Coach Sweeney’s story

I am a fully qualified sports coach and I have over 30 years experience. We host football games and coaching three nights a week. For most it is a chance to get out the out of the house, off the streets and have fun with friends. For some it could be the start of a lifetime in sport.

What do people get out of it? They learn what it takes to be a sportsman: commitment, developing skills, resilience in the face of challenge, a willingness to work hard to improve yourself. In a word, stickability.

But even more important is the great football atmosphere: mutual encouragement, enjoyment of the sport and sharing time together as players, as families and as a community. It’s good for young people and it’s something I am passionate about.

I’ve seen some talented young players start out here, and I have supported them to junior club level. But they can’t always attend training – which can be 3-4 times a week – as they progress in the sport. A hurdle as simple as travelling a long way to practice or play can stop a player developing, or stop friends and family coming to support them.

It scares me that we have great players and we’re in danger of losing them. Why? Families don’t always have the resources, even if they would like to support the youngster. That is why we are planning a Football Academy so we have the support right on our doorstep.