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The NCFA recently spoke with Coach Dave Williams of Premier Skills Academy in Hatfield about a timely initiative to support children in developing a love for the game. A seasoned coach of over 20 years Dave has found himself on the cusp of the emerging trend of independent leagues that are developing outside of the current formal league structures provided by the custodians of the game. This trend it seems has some real momentum when speaking to Dave who is in the partnering stages of the initiative.

Dave has made great progress over the past year in developing some key allies in the approach of bringing large established academies into the fold who are prepared to have the open mind required to break down the illusory borders of “your academy and my academy” style of coming together to play. With Dream FC and Ministry of football to name but a few coming to the battle cry of “lets just bring the kids together an play” Dave Williams may soon find himself surrounded by something that is much needed in this day and age – kids falling in love with football.

“Lets just throw a ball out their and see what happens” says Dave. In a recently organised game bringing kids together with a colleague , a 2hour 20v20 game of football was initiated with the tried and tested magic trick of just throwing the ball amongst children and standing back. “This isn’t rocket science” says Dave, He goes on to say “ why can’t coaches, teams and academies come together under one simple ethos of safe organised football events that allow the kids to simply play”. Dave told the NCFA that throughout the networking process and during his day to day coaching commitments the general consensus is one of complete agreement and understanding of not only the issues of hyper regulation from above but the solutions provided by large scale in house independent leagues.

Dave Willaims. Premier Skills Academy

Dave experienced the iconic sensation experienced by many coaches of his generation, growing up on the receiving end of good old fashioned 25 – nillers week in week out. Despite this, it was this kind of experience that drew his friendships within the team closer in that to this day many of his old team mates are still playing into their 40’s. It seems these unfortunate right of passage experiences are now bearing fruit in the shape of like minded people who have developed a love of the game and know how to create places where you play for the sake of playing. Dave says, “Some kids are competitive, if they lose they have a grumble then get over it” however it was a game with his young team in which he found his team up 13-0 at half time that common sense and the need for reform emerged. “My team where up 13-0 at half time, the coach of the opposition was great, I proposed that my team just take the points and we call the game at that point and just play the rest as a mixed friendly in the spirit of the game and let the kids play, the opposition coach agreed.” The proposal had to be sanctioned by the referee and it was here the ability apply common sense was taken away. This is not the fault of the referee by any stretch of the imagination, simply the unfortunate reality in children’s football that if this situation was a boxing match then the referee would have the power step in and stop it.

Independent leagues without a doubt have the power to change the game for the benefit of the children placing the children before the game. Dave Williams has this in his sights and will I am sure, have great support in his aim to develop a thriving independent league drawing in like minded people who are ready to embrace new ways of delivering football to kids.

Dave intends to organise a festival during the summer and is interested in hearing from interested parties from teams and academies who are interested in coming together and discussing growth of the ideas he is proposing.

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To learn more and to contact Dave Williams direct please email him on

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