Volunteers are the backbone of grassroots football across the country. An estimated 400,000 people give up their time every week to help ensure that the 37,000 clubs operating in England can continue to offer the opportunity for people to play the beautiful game. Without them, the sport as we know it wouldn’t exist.
If you’re considering volunteering in football to keep the game we love running, then here are some of the many benefits.
You’ll be giving something back to the local community
One of the main reasons that people take up volunteering in all walks of life – not just football – is to give something back to the local community. Volunteering can make a huge difference by providing opportunities that may not otherwise exist.
Maybe you benefited from coaches giving up their time to coach you and your friends when you were younger and want to offer the same to the next generation. You might wish to help young people stay off the streets by giving them an alternative way to spend their time. Or you might just feel that football can change the lives of people for the better.
Whatever your reasoning for wanting to give something back, volunteering in football is a brilliant way of doing it.
You can change lives
On that last point, football volunteers can genuinely change lives. There are countless examples of professional players at the very top of the game such as Kyle Walker or Raheem Sterling who are on record as saying that without the help of the coaches they had as children, they could have ended up going down a much darker path.
That’s the power that football has. You might have a coach from when your played junior football who you look back on fondly 20 years later, tying him into great memories from your youth. You could be that coach that kids of today are still talking about in two decades time.
You could help develop the next superstar
Imagine if you’re sat at home watching the 2030 World Cup Final when in the very last minute of extra time, England score the greatest goal in the competition’s history to become champions for the first time in 64 years.
The goal scorer? It’s only that player that you discovered and coached from the age of seven, right the way through his junior football career. You helped put him on that path to greatness, changing his life and sport in this country.
Ok, so England winning a World Cup with a goal scored by one of your players might seem farfetched. But if one of your players does go onto make it into an academy or as a professional, you’ll feel an immense sense of pride for having played a part of their journey.
It can lead to a full-time position and career
Many of those who now work permanently in football in various different positions originally started out by giving up just a few hours a week in volunteer roles. This is especially true of coaches.
There are countless stories of people who did their FA Level 1 qualification in order to help out at a local club but ended up enjoying it so much that they progressed through the coaching ranks and wound up in a full-time career.
You could start out volunteering to help out your local Under 7s side once a week at training and find yourself a few years down the line running your own We Make Footballers academy, turning a hobby into a job you love.
You’ll make new friends with a common interest
If you’re considering volunteering in football, then presumably it’s because you like football. And the other volunteers you might meet are presumably doing it for the same reasons. Volunteering is a great opportunity to meet like-minded people and make friends over a common interest.
One of the major benefits of kids taking up football is to meet new people and expand their social circles – but the same is also true for adults. What better way is there to do that than volunteering and discovering people who love the game as much as you do?