Leys Park Football Club
Leys Park FC was established as a youth football team in 2000. We have been a well-established football club for more than fifteen years. We have played our football in several different leagues including the Barking Youth League, Echo Junior Football League and the East London & Essex League.
We are a local family club, based within the Dagenham/Goodmayes area. All Coaches associated with the club have a full Enhanced DBS check and a minimum Level 1 Football Coaching Qualification. All committee members meet the requirements that have been set out by the Football Association. We also have a Facebook Fan page where information is updated about the team.
For the 2017-2018 season we will again be playing our football in the Echo Junior Football League after being promoted the previous season. We are registered with the Essex Football Association.
I have been involved within the club since 2003 when my son Scott joined the team for the Under 11 season and took over as manager two years later from the Under 13 season. I held this position for five years and took them up to the Under 18 season. I then had a break for a few years where I gained experience with two other teams before re-setting the team up with my son in June 2013 at under 10’s.
The mood within the club is very good at the moment. As we were promoted the previous season everyone is excited for what this season holds for us. Pre-season has gone ok, we’ve trained and prepared the team well for the first game. However, it can be tricky this time of year with players away on holiday so you just have to plan ahead and accommodate. We’ve also had a few players leave and new players join which hopefully improves the team going forward.
Our plans for the season are the same as any season, we prepare to play some good football and win. As we were promoted we always look to finish near the top and if we can have a good run, you never know, might push for the title and win the league and get promoted again.
As a manager within a youth team there can be many challenging aspects but also many rewarding ones too within my role. The most rewarding aspect of my role is to see the team do well and achieve our objectives that we set at the beginning of each season.
The most challenging aspect is the general running of the team. Each year with the new rules and regulations it gets difficult but we manage and adjust well. As myself and my coaches are volunteers I am very grateful for all the help I get.
My son, who is the coach/welfare officer, says one of the most rewarding aspects of his role is to pass on his knowledge that he has learnt over the years to the youngsters. “Nothing is more rewarding than to pass on your knowledge and hopefully one day they will do the same.
“One of the most challenging aspects of my role would be the amount of courses you have to attend. Especially as the welfare officer some of the information you learn can be very important and eye opening but can also be very repetitive in certain courses.”
I would say we are a community club. All of our players are local and from the surrounding areas and we do our best to get everyone involved in some way. We have good support on match days from the parents which is good but there is always room for improvement from some of the parents.
Youth football is very important to the club. As we live in an age where children come home and sit in front of their computer or TV for long parts of the day after school or at the weekends exercise can be very minimal. By joining a football team or taking part in any sport it gives the person an incentive to exercise but also have fun and achieve something.
There are challenges that most clubs will face over the next five years but for us the main issue would be cost. Being a one team club each season costs are always rising and it can be difficult to pay for things such as pitches, affiliation, kits and equipment etc. We do rely on sponsorship and grants and obviously the players contribute by paying their sign on fee and monthly subs which go into the club.
We are a very ambitious club and are always looking ahead to the future. Over the next few years we would like to see another promotion or two and improve the club and take it to the next level. We are in a very competitive league, one of the best in Essex which gives the players competitiveness each match day.
In my short time as manager we have had a few players that have progressed and had trials at professional clubs such as West Ham and Norwich. We never stand in the way if a player wants to move on or were to have trials at a professional team.
Article provided by Tony Whitham, Manager