Trust puts emphasis on youngest players

ACTIVE project manager Trevor Cox believes that the Ipswich Town Community Trust has demonstrated its determination to stick to its core values by scrapping its Community Football Club programme for Under-12s to concentrate its energies on the Under-11s.

By Derek Davis

ACTIVE project manager Trevor Cox believes that the Ipswich Town Community Trust has demonstrated its determination to stick to its core values by scrapping its Community Football Club programme for Under-12s to concentrate its energies on the Under-11s.

Unlike many leagues for young players, the emphasis for the CYFL is on allowing children aged from five up to 10 a chance to learn about the game in a fun way.

They preach fair and equal participation and stress that it is not about winning games but player development.


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Cox said: “CYFL is for children who want to play in a safe environment, regardless of ability.

“It is about showing youngsters what fantastic fun football can be.

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“Hopefully they can learn the skills they need so when they leave our age groups they will be better equipped to go into local leagues.”

The money saved by the Community Trust in not fielding an Under-12s side in a league will be used to train more coaches for the younger age groups, up to the FA Level 1 grade.

Cox said: “There is a cost element as we are putting coaches in place rather than having managers.

“It made more sense as a charitable trust to put the money into the younger age brackets.

“We wanted to get back to our core base and get back to having a grip and control on everything that happens.”

Cox admits not all parents are happy at the scrapping of the Under-12s but the Trust is making sure that they are putting provisions into place to ensure those that want to carry on playing can do so.

He said: “They know who they can approach and who they can play for. Many want to stay together and form their own team, and we are providing the information to help them do that.

“For example, the over-11s in Bury are carrying on their league, and we are ready to help others who want to start their own local league by showing them how to do it - even though we no longer run them.”

Unlike the Blues Academy, the CYFL is not about spotting talent, and Cox is keen that the youngsters coming through practice less and play more by teaching them how to play in all positions and not railroading them into being a certain type of player.

Extensive research by the FA has shown children learn more by playing in small-sided games without a keeper, so they decided to dispense with the 11-a-side.

Over-enthusiastic coaching from the sidelines has also been issue that the CYFL has tried to address by bringing in a code of conduct, but they ran into trouble at Under-12s.

Cox said: “We tried it and carried it on and it went well for a year, but what happened was more and more children wanted to get involved because the way we ran it was different to other local leagues.

“We try to keep a lid on parent behaviour, whereas unfortunately with other local leagues there was a problem. That then started creeping into our leagues and we began to have problems with parents from other leagues because our parents had been cocooned and it was a different ball game away from the CYFL.

“There were other things too that were out of our control with the hiring of pitches and games being called off.”

A new 30-week programme will start in the summer with almost 600 children expected to enrol. Call 01473 400500 for more details.

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