FA launches Your Kids Your Say roadshow

The English FA is calling on the grassroots football community to attend a series of roadshow events on the future of youth football… and that means you!

When we outlined the FA’s proposals for youth football back in February, a fantastic debate on the plans ensued here at Club Website and the FA was listening.

Nick Levett is the man responsible for drafting the proposals and, having talked Club Website through the plans before we outlined them to you, the FA’s National Development Manager for Youth & Mini Soccer has been keeping a keen eye on the repsonse.

“We would like to thank our friends at Club Website for providing an avenue for a debate on some of the very important youth football matters that are hot topics at the moment,” said Levett.

“I have been closely following the comments posted regularly to ensure the FA listen to all of the views, and are delighted to see the majority of these are in favour of developments to children’s football.

“It’s the start of an exciting period in youth football and the biggest progression since Mini Soccer was introduced in 1999.

“We will be embarking on a nationwide tour of regions to widen our consultation and look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at each of the events.”

The Your Kids Your Say roadshow will visit 16 towns and cities from eight regions across the country between May and September – full details below – and will be hosted by Levett and Les Howie, the FA’s Head of Grassroots Coaching.

Each event will begin at 6pm with food and refreshments for an hour allowing attendees to network with other attendees from across the region, before the presentation and consultation begins at 7pm. Events are scheduled to finish at 9.15pm.

The FA would like as many representatives from the country’s grassroots football workforce to attend so, whether you are a club or league secretary, chairman, club volunteer, schools football representative or coach, they would like to see you there.

Here at Club Website we know how much you care about this issue, so we suggest you don’t miss out on this chance to have your say directly to the people who matter.

If you would like to attended one of the FA Roadshow events, you need to download this application form and, once complete, email it to [email protected].

If you plan to attend the roadshow, please email [email protected] to let us know.  We’ll be visiting the roadshow ourselves, so we’d like to know which events our members are attending to get your opinion on the important issues raised.

FA Roadshow events by region

North East & Yorkshire
9 May – Nissan Sport & Social Centre, Sunderland
2 June – Bradford City FC

North West
16 May – Nantwich Town FC, Cheshire
21 Sept – Bolton Wanderers FC

East Midlands
11 May – Loughborough University
19 Sept – Nottingham University

West Midlands
7 June – Walsall FC
5 July – Stoke City FC

18 May – County Hotel, Chelmsford
23 June – Bar Menzies Golf Club, Cambridge

22 June – Wembley Stadium
14 Sept – Charlton Athletic FC

South East
25 May – Princes Park (home of Dartford FC), Kent
29 June – Rose Bowl, Southampton

South West
4 July – Aztec Hotel, Bristol
12 Sept – Exeter City FC

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Dan Pope
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Freelance writer, editor and copywriter, with a passion for grassroots sport. A right back turned football writer, Dan is the former editor of Club Website and has been lucky enough to work in the field of grassroots and community sport for the last 10 years.

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  1. terry nelson on April 27, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Our league which is a major you league has not been consulted.

    Can somebody explain why?

  2. Pete Hemmings on April 27, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    I am Secretary of the Potteries Junior Youth League, one of the largest Youth leagues in Staffordshire.
    No one has asked us our poinion either.

    Me personally, you are going the wrong way with this, their is already talk of breaking away from our county FA if some of these proposals are forced upon clubs.
    Yes we need better players, and Jose is as usual right, teach the kids to play football, the emphasis on teach, ie more and better coaching.

  3. Alan Willis on May 5, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    I am involved with the Ashford and District Youth Football League and the Weald of Kent Friendly League and neither was consulted. Also, I only found out about the proposals from your website.
    Until grassroots coaching positions are full-time and paid appropriately, there will be very little progress regarding the kids’ playing development as footballers. What do professional footballers do in the evenings when they haven’t got a game?
    Might be nice if they ‘volunteered’ – unpaid – to help their local youth football teams with their training, as the fa expects us to do!
    Never has the gulf between grassroots soccer and professional football been so great. Sad, but fact….

  4. Daren Bavister on May 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    As an assistnat Manager/Coach of an u10’s team it was just by chance that I saw the questionaire.
    I like some of the proposals but more effort needs to be made by the FA to ensure all involved with youth football are made to feel empowered and informed.

  5. Dan Pope, CW editor on May 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    The FA could perhaps have publicised the roadshow a bit more, but they did contact us hoping we could spread the word & help give more clubs/leagues the chance to have their say.

    Hopefully you’ll all get to attend one of the events over the next 5 months & thus get a chance to discuss any concerns about the proposals directly with the team behind them.

    If you do attend any events please let us know – we’d love to get your thoughts on them.

  6. Eleanor Quested on May 17, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Daren Pete and Alan,

    You (and other coaches) may be interested in participating in a project we are currently running called “Empowering Coaching”.

    The Empowering Coaching workshops were designed by a team of researchers from the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Birmingham, UK.

    Our work focuses on understanding the role of coaches and teachers in promoting or undermining young people’s motivation, well-being and physical activity levels. The Empowering Coaching team are committed to enhancing the youth sport experience via the promotion of empowering coaching.

    In the 2011-2012 season, as part of a larger project we will be offering a limited number of workshops free of charge to coaches working with grassroots boys and girls aged 10-14. In the UK, we deliver workshops at football clubs in the Midlands, London and Yorkshire.

    If you would like to know how to get involved, please feel free to drop me an email: [email protected]

    Thanks and best wishes,

    Eleanor Quested
    (Empowering Coaching Project Manager)

  7. Gaz Brooks on June 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    My club plays in the Bolton & Bury league & many of the proposals put forward are already in place in our league.

    The 9v9 format in particular is a big step forward and definately encourages better passing football.

    For mini-soccer, the only way to move the game on is to encourage more friendly leagues where sportsmanship & technique are the emphasis (which will hopefully remove the coaches and parents who are just results driven!)

    Realistically the FA couldn’t consult every league! The main thing is that they consulted with the best run leagues in the country to help build a model which all leagues can adopt.

    I may not agree with every element of the recommendations, but I believe that we need to embrace the FA’s changes for the good of the future of junior football in England.

  8. Jon on September 29, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    I’m certain our club with over 20 years of experience running junior football has not been asked an opinion on this. 100’s of kids and parents at our club simply have never even heard these proposals put forward until now! I can only imagine the select few who were invited along to these so called “roadshow events” were friends of the proposers. Where were these events held?
    If it’s a “child-centred approach” you are after then why don’t you ask the kids direct at school or at clubs throughout the land? See what they really want.
    I know the answer to that already, as I have asked. They don’t want it. So don’t do it. They want to play for points and receive trophies for excelling at their chosen sport. They want reward for their endeavours.
    Nothing against the 9v9 after 7v7 for a season by the way, it does cut out the big jump. But, take away the competitive side of the game? Why don’t we all just go to the beach on a Sunday morning and do kick ups for a few hours? To quote Trevor Brooking “Any skill I might have had as a player was almost there when I was 11 and I don’t see that in sufficient 11 year olds these days” I don’t doubt this Trev so what do you want to bother the 11-14 year old age band for you numpty.
    The lads come to training with us every week to practice their skills and improve technique, then they go off to the local soccer school’s and again practice some more. The really talented lads then get to the development centres and practice some more. After all that practice and hard work they get to a Sunday morning absolutely desperate to play a game of football and test their skills against lads from other teams who have done the same.
    We then witness a very good game of football between two teams trying their very best to be the best and when the whistle blows there is either joy or disappointment depending on how the game went.
    When we get beat we try harder and train harder. When we win we continue to try and excel the week after.
    I would say the people who want non competitive football/sports are really the people who don’t have that mental edge, desire whatever you want to call it, to be a top sportsman. That’s fine, drop out of the teams and go down the park to play with your friends. That’s your choice. Let the rest of us have OUR choice.
    I don’t want to dishearten you too much at the FA, but it won’t make any difference to our world cup hopes if that’s what you think. All the local football academies have the most talented kids snapped up by the age of 8 now anyway, they then STOP these kids ENJOYING the game with their friends by banning them playing for their local teams. After years of training with these super coaches they are then tossed aside for the “superstar” from abroad.
    Start at the top lads and you might one day get somewhere. I won’t hold my breath though.
    You have no rules or bottle or money to deal with the professional game and therefore your only avenue is to try and change something from the bottom, justifying your position. We have our rules, our codes of conduct, our respect barriers, our handshakes, our small sided games, our charter standard, our CRB checks, our FA QUALIFIED COACHES, our respect for referees, our finances are in order, our parents who dig deep and help out. We have everything we need thanks.

  9. Alan Greenwood on September 30, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    I was one of those invited to the Reebok stadium for the last meeting of the road show from the FA whilst a good presentation it still left some mind boggling stuff from Nick Levitt and all the imports from the FA.
    I appreciate that I am no spring chicken but to be told to put a child’s head on when looking forward to the proposals it is difficult to comprehend in a meeting that went on from 7pm till 9 50pm and watch videos and listen to Gareth Southgate and Nick Levitt for the entire period until a microphone being passed round the tables and one person per table allowed to make comment on the evenings proceedings.
    I do not think it would have been such an hard task to consult all Leagues taking in to account the technology that the FA have.
    I for one, that if the 14s down become 9 v 9 and non competitive I will be put out to grass and watch from afar.
    I do not think that were the meeting was going to give young players the opportunity to play football was in the right direction in totality.
    I would suggest that some comments in Club website attributed to Trevor Brooking are incorrect as we were told that the 2012 13 season there would be no change but would follow roll on from 2013 2014 2015 16 the change to the standard code of rules and the constitution nationally will need some thinking through at subsequent AGM of the FA, no doubt it will be watch this space, when the new practices are introduced it will be mandatory and Leagues Clubs will be left to pick up the issues without any major finance being pumped in to grass roots football to cover the issues that no doubt will be implemented.

  10. Barrie Soulsby on October 4, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    It’s time for a change to stop all the parents and coaches pointing at the trophy cabinet in their front room and saying that’s my boy! Living their dream through their kids, let the kids deal with the winning and everyone else encourage them to have fun and learn, this is the worst sport in the country for the competitive dad problem I hate the way some parents go on and get me drawn in to it, and I am a coach and chairman of a club and I believe it is important for the kids to want to win but not for the sake of the parents and coaches. Why do the centres of excellence do what the FA are proposing?

  11. Andy Stuart on January 22, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    This whole process seems to be a closely guarded secret to the masses. Certainly a lot of coaches(in the north east of England) I have spoken to have not been directly informed or consulted regarding this grassroots overhaul.
    I don’t know to much about the proposals myself, but if the FA want to raise the standard of grassroots football, here’s a few pointers:firstly they could do with disbanding the English schools FA. It makes a total hypocrisy of all the things we are spoon fed on FA courses, for example do not over train or burn out young players. All kids play in week end leagues so there is no need to play extra games like inter school football. Teachers organise matches on fridays, mondays etc without a thought for grassroot teams, most of which train saturday and play sunday.
    Secondly,I have never had a visit from one of these skills coaches the FA set up(approx 63 for the whole country), when I asked I was informed there wasn’t one for my area.
    Thirdly, let’s have FA quality controllers who visit charter standard clubs andquality assess to ensure that proper effective coaching and good practices are taking place. Instead of pass level 1 and go it alone!
    Finally, cheaper prices, balls,bibs, cones, SAQ equipment, goalposts(rip off!) and support in payin a fortune to referees.
    Too much expense at the top! very rarely does it cascade down to Grassroots.

  12. Peter Hucker on January 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    It doesnt matter if you are consulted or not the FA will railroad their ideas on you whatever you think talk about .
    THEN threaten that you will never play again if you dont agree with them because THEY control ALL football. I propose people break away and give others the choice of what they want to do

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