserve.

• The establishment of a new Community Club Hub network. Over 150 large-scale clubs across England will receive direct investment and resource support to deliver development outcomes. Each Hub will also have a subsidised UEFA B Coach mentor to work across their club and wider community.

• A new volunteer strategy to invest directly in succession planning and training across the leagues and clubs network. This will include a reward and recognition element.

• Establishment of a recreational growth fund to support recreational football including small sided, Futsal and walking football.

• Sustain and enhance the disability growth fund to support growth in disability football.

• Increasing our investment in the women and girl’s game by an additional £50m over six years to ensure the sustainability of successful initiatives such as the SSE Wildcats programme, which will see 3,200 new Wildcats centres by 2020, and also ensuring the Women’s Super League gets the support it requires as it grows. This is all part of our commitment to double participation in women’s football and to ensure consistent success on the world stage.

Martin Glenn, FA chief executive officer, said: “The initiatives and investments announced today will make a significant impact to the way football is run in this country.

“They illustrate both how committed The FA is to becoming a more inclusive and diverse organisation, and how much it contributes to English football.

“The FA will now invest over £180m a year back into the game, more than we have ever done before, which will have a positive and meaningful impact at every level of football in England.”


“When are we having a game?” – I’d be willing to bet that this is the question that coaches up and down the country probably get asked most often.

Why is this? Don’t these kids realise how much time and effort we’ve put into researching and planning this nice, neat and tidy drill? Those six words are enough to sink the spirit of the most well-intentioned.

What is a game?


1. A form of competitive activity or sport played according to rules.

2. An activity that one engages in for amusement.

A game in a coaching context isn’t necessarily ‘the game’ – the version they experience on a weekend. Although, it may well be. A game, simply, may be a practice that has rules, some form of scoring system and/or competition.

Why use games?

Unlike repetitive drills, the decisions that the players make in games are not pre-determined by the practice or the coach and the outcomes are uncertain. A bit like a match.

Games provide excitement through their realism and they engage. They can be manipulated to challenge the players appropriately.

A game in a coaching context isn’t necessarily ‘the game’ – the version they experience on the weekend.

These ingredients of freedom offer a glimpse as to why games are so enjoyable.

‘I’m going to stop learning this because it’s too much fun,’ said no-one, ever! Games give the players the opportunity to develop their craft for the match.

A few years ago, as a frustrated high handicap golfer, I figured out the main reason (among many!) that was stopping my aspiring path to single figures – my short game.

The constant, repetitive drills I was practising ripped straight off YouTube we’re bringing short term success on the practice range but my handicap remained closer to my age than I wanted. I couldn’t repeat it when it mattered.

A friend then recommended some simple chipping games. They provided me with variety, fun, challenge and engagement. I found myself regularly in states of flow in practice where hours went by without me noticing. I was competing. Against myself. Trying to beat the game.

If us adults weren’t around, games are what the players would play. Ever remember queuing up ten deep or standing in nice neat lines during break time at school? Nor me. Remember Wembley Doubles, Heads and Volleys, Three-and-in and everything else we played on the street? Me too. There was a reason for this. We were, perhaps unintentionally, developing our craft.

So what are we to do?

It’s training night and the parents and players have arrived. The latter giddy with excitement. The former interested to see what practices we have prepared to teach to their sons and daughters.

We need to reassure the parents that developing players learn best through games. That such practices will often look chaotic and messy instead of being tidy and regimented. A bit like a match.

Keep it simple. One of the reasons why our beautiful game is the world’s most popular sport is due to its simplicity. Two teams, two goals, one ball.

The same can be said for the practices that we design for our players to learn from. If in doubt, think ‘how might I add simple rules, scoring and competition?’ Or even ask the players what they would do. They may surprise us.

Maybe where we’ve gone wrong in the past is because we’ve used ‘the game’ as a carrot – ‘If you’re good and do these drills then we’ll have a game at the end.’

Or ‘It’s your game time at the end you’re wasting.’ This carrot is one that is often dangled until the end of the session. Until we feel as though we’ve got what we want from the session.

Games can take place whenever possible – not just at the end of a session as a carrot for good behaviour

I’ve often had coaches ask me why their players’ behaviour is erratic until they have a game. The irony is that the thing we are trying to help the players get better at (‘the game’) is the thing that we often try to use to control their behaviour. The thing that we don’t feel that they’ve earned until they’ve ‘mastered the basics’.

Why is this practice so common? It’s similar to telling children that ‘if you’re good and eat all your vegetables then you’ll get a desert.’ (Is it any wonder that vegetables – and indeed repetitive drills – have such a bad name among so many kids?).

What this tradition of coaching practice also does is wait until the players are more fatigued – at the end of the session – until they start practicing the things that they are more likely to be repeating at the weekend.

‘We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training.’ – Archilochus, Greek Soldier, 650 BC

So when are we having a game?

Whenever possible.

I set myself a challenge some years back now to eradicate this question from my coaching. The players I’m lucky enough to work with currently trust that our practices will be all about games.

I’ve noticed that players who are trained on a diet of games arrive at training much more relaxed as they know that their session is not about to be dominated by the coach and they will have the chance to apply and expend their stored creative energy.

About The Author

Name: Jack Walton

Title: regional coach development manager

Follow: @jackwalton1


This article looks at using a more games-based approach for players aged 5-11 in the Foundation Phase and the potential benefits of this way of working.

For many young children, playing in games of football is the driving force behind their early engagement with the sport and their motivation, enthusiasm and focus remain high when taking part in these games. To clarify, games can be small-number games in training (such as 1v1, 2v2, 3v3) as well as any suitable competitive small-sided game format as part of a league, festival or tournament.

The Foundation Phase 'experience'

Small sided games are valuable for the development of foundation phase players

The players need this exposure to help their development. The part that we play as adults and coaches is to help manage the ups and downs, the successes and disappointments and the development opportunities that these encounters will provide. We must create an environment that is safe and supportive whilst being competitive and player centred. If we can provide this then there is an increased chance of players staying with the sport and as such giving us, the coaches, a chance to develop them even further

The Approach

If you have the opportunity to take your team indoors to play Futsal in the coming months you will have the perfect opportunity to help players begin to understand the game. Try to place your players in a wide range of different situations. Help them to recognise the situation they are in and then work together to arrive at the most effective solution or outcome. This will take time as these solutions will have to be tried and tested over a long period of time and through a large number of similar repetitions.

For example, in a game of Futsal the player will be challenged to process: where they are on court, how much space they have to play in, how much support (if any) is around, where the pressure might be coming from and how many defenders might be present (this is not exhaustive but gives an idea of all the visual and perceptual processing that might be going on).

The Foundation Phase 'experience'

Futsal is the perfect activity for the winter months

When the game is going on this will happen in a very short space of time and will require a huge amount of practice to refine the processing of so much information. That is why this approach is a long term one involving lots of repetition of similar but not identical situations and through a coaching methodology that helps and supports the player to make sense of all the information coming in. The role of the coach will be to help the player understand their own capabilities and to support them as they experiment and explore how these capabilities can provide effective solutions to the many situations they will encounter in the game. This approach will also help the player and the coach identify areas that need to be developed in order to be more effective in what they do.

Pete Sturgess is FA Technical Lead for players aged 5-11.

About Pete

Name: Pete Sturgess
Role: FA Technical Lead for players aged 5-11
Follow: @Sturge_p


Creative ways to use the popular football video game to connect with young players.

This Christmas many of the players we coach will enjoy playing the newly released FIFA  video game.

Parents will battle with their children, bargaining and arguing about how long they can play for, and at what time of day.

Although some may be sceptical about too many hours in front of a screen, the careful design of video games also provides high potential for learning.

Playing video games tends to be so enjoyable that people view video games as a form of entertainment rather than education – but there are many hidden benefits.

Video games have the ability to place people into the state of ‘Flow’ – a psychological state that boosts learning and performance.

This ‘Flow Zone’ is characterised as a state in which someone is completely immersed in the activity, and thoroughly enjoying the process of the activity (intrinsically motivated).

As a concept, it was first shared by Hungarian psychologist, Mihály Csikszentmihályi, in the 1970’s, who found that the feeling of flow is dependent on three conditions:

  • The activity has a clear set of goals
  • Clear and immediate feedback provided
  • Person must have confidence in their own ability to meet goals of the activity

These conditions are common of video game design. And as grassroots football coaches, there is an opportunity here for us to harness our players’ engagement with FIFA to help them to learn more about the game of football.

Digital Coaches

To do that, the following may be helpful when attempting to link learning from FIFA  to your team’s training sessions or matches:

  • Set tactical challenges – use learning focus of the training session to devise specific challenges for players to focus on when playing FIFA.

For example, if the learning focus of training is ‘positive and enthusiastic defending’, the FIFA  challenge could be to ‘try and prevent Messi from dribbling’.

To support the player during their FIFA  challenge, request that players jot down their progress in the challenge as it happens. An advantage of football video games, compared to physical football is that players have a PAUSE button – they can use this to their advantage in order to spend time explicitly reflecting on their learning.

  • Multi-player (with team mates) – organise your team into two smaller sub teams, so they work collaboratively to outwit their opponent in a FIFA  game.

Ask each sub team to develop an ‘in possession’ and ‘out of possession’ strategy, which they can present at training, prior to their FIFA  game.

At the next training session, each sub team can then present how their strategy developed or changed during game play, and why.

  • Select a particular FIFA character – for the next training session, challenge players to extend their commitment to the character, on to the pitch.

A player might choose to be John Stones on FIFA, so at training encourage the player to play like John Stones. This will encourage them to reflect on and explore Stones’ technical, tactical, psychological, social and physical attributes.

  • Arrival activity – reenact memorable moments from previous week’s experiences of playing FIFA.

Set up a space on the pitch for players to share their experiences of playing FIFA.

This might involve some players working in small groups or pairs to demonstrate specific plays, some players working individually to practice particular skills, or some players simply talking to one another about new problems or solutions from FIFA .

Amy Price is Lecturer in Physical and Sport Education at St Mary’s University in London. Amy holds the UEFA A Licence and is an FA Coach Mentor and Level 1 and 2 Tutor.

Kids “released” age 9 in Grassroots, really!!!

Right where do I start?

For over a decade I have been involved in the local football league. During this period I have spent time as a coach, mentor, referee, physio, kit man, refreshments stall worker etc. For the past two years I’ve been spending my Sundays as a League Rep at local youth games.

Recently I came across a team I briefly coached a couple of years ago. Lads of 9 years age now but I noticed a couple of the lads I remembered were missing. I asked some of the parents where these lads were. I assumed they had been lured away by the modern life of computer games and had lost interest in football. A parent rather sheepishly told me that they had been ‘released’ as they weren’t of the standard of the others. I asked them if they thought that was fair to them. The parent agreed it was slightly underhand but understood the coach’s views.

My response was “the team has a coach”? The parent was taken aback and I carried on by telling him that if he was any kind of coach then dropping kids and replacing them with better ability kids isn’t coaching. A coach can bring out ability. I’m not saying a Pele can be created from nothing but given good coaching a kid can be taught to play the game well. These kids who were cast aside were good kids with equally good parents and it makes me genuinely sad to think these kids have been removed from a team with their mates due to the fact that their coach lacks the skills to develop them. I left the parents with a warning that a coach with such a big ego will always be looking for better players and to watch their backs because if their kids fail to perform their coach won’t have any hesitation in replacing them too.

This sadly happens all too often and these coaches should hang their heads in shame. They bandy words like ‘development’ and ‘respect’ around……………..rubbish, talk is cheap and their actions speak far louder than their hypocritical rhetoric. Hats off to the genuine coaches out there developing kids with skills and attributes that will enhance their lives rather than the ‘poach not coach’ types so desperate to win games to massage their egos. I’m afraid the youth football at grassroots level is in a dire situation in this country. A huge shake up is needed and despite the FA guidleines and good practice ethics these egomaniac coaches exist in huge numbers up and down the country.

Yours in Sport



The FA Coach Mentor Programme is a major investment in the grassroots game and offers on-the-ground support to FA Charter Standard Clubs and coaches.

The FA sees the development of coaches as central to the development of the game, and working collaboratively accelerates learning and supports coaches’ development.

Mentoring support at a club could include:

  • Developing a whole club philosophy
  • Group coaching demonstrations
  • 1:1 coaching, match-day observation and support
  • Signposting to relevant courses and events
  • Needs analysis for individual coaches
  • Modelling of coaching sessions for individual coaches
  • Individual feedback
  • An individual learning programme

In 2015/16 the FA Coach Mentor Programme supported 9,383 coaches and 615 clubs.

Receive support from the Coach Mentor programme…

If you are part of an FA Charter Standard Club and would like receive some support from one of our FA Coach Mentors please contact your Football Development Officer at your local County FA and the Regional Coach Mentor Officer in your region (details below). When making initial contact please include your name, club name, number of teams and County FA affiliated to.

The Coaches Library HERE

The FA Coach Mentor Programme is also committed to providing 5000 hours per season specifically to work with BAME, female and disabled coaches across the country.

If you are a BAME coach and would like some support from one of our Coach Mentors, please contact Steve Smithies with your name, club name, age group and the County FA that you are affiliated to – steve.smithies@thefa.com.

If you are a female coach and would like some support from one of our Coach Mentors, please contact Samantha Griffiths with your name, club name, age group and the County FA that you are affiliated to – samantha.griffiths@thefa.com.

If you are a coach with a disability and would like some support from one of our Coach Mentors, please contact Kevin England with your name, club name, age group and the County FA that you are affiliated to – kevin.england@thefa.com.

Become an FA Coach Mentor…

If you are interested in becoming an FA Coach Mentor please check your local County FA website for vacancies. If no vacancies are available contact the Regional Coach Mentor Officer in your region (details below) who can provide an update of the programme in and around your area.

Pre-requisites to become an FA Coach Mentor are:

  • Minimum FA Level 2 in Coaching Football
  • Member of the FA Licensed Coaches Club
  • Valid FA CRB

Your Regional Mentor Officers…

North West – Steve Smithies – steve.smithies@thefa.com
North East – Graeme Carrick – graeme.carrick@thefa.com
East Midlands – Samantha Griffiths – samantha.griffiths@thefa.com
West Midlands – Andy Somers – andy.somers@thefa.com
East – Darren Moss – darren.moss@thefa.com
South East – Kevin England – kevin.england@thefa.com
London/ Armed Forces/ Jersey/ Guernsey – Kevin Green – kevin.green@thefa.com
South West – Ciara Allan – ciara.allan@thefa.com

‘Why do I only come on if we’re winning by loads or losing by loads?’

So why did I want to be a football coach and what did I think I would get out of it? The answer is not as simple as you might think. Actually it’s a bloody tough one to consider but I’ll try and be as honest as I can. When a parent looks over and notices that their child is a substitute it’s not a nice feeling. No parent ever hopes that their child will not be in the starting line-up. Internally you rationalise that it will be one of life’s lessons, or you might tell yourself that it is in the interest of fairness, and everyone must accept that they can’t play every game. It’s a fair selection process, nothing more and next week it will be someone else’s turn to sit it out.

But if you see this happen week after week it starts to become an emotional burden and difficult to bear witness to. After all, you live with this budding Lionel Messi; you’re the one who notices where he’s put his favourite teams’ calendar pride of place just where he can see it before he goes to sleep at night in his bedroom. The excited young wide eyed boy that asks you if you think they’ll play today as he busily struggles to get his socks over his shin pads. When my own son was 8 I asked him what he wanted to do when he left school. He told me he’d be a bus driver through the week and play for Manchester City at weekend. Innocence is a beautiful thing in children; everything is so black and white. Life is simple and anything is possible. How utterly disheartening then when you see that it is your child, yet again that is keeping his squad jacket on, that is freezing on the touchline patiently waiting for his coach to tell him to get warmed up.

It’s even worse if your son like mine, is the sort who will just stand there until he’s told to warm up. He would never dream of asking his manager when he’s going on. The car journey on the way home becomes abject misery. At first you can tell them that they’ll get their chance eventually. Then you tell them if they work hard, and keep trying, their chance will come. Then if you’re stupid like me, you’ll tell them it’s because they are not working hard enough. Our journey from hell was after a game for under 11’s in December 2013. It was a miserable wet and cold slate grey Manchester morning. The team were at home entertaining a local rival. I looked over as the lads warmed up with Coach hoping that my son might finally get to start a game.

He wasn’t their best player but he wasn’t their worst either. Not that that should matter. The parents were huddled closer than might be considered comfortable due the biting wind that was driving the Manchester rain into our faces. We were cold but at least we were dressed for it. The lads on the pitch were ringing wet through even in their training coats, and by now as muddy as they would have been if they’d have just played a full game. The referee, who looked about 90, and had the whitest skin I’ve ever seen, seemed not to notice the weather at all and offered a casual ‘morning’ to the Captain and the clad ensemble of parents that were eager for the game to get going. ‘Ref any chance of 5 minutes each way in this?’ one of the parents shouted, but the ref didn’t respond he was busy getting his linesman flags out of his bag. It is at this point as a parent that you have got to have your wits about you.

If you’re caught off guard and not paying full attention, you will eventually look up to see a referees flag practically shoved up your nose, and a ‘appreciate that, thanks’ message from the ref who has spun so quickly on his haunches, you can’t even recall the moment you accepted the flag into your hand. So that’s what Derren Brown does with his Saturday mornings….. Any attempt to pass the flag on yourself is rendered futile because, at that moment as you look at all the other dads, you realise that you are actually alone, and every other man and his dog has retreated to a safe distance of roughly fifteen feet away. ‘You X%$?X’ I turn to my wife and say pathetically, ‘I’ve got to do the flag again’ ‘mmm, you’ve made more appearances with that flag than our son has played all season’. I look at her apologetically, ‘get someone else to do it for a change’ she instructs. The dads looked at me apologetically, but not apologetically enough to actually take the flag. Derren Brown’s whistle signals kick off, I hastily get into position as linesman and look around the pitch for my son. He isn’t there, I look over at Coach and, oh yes there he is, the one shivering behind the other three subs. The game was 1-1 at half time which I knew meant that he wouldn’t be coming on any time soon.

Most of the parents including my wife had retreated to the safety of some trees to shelter from the downpour. I however had official flag business to attend to. I stood miserable and cold on one side of the pitch while my son was no doubt doing the same on the other. The second half saw us score another goal with just 10 minutes left. Great for the team but not so great for the subs. Coach did his best to get the lads on before the final whistle which saw my sons stats as “played 60 seconds, touches 0” As I walked towards the ref to give him his flag I heard him say to my boy ‘well played there young un’. I didn’t speak to coach after the game and we didn’t wait for his team talk.

The three of us just trudged to the car wet through and freezing cold. In the car he started pushing all the right buttons, ‘Why am I sub every week? ‘Why do I only come on if we are winning by loads or losing by loads?’

Why why why….

He was right of course, why indeed?

But I was as fed up about it as he was. I didn’t want see other people’s kids playing football every week. And so I snapped, at my ten year old son, who just wanted to be in a team, play football and drive buses.


Mini Soccer Summer Festival Under 7s

Tournament Name: Mini Soccer Summer Festival Under 7s
Tournament Date: 26/08/2017
Tournament Organiser: Micky Tully
Tournament Web Address: www.goalsfootbal.co.uk
Team Age Groups: Under 7’s
Entry Fee per team: £15.00
Tournament Email Address: newcastle@goalsfootball.co.uk
Address 1: Goals Newcastle
Address 2: High Gosforth Park
Town: Newcastle Upon Tyne
Post Code: NE3 5HP
Tournament Image: Mini Soccer u7s_quq9mx.jpg
Tournament Information: Summer Festival will run from 10am-2pm, Food & Hot Drinks Available through the event, Free parking at our club. Every child will get a medal for day part in the Festival.

RIP – Shropshire Coach dies of suspected heart attack at football session

It is with great sadness that teacher and Allscot U14 manager Craig Colley, who was head of the English department at Lakelands Academy in Ellesmere, died whilst at the regular evening training session of Shrewsbury Juniors Football Club last wednesday.

Official club statement;

It is with sadness and deep regret that we have to release a status on coach Craig Colley, who sadly passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday evening.

Craig was fairly new to the Allscott setup, joining this summer to form the new U14 side and his impression was felt amongst us all.

His passion, desire and love for the game, his players and parents was something to behold.

Our first team will hold a moments reflection before their game this weekend in honour of Craig.

Our thoughts are with his wife Michelle, daughter Rhian, son Finn and all of his family at this sad time. #WeAreAllscott

Image credit Shropshire Star

Roach Dynamos Jfc

Tournament Name: Roach Dynamos Jfc
Tournament Date: 05/08/2017
Tournament Organiser: Melanie Greenhalgh
Tournament Web Address: www.roachdynamos.com
Team Age Groups: Under 7’s, Under 8’s, Under 9’s, Under 10’s, Under 11’s
Entry Fee per team: 45.00
Tournament Email Address: melaniegreenhalgh@yahoo.com
Address 1: Roach Dynamos Jfc
Address 2: Sutherland Road, Darnhill
Town: Heywood
Post Code: OL10 3PL
Tournament Image: CAD27768-F5E4-4523-BD3D-634CE0D91AD0_1r9e89.jpg
Tournament Information: Parking Available £2