2017/18 was a successful season for local grassroots football according to Essex County FA Chief Executive, Brendan Walshe, who reflected on “many notable achievements” during the campaign in the Association’s newly-published 2018 Annual Report.
Acknowledging that 2017/18 featured further steps of change, Walshe detailed that the focus was to continue to develop and support the Essex game. Safeguarding continued to play an important role, and the process of ‘Safeguarding Visits’ at club training venues continued. More than 256 teams were visited, plus 310 coaches and more than 464 parents/spectators were consulted.
This continued to embed, and ensure, strong safeguards for all young and vulnerable people involved in the game. Some of the further key successes during the season detailed in the report, which is available at www.essexfa.com, included:
o more than 4,000 teams playing football in Essex, from mini-soccer through to Walking Football
o more than 1,300 referees supporting grassroots football
o the female game continued to grow, both in the number of affiliated teams but also through the SSE Wildcats Programme, which has had a positive impact on girls’ wider recreational participation
o the Essex County FA Female Regional Talent Club continued to provide an elite level development pathway for girls
o coach education continued to deliver high levels of training, with more than 2,500 learners undertaking education courses with the Essex County FA
o more than 600 coaches experienced ongoing learning through CPD (Continuing Professional Development)
In-line with The FA’s own National Game Strategy, the County FA developed a ‘Moving Forward’ Strategy 2018-2021 which lays out the strategic direction of the organisation for the next few years. Brendan explained this sets the overall vision of “creating a united grassroots football environment which delivers football opportunity for all.”
He stated: “Underpinning all of this activity, and the ongoing success of grassroots football in Essex, is the volunteers who support their respective leagues, clubs and teams to ensure thousands of people get to play football on a weekly basis. Thanks to each and every one of you. We look forward to working as part of your team for 2018/19.”
To read the Essex County FA’s 2018 Annual Report in full, visit www.essexfa.com.