June, 2014

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Posted by: | Posted on: June 30, 2014

Red Hot Chile Football

Update 27/04//15

Girls Football team in Chile_W300_H131Hola NCFA

Here are some photos form the last few weeks since I moved to Chile. I’m volunteering everyday in a school called Escuela Los Trigales teaching English, and I just recently started up girls’ football (futbol feminino) in the school; the clubs are going really well so far, with the girls progressing and developing muy rapidamente!! My friend at Eir football donated a couple of balls which has been great, since the school does not have many resources, despite a huge amount of enthusiasm! Along with my boyfriend’s rugby team, we’ve also introduced rugby into the school, which has managed to get a lot of boys up early on a saturday morning!! An achievement in itself!
Special Needs football Chile_W300_H126

Inclusive football club

I’ve also started up an inclusive football club catering for young people with disabilities, inspired by my friend’s brother Felipe who is fanatical about football but hasn’t been able to enjoy mainstream football due to his physical limitations from Downs’ Syndrome. We started last week and the kids seemed to have a great time- their favourite was football with the giant pilates balls (which is very fun for anyone to play!)

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Rural Football Chile Style

Today I visited some rural schools int he countryside with the Municipalidad, on a mission to increase the levels of English around the city. I focused on football as a means of connecting with the kids- so you’ll be pleased to know that kids in rural Temuco can now name all the positions in a football team in English!! Who needs grammar lessons anyway?!!

Becca Todd in Chile_W200_H150

Becca Todd display new footy top

Aside form teaching and coaching, I am playing for a great club called Deportes Temuco. We play in the top league in Chile!! Training is pretty intense (almost every night for 2.5hours!) but hopefully it will pay off if we can beat Colo-Colo to win the league!!

I will let you know how it all goes!
Abrazos (hugs)
lots of love from Temuco, Chile
Becca
Becc Todd _300
National Projects Director, Paul Cooper (PC) writes; I have admired many coaches over the years both professional and at grass roots level, but none have had such an impact as Becca Todd (BC).  Her extraordinary dedication to children’s football around the world is nothing short of astonishing and her success can easily be measured by the width of the children’s smiles she comes into contact with.  We hope to hear a lot more from Becca in the future as the NCFA’s International ambassador.
PC.  You have been to so many countries helping kids enjoy football that you would make even Marco Polo blush. What are the countries you have been too so far?
BT. Haha yes football is an awesome way to see the world! It’s like an international language! When you play football with people you can really connect with them & have fun together….Marco Polo missed out on that on his travels!! I’ve played & coached football in England, Ireland, Spain, Malawi, New Zealand (x2), Peru, Ghana (x3), India, Nepal, Kenya, Colombia- and I’m hoping to add a lot more to that list!PC. Have you had a particular favourite country and why?
BT. I’ve loved all the different experiences I’ve had coaching all over the world. The countries that made the biggest impact on me were Ghana & Colombia. I went to Ghana to coach with a brilliant charity called KickStart Ghana- I can’t rate them highly enough for all they do to help the community develop through football coaching, sports & education. The people in the community of Ho made us all feel so welcome- and they feel like family now; we still keep in touch all the time- and I’m supporting the “BlackStars” for the World Cup! I really miss everyone out there! Their passion for football is unbelievable- everywhere you go you see people playing & even in the most remote spots you’ll find loads of people crowded around TVs following the premier league- it really brings people together!Likewise in Colombia- wow they are loco (crazy!) for futbol!!! The whole country comes to a halt when the Seleccion Colombia plays- and there are yellow shirts everywhere! I had the privilege of being the Team Liaison Officer to the Colombian National Team at the London 2012 Olympics and subsequently went out to Colombia to volunteer. I had an incredible time coaching kids in some of the poorest regions of Cartagena alongside some fantastic local coaches and charities. The kids I coached lived & breathed soccer- and it was a real escape from them from gang crime & violence. Being part of a football team seemed to really give the players direction and something to aspire towards. Some of the highlights were coaching a women’s’ team mainly made of single young mums- I had to get a rickety boat out to an island to coach them; so each session was an adventure! Also coaching an orphanage team with Fundacion Afrocaribe made a real impression on me; I organised some friendly matches for them & when they scored their celebrations were priceless to see!!
PC. Why do you think football is played just about everywhere?
BT.  Football is fun, and really easy to play! You can play with any number (often in Ghana we would start with a few kids and within minutes kids would be swarming all over the pitch from nowhere!) and with anything (I’ve seen bottles, rolled up bags, stones etc etc in place of balls!) and anywhere (kids in Kenya found a way to play on the banks of a sewage river in the middle of the slum!) It’s really accessible to everyone, and easy to get started and have a go!
PC. Do you find kids play differently depending on where they are from or their parents financial backgrounds?
BT. Kids all over the world seem to play & enjoy the freedom and fun of football no matter where they are from! It’s great that football is like a universal language! There are differences in how they play- just like differences you see in playing style amongst the adult teams. I think the main differences would be due to how many hours they’re clocking up! In countries where there aren’t things like playstations around- kids are getting far more time on the ball- so you can see that their skills are often a lot more advanced.Out here in New Zealand it’s different because unlike most countries I’ve been to, the main sport is not football but rugby; so as a result some kids I coach have never played football before & play it like it’s another rugby game!PC. What does football mean to the children that you have encountered on your travels and how have you used it?
BT. Football means so much to so many of the children I’ve met – it’s often the only escape from a hard lifestyle if they are living in poverty. Every child deserves to have fun!  For the teams I’ve coached all over the world- playing football gives a feeling of unity & being part of a team- which is so important. For the orphange team I coached in Colombia- their team of friends was like the boys’ family, so it meant a lot to them. Football gives kids something to aspire towards & some inspiration- kids all over the world at coaching sessions tell me they’re going to play in the world cup one day- it’s great that they have something they love to do & want to work towards!!  Apart from fun, football can be used to teach life skills- in Colombia I worked with numerous charities that use football to engage kids all over the slum areas- and then bring in social workers to deliver messages about health, education and values. We even went to a tournament once for charity teams- in which points were awarded for fairplay and positive attitudes rather than the result of the game.
I’ve also worked for a fantastic charity called Tackle Africa- that uses football games to educate coaches and children in Africa about HIV & AIDS. The use of football games is really effective for bringing the messages home- and keeps everyone interested! I’m sure a lot of people would rather be educated by football than in classrooms!
PC. Can you please tell us about  Futbolistas?
Futbolistas is my coaching organisation- with the emphasis on delivering FUN , high quality coaching sessions that everyone will enjoy! We started out as a girls’ football organisation to give girls an opportunity to get stuck into football (as often girls prefer single sex sessions)- but now we’ve expanded to run clubs for boys too! (We didn’t want them feeling left out!) We also run multisports holiday programmes which have been really successful here on the beaches of New Zealand! We donate 25% profits to the charity I coached with in Ghana- so that they can have fun playing too!  Eventually I would like to make Futbolistas into an international charity- that’s the dream!!
PC. Many people are now priced out of watching football in the UK but also many children have been priced out of playing for clubs so in some ways I guess a lot of UK kids may be envious of  the children you work with in some of the very poorest and deprived places on the planet. In seems rather ironic – would you care to comment on that?
BT. That’s a shame to hear that UK kids are priced out of club football; there should be something for everyone to get playing. It’s great that the National Children’s Football Alliance is doing something about it! Hopefully there can be a solution for the kids that can’t afford club football, just like the projects that run across the world for other kids.PC. So want is next for you Becca?
BT. I’m really enjoying life in NZ at the moment- it’s such a fun country to live in! I’m coaching sports in a local school called Putauaki School in a poorer region of the country- so it’s really rewarding to see the kids so enthusiastic about sport! They makeBecc Todd's players_300 me really happy! I’m also teaching PE & Outdoor Ed in some High Schools around here, as well as running some Futbolistas sessions and also voluntarily coaching various groups each week- plus playing for a team- so it’s keeping me on my toes!
I think the next step will be coaching in Chile- so I’ll keep you posted on how that goes!! Let me know how I can help NCFA- and all the best for all of your brilliant projects! Thanks for inviting me to get involved in the football week- we will be having a mini “world cup” over here in NZ which the kids are very excited for!
For more information visit:  http://www.futbolistasfootballcoaching.com/
Posted by: | Posted on: June 22, 2014

Minster for Sport

Helen Grant viewing exhibition_300

Helen at the Peace Day Celebration Exhibtion

“Both sides singing…My orders to the Coy. [Company]…are not to start firing unless the Germans do”. Captain A.S Bates, commanding No 4 Company, 1/5th London Regiment (4th Division), France, 24 December 1914.

100 years ago this December guns fell silent on the Western Front during the Christmas Truce of 1914. Soldiers from both sides exchanged seasonal greetings, songs and gifts, while some participated in games of football on “no man’s land”. Such gestures of humanity amidst the chaos and carnage of the battlefield serve to highlight the brutality of war and the sacrifice made by so many. This centenary year, a number of events are taking place up and down the country to fittingly commemorate this milestone in history.

Heritage Lotter Fund. Football and Peace Project, Maidstone, Ken

Football British Army Style***

Last week Maidstone United’s Gallagher stadium played host to a Football and Peace day organised by the National Children’s Football Alliance. As the MP for Maidstone and in my role as Minister for Sport and the minister leading the Government’s First World War commemorations, I was honoured to be a part of this initiative. Pupils from five schools across Kent were joined by students from Germany to partake in friendly games of football and cricket, among others.

Kent students have also been researching the local impact of the war and the role of sport in war and peace, thanks to a £32,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Their work was exhibited on the day and it was fascinating to learn more about Kent’s contribution to the Great War.

Helen Grant Phil Sheldrake James Lamont_300

L-R Helen Grant, Minister for Sport, Rev Phil Sheldrake and James Lamont, NCFA Chairman.***

Football and Peace day perfectly embodies our focus for the centenary on remembrance, education and youth. It’s vital that this generation appreciates the sacrifice made by so many men and women, a sacrifice that has shaped the world we live in. The peace we enjoy today is perhaps taken for granted, but for soldiers on the frontline that Christmas 1914, it was but a momentary reprieve.

Click on the link below to view the Football & Peace Film featuring an interview with the Minister for Sport.

Film released 1st July 2014

*** COPYRIGHT KENT MESSENGER GROUP FOR THE USE OF The National Children’s Football Alliance  USE ONLY ON THEIR WEB SITE REMAINS THE COPYRIGHT OF THE KMG AT ALL TIMES 01622 794667
Posted by: | Posted on: June 20, 2014

PEACE DAY CELEBRATIONS KICK OFF

Posted by: | Posted on: June 18, 2014

Minister for Sport Talks Peace

Helen Grant viewing exhibition_300

Helen at the Peace Day Celebration Exhibtion

“Both sides singing…My orders to the Coy. [Company]…are not to start firing unless the Germans do”. Captain A.S Bates, commanding No 4 Company, 1/5th London Regiment (4th Division), France, 24 December 1914.

100 years ago this December guns fell silent on the Western Front during the Christmas Truce of 1914. Soldiers from both sides exchanged seasonal greetings, songs and gifts, while some participated in games of football on “no man’s land”. Such gestures of humanity amidst the chaos and carnage of the battlefield serve to highlight the brutality of war and the sacrifice made by so many. This centenary year, a number of events are taking place up and down the country to fittingly commemorate this milestone in history.

Heritage Lotter Fund. Football and Peace Project, Maidstone, Ken

Football British Army Style***

Last week Maidstone United’s Gallagher stadium played host to a Football and Peace day organised by the National Children’s Football Alliance. As the MP for Maidstone and in my role as Minister for Sport and the minister leading the Government’s First World War commemorations, I was honoured to be a part of this initiative. Pupils from five schools across Kent were joined by students from Germany to partake in friendly games of football and cricket, among others.

Kent students have also been researching the local impact of the war and the role of sport in war and peace, thanks to a £32,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Their work was exhibited on the day and it was fascinating to learn more about Kent’s contribution to the Great War.

Helen Grant Phil Sheldrake James Lamont_300

L-R Helen Grant, Minister for Sport, Rev Phil Sheldrake and James Lamont, NCFA Chairman.***

Football and Peace day perfectly embodies our focus for the centenary on remembrance, education and youth. It’s vital that this generation appreciates the sacrifice made by so many men and women, a sacrifice that has shaped the world we live in. The peace we enjoy today is perhaps taken for granted, but for soldiers on the frontline that Christmas 1914, it was but a momentary reprieve.

Click on the link below to view the Football & Peace Film featuring an interview with the Minister for Sport.

*** COPYRIGHT KENT MESSENGER GROUP FOR THE USE OF The National Children’s Football Alliance  USE ONLY ON THEIR WEB SITE REMAINS THE COPYRIGHT OF THE KMG AT ALL TIMES 01622 794667
Posted by: | Posted on: June 18, 2014

A Different Kind of Soccer Book

Thumbs up 300The game of football is globally admired, locally revered and, no matter where anyone is in the world, sure to prompt a debate.  But as the game has mushroomed, the spirit of tactics, technique, and confidence – the pillars that made such a simple game so compelling, has been lost.

Mark Burke observed this in a rich playing career that took in England, Japan and Holland (amongst others).  He felt that in striving for results, we’d lost sight of what soccer actually is, and as a result, lost our enjoyment in this infinitely enjoyable game.

A Different Kind of Soccer Book reflects a back-to-basics approach to football for children playing the game and their parents and coaches.  It strips bare the philosophy of football to get young talents playing to enjoy this sport, rather than to put themselves under pressure to succeed.  Indeed, the tactics, technique and confidence taught in ADKOS book bring results through enjoyment, not the dry regimes and drills that can render soccer training a chore in so many other publications.

Mark, a footballer, coach and scout, writes in his own voice, with a unique way of telling it like it is, whilst bringing with him ringing endorsements from a range of elite professionals, and featured interviews with leading figures from the game. ADKOS is a book that combines reporting with practical lessons for those who believe that the best football is instinctive, energised, and fun.

Available now, with 40% of all revenues going to the NCFA.

differentkindofbook_644

Posted by: | Posted on: June 12, 2014

One in a Million

Mick Gale coach 300

Mick with son Rob after winning the Rocky Mountain Cup

Mick Gale (MG) is a classic example of all that is good in football.  NCFA Directer, Ernie Brennan first met Mick on one of the first FA Module 3 age appropriate courses, in Kent, England.  ‘Mick left an impression on me which very few people do.  I can only describe him as the Salt of the Earth with a knowledge and understanding of the game, second to none’. Ernie Brennan.    The NCFA sent Mick a number of quick fire questions – here are his on target answers.

Q. Please can you introduce yourself to the NCFA?  A brief profile; history, what do you do? Where do you work and why do you do it?

MG.  Born in Surrey,UK. Played professionally, coached on all 5 continents, teacher trained.  Currently National development Centre (NDC) in Canada with the best elite youngsters, boys and girls.  Why do I do it…… I still love the game.

Q. Can you discuss to what degree is football/soccer part of the fabric of children’s sport in Canada?

MG.  Football in Canada is not only the fastest growing sport but its participants are more than ice hockey and basketball combined. The girls game has been well established for some years and they are amongst the leaders on the world stage.  It’s a newer sport for the boys and each school now has soccer pitches which wasn’t the case 10 years ago , and has become part of the national curriculum.

Q. What are the major issues in children’s / youth football in Canada? Do they compare with UK?  If so, to what degree and if not, why do you think there is a difference?

MG.  Geographically Canada is the world’s largest country and children from rural areas suffer because of the distances required to travel.  Kids can start 3v3 age 5 and progress through minis /recreational/developmental to elite levels.  Although numbers are not as great as UK, we have seen qualifications for world cups over the last few years.  Due to the extreme cold over the long winters, the oputdoor season is very short.  Indoor centres are now coming on line creating far more opportunities.

Q.  In your experience how complicated has the game of football become?  Is it the same game you started coaching in your younger days?  What are the similarities and what are now the differences?

MG.  Basically it is still the same game. When I was a kid it was all about fitness and enthuisiasm. Now, however, with sport scientists it’s more about correct technique as well as tactical awareness, psychology, nutrition and prevention of injury. A few years ago I knew everything in the coaching world!  With the advent of therapists and scientists I now know far less and need to continually re-educate to stay on top of the game.

Q.  To what extent does Canadian Football / Soccer integrate on a social inclusion level in the community and on a national scale?

MG.  Social inclusion in Canada is country wide as they are brought up in such a multicultural society it means all kids are given equal opportunities to participate from local through provincial to national levels.

Q.  Do you feel as strongly about football now as you maybe did as a child? If so why and if no, why not?

MG.  Yes , more strongly now.  It was great fun as a kid and has become an all consuming passion as I’ve learnt more.

Q.  In your opinion, how significant to football is the 1914 Christmas Truce?

MG.  Greatly significant in Canada.  WW1 is history taught in schools and the Christmas truce for football is the highlight.  In contrast to the UK where few kids have even heard of the truce.

Q.  Can you tell the National Children’s Football Alliance why you think it is important that children learn about the Christmas Truce and Why?

MG.  Nowadays everybody should know about the Christmas truce.  It was an event that stopped the conflict and provided sport as a unifier.  What an example of how to overcome political differences.  The Canadians have a far greater respect for such matters and are ‘more English than the English’.

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