This has been another positive season for Football Plus, Arsenal in the Community’s leading football development programme.
Football Plus, which has been running since been running since 2017, aims to provide a positive first and continued experience of football, and also uses the game as a platform to educate participants about key social issues.
In addition to working with young people, the programme engages with parents and the wider grassroots community to create the best possible environment for children to thrive and enjoy the game. All of these aims are encompassed by the programme’s values:
Be respectful – Show compassion and empathy to those around you. Accept others for who they are because we are all different. Respect helps build trust, safety and wellbeing. Respect your team-mates, coaches, opponents and spectators at all times.
Be a great team-mate – Work together to achieve goals. Connect, communicate and collaborate with team-mates. Support, encourage and praise team-mates when they need positive feedback.
Be a good sport – Be supportive and willing to learn, have a positive attitude and practise self-control. Be competitive but also recognise and applaud the efforts of your opponents too. Play fairly, and within the rules of the game.
Try your best – Always give maximum effort at training and during games.
Never give up – Understand that mistakes will happen and are a part of learning. Practice leads to improvement.
Have fun! – Remember, football is a game and is there to be enjoyed.
As part of Football Plus, Arsenal in the Community have teams from Under-10 through to Under-15 levels participating in the Regent’s Park Youth League (RPYL). The 2022/23 season has been particularly memorable for our current Under-13 side, who bounced back from narrowly missing out on winning the league by lifting the Regent’s Park Cup.
The team began the season by making the challenging transition from nine-a-side to 11-a-side, and they experienced some difficult moments early in the campaign. However as the weeks and months went by the team grew in confidence and battled through some tough matches to reach the final. And then, in what was one of the most challenging and dramatic games of the season, the team claimed the trophy with a 6-3 victory over Rugby Portabello FC.
The Under-13s were also fortunate to experience a trip of a lifetime as they were invited to the Arsenal Training Centre at London Colney to be coached by several of the Arsenal Under-18 Academy players as they undertake part of their UEFA C coaching qualifications. The course was delivered by PFA staff and included elements such as safeguarding, first aid, and planning and delivering coaching sessions. There was plenty of good advice from the Under-18 players too in what was a memorable day for the youngsters.
Under-13s coach Aarron Maginley said, “This is our first season since transitioning from nine-a-side and the boys have done really well in adapting to all the changes. We have a great group of players and there is a real togetherness within the squad, which has certainly helped.
“We have also had great support from the parents and carers, who have been with the team every step of the way.”
Well done to all of the cup-winning Under13s squad: captain Yuval, goalkeeper Ben, William, Adam, Muhammad, Freddie, Ege, Ilias, Gabriel, Justin, Riyad, Otto, Izaak, Elias, Kieran, Romaine, Jacob, Tymon, Iggy and Jackson.
Now that the season at Regent’s Park has come to an end, attention turns to this year’s Arsenal in the Community Grassroots Mini-lLague. Now in its eighth year, the Mini-League aims to:
•Fill the gap between the Regent’s Park Youth League season finishing in mid-March and the summer holidays, providing further opportunities for young players to play structured games.
•Encourage clubs and coaches to share good practice.
•Help develop local young players.
•Provide a child-friendly environment in which players can enjoy the game.
More than 700 children are expected to participate in the Mini-League, which will run weekly from Saturday, April 22 to Saturday, July 15, 2023.
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