The FA has created a season-long campaign to celebrate and promote men’s grassroots 11-a-side football. The campaign will launch in July to encourage former players to sign-up for a team and through the season will celebrate great moments from the 30,000 teams playing across England.
The number of players and teams in affiliated men’s 11-a-side football leagues is in decline. Figures have been decreasing over time and the 2008-09 season saw 400 fewer teams register than the previous season (now 30,400).
To inspire players to get back into football, the campaign will feature a promotional film following a player’s journey through training and matches, taking in the highs and lows and showing the unique dressing room camaraderie. It will also see The FA launch a YouTube channel, A series of self-help films featuring The FA’s expert coaches and medical staff and a grassroots Goal of the Month competition.
The campaign kicked-off with a preview of the film playing on the big screen at Wembley at the England vs Andorra match on 10th June. The film will also run during Soccer AM from August and on the Sky Sports network as well as university bars and pubs throughout the season.
The 18-22 year old group are the most likely to drop out of 11-a-side football, There are around only half as many 19-year-olds playing regular league based 11-a-side football as 16-year-olds. This is when many players make the shift from junior teams and schools football, to the adult game and for some onto university. The FA’s campaign will promote its ‘Find a Club’ tool on TheFA.com/play where players can enter their postcode to find a bespoke list of local teams for them to join.
The film was shot on location in Hackney Marshes, Redbridge Sports Centre, The Hyneholt Puln and features local football clubs (Old Bealonians, Bethnal Green Utd FC and Leyton Orient Advanced Soccer School) as well as prominent sports bloggers and journalists featuring as extras.