Football is one of the most popular sports in the world, with over 3.5 billion fans around the globe, and is certainly the most-watched in the UK with 52% of the population reporting football is their favourite sport. However, creating a local grassroots football team can be a tough and time-consuming process, from thinking up the right name to deciding club officials. But perhaps one of the hardest parts of all? Recruiting new players to your grassroots football team.
Whether you’re building a new football team from scratch or trying to improve the ranks of your existing team, an effective player recruitment strategy is crucial. If you’re finding it difficult to recruit new players, or you just need some new ideas to get new faces on board, here are our best ways to recruit for your grassroots football team.
Utilise social media
According to Cybercrew, there are 53 million active social media users in the UK, 77.9% of the entire UK population! The reach you can give your team with a good social media channel is amazing, so if your club isn’t active on the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, you could be missing out on a major market.
Your football club can utilise its social media channels to attract new players in a way that really isn’t possible with other media, especially if you’re on a tight budget! Encourage your existing players to share your page and posts about looking for new players; you could even ask your County FA or league if they could share your posts to hit a wider reach.
Plan an open day
An open day can be a great way to introduce potential players to your club, and show them exactly what your ethos is all about. You can set up some friendly matches and mini coaching sessions to show them the benefits of joining your team, and ask existing players to be there and talk to the new players about what it’s like to be part of the team.
Make sure in the lead up to the event you’re posting about your event regularly across your social media channels. A single post won’t do the job! Look for community Facebook groups in your local area; many will be happy to share your event details.
To make things even easier, we’d recommend setting up a sign-up zone, where potential players that come to the open day can easily leave their details to show their interest in playing for your team. Consider offering ‘taster’ training sessions and discuss these with those looking to leave their details or seem interested in joining.
Create a good relationship with local schools and colleges
This will be dependent on the age range of your team, but if applicable, schools and colleges can be a great way to find promising, local, young talent. The FA even runs a School Club Links Guide with the sole purpose of connecting grassroots clubs across the country with local schools and colleges.
Once signed up, you can work alongside the teachers and coaches at the school to find and recruit the best talent, and will also be a resource you can rely on for years to come.
Create a good relationship with other local clubs
A strong working relationship with other clubs in your local area can not just help your recruitment efforts, but can also make you a more attractive proposition for potential players.
If you form a connection with a local, non-league club to become a junior partner with them, they can use their following and name to advertise for new players on your behalf. In return, you would give them access to your most talented players when it’s time for them to progress into the next stage of adult football.
Ask your players to scout
It’s important not to underestimate the recruitment resources you have at your disposal within your club already! All of your players will be invested in the wellbeing and success of the team, and they will all have friends/family who may be interested in signing up.
At the end of each training session, ask your players to keep their ear to the ground, and find out if they know anyone who would be interested in playing, and ask them to either introduce you to them, or even bring them along to the next training session.
Posters and flyers
Flyers can be a simple, low-cost way to advertise your open day, or advertise the fact you’re looking for new players. You can find some simple templates online, or design these yourself. There will be plenty of ideas and designs you can look at for inspiration online and on social media!
Make sure the event details are eye catching, and your contact details are there for anyone that may not be able to attend your event. Make it clear that players of all abilities are welcome so as not to alienate those who may not have as much experience.
If you’d like to print lots of flyers, you could consider speaking to a local printer to print these for you in exchange for their company featuring as an event sponsor. Make sure to ask your existing players to give flyers to people they know, and post them through letterboxes. You can also ask local shops and businesses if you can put a flyer on any display boards and at the checkouts.
Speak to other local clubs
It may not seem like the most obvious route to attracting new players. But other clubs in your area may have more players than they can fit into their teams and would prefer everyone to be able to get a game because it increases the standard of football in your area.
Contact these clubs and ask them to suggest your team to any of their players who struggle for game time!
The support from Gift of Kit has made a huge difference to our club. We signed up and the following week Gift of Kit offered us a sponsored kit from Deliveroo. The extra funds freed up from not buying a kit meant we could train at better facilities and qualify a new coach! Clubs like ours need all the support we can get and we are grateful to Gift of Kit for fighting our corner!
– Ed Watson, Coach, Calne Hercules FC
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