EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

How Wembley could help grassroots coaches

With the pending sale of the home of England football could grassroots coaches like you and I benefit from a huge amount of investment.

The billionaire owner of Fulham football club is the architect of an extraordinary deal to buy Wembley stadium worth almost £900m.

Shahid Khan, who also owns the Jacksonville Jaguars American football team, has made an offer of a £600m lump sum and the FA would additionally be allowed to retain the revenue generated by Club Wembley, its debenture and hospitality business valued at around £300m.

Wembley stadium

The FA have refinanced their stadium debt and reduced the total down to below £150m but it still inevitably influences every financing decision. There will soon be a need to replace the Wembley floodlights at a cost of £2m. The FA must analyse whether that is £2m better spent on, say, tackling anti-doping issues, developing women’s football or funding refereeing programmes.

St Georges Park

One of the positives to have come out of the opening of St George’s Park for England training at every age group is the recognition being given to the thousands of coaches up and down the country that make grassroots football tick. St Georges will hopefully be putting coaches at the forefront of football in England, much like the situation is in Europe and America.

Couple this with the Wembley millions and we could see a revolution in what has always been a tough job to take on.

Without coaches there wouldn’t be matches taking place every weekend. The hours you coaches spend getting the right advice and the right sessions not only helps to create a development culture at your club but is also vitally important to the children you coach.

I know how hard it is for you all because I’ve started clubs too, and have stood in front of parents wondering how on earth I was going to fulfil their wishes. Like you, I’ve stood at the end of a game when my team has lost, wondering if we would ever win again. Yes, it can be hard sometimes but coaching is also a wonderful experience, with some amazing highs.

Start your own team

I spoke to a coach this week who has set up his own team because the side his son played for no longer saw the boy as part of their future. His son sat on the bench most matches and when he was allowed on, he was screamed at and told what to do. That’s not being a coach – coaches make football fun.

To rescue his son he created a team and set about learning what he should be coaching and how to manage. He hadn’t realised all the things he would have to do: the amount of emails to players, the collection of subs, the payment of referees, coping with training, getting a kit and buying the right equipment.

But I went to one of his matches and it was great to see him doing everything the right way, encouraging his players and making sure they all got a game. And at the end, when his team had won, he was bubbling over with delight. By doing it all himself he is learning the hard way that coaching is a huge responsibility.

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