Vauxhall, The FA’s Youth Partner and England Team Sponsor, selected 16 staff members as ‘Football Champions’ to attend the national football centre to take part in an FA Level one coaching course this week.
The aspiring coaches were given the opportunity to attend the £120m facility as part of the Football Mash Up programme, a partnership between Vauxhall and The FA aimed at tackling the issue of 14-17 year olds who drop out of football.
Chris Hornbuckle, Vuauxhall's Head of Sponsorship, explained: “As part of [Football Mash Up] we have a separate programme which is engaging with all of our retailers across the country trying to encourage them to support youth football in the 12-18 age group.
“We asked our retailers to appoint a football coordinator or a ‘Football Champion’, [who] are then partnered with a local club and we help provide kit for them to give to that local club.”
While new kit is helping to support grassroots clubs off the field, Vauxhall are now hoping to have a greater impact on the field by developing the Football Champions through the Level One coaching course.
“What we have done here is invested in a number of our Football Champions to take part and become a qualified FA Level One coach.
“It gives them the opportunity to further support their local club by helping out with the coaching. By having the qualification they will be able to go and help and support the teams they are specifically providing kit for.”
The event was positively received by Hornbuckle, who spoke of the benefit for local clubs.
He added: “The event has been fantastic. Everybody has had a great time and they are learning a lot. You can see many of the guys here have experience of coaching from helping out their team.
“They are really enthusiastic to be able to learn how to structure sessions properly, how to make them more interesting and relevant for the teenagers and how to progress those sessions to make them better players.
“So everybody seems to have had a really good time and have learned a lot. It has certainly been very beneficial for us.”
To find out more about the Football Mash Up programme including where you can find your local session click here