Crawley Old Girls Get Into Coaching

Two ladies from Crawley who’ve stood on the side lines for years have just qualified as FA level One coaches.

Carol Bates and Maria Iula Harris are from a generation of women that missed the female football revolution but thanks to the EFL Trust FFD programme they’ve taken up the sport later in life. They were introduced to football by Crawley Town’s COGS (Crawley Old Girls Initiative), which was developed specifically for older ladies, who have an interest and passion for football, but who may not have had the opportunity to participate before. In addition, the ladies have used their newly developed skills recently to help deliver a session to the rest of the COGS ladies, supporting grassroots football.

Nicol Mererdith from the EFL Trust commented: “It’s really fantastic that the COGS ladies have had this opportunity. Our FFD programme has certainly been a catalyst for women now taking the level 1 award. It’s evident that this will further develop the workforce, and create role models for future generations”.

Participant Carol Bates: “It was great to have the opportunity to take the FA Level 1 coaching course locally, at Crawley Town FC. As a local youth Club Secretary I usually only get involved with all the paperwork but it certainly gave me a good insight into how much work coaches put in when they coach our children. Having been on the sidelines as a parent for over 10 years it gave me a much greater understanding of planning sessions and what goes into running them. It’s given me a great deal of information to take on board and now I’m helping run a new U11s girls’ team, for our club Crawley United, I’ll be putting it into practice too!”

Maria Iula Harris commented: “I joined COGS just over a year ago for a bit of fun with some friends. Little did I realise that Thursday nights would become my favourite night of the week where I would get to don my football boots! Then, after only a year, I as so inspired that I decided to become a Level 1 football coach, which I passed successfully. I will be looking to start an U8 girls football team in September. I thank my lucky stars that I was given the opportunity to join a team like COGS and now I ill hopefully be inspiring young girls to take up the great game of football.”

The grant of £2000 from Crawley Town FC and the FA Community Shield Fund, allowed six young people as part of the Crawley Town Scholarship Fund to complete the FA Level 1 Award in Coaching at the Stadium. Delivered by Sussex County FA, attendees worked on various different modules to prepare them for coaching activity with the Community Foundation.

From Rejection to International Honours

Joe Kenny is an England International, degree student, and a great example of how the EFL Trust Futsal programme can make a difference to people’s lives.

Joe was released by Leeds United aged 15 and in his own words ‘just mucked about at school.’ He now has 7 England Futsal caps to his name, is one of the rising stars of the game and is currently studying for a degree at Loughborough University. However, as he explains not too many years ago it appeared his life was heading in a different direction.

“I’d been with the Leeds United Academy since I was 9. At 15 I was released and it was devastating at the time.  I’m a Leeds fan and I was living the dream but it just didn’t work out.  What made things worse was that I’d just messed about a bit at school and didn’t get the grades. Basically school did not feel relevant to me. I’m into football, I love playing and sitting in the school classroom I wasn’t particularly motivated and I as a result just didn’t do that well.  So my qualifications aren’t great and my football dreams are seem like they are over and I was just left wondering what on earth do I do next.”

“Then I saw the EFL Trust Futsal and Education Programme which offered me a lifeline. It meant I could still continue to play and represent Leeds, Importantly the course would give me a qualification, a BTEC in Sport and Active Leisure, which could open up a path into further education or employment.”

“The EFL Trust Futsal programme was great for me. It’s different from school and I just felt motivated to learn. You’re studying at a professional football club, the one I’d supported since I was a toddler.  You learn using an online platform but you’ve got lots of support. Then of course you get to pull on that club shirt and represent your team against other professional clubs.  For me it opened up a path into the higher levels of Futsal, regional development squads, England Under 19’s, Under 23’s and finally into the full England Team.  If you said to the 15 year old me that I’d end up going to university, he would have laughed at you. Yet only a few years later I’m studying at a top university and I’ve represented my country.”

Mark Dick the EFL Trust, Futsal Manager, comments, “The course is ideal for people like Joe, who love sport and aren’t particularly motivated by the academic environment and as such didn’t do too well at school. By using sport as a focal point it’s provides a way to ignite a passion for learning. Many students then go onto university or straight into employment. That’s the main focus of the programme, however an ever increasing number of our students are finding their way into the regional development squads and more are likely to following Joe’s footsteps and play for the national team.”

Look Good Feel Good

The Club Doncaster Foundation has been continuing to help improve the lives of people within the local community.

Over the past two months, the health and wellbeing section within the Foundation have been running the Look Good Feel Good programme, in collaboration with Mencap Doncaster and Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council, to help people become independent, cook meals and get fit.

The programme has seen participants enjoy a question and answer session with Doncaster Rovers first team players, go to a football match, prepare and cook meals and take part in various team building activities.

Speaking about the programme, Club Doncaster Foundation community officer Nick Gillott said: “The course that we have run over the past two months has had a massive impact on the lives of people within Doncaster.

“It is great that we as a Foundation are able to positively help the local community so much and see people enjoying themselves.

“From the feedback we have received from the course, we are delighted that we have had a positive influence on the people who participated on the course and we look forward to running similar programmes in the future.

For more information on how you can get involved with the Foundation visit

You can see some of the great work that has been done by the Club Doncaster Foundation on the programme in the video below: