From a very early age my boy Joe has kicked a football. It was probably in his blood. As a family we are all a bit football mad, season ticket holders at West Bromwich Albion, with my brother playing to a semi professional level at Walsall FC until illness forced him to give up the sport he loves still. So Joe was probably primed to love football, both watching and playing, from an early age. I hear many negatives about grassroots football, but I wanted to share why I think being involved with a team can be a good thing, whether you are a boy or a girl, and whatever your age.
1. You get to travel
Sport really can broaden the horizons, even from an early age. Joe has already traveled to London to play at Arsenal as part of The Albion Foundation, and this year is hoping to take part in a tournament in Somerset. As he gets older, there may be opportunities further afield, my brother played in a tournament in Cyprus as a teenager, whilst companies like Absolute Sports Travel organise football tours that take in tournaments all over the world, allowing the opportunity to combine travel and football, with tournaments against teams from all around the world in places like Spain, Holland, Belgium and Italy.
As parents, we all worry that our children spend too much time stuck in front of a computer, tablet, Nintendo Switch, Play Station and numerous other online activities that see them become the modern equivalent of the couch potato. Joining a football team certainly stops this, as well as games Joe has training with his team twice a week, and this then encourages him to practice in his garden too, with new goals and a rebound net at the top of his Christmas list this year. This is fitness that is also great fun!
It’s a great family activity
Watching Joe play is something that we do as a family, it is a great bonding experience. Sometimes nan and grandad come along too, and Joe likes to watch his cousin Renee play – she is only four but already football mad and takes part in indoor coaching as part of the Future Baggies programme.
It’s a great way to make friends
Joe is an only child, and we live in a semi rural area some distance from school friends, so football is a great way to make new friends and to socialise with other children after school and at the weekend, Through football, there have been invites to parties, opportunities for ground tours and trips, and a whole host of friendships with children he would not have met otherwise.
Do you have any thoughts on Grassroots football? Is your child involved? Would love to hear your thoughts.