Youth football. Where did it all go wrong? Well, probably on that massive green pitch with the huge goals for a start.
For years and years, the FA have ignored the fact that small children are playing 11 a side on pitches that are too big, but finally it appears that something is beginning to be done about it. County FA’s all got together and had a vote, and the new ideas to scale up the sizes of the games with the age of the children was successfully passed, 679 to 99. This means that going forwards, children will not play 11 a side until they are 13 years old. 5-a-side is now the standard for under 7’s and under 8’s while under 11s and 12s will play on the slightly bigger 9v9 pitches.
So, a good start, but actually for once it gets better, the league structure which normally spans over 8 months will be dropped in favour of smaller competitions, while the parents and the coaches have been given instructions to stop being complete and utter morons. It’s kids football, not the Premier League, but judging by some of the parents reactions in games you would be forgiven for thinking that they themselves had dreams of being a footballer, only for it all to fall apart so they take it out on the next generation.
Reducing the size of games will encourage the kids to actually get the ball down and pass, work on technique, and not just lump the ball as far as possible. Who knows, maybe in the next 10-12 years we will be producing our own super footballers just like the rest of the world has been for years now.
Well done to the FA, finally catching up with the times. Now, about those 99 counties who rejected the idea of changing the system for the better…