Pioneering plans are most exciting in years say Cumberland FA
Last updated at 12:25, Friday, 01 June 2012
Cumbria's pioneering football chiefs have branded the sweeping changes to the youth game as the most exciting in years.
The county will have no problem following the Football Association’s plans, as it has been involved in the consultation and currently uses some of the proposals.
U7 teams in Cumbria have already been playing seven-a-side instead of 11 v 11, on three quarter-size pitches and with 16 feet by seven feet goals compared to the full-sized 24 feet by eight feet.
Under the new guidelines which come into play during the 2014-15 season, they will play five-a-side.
The FA’s rules will see no child U13 play 11-a-side football with U9s and U10s playing seven v seven and U12s nine-a-side.
U11s in Cumbria already play nine-a-side.
Ben Snowdon, the county’s chief executive officer, said the FA’s proposals could see Cumbria produce the next Wayne Rooney, but insisted the emphasis was on enjoyment rather than unearthing a future star.
He added: “Of course we’d like to think Cumbria could produce the next Rooney, Steven Gerrard or Joe Hart, but our main focus is getting children enjoying the game.
“These new proposals are not about the elite, they are about teaching children the skills they need to enjoy the sport.
“This is the most exciting time for youth football. It has given everyone involved in football the chance to shape the way we develop children’s football.
“That is not only a massive challenge, but it is also a massive opportunity.
“The new proposals are about giving the game back to the children.”
FA shareholders this week voted through new rules.
Children will then have to play in small-sided games with goals and balls of an appropriate size and without points up for grabs.
By making their compulsory changes, the FA believe happier and more skilful players will be produced.
Countries like Spain, Holland and Germany already embrace mini-football and place less emphasis on competition for young players.
Craig Lewis, Cumberland FA’s development manager, added: “This scheme is about getting more children not only playing the game, but staying in the game.
“It’s a developmental model which is aimed at giving children the tools to go further and enjoy the game. The youth leagues in Cumbria have been pioneering this scheme already.
“We already have proactive, forward-thinking league officials, who understand the benefits of playing on smaller pitches, with smaller equipment.
“The transition will not be difficult for Cumbria because we are already geared up to conform.”
First published at 11:29, Friday, 01 June 2012
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
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