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PULSE Kent FA:Growing the girls game

There are many opportunities currently available for girls to play football across Kent but not everybody is aware of them. The Kent FA currently support Girls Football from under six through to ladies Walking Football which offers the chance to play at grassroots level through to professional.

The county already has 39 girls only teams from under seven through to under 10s playing on a regular basis but there is room for a lot more. Some of these teams play in the Kent girls and ladies leagues and some play in friendly 4 v 4 festivals known as Goals 4 Girls.

Do you know who’s coaching your children’s football?

If you are considering recruiting external providers to deliver holiday activities football sessions on your behalf, or are aware of Soccer School companies operating within clubs, schools and community groups in your area then this letter has important information about how the governing body regulates these providers.

In recent years there has been significant growth in the number of commercial Soccer Schools and Academies, who deliver paid-for football coaching sessions outside the traditional local grassroots club and league structure. This growth has seen a number of these companies providing school coaching, school holiday activities and extra-curricular activities and education-linked ‘Academy’ programmes for 16-19 year olds.

These companies usually include ‘Soccer School’ or ‘Football Academy’ in their business name and often have a professional appearance, including branded vehicles and bespoke marketing materials.

These companies are commercial ventures, so anyone can start a business in this field if they so wish without any compulsory regulation of standards or services.

Kent FA Soccer School Accreditation

Kent FA are the governing body for

football in Kent and are an affiliate body of the Football Association, the national governing body.

In 2012 the Kent FA became the first County FA to launch a voluntary accreditation scheme for commercial coaching companies, a benchmarking process approved by the FA based on the existing Charter Standard principles of club and league accreditation. As part of the benchmarking criteria, companies who are Kent FA accredited providers have;

 Appropriately qualified coaches, including the relevant FA coaching awards, First Aid and Safeguarding Children;

 Appropriate insurance policies in place;

 Evidenced best practice in business governance and financial management;

 Achieved required safeguarding standards including CRC (previously CRB) checks for coaches;

 Demonstrated an understanding of and commitment to inclusion and equality in their coaching.

 Passed screening to ensure that no employees of the Soccer School are currently banned or suspended by the Football Association or any of the County FAs.

Girls at under nine and under ten now have the opportunity to trial for the Kent Player Development Centre or Gillingham Centre of Excellence, which are the first steps onto the FA Excellence Player Pathway.

If you would like more about girls football or how you can get involved, please email Liz Symons at Kent FA liz.

Accredited providers are affiliated to the Kent FA in the same way as a club or league, so are subject to the FA’s rules and governance. The accreditation process is voluntary; the Kent FA supports the Soccer Schools through the initial accreditation and continues to support through an annual validation process to ensure that standards are maintained.

Soccer Schools, Academies or commercial coaching providers who are not affiliated to or accredited by the governing body means that the Kent FA have no statutory authority to deal with their regulation, enforcing delivery standards or ensuring safeguarding requirement is met.

This does not mean that you are required to use one of the accredited providers, nor that you cannot or

should not use a non-accredited provider but it is important you know this fact.

The purpose of this article is simply to make you aware that a governing body-managed accreditation process exists, and assist you in making an informed choice about any Soccer Schools you may enter partnerships with or employ to deliver sessions on your behalf.

The full benchmarking

criteria for accredited Soccer Schools and more details of the scheme are available on the Kent FA website at soccer-schools.

If you have any other questions or comments please contact Lee Suter on email: or call the Kent FA office on 01622 791850. 4 The Kent & Medway School Sports Magazine

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