According to FA statistics, a colossal 8.2 million English adults – that’s one in five! – are now participating in football in some way. Despite often questionable displays from our team in major tournaments, football continues to maintain its status as the nation’s favourite sport, with grassroots football seeing more participation than ever before.
Many players at this level find themselves wanting to take their love of the sport further, with some harbouring aspirations of trying their hand at management. If this sounds like you, then the perfect way to find out if you’re any good at coaching is to start your own team.
Starting a football team is a great idea for numerous reasons. A grassroots football club is often the beating heart of a local community – it gives people a common cause to get behind – and it also supplies young people with a worthy passtime. As well as promoting teamwork and community spirit, a local club can help to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of everybody involved.
Regardless of whether you’re just looking to start a 5-a-side squad, or even a Sunday league team, our comprehensive guide should equip you with all of the necessary information to get your football team up and running in just a few short months.
While starting a football team can be an exciting venture, it also requires a lot of thorough planning. However, you’ll find that everything else comes a lot easier when you start by completing the necessary administrative tasks.
You’ve probably already gathered that you can’t have a football team until you have a name. So many other decisions rely on this choice, including league registration, kit manufacturing and player recruitment.
When brainstorming a club name, you should think about how it can represent your community and the people in it. You’re going to be stuck with this name for the foreseeable future, so be sure to pick something that is memorable as well as meaningful. In order to do this, ask yourself the following questions:
- How can I best represent my community?
- What values do my team subscribe to?
- Will the name look appealing on kits and merchandise?
- Does the name roll off the tongue?
- Is the name unique?
Similarly to the name, a football team is nothing without distinct colours and a crest. When you think of the biggest teams in the Premier League, they can all be identified easily by these elements.
Take this as your opportunity to get creative. The crest should be unique yet meaningful; it should tell a story about the club and its spectators. It might help to imagine your crest and colours on the pitch to get a feel for what they would look like. Be sure to reach out to locals for ideas or opinions.
Forming a strong team of officials is paramount to the success of any new club. It’s a good idea to start at the top and work your way down the club hierarchy. Your first recruits should be a manager or coach, a secretary and a treasurer. Depending on the resources available to you, you might want to assign additional duties to some roles.
During the early stages of the club’s journey, it might be the case that one person carries out all of the managerial duties. As it grows, however, there might be too much work to do. Fortunately, the growth of any club generally results in more exposure and interest from new candidates.
In order to affiliate yourself with the English FA, you will first need to approach your county FA. The registration process is relatively straightforward, but it’s important that you provide all of the necessary information to the county FA.
In simple terms, the county FA acts as the governing body of your new club. They enforce all of the rules, regulations and disciplinary actions, so you should avail yourself to them before your first kickoff. Generally, the club secretary will be responsible for communicating with your local FA.
There is generally a charge for league registration. Contact your local county FA to find out more.
Whether you’re founding a kids’ team or a team with your pub mates, a constitution letter is essential to ensure you’re complying with the FA’s accreditation guidelines. This letter should act as a ‘handbook’ of sorts, and should include the following:
- Club name
- Club objectives
- Details of FA affiliation
- Subscription fees
- Equality statement
- Voting rules
- Disciplinary procedures
A full list of requirements for FA constitution letters can be found here.
Once you’ve completed the required paperwork, the most vital part of the process can begin: forming your team.
Holding trials is the most effective way to form a team. You’ll not only quickly garner interest quickly, but you’ll also find the best local talent. While you can advertise via local news and social media, word of mouth is often the best marketing tool. Tell your club officials to get the word out. Reaching out to schools is also useful as they often have intranet systems that can reach hundreds of students.
When recruiting players, a five-a-side team should have a minimum of 8 players, whereas a team of 20 is appropriate for Saturday and Sunday leagues.
When holding trials, you should make sure that you distribute tasks evenly. For example, one person should be responsible for talent-spotting, another can organise matches, and so on. How you assign roles is up to you, but as long as every aspect of your trials is covered, everything should go smoothly.
There’s no point in starting a football team if you don’t have anywhere to play! Sadly, the cost of pitch hire has risen dramatically in recent years. Plus, the supply of pitches has dwindled due to local councils selling them off to raise funds.
You can start your search by contacting your local council’s leisure department. While private pitches are available, they will be more expensive to hire. Pitch Finder UK is a great resource for finding pitches locally. On average, the cost of a pitch in the UK ranges from £500 to £1000 per year, but you should also bear in mind that this fee only covers the use of a pitch for a few hours a week.
If you choose to hire a council-funded pitch, chances are that you’ll have to supply all of the necessary equipment yourself, including football goals, corner posts and training aids. Although you can hire these items, it’s probably more worth your while to buy them outright from a trusted sports equipment retailer. Here are just a few of the items that are essential for a football team to succeed:
It might even be the case that some players can help out by supplying their own equipment. Take stock of what you have and create a comprehensive shopping list before browsing.
Chances are, if you’re starting up a grassroots team, you’ll not have a kit supplier to hand. Unless you can find a local business to cover the cost of the kit for you, the money will have to come out of the club’s funds. If you’re forming a kids’ team, the cost for kitting out an entire team should be between £150 and £300, but if it’s an adult team, you’re probably looking at anything between £250 and £650. It’s important to shop around for the best deals. Some suppliers will offer discounts on bulk orders, and it means that you may even get discounts on future purchases.
Sourcing a referee willing to frequently oversee grassroots football games is no easy task. When you do find the right official, you’ll have to be prepared to pay for their services. You can probably expect to be paying a referee £30 – an expense which is traditionally covered by the home team.
The best way to fund the cost of a referee is through player’s subs: you should ask every competing player to contribute about £5 to club funds, and every player on the bench should pay half of that. The club treasurer is responsible for keeping track of players’ subs. Raising funds isn’t easy, and requires consistent communication and up-to-date records.
When it comes to starting up a football team, you want to know that you’re investing money in retailers that you can trust.. Since 1959, Sportsmark has been supplying clients with high-quality sports and line marking equipment. Our decades of expertise have helped us to garner a reputation as a reliable brand that prioritises customer satisfaction. Whether you’re looking for football, cricket or track and field equipment, we have everything you need for a successful match or tournament. For more information about our products or services, please get in touch.