Progress 1996 to 2011



1996 - Soccer Kids

Although Mini Soccer and Soccer Star (game & test - no coaching permitted) had been launched by the FA, there was still no concerted effort being made to address the key area of grass roots development, so in 1996 I formed my own SSD school (Soccer Kids) at the University of Sheffield which quickly hit the national press as the most successful football development programme in the UK.

Today, Soccer Kids is predominantly a starter school but it still provides the new pro academies with a large number of talented young kids (age 7 to 9) each year.



1998 - The FA & Premier League Launch the New Academy Programme

Despite the initial strong criticism from the powers that be, the Premier League launches the new Pro Club Academy Scheme and the FA introduces a new set of coaching courses - around 45% of the Grass Roots recommendations!



1998 - Update - Grass Roots Report

Although around 45% of the original report had now been implemented, there were still, however, a number of vital areas still missing, which in my mind, was a bit like building a house without a roof or having no electricity - so in 1998 I published an updated version of the Grass Roots 1995 Report.



SSD2010 - Kicking Into The Future

15 years on, and although nearly 75 % of the original Grass Roots Report had now been finally implemented, there were was still much room for improvement, so I published my final Report - Kicking Into The Future.


There are still no specialist child/youth coaches in England

Academies are being used as a stepping stone for ex players going into senior coaching

Academies are stopping young kids from playing for their school teams

The academies have restricted, not increased the number of playing hours

There is still no mental coaching

There are no coaching differentials

There is no set development programme

There is too much emphasis on sports science with young kids

Physical stature is coming before natural ability

There is no catch-up process (physical and mental development)

There is no cultural adaptation

Official EU Statistics 2007
The UK has the lowest number of playing fields per population in Europe (more than 5000 were sold between 1970 and 1982 and they are still being sold at the rate of 4 per month)

Children in the UK spend more time indoors than any other children throughout Europe

The UK has the lowest number of school PE hours in Europe

The UK have the unfittest children in Europe

The UK has the highest number of obese children in Europe

The UK have the lowest number of children's coaches (per population) in Europe

2011 - The FA Announces Changes!

The FA announces major changes to its future youth development programmes:

We are going to introduce specialist children and youth coaches because coaching a 5 year old is not the same as working with a 12 year old

Academies should no longer stop young children from playing with their friends or school teams because kids today are not playing enough football

Academies must have age related training programmes (coaching differentials)

We have to stop this idea that early physically developed lads make better players and aim more towards developing the naturally gifted irrespective of size

2011 - The Government Announces Changes!

The Government announces major changes concerning sport and fitness in our schools:

The random sale of school playing fields has to stop

A minimum of 2 hours school PE per week will return to the curriculum

We have to organise more out-of-school sport activities for young kids and provide them with the right facilities and proper coaches

There will be a return to competitive sport in schools and will employ more PE teachers



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