How can I recruit players for my youth football team?

Whether you are trying to start a new football team or simply looking to boost the numbers of an existing one, player recruitment can be one of the more challenging aspects involved in running a club.

It’s important though. Not only do new players give you more options but they can also help to improve and freshen up a squad by bringing in talent and enthusiasm. In addition to this, they will also create a larger community network within your club.

If you’re struggling to find new players or you just need some ideas for how to get new faces on board, here are four ways to recruit for your youth football team.

Get your club active on social media

The power and reach of social media is astonishing. Over 78% of British internet users have a Facebook account, 47% are on Twitter and 42% have Instagram. If your club doesn’t have an account on any of these platforms, then that is something you need to seriously look into.

Your club can use social media to reach and attract new players in a way that really isn’t possible with any other media. Encourage existing players, your friends and family to share your page and posts about recruitment. You can even ask your respective County FA or league if they can harness their social media following to help.

It costs nothing to post an advert looking for new players and it can be done in a matter of minutes. If it results in just one new recruit, then that makes it worthwhile.

Set up links with a football academy or school

Setting up links with a local football academy can allow you to tap into a whole host of players in the local area. At We Make Footballers, our academies are always open to forging partnerships with clubs as they are mutually beneficial for both parties and help create pathways for players in the game.

From the club’s point of view, it’s a way of accessing new players as well as giving existing ones the opportunity to undertake further professional coaching. From the academy’s point of view, it’s a chance to get individuals playing football for a team in a competitive environment.

You can also connect with schools through the FA’s School Club Links guide, which helps to partner grassroots clubs with local schools and colleges.

Run open training days, tournaments and events

An open day is a brilliant way to help you showcase your club and everything you are about. Pick a date and advertise the day well in advance through posters in the community, social media updates and contact with a local newspaper.

On the day itself, you should look to host a fun event that is a real celebration of football. It needs to inspire people to get involved with the sport and your club, no matter what their ability level.

Set up some friendly matches, offer some free coaching and make things as casual and fun as possible – it goes without saying that the more a player enjoys themselves, the more likely they will be to join.

And that’s the most important part – signing people up. Have a sign-up zone and make it as quick and easy as possible for interested players to leave their details for you.

Create relationships with other clubs in your area

A relationship with another club in your area can not only help your recruitment drive but it can also make you a more attractive proposition for players.

Let’s say you form a link with a local non-league club to become a junior partner with them. They can use their extensive following and name to advertise for new players on your behalf. In return, the link gives them access to your most talented individuals when the time comes for them to step up a level or into adult football.

That link also provides a clear footballing pathway for ambitious players. If they can see that by joining you, there’s the potential to take their career forward with a senior team, then that makes your club a much more attractive option.

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