FA launches new initiative to tackle youth dropout

The Football Association has announced a new initiative aimed at tackling the dropout of 14 – 17 year-olds from football in England.

According to research commissioned by the FA and partner Vauxhall Motors, the main reasons for players leaving the game included a realisation that they were not going to play professional football, club football becoming more competitive and the lure of other pursuits.

External pressures including school work, travel arrangements and part-time jobs were also cited as reasons.

The FA and Vauxhall aim to tackle these issues head on by offering a recreational form of football in after-school clubs, played in quality small-sided facilities and run by specialist FA Coaches.

As part of the The FA Vauxhall Youth Programme, 14-17 year-olds will be able to sign up for a 10-week block of sessions which will cater for every ability and fitness level. It is hoped that these sessions will inspire teenagers to get back into affiliated football in either small-sided or 11 v 11 formats.

Vauxhall Managing Director, Duncan Aldred, said: “We are very excited to talk about our plans for youth football moving forwards and tackling the issues we are currently facing with youth participation.

“From the beginning of our sponsorship, we have been committed to supporting football from the grassroots game all the way through to the national senior teams, and it is vitally important for the future of the game in England that we address the significant drop out rates in this age group.”

As part of their focus on the 14-25 age group and drive to address participation rates, Sport England has committed to match-fund £100,000 of Vauxhall’s investment through its SportsMatch scheme to launch the programme.

Sport England Chief Executive Jennie Price added: “Football plays an incredibly important role in grassroots sport, with more than 2.1 million people playing the game once a week. We’re delighted that Vauxhall is working with The FA and Sport England to keep more youngsters involved in our national game by creating new recreational opportunities for young people to take part.”

The FA and Vauxhall will appoint eight full-time specialist coaches to run up to 40 sessions per week across England for both boys and girls. The coaches will also help support teenage football in schools and clubs, helping to re-instil young people’s affection for playing the game and deliver high quality training.

FA Senior National Game Development Manager, Peter Ackerley added: “The FA is working closely with its Youth Partner Vauxhall alongside Sport England to understand the issues around the significant drop off in football at this age and ensure that we address this with the appropriate football offering tailored to engage the youth audience.

“This is about looking at what our young players are telling us and providing them with options to overcome the highlighted barriers, helping transition them into creating a football habit for life.”

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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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13 Comments

  1. jo chamberlain on March 2, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    The FA also need to address how coaches, managers and others helping out, need to treat each child as to their age and ability. I believe some of the drop out will be more to do with we have to win mentality still running strong in a lot of youth football. My son has been a victim of this but has since joined another club which is run very professionally and fairly. The other club is still going , but with a stigma attached, they will win at all cost. When will the FA regulate these clubs????

  2. Kenny Mitchell on March 2, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Here in Scotland we have “Midnight Leagues” which are organised by SFA Football Development Officers in conjunction with sponsors and the Police.
    These leagues are run in different local authority areas from either 6-8pm or 9-11pm on different nights of the week for 12-18 year olds. Games are small sided and played on 3G astro grass. Young people pick their own teams, leagues run in blocks of 10 weeks, transport by coach to and from venue is provided from all areas and its all FREE.
    Some players still play for youth teams but many have dropped away from youth football for many of the reasons already given. However this idea is a great way of keeping young people off the streets and keeping them all still involved in the “beautiful game”

  3. Kenny Mitchell on March 4, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Why was my post removed?

  4. geoff on March 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    we do need to look at why these passionate 14 year olds drop out because they are being made to feel worthless and be humiliated every week because of managers who use their possition to leave boys who are bursting with passion and enthusiasm to not play them week after week is their not playing time in most games for all players at this level of football our team are in bottom four in division so it cant be a case of winning at all costs however only one boy has not been played at all more than seven times .and in last years match reports which are done weekly he was never mentioned after being played in twenty one games his name never appeared once when infact every other boy was mentioned some upto five times this boy never misses a training session and his comittment is second to none as pointed out by other parents.we do feel that this is a brilliant idea and coaches once given their badges need to have yearly assesment .how many boys gives up football because of a managers actions one is too many do you not agree.

  5. steve on March 5, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    You want the FA to regulate winning youth teams Jo?!

    Boys of 13 plus want to play to win, is this a crime?

  6. alan on March 5, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    steve check this out http://www.clubwebsite.co.uk/westhamunitedladiesfc/43644/Home

    fa trying to make it non competitive,not publish results etc ,,i may be old school and an old academy player for a south coast team,,,,but even at all academys you are taught to win and the west ham site shows that (why else state what cups the team have won and also show the league table )

  7. alan on March 5, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    youth football non competitive ,,,,tell this lot that and they will laugh at you http://www.clubwebsite.co.uk/westhamunitedladiesfc/43644/Home

  8. Dave Gallon on March 7, 2012 at 8:19 am

    My son was spotted by Rochdale CEO some 6 years ago at 15 he decided to leave the COE because of the lack of matches they were playing, 4 lads from the under 15 were moved up to the under 16s and every week the matches became a combined fixture 15s and 16s which sounds good but in reality the combined fixture were the 4 lads that had moved up from the 15s and all the 16s which then meant that 95% of the under 15s were training twice a week but having no game. Also by moving up the 4 lads it became apparent that the other lads would not make it so it looked like we were just making up the numbers.

  9. steve on March 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Life is competitive, youth football is just the start of this process!

    Thanks so much for the posts Alan, the West Ham ‘ladies’ website makes very intresting reading!

  10. alan woods on March 11, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    i am a under 11 coach ,,,,,95% of grassroots coaches are parents of their childs team (like i ) ,,,the other 5 % are the one i believe have the win at all cost attitude that every one keeps banging on about ,,,,,.
    as a coach i am ,,,hard, strict, fair, understanding, ,,,,,on all kids ,

    i still hear people saying it should be fun ,,yes it should ,,but tell me if i am wrong here,

    as a coach we are not only teaching the kids the laws, the physics and everything else about this great GAME (now thats a competitive word on its own ),,but we are also teaching children life skills without meaning to ,,ie winning and lossing (later on in their life they will experiance both and be able to deal with them )
    we are also teaching them to beleive in their selfs and their decisions (be it on a football pitch ,)

    NOT ALL COACHES TRAIN THEIR KIDS TO WIN AT ALL COST not at grassroots any way ,,,,,but this is the case in any professional COE ,,,and as for kids dropping out of grassroots because they are not enjoying it ,,,think the fa need to check their number here ,,as i personally think the ones dropping out are the ones who are approached by (say southend coe) they play for a year and then a new bunch of kids come in next year ,,,no explanation apart from maybe a letter saying you never made the grade bye ,,,,that has no severly dmaged that young footballers dreams and will feel he has wasted his chance sand never made it so why carry on ,,,,,,,thats my thoughts any way ,,,,,leave it as it is ,,,,,

  11. j huxley on March 31, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    there are big problems in the youth football world that are never adressed our son has been playing since the age of two and was never happier than being in one local league but after getting scouted and moving into development football then the problems started at the age of fourteen being at the younger age scale and not developing quickly enough meaning height he was left at a dead end at sixteen the football talent was there but the looks not ,totally devastating ,but to all the young talented footie kids out there dont despair because hes now in a private academy and now looks the part and is doing well,,,the football world need to look at the footwork and talent not the size of the player ..fact..

  12. sr on April 26, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    kids drop out of football due to having enough of being shouted at from the age of 7 by managers assistant managers assistant assistant managers parents grandparents and any other know all that happens to be on the touchline . kids put under to much pressure to win before they can even pass a football

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