While running a youth football team is hugely rewarding, there are plenty of things to consider before you take the plunge.
It effectively requires a 12-month commitment and can have a significant impact on your home life if you fail to structure the set-up correctly.
With that in mind, read on as we look at some of the key elements to think about before deciding to start a youth football team.
Recruit players, coaches & volunteers
You cannot have a youth team without players, and you need to make sure you have got a sizeable squad rather than just a starting XI.
Injuries, holidays and other family commitments are among the factors that could leave you short of numbers when the season gets underway.
It is also essential to get other coaches on board to help share the workload of running training sessions and assisting on matchdays.
You should also find some willing volunteers who can help with fundraising efforts, administration and anything else to make things run smoothly.
Create a team ‘brand’
Once you have got all the key personnel in place, you need to come up with a name for your team and create a brand that helps you stand out from the crowd.
You will need a team logo which can be used on the kit, training gear, club website, social media and marketing item such as custom pin badges.
Enamel gold-plated pins are a great way to build team identity, providing you with an easy way to have players and parents advertise the club wherever they go.
Another excellent branding option are custom patches, which can be incorporated with numerous other clothing items to promote your youth football team.
Pinbadges Co. and Patches Co. are both sub-brands of BPS.com. BPS is a professional promotional product company with its own factory. It provides you with professional design promotion programs and free design product patterns. In addition to pins and embroidery, there are also customized hats. T-shirts, key chains , lanyards, and more.
Raise funds & find sponsors
Running a team is not cheap, so it is imperative you give some serious thought about how you will fund the operation each season.
Running fundraising events is a great way to boost your budget, giving you the chance to raise valuable funds and also engage in team-bonding.
Sponsorship is another hugely useful resource, but you need to be sure you can offer a tangible return on investment to make it worth their while.
Advertising on the club shirts and website is a good place to start, while asking local media outlets for some free coverage is always welcomed by sponsors.
Create a website & social media channels
Building a vibrant outward face for your team raises its profile, which is extremely useful when it comes to attracting new players or sponsors.
Creating a team website doesnot have to cost the earth, with content management systems such as WordPress making it easy to establish an online presence.
Active social media channels are also important, as these will help you promote the team and keep everyone connected to it fully informed.
Be careful not to spread yourself too thinly on social. It is much better to do one platform really well rather than several of them badly.
Schedule training sessions & friendlies
Now you have established the team infrastructure, it is time to schedule some training sessions and put plans in place for some friendly matches.
If you are planning on taking part in a league, this will likely start in September so give yourself around eight to ten weeks to prepare.
The first few weeks should purely be focused on training to ensure you get everyone’s fitness level where it needs to be and your team tactics in place.
Early August onwards is a good time to start playing friendlies or pre-season tournaments to ensure your team are ready for the challenges that lie ahead.
Join a reputable league
While you are formulating your pre-season plans, you must also spend time finding a suitable league for your team to play.
Most towns and cities have an established junior league set-up in place, and they are generally structured based on the standard of the teams.
Make sure you are honest with the people who run the league about your team’s abilities to ensure they are placed in the right section. Winning or losing by large margins is generally counterproductive to player development, so pitch your team at a level where the games will produce a close league table.