Hundreds of male and female players ranging from Under 7s to adults enjoyed an Essex County FA Grassroots Football Festival at the Forest Row Centre in Romford on Sunday 12th August, participating in recreational small-sided matches and fun sessions.
The popular festival has evolved rapidly over the years, based on feedback from previous participants, and each season it provides many opportunities and elements of the game. Non-competitive tournaments eliminated pressure and expectations, especially for new teams or those who were experiencing a new format for the first time.
The overall event, this year in partnership with Boots2Africa, was divided into two dates to maximise the number of teams who could join in. Following-up from a festival in Colchester the previous month, one of the key features in 2018 was to transition players between different formats of the game as they move up the age groups.
It also assisted coaches and managers in adapting to the changes in-between seasons. Teams were creative in exploring new formations and playing positions without the pressure of the scoreline. Coaches saw their players on a differently-sized pitch and in alternative positions so they could understand how to support them for the new season.
Rhys Elmer from the Essex County FA summarised: “One of the main positives for me was the atmosphere throughout the morning session where we staged the new Under 7s, Under 10s Girls and Under 11s 7v7-to-9v9 transition. There were smiles on the faces of all the players, with fantastic sportsmanship throughout!”
“We’ve delivered this event for the past two seasons to provide players with an opportunity to play prior to the start of the season and to support those players and coaches with the transition into a new format. We’ve had some great feedback from coaches and players, saying it provided them with a great opportunity to learn the new format in a festival environment.”
“I’d personally like to thank Mark, Neil and John from Collier Row FC, who provided endless support throughout the day. We wouldn’t have been able to deliver it without them. Also thank you to the referees who supported us, helping educate the younger players with the new formats.”
Photos from the festival can be found on Facebook via the link below. Further information on grassroots Essex football can also be found on Twitter @EssexCountyFA and by searching for ‘EssexFootball’ on Facebook.