On Wednesday 29th March, Lincolnshire FA facilitated a consultation event as part of the FAs national review into the future of youth football.
The review of youth football comes over a decade since the ‘FA Youth Development Review’, which saw major changes to mini-soccer and youth football in England. As part of the current ongoing review, youth football in England from U7s to U18s will be assessed, with an aim to identify new and exciting ways to improve the grassroots game for all young people.
As part of the process, The FA are delivering ‘Listen & Engage’ style events where the intent is to positively engage with the grassroots network in order to facilitate idea generation in relation to how The FA can improve youth football provision in the future for players, referees and volunteers.
Lincolnshire FA were delighted to host a consultation event at local grassroots clubs Nettleham FC and saw 30 stakeholders from across the local football landscape in attendance. The event was overseen and delivered by John Folwell and Andy Dyke from the Football Association. League and club representatives were joined by members of active partnerships and other local organisations to discuss how the game could be developed for young people across a number of key areas.
All ideas that came out of the evening & were put forward are to be reviewed by the FA to ensure that if they are introduced, they will support children’s developmental needs and best serve the game at this level.
As part of the process, The FA will also be consulting with children and young people themselves to understand what it is they want from the game and to ensure any ideas or interventions elected to be trialled are appropriate.
Jake Park, Football Development Manager, commented: "First and foremost, we were delighted to host an event of this nature here in Lincolnshire, particularly given the fact only eight are being delivered across the entire country.
"I’d like to place on record my thanks to Nettleham Football Club for allowing The FA to host this event at their wonderful facility.
"I believe the event was the most well attended event that The FA have delivered so far as part of the ‘Listen & Engage’ phase and that’s testament to the 30 volunteers from across the local volunteer workforce who travelled from all corners of the county to be in attendance and have their say.
"It’s been 13 years since the ‘FA Youth Development Review’ which had a positive impact upon youth football, but we all have a responsibility to ensure the structure of the game, and the offers and environments which surround it, are fit for purpose and attractive to both existing and new participants, as well as the wider footballing community.
"There were excellent conversations happening across the room, and because of the mix of people in attendance, the diversity of thought led to plenty of ideas being generated for the FA to go away and review.
"Clubs, leagues and partners from across the local grassroots network are at the heart of football and physical activity every single week, so it’s fantastic that they have been consulted as part of this much wider process as there’s so much good work going on locally."
To find out more about youth football within Lincolnshire FA, please click here.