So on Thursday evening I met with Dave to talk about what we’re going to do with our little darlings. I was still unsure I had made the right decision by pulling Ethan out of the club, had it been a hasty decision? Had I put my own feelings and emotions first, and Ethan’s second? On reflection, I do think I made the right call, but wouldn’t it be bloody fantastic if the parenting manual had a chapter on this?!
So moving forward. In my mind we had 3 options –
- Find a new under 7’s club for the kids.
- Set-up a training session for the under 7’s.
- Start a under 7’s team.
Each option of course has its pro’s and con’s.
Option 1, find a new club. This would be the most straight forward option. The nearest club, with a good reputation, is fully subscribed, and it would be at least a year before Ethan could join. There are other clubs further away which may be suitable, but I have no knowledge of how they operate or how good their coaches are. Would we be in the same situation in 6 months time? Also I would like Ethan to play locally, I believe the social side of football is just as important as the football itself. I hear of 6 year old kids travelling as far as Manchester to play and train, but to me this seems ludicrous.
Option 2, set-up a training session, would be the middle option, where no club is created and no players are signed up. Instead the training session would be pay-to-play, and open to everyone, even players who already have a team. This option would be easier to set-up and run, but would it be taken seriously? Running just as a training session might make fundraising harder too. However removing league matches and other “team” stuff could make it more relaxed and overall better for the kids. At the end of the day it’s all about fun and friends right?
Option 3, set-up a club. This would be the most complicated and time-consuming. From what I gather, setting up a club requires a fair amount of paper work, people and organisation. This doesn’t put me off, but my knowledge of doing like this is non-existent, so could prove tricky to say the least. However running as a club could make it easier to enter into competitions, leagues and other events if we wished to go down that route. Also, fundraising might be easier by having a name behind us. Although I’m never planning on walking away, people and donors might be more trusting if we have a club name.
So what to do? A plan has emerged!
What we (well mainly Dave!) have planned is a mixture of Option 2 and Option 3. Essentially what we could do is run an open training session once a week, then towards the end of the season, if we have enough players who aren’t sign to other teams, we enter the kids into one off tournaments, galas and friendlies. It really doesn’t make sense to go all in and create a team with player sign ups, joining fees and the like. For starters many kids already have clubs, and they might be put off training with us. Also for kids who want to give football a try, I don’t think it’s fair to make them commit to a sign on fee. The more open and inviting we can be the better. A pay per train option seems like the least hassle option, just so long as we can cover the costs of the pitch hire.
As I mentioned, there may be the opportunity to play matches against other teams at the end of season, but we will play this by ear. The kids might not be interested, the competition’s may be too expensive, or we simply might not have enough players.
I also said we wouldn’t create a team. This isn’t exactly correct as we will likely be under the name Lindley Lightening Junior FC. This is a club Dave set-up several years ago, and currently there are under 15 and under 17 teams, both managed by Dave. Dave also took the time and expense to register an under 7s team at the start of this season just in case he decided to go down this route. By officially being under a team, it will make competitions, galas and friendly matches easier to organise. We also might be entitled to some funding, which is always handy!
So what are the next steps?
1. Find a suitable pitch slot. For me, outdoor is the best, but anyone who knows Huddersfield will tell you we don’t exactly have an abundance of sunshine! We need to think about this. Perhaps we could have the options for both indoor and outdoor pitches. An indoor 3g pitch would be ideal, but very hard to come by!
2. Find players. This is easier said than done, but without players we’re going to find it hard! We’re going to start with word of mouth, and try to get contact info of parents who maybe interested. However without a venue and time, we can’t expect anyone to commit or take us too seriously.
3. Get an online presence. This kind of links into point number 2. If we can give parents a webpage, or Facebook page to go to, there’s a chance they’ll read it, take us seriously and become more interested. Also looking forward to the future, I think a website and Facebook page could be a great source of information, news and details for us and the kids. I’m pretty handy with design, and although I don’t build websites for a living, I do know how to build a half decent site!
4. Get myself on the level 1 fa coaching course. I have enquired with West Riding FA about the course, but await their response. The coaching course isn’t essential, Dave is fully FA qualified, however if for any reason Dave couldn’t make a training session, then I wouldn’t be able to run it alone. Also I want to do the course. I have bugger all knowledge of football coaching, so doing this course really can’t hurt!
And so, that’s the plan for now. Granted it’s a very loose plan, but it always helps to have half an idea, even if we modify, tweak or even scrap the plan!
I’ll end this post on a quote I heard this week. I can’t remember where it came from, I think in fact it was off the TV, but it really struck a chord with me –
“Life only becomes interesting when you step out of your comfort zone.”
Quite fitting really.