The FA’s National Development Manager for youth and mini-soccer Nick Levett was online to answer questions from fans on Monday afternoon in an exclusive Twitter Q&A session.
With lots of changes taking place in the game for young players in England, at both grassroots and professional level, there were a variety of topics for Levett to respond to under #YouthFootballQA.
Amongst the subjects discussed were the use of Futsal as a development sport, the UEFA youth league and bridging the gap between junior and adult football.
“We have to maintain focus that it is about players learning, and our teaching and practices just help this along. ”
Nick Levett National Development Manager
The full transcript of questions, including those who sent them in, and answers from Nick can be seen below.
@4_Burrman What's your main concern? Educating the youngsters or educating the coaches? #YouthFootballQA
Ultimately, developing better players is part of the @FA's role and this goes hand-in-hand with developing better coaches.
@Lewis31m #YouthFootballQA Do more English players need to go abroad like, like other top countries?
I think players should take any opportunities that come their way to broaden their training experiences and also life experiences
@jonnylindsay #YouthFootballQA are youth football leagues aimed to try develop young players' skills or just to try make them have fun?
It should be both!
@Blackscorpio7 would appreciate advice on how subs should be made at junior level. How can everyone read off same hymn sheet? #YouthFootballQA
Have a conversation with the players about the team's philosophy. Is it equal playing time? Or the best kids play more?
@richoxcoach Do you think there is now so much info available 4 coaches that there is a risk of losing focus on the player(s)? #YouthFootballQA
Absolutely, we have to maintain focus that it is about players learning, and our teaching and practices just help this along.
@synergy_print Would encouraging young footballers to take up Futsal help improve their technical development? #YouthFootballQA
Futsal is definitely part of the plot! It's a great tool for player development and across grassroots and professional game.
@FozzieHere if you had unlimited budget, what would be the 1 thing you’d spend it on? #YouthFootballQA
I'm torn between 3G pitches across the whole country and free coaching courses for everybody. Both are vitally important.
@Alex_Harvie what's next for the YDR? We've seen pitches/balls relative to age, but how else are we developing players?
We need to let the new changes settle in whilst developing a culture of change.
@LiamGiles96 do you agree there is a missing link between academy and grassroots football? If so, what is the solution? #YouthFootballQA
Yes, research indicates amount of informal play is difference between academy kids & grassroots kids, we need to value play.
@DCLECoaching how strongly would you value position specific coaching if the service was readily available at a club? #YouthFootballQA
Certainly valuable as players get older, but at younger ages, rotating positions is massively beneficial.
@offthepostnews #YouthFootballQA Also, opinions on the UEFA Youth League and U21/U18 BPL Leagues. Have they been a success in your eyes?
Anything that keeps players in the system longer to delay decision making on talent has to be good for the game.
@AfcGoenka #youthfootballQA what do you look for in young players?
Firstly, a love of the game, a desire to get better, a good learner and grit and determination.
@oldwoodsFC how do we get youth players to move into adult football? There's a drop off and a gap that needs to be bridged #YouthFootballQA
Making links between youth & adult leagues is vital and stepping stones of U18 and U21 leagues are important.