Football is one of the most popular sports in the world, while it’s certainly the most-watched and followed in the UK.
Because of this, we have a thriving grassroots scene on these shores, which is renowned for generating some of the finest British players of recent generations.
However, launching a local football team can be a challenging and time-consuming process, from the creation of the right name to appointing club officials and achieving County FA affiliation.
Attracting and retaining players to your grassroots club can also prove difficult, so here are some tips to hopefully help you on your way!
Relationships With Local Schools
Let’s start with the basics; as schools within your club’s catchment area offer access to the best and most promising talent from an early age.
Luckily, the FA runs a School Club Links Guide that connects grassroots clubs across the country with local schools and colleges, and we’d recommend that you utilise this resource to establish a mutually beneficial exchange system.
With this in place, you can work closely with PE teachers and school football coaches to identify the best talent, enabling you to create a steady stream of young and hungry players into your club over time.
With a professional set-up that benefits from exceptional coaching and a positive culture, you can also improve your chances of retaining talent as your grassroots club continues to grow.
Plan an Open Day
When starting out, it may also be beneficial to organise an open day at your club’s training ground and invite locals to attend and register their interest in playing.
This event should be held during the summer ideally, while it should also focus on celebrating football and the ethos of your club rather than simply appraising the talents of individual players.
Remember, the goal is to create an open and welcoming event that appeals to everyone, so we’d recommend creating a fun environment and hosting mini-coaching sessions that encourage individuals to register their interest in playing.
You’ll also need to focus on advertising your event as effectively as possible, initially by creating some affordable posters and leaflets and distributing these in local stores, coffee shops and community centres. Local radio stations and papers may also be interested, while regional social media groups can help you to get the word out!
Make the Most of Social Channels
You should never underestimate the reach of social media, particularly when attempting to organise and promote events within specific communities.
Make no mistake; social media is a freely accessible marketing tool in the digital age, and one that enables you to share the details of your new grassroots club and generate a buzz amongst online community groups.
Initially, we’d recommend connecting with existing players, parents and fans where possible, while targeting new groups and being proactive when discussing your club with interested parties. Try to avoid contacting underage players or children directly, however, as this will potentially raise significant safeguarding issues.
If possible, you should employ someone at your club to run all social media accounts, as this will make it easier to adopt a holistic approach when recruiting new players.