10-step guide to starting your own football team

10-step guide to starting your own football team

If you’ve ever thought of starting your own soccer team or forming your own club, try following our 10-step guide to getting it off the ground.

You can tick off each of the 10 steps on our checklist.

01 DO IT FOR THE RIGHT REASONS

The number one reason for setting up a new a new team is to give playing opportunities to children who otherwise would not play – it is the best reason and the easiest to justify. A lot of new teams are set up to cater for additional age ranges within existing clubs where guidance and help may already be available. However, some coaches start their own teams because they can’t find a club run by someone who has the right philosophy, or because they fear their own child will become one of the players who sit on the bench every week. If you’re thinking of starting a new team, make sure it’s for the right reasons: so that children can enjoy playing football and develop both as footballers and as people.

02 MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE TIME

If you’re going to start a new club or team and if you intend to coach or manage it yourself, you will need to appreciate the time commitment that will be required. Too often someone will take on the responsibilities for running a team without understanding the significant amount of administration involved behind the scenes. Also, the coach of the team will have to commit to running two practices a week and clear a three-hour chunk of time for a game on every Saturday or Sunday. It’s hard enough to start a new team without trying to do all the jobs yourself.

03 FIND A PITCH TO PLAY ON

Once you’ve decided to start your own team, you need to find somewhere to play. It’s rare to come across recreational facilities that aren’t already being used for either matches or training at the peak times such as weekends and in the evenings. Conduct an inventory of all the possible places in your area that you could use to play and also check with you local council about hiring pitches. Ask at other clubs in the area too and at local schools (both private and state-run). Pitch hire costs and terms vary widely, so take note of these when making your decision.

04 GET AFFILIATED

Find out which of the leagues in your area you could become affiliated to. Contact them and find out how to become a member and enter a team. You will need to fill in forms about the club and appear at a meeting of the league’s board of directors to gain approval. You have a list of things you need to show them, like insurance, a code of conduct and a list of club officials. Affiliation acts as a quality assurance and a safety net to help protect players, clubs, officials and administrators.

05 BE AWARE OF THE COSTS

To run a team you will need to set up a fund that each parent pays into in order to cover the costs of their child. This would include registration fees, referees’ fees, a full kit for each player, the costs of training and match day facilities, and possible fines for when you’re up and running. A treasurer will need to set up a bank account so you have somewhere to keep the money. Work out all your costs in advance and establish the budget needed to run the team. That will help you to work out the amount of the subscription fee you will need to charge per player to run the club. With little money to start with, you may be able to secure sponsorship for the team from a local business putting its name on the team shirts.

06 APPOINT CLUB OFFICIALS

You need to appoint club officials to look after certain areas – don’t try and do it all yourself, ask for volunteers. You will find parents are keen to help. The main positions are: chairman, treasurer, manager, coaches, secretary, child protection officer, and first aid officer. Some positions require going on courses to learn about the role. Anyone performing a role that involves a direct working relationship with children must face a Criminal Records Bureau check (or equivalent), to make sure the person is suitable to work with children.

07 RECRUIT ENOUGH PLAYERS

For successful player development at a club you will need to have enough players in the age group so that holidays, sickness and injury can all be covered by the size of the squad. A great way to recruit is to run trials where people can turn up and you get to see what type of a player they are (it also let’s you see what type of a person they are too). Talk to the sports editor of your local paper to try and get him to publicise the trials. Use social media like Facebook and Twitter and send out letters to local schools to get yourself a good number of players to turn up.

08 PICK A COACH

If you’re not coaching your new team yourself, make sure you select the coach carefully. Write out a list of qualities you want from the coach and get them to sign an agreement that they will follow your blueprint for the team. Remember, the reason you are probably starting your own team is because the set-up was wrong at your previous club. If you left your old club because the coach wasn’t giving the squad members equal playing time, then it would be stupid to appoint someone who was going to do the same thing. The coach needs to work out a syllabus that covers all aspects of attacking and defensive play.

09 SIGN UP YOUR PLAYERS

The work of the club secretary begins immediately, with all players having to be registered before they can play for a new club. Make sure parents know about player registration dates and deadlines, so no one misses out. Also, remind parents that players usually have to bring birth certificates and two passport-sized photos in order to get player cards from the league. The club secretary must also make sure that all managers and coaches have been checked by the Criminal Records Bureau (or equivalent).

10 BE INSURED

Make sure you have all the insurance that you need to be certain that your players are cared for and your team is covered. Most leagues now require that clubs purchase liability insurance, and accident and medical insurance covering players, managers, coaches, scorekeepers and volunteer officials.

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