Safeguarding and Welfare

Youth Football

Safe, Engaging and Progressive

football welcomes every child or young person

Play the game in a safe, engaging and progressive environment

Whether you have dreams of becoming the next Harry Kane or Steph Houghton, or you'd just like to enjoy kicking a ball about with your friends, Essex football welcomes all children and young people into a safe, engaging and progressive environment.

A review has been implemented in recent seasons which fundamentally changed the way we provide youth football, introducing 5v5, 7v7, 9v9 formats across different age groups and adapting the competition structure to support player development and improve their experience. It's crucial to retain player participation - smoothing the transition into adult football.

FA Lidl Skills and SSE Wildcats sessions also ensure there is a place in football for anyone, regardless of ability. Local youth football is also built upon a dedicated workforce of volunteers who make the game tick, and it's our aim to bring the best out of Essex grassroots football, for all. Whatever your goal, we can help you to achieve it, so keep in touch!


We offer opportunities for boys and girls of all abilities to get involved with local clubs, whether they're aiming to climb the ladder or if they're looking for recreational enjoyment playing the game with friends.

For girls, there's a specific talent pathway we can guide them along. We have a wide network of SSE Wildcats Centres, in which girls can come and just get involved with the game in a fun and safe environment. There's also our Player Development Centre and Regional Talent Club.


It's important to ensure every club has qualified and appropriate coaching, by ensuring our volunteers are upskilled and trained for an age-appropriate environment.

We help the grassroots workforce to remain informed of the rules and regulations in youth football so we can provide a fair and consistent environment across the game. Our safeguarding policies and activities also make sure every young person can be in a safe and engaging environment.

Charter Standard

Launched in 2001, the FA Charter Standard Programme supported by McDonald’s is The FA’s accreditation scheme for grassroots clubs and leagues.

Its goal is to raise standards in grassroots football and support the development of clubs and leagues, recognising and rewarding them for their commitment and achievements.

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Reporting Concerns


If you feel that an adult connected to your league or club (e.g. a referee, coach or a volunteer) is mistreating someone under the age of 18, there are various confidential ways you can report this.

By ‘mistreating’, we mean behaving towards under 18s in a physical or verbal way you believe is threatening or makes the young person feel scared or bad.

Find out more and watch a short film The FA has produced explaining how to report your concerns. Of course, everything is completely confidential.