So we are three seasons into our grassroots journey, and loving every minute.  There are a few things we wish we had known from the start which I wanted to pass on to parents starting their grassroots journey….. 

Always keep a spare bottle of water in the car. You will forget one day; you think you won’t but it happens to the best of us.

Your child will almost certainly be “starving” after training or matches, keep a supply of healthy snacks.

Mud, there will be mud, lots of it. You can protect the car seats quite easily with a cover, but the floor and back of seats is a nightmare. The best we’ve come up with is putting their feet into a carrier bag. I have been tempted to go full on bin liner but the risk to the kids or to me being reported for abuse is too high for the sake of a clean car.

Children cleaning their boots is very much like “I will clean the hamster cage every week”, they start off strong but very soon it will end up on your “to do” list.

Once they start playing matches, you will usually be on the opposite side of the pitch to the team. Having a kit bag is really useful. I pack in mine; extra drink, small half time snack, a tracksuit top for when on the bench, a towel, and sun block (the towel will be used more than the sun block).

Warm base layer is a must for kids. It may be best to get similar colour to their kit so they can wear them in matches too without complaint.

You will get cold. While it’s true that your passion and excitement at matches may stave off the cold, it will not be enough!! I recommend a heated jacket, thermals and foot warmers.

Get your own chairs, flask etc as not all venues have seating and a refreshment van. Thankfully all the venues have had toilets so far……

Always Google Earth away venues. There is nothing more stressful than the panic felt when you cannot find the well-hidden unmarked road you’re looking for while kick off time gets closer and closer.

Shush!! … you would be amazed at what iPhones and cameras pick up. Whilst we may have our views on the ref/coach/pitch etc, best mumble them and save venting for later.

Lastly and maybe a little controversial; whilst it might seem a good idea to reward a goal scored, in my experience rewarding for “man of the match” better promotes the team spirit that makes kids football so wonderful.

Good luck to you all the new footy parents next season, enjoy the ride, it’s a beautiful game, proud footy mum Trudy Sinclair!!