Opportunities for Football in Sandwell

This local study offers an overview of the provision of Football in the local area, Sandwell. Football has a well-developed structure in Sandwell as it is the most widely played sport in the area and the sport is encouraged to be played at both school and club level. This can be seen through the performance pathway organised by the FA (Appendix A). I will be discussing the opportunities and provision for Football from grassroots foundation level at school to first level of elite at regional clubs of the sporting pyramid (Appendix B). Performer Pathway Primary School:

Played for enjoyment and mass participation at foundation level (Appendix B). 2. PE and teams are mixed gender, which is good because everyone is encouraged to participate. However, talented boys may be held back from developing due to playing with girls. 3. Children with different abilities encouraged to play together encouraging teamwork. However, this could lead to frustration with higher ability children and decrease enjoyment. 4. There are 96 primary schools within Sandwell (findaschool, 2011). 80% receive football coaching weekly from West Bromwich Albion FC or Aston Villa FC through their Community coaching schemes. (avfc. co. uk).

Secondary School: 1. Trials are held where the skill level stepped up which leaves some children with nowhere to play. However, to increase opportunity, some schools such as George Salter Academy (GSA) have created a ‘B team’ to accommodate the lower ability players. This gives provision to the players who many develop at a later age than others, keeping them involved within the foundation level of the pyramid. 2. Representing school at district level in the West Midlands County League is the first level of elite (figure 2). Some areas in the West Midlands no longer run district teams, for example South Birmingham (Footymag. net, 2012).

This means many talented players in that area won’t have access to the next stage of the performer pathway which means they will have less chance of being spotted by a professional club if their good enough. Clubs: 1. In the West Midlands there are 9 boys leagues – aged from 7 years to open age. Competition used to run from age 6 until an FA Development Review decided competition at such an early age impeded children’s development as people. 2. There are 2 girls leagues, 1 Women’s league. 3. In Sandwell there are still strong school sports – club links. For example, GSA have established links with Greets Green FC and Real West Brom FC.

These clubs fall into the participation section of the sporting pyramid (Appendix B). Having official school sports – club links is a rarity in Sandwell secondary schools. However, there are unofficial club links in many schools in the area such as Phoenix Academy and Bustlehome FC. 4. School sports – Club links gives the majority of players at GSA an exit route into Sunday league football. However, there is a lack of provision for higher ability players; this could lead to potentially elite players being lost as they have nowhere to play.

Resources 1. Schemes and programmes are funded by the government, lottery, F. A, and the Olympic legacy fund. Funding Public Private Voluntary 1. Funding often comes from the government which has been collected through taxation. 2. The government then gives each council a set amount of money, which they then grant as they feel fit. 3. An example of this is the new Small Astroturf at GSA which was funded by a council approved grant. 4. The national lottery fund allocates 16. 7% of its overall grants to sport. These funds supply facilities for the elite and performance level of development. 1. Private provision of sports facilities can operate on a pay as you play basis or by a yearly subscription.

2. This private funding provides facilities for relatively wealthy participants at the participation and performance levels of the development pyramid. This could be classed as elitist. 3. Private funding can also help a team attract better players as they may be offered a financial reward for success. 1. The Sports Leadership Awards and FA coaching badges are provided for: Coaching, leading, supervising training, and running teams. 2. Managers of youth teams will be volunteers. Sports Leadership Awards are encouraged at colleges such as Sandwell College.

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