To develop our game, we need to provide better access to all phases of player development, and more opportunities to play. Gaps in the player pathway push players to participate in older competitions, where they may not yet be physically or mentally ready to compete. This not only affects the players but also the coaches, as they are not exposed to the different phases of player development and do not gain the experience required to coach at higher levels.
Call to Action
1. Create better league structures that allow players to play and train more consistently, thus increasing contact time through more playing and training opportunities
2. Through competitions, develop a complete player pathway to provide access and opportunities to play in appropriate-age and maturation phases
3. Create a coaching pathway and access to develop experience in the different phases of player development through improved competition structures
4. Facilitate female coaches’ access to education and coaching opportunities
Player welfare and holistic education
In a highly competitive environment in which only very few reach the top, academies, associations, leagues, confederations and FIFA need to take responsibility for the mental and physical health of each player. Creating an open and transparent environment with clear support networks enables players and staff to raise concerns and seek help and advice.
Having a safe environment for players, parents and coaches is crucial. As such, safeguarding policies, procedures and guidelines must be in place for everyone to follow.
Furthermore, alongside more formal education programmes, players need to have the opportunity to take part in other workshops as part of a holistic education programme to prepare them for life inside and outside of football, as well as helping their performance on the pitch.
Leading associations are more likely to offer a player care programme, with the most popular being:
Call to Action
1. Create a safe environment for players, parents and coaches with a structured safeguarding framework
2. Raise awareness of the stresses of professional football and their impact upon mental health, and create a support network for players, coaches and parents to seek support and advice
3. Support the holistic development of players through the delivery of formal and informal education and training to give them the best opportunity outside of the game