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Parents play a substantial role in their child’s football development as they approach the world of grassroots competitive football. One of the fundamental decisions is choosing the correct competitive football team – this can impact their development and overall enjoyment of the game, so it must be made carefully.

There are lots of factors to consider, which we will go over in this post. Remember, your child will be spending a lot of time with their coach, so this person will become a significant part of their life. As such, this decision should be taken as seriously as any you make regarding childcare or education.

If you are trying to decide on the best competitive football team for your child, this article should give you some insights to help with your decision.

What to consider when looking at teams

There are literally thousands of grassroots football teams throughout the UK. You don’t have to dig deep to get a sense of the way they are managed, and some are clearly better than others. Here are some of the main things parents should assess at the outset when searching for a competitive football team for their child.

Club ethos

One thing that many clubs are not so upfront about is their club philosophy. For parents, this is extremely important, as it says a lot about what their child’s experience would be at that club. How do they like to develop their players?

It’s important that the club has a variety of playing opportunities for different levels of ability. Some clubs will only recruit the best players, meaning there are few opportunities for players who are not considered to be at the appropriate level for that one team.

A Football club should offer a wide variety of playing opportunities for its players (and prospective players!). Foxes FC offers development squads,Friday, Saturday and Sunday leagues – across different match formats 5-a-side, 7-a-side, 9-a-side and 11-a-side.

Reputation

Once a club has existed for a significant length of time, there will be a reputation that comes with it. Are they known for developing talent and ability in all their players? What can you learn about their coaches? Do they like to work closely with parents?

All these things are important to know when you research youth football clubs. Most modern teams will have a website that offers answers to these sorts of questions. If no such website exists, you could phone the club and ask those questions directly.

If you are hoping for your child to play at a higher level in the future, it is good to know if your local grassroots club has links to professional clubs. This will give your child better opportunities to play at a more advanced level by getting them more exposure to professional scouts.

Awards and accreditations

As a premier club, Foxes FC is a highly regarded and trusted club within the community. Over the years, we have won multiple awards, including ‘The Middlesex Youth Football League Chairman’s Trophy – for outstanding contribution and participation in the league.

This is always something that stands out for parents when they are looking for clubs. In the UK, accredited youth teams have a ‘charter standard’ award, which entitles them to a range of benefits that helps them attract players and volunteers.

They also have access to funding for equipment and specialist support from their local Football Association. This includes things like professional development for club coaches.

Safeguarding

One concept that cannot be overlooked when exploring youth football teams is their policy towards safeguarding. There should be comprehensive consent forms and safeguarding policies for you to peruse.

Look for things like first aid and safeguarding training in the coaches. Does every coach have to undergo a thorough DBS check to ascertain their background? Any club that cannot confirm these things should be given a wide berth – you cannot afford to compromise on the safety of your child under any circumstances.

With regard to coaches, you also need to know where coaches are recruited from and the qualifications they have. They should have a minimum qualification of FA Level 1 to demonstrate their aptitude for the role. The higher qualifications the coaches have, the better knowledge the coach will have to develop players.

Safeguarding

Conclusion

The factors listed above are the most important things to be aware of when looking to choose the correct competitive football league team for your child. They make up a very solid baseline for your search, making the whole process easier for you.

The benefits of competitive football for children, when done correctly, are endless. But they need to be in a safe, positive environment that emphasises learning and development rather than competitiveness and winning at all costs. When making your choice, you have the opportunity to seek out the most constructive environment to place your child in.

One final word on the coach – as mentioned, your child will be spending a lot of time with this person. A good coach can become an incredibly positive influence on a child, but the opposite can be true of the wrong coach. You know your child well, and you know what will work for them (and what won’t). Do your research and trust your instincts.

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