An initiative which aims to development football volunteers and coaches of the future has already encouraged more youngsters to give time back to the sport.
The FA Junior Football Leaders Award is part of the Ravenscroft-sponsored Football for Everyone programme to develop and expand youth football in Guernsey. The award shows youngsters what else other than physically playing happens in football to encourage more people to get involved.
Earlier this year, 27 pupils from Les Beaucamps High School and St Sampson’s High completed the programme. Over the current academic year, courses will be offered to all of the island’s secondary schools.
‘Some of the students who completed the course in the summer are now volunteering with a number of teams, which is exactly what we hoped would happen. All sports need volunteers and we want the younger generation to understand how important it is to give something back,’ said Guernsey Football Association football development officer Angus Mackay.
‘The schools have been really positive about the course and my plan is that the award will run in every school, every year so that we see more and more young people getting involved both on and off the pitch.’
St Sampson’s High will be the first school this academic year to complete the award with 12 year 10 GCSE PE students doing the training earlier this month.
‘We think the FA Junior Football Leaders Award is important because we understand that not all students are going to enjoy playing sport. There is a high drop off rate of playing when students reach 14-16 so we need to be pro-active in keeping these students engaged in sport. Many will enjoy becoming officials or coaches for example and this gives them another avenue to explore so that they stay involved within sport in some capacity now and for years to come once they have left school,’ said head of PE Andy Manning.
A number of St Sampson’s High students who completed the course in June are now volunteering. Kacey Le Flem works with the girls U14s, Curtis Davey and Georgia Dame volunteer with North, Charley Allen helps with Rovers U15s, and Callum Le Lacheur, Brad O’Regan and Niall Hainsworth help officiate and coach year 7 students at St Sampson’s.
Mark Bousfield, Ravenscroft group managing director, said the success of the award was already evident.
‘The aim of Football for Everyone is to encourage more and more youngsters to be involved with the sport and so more volunteers are needed. As someone who volunteers as a coach, I see just how important it is to have people who are as committed off the pitch as those players on it. It’s vital for the future of the sport that more and more young people want to give something back,’ he said.
Profile on Georgia Dame
Georgia completed the FA Junior Football Leaders Award earlier this year. She had helped with football but wanted to complete the course to ensure she had the proper training. She has also taken a rugby ready course to help with rugby coaching and hopes the courses will help with her GCSE PE.
‘I have become more confident with my coaching as I know that I’m teaching the youngsters the correct way. I’ve always really enjoyed working with children and watching them progress in something they enjoy doing,’ said the 14-year-old who hopes to become a teacher one day.
Georgia, who plays football for the Guernsey FA Girls Academy, coaches with North maintaining the family links as her father is a coach, her older brother played for them and her younger brother is currently playing.
Garry Cortez, president of North, said it was invaluable to have youngsters like Georgia involved.
‘Having students like Georgia who understand the whole sport and have coaching skills is really important. The children really respond to them and it’s great to see our young coaches giving up the time to help the younger players,’ he said.