Suffolk coach passes badge - in West Africa!

Jason Thompson watches as Felixstowe & Walton United Under-8s take part in a game

Jason Thompson watches as Felixstowe & Walton United Under-8s take part in a game - Credit: Archant

FELIXSTOWE & Walton United’s Jason Thompson decided against taking the last part of his FA Level 2 coaching badge locally.

The 29-year-old, who lives in Felixstowe and has been coaching the club’s under-8s together with Simon Taylor for the past three years, instead took it – and became the first person to pass – in West Africa!

The first nine days of his course were spent with Essex FA, but Thompson asked if he could take the last day – his practical exam – during a trip to The Gambia.

Robert Munro, one of his tutors/examiners, was on the same trip and a few phone calls later it was agreed that he could do his practical exam using local Gambian boys under the African sun.

The Port of Felixstowe employee, who became involved in the charity ‘Football Gambia’ through his love of the game and wish to become a coach, is hoping the Seasiders will now twin with a football academy in the former British colony.

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The charity was set up four years ago to raise funds via donations throughout the year and then sending them to The Gambia for local schools, communities and football clubs who could benefit most.

One of the biggest projects Football Gambia run is also closest to Thompson’s heart – the KGH football academy in Lamin, which is a local club relatively speaking similar to Felixstowe & Walton United.

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Thompson said: “The local players are our friends and look after us when we are in The Gambia. They have very little in terms of basic equipment but are always happy just for the opportunity to play.

“The facility is home to about 20 local teams of different age groups and they don’t even have a proper pitch marked out.

“If anyone has an old kit they would like to donate as well as bibs, cones, balls, goals, pumps, whistles, linesmen flags, nets, bags, water bottles or anything we take for granted that these boys struggle to find, it would be hugely appreciated.

“I will be trying to send a couple of bins out there this year in order to keep the playing area clean and tidy, as well as educating the boys in the risks of littering.

“I plan to ask Felixstowe & Walton United to twin and donate a kit and get the club involved in a bit of fund-raising.”

Anyone interested in helping with donations can contact Thompson via email at

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