KING'S FOOTBALL LEADERSHIP AND VOLUNTEERING LEADS THE WAY
In its third year the Football Leadership and Volunteering program at King’s College Taunton has mushroomed from the initial dozen students to 57 pupils this academic year. The pupils complete FA Junior Football Leaders Award before moving on to volunteer through Football Futures to support the many football events and activities on offer in the college. Weekly Monday coaching sessions are in demand from local primary schools and have seen some great results. “Through football our pupils were recently able to engage a young player who we later found had never participated in any sport in his school.” said Head of Football Chris Heayns.
The Young Leaders organise and support hosted tournaments and most recently could be seen refereeing and administering the Girl’s South West 6 a side and IAPS’ U11 6 a side events at the college. Through Team 16 and Team 19 the Leaders promote and run intra school football and futsal events plus separate weekly girls and boys MASH Up sessions. The latest addition to the program is a Sunday morning football club which was identified and organised by the leaders. King’s pupils stay in the program for 2-3 years and can progress to other coaching and football based qualifications.
ISFA Football Development Manager Ian Bent praised the work of the leadership programme at King’s College; “This is an excellent example of a pro-active leadership programme enabling students to not only develop leadership skills and practical skills such as coaching, but also access The FA’s Football Futures Award and benefit from this”.
ISFA REPRESENTED AT FA FOOTBALL FUTURES CAMP
ISFA were recently represented at the FA Football Futures Camp by Bolton School pupil and ISFA Football Futures member Elliot Turnbull. Below Elliot shares his experiences of the camp.
Having completed the ISFA Football Futures Silver Award one of the opportunities which arose was the chance to go to the FA Football Futures Camp at St George’s Park which is an annual camp ran by the National Game Youth Council. With minimal prior knowledge of the camp before accepting the offer, I was unsure what I was letting myself in for, however deciding to go was one of the best decisions I’ve made for a while as camp was an unforgettable experience.
Our time at camp was equally divided between generic football workshops and also specific specialist workshops. Each workshop was designed to give the young leaders a taster into each individual and specific niche in football. First up for us was futsal. As would become to be a reoccurring theme throughout the week we were fortunate enough to have top class coaches delivering the session in state of the art facilitates. Karl Lines, who has coached Bristol City Futsal Club, delivered the session. We touched on the tactics in futsal, receiving a brief overview of the rules and then in depth coaching of when to counter attack, defend deep and play on half a court whilst using the diamond formation. I found the coaching style extremely effective as we listed the pros and cons of each tactic and when to use it, which subsequently left us hugely satisfied with the workshop.
Other workshops included a generic Refereeing session, Informal Football and then an introduction to Disability Football. Again, this was thoroughly enjoyable and another eye opener to how the beautiful game can differ from person to person. Once applying various blindfolds to prohibit any vision we paired up and practiced walking around with a guide which was extremely interesting. Trust was imperative, yet also unsurprisingly hard to give to someone who was a mere stranger to you only a matter of hours ago, however everyone displayed faith in their fellow young leaders and managed to navigate around the foyer at St George’s Park without any major injuries or broken furniture.
Later we divided once again and grouped up with our specialisms, where there are three which are offered by the FA Football Futures Camp each year; Refereeing, Coaching and the Youth Council. This was brilliant as your peers are as engaged and enthusiastic as yourself, and as was mentioned many times, success is infectious. Being surrounded by more experienced and qualified referees encourages you to go on and challenge, or even surpass your friends which added a great bit of competitiveness to the camp. There were 5 specialist workshops in total, and I can guarantee that every young leader who attended our specialism came out as a better referee.
Away from the workshops, the camp aims to help improve and encourage soft skills which are seemingly essential nowadays whether that be mentioning them on your personal statement or even having to prove them in a job interview. These skills such as working in a team or communicating well with others were put to the test, as the mentors aimed to put each of the 99 young leaders out of their comfort zones.
On reflection, the FA Football Futures Camp was an unbelievable experience and I am extremely grateful to ISFA and the Football Futures program for having given me this invaluable opportunity. The prospect of travelling to St George’s Park was enough to entice me in to going, I am consequently extremely fortunate and grateful to have been able to travel down, play and train where the national team are based.
As expected, the first day was awkward and nerve-wracking. Going into an unknown environment knowing nobody is a scary and daunting experience, however it was well worth it. By the end of the first day I had made friends with dozens of people from all over the country, with each of us having the same passion and enthusiasm for football in common. We all came to the camp as complete strangers on the first day, however by the last some of us left as life-long friends. Personally speaking I was fortunate enough to meet a group of truly incredible friends whilst having a genuine and caring mentor overseeing our progress.
A common quote from camp was, ‘I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences. Today is one of those experiences’and this couldn't be more potent with the camp in general and also the ISFA Football Futures Scheme. The advantages are there if you are willing to put the work in. Talking from experience the scheme can be extremely rewarding. Once completing my Bronze Award ISFA offered and encouraged me to take their bursary to complete my referee course with the Lancashire FA, which they kindly part funded. This enabled me to complete the Silver Award which consequently opened to door for camp and subsequently enabled me to meet and network with extremely interesting and influential people linked with football. Now I am ready to apply for the Gold Award, which is incredible to think about the various rewards and incentives that are on offer for doing something which I love.
The 4 days spent in Burton surpassed any of my prior expectations, it was a truly unforgettable experience. Not only was my time at camp extremely informative, it was thoroughly enjoyable. I feel that I’m coming away from camp as a better referee, yet more importantly a more rounded, confident and inspired individual. I had the time of my life at camp and made some life-long friends and can therefore only speak highly of the camp and the ISFA Football Futures scheme. I would strongly recommend that other young volunteers aspire to attend the FA Football Futures camp in the near future, it’s a brilliant reward for all the hard work and hours spent volunteering in grassroots football.
ISFA Football Development Manager Ian Bent was delighted to hear about Elliot’s positive time at the camp; “To hear Elliot talk with so much enthusiasm about his time at the Football Futures Camp and for him to learn so much whilst he was there is a great example of what the ISFA Football Futures Programme is all about, empowering the next generation of football leaders and giving them the skills and experiences needed for this. I would encourage anyone with an interest in football, leadership or volunteering to sign up to the Football Futures programme in 2015/16, and who knows it might be you representing ISFA at next year’s camp.
Sun 12th Mar
ISFA U16 v. Millwall
(City of London School
Playing Fields, 11.00)
Mon 20th Mar
Boodles ISFA Cup Final
Millfield v. Royal Russell
(MK Dons FC, 7.00)
ISFA U18 & U16 Tour
ISFA U15 & U14 Tour
Thurs 27th Apr
ISFA U16 Shield Final
(St. George's Park, 6.00)
Sun 30th Apr
ISFA U17 v.
Scotland Independent Schools
(Altrincham FC, 2.00)