MORE and more youngsters are getting involved in football and staying involved longer thanks to a joint effort between Guernsey Football Association and Ravenscroft.
Football for Everyone, which was a partnership between senior representatives from football and Ravenscroft, launched in 2016 and aimed to enable and encourage participation of both boys and girls of all abilities. Ravenscroft extended its support for a further three years in 2019 and now the investment services firm has recommitted until the end of the 25/26 season.
‘Football for Everyone brought three aims of the GFA under one umbrella. In 2016, the GFA identified some key objectives – attract more girls to take up football, reduce the number of players leaving the sport during their teenage years and increase the number of players who could give something back off the field. Ravenscroft understood those aims and because we can now demonstrate how successful it has been, have said they want us to continue for the future of the sport,’ said CEO of Guernsey Football Association Gary Roberts.
‘The efforts of the clubs to attract more girls to minis has combined with the work of Joelle in the schools and continued to increase the number of girls in the Ravenscroft Girls Player Development Centre which now has nearly 50 players and this led a second cohort being added to the Mourant Girls Academy this season. We have also started to see other young ladies following in the footsteps of Maya Le Tissier and playing regularly.
‘The Ravenscroft Youth Leagues are also expected to again have more than 800 players registered for the upcoming 2022/2023 season and because there are more players, we now have single year age groups from under 13 through to under 18.’
Previously, the Football for Everyone initiative included the FA’s Junior Football Leaders programme but this has now been replaced with a new course, the Guernsey FA Junior Football Coaching Award.
‘One of the priority areas within the current (2021-24) Guernsey FA strategy is support for the game through recruitment of a new generation of volunteers. This is a renewed focus to recruit the next coaches that will work across the game and ensure football in the island remains able to support over 2,000 regular participants,’ said Angus Mackay who runs the award.
‘Through the support of Ravenscroft, the Guernsey FA is able to deliver a bespoke practical training course to complement to the theory-based FA Playmaker course that young people aged 14-16 can complete. This course has been designed to provide young coaches with the confidence to deliver coaching sessions, along with the opportunity to feel valued and supported whilst they develop these new skills. We have recently run two courses and will be organising more for next season,’
Mr Roberts said the support of Ravenscroft was integral to the success and to the future of the initiative.
‘The commitment of Ravenscroft to football, to sport in general and indeed to the island as a whole is incredible. Knowing that we have the backing of Ravenscroft for a further three years allows us to plan ahead and continue the momentum that has been built in recent years.’
Mark Bousfield, group managing director of Ravenscroft, said football had a bright future.
‘It is fantastic to see the number of young people joining, and staying involved in, football and that is testament to the dedication of GFA team and to the enthusiasm we see across the clubs. With the forthcoming redevelopment of Victoria Avenue, the sport has an exciting future and Ravenscroft is thrilled to be committing our support to the hugely successful Football for Everyone initiative for a further three years.’