Stadia Sports recently offered amateur football clubs the chance to win £200 worth of training equipment; this included footballs, bibs, training hurdles, cones and much more! The aim? Celebrating grassroots football, specifically the great work carried out by managers, coaches and volunteers around the country.
To be in with a chance of winning, entrants simply needed to nominate their grassroots hero. We wanted to find people who had gone above and beyond; those who had really made a difference to their local club’s community in the last year.
OUR COMPETITION WINNER
The well deserved winner of the training bundle was Amble East End Junior’s coach, Josh Rutherford!
We couldn’t wait to catch up with Mr Rutherford and learn a bit more about him! We asked Josh about his sporting heroes, advice for aspiring coaches, and training at his grassroots club…
HOW DID YOU GET INTO FOOTBALL COACHING?
Well, from when I was a young boy I watched football and played grassroots football, so when I was old enough to do my coaching badges, I went on the courses and it’s taken off from there. It’s more for the love for the game I have really.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SPORTING HEROES OR ROLE-MODELS?
My sporting hero is Kevin Phillips because he was a childhood hero of mine, growing up being a Sunderland AFC fan in the Peter Reid era, it made me love football! My role model as a coach is the obvious one, Pep Guardiola. I like to read books and documentaries about him, they are always fascinating.
Celebrating Grassroots Football – Josh Rutherford with the Mini Mariners of Amble East End Juniors
WHAT’S ON THE HORIZON FOR AMBLE EAST END JUNIORS IN THE COMING YEAR?
Just to keep progressing as a club really, it’s nearly a year since the club formed and what’s been achieved already is special. Next season we will have four teams in the Youth Football Development League in association with Newcastle Elite Academy, two at Under 7 level, an Under 8s and an Under 9s team, as well as our Mini Mariners scheme and Development Squad so exciting time awaits for those connected to the club.
WE HAD SEVERAL SUBMISSIONS NOMINATING YOU. WHAT MAKES THE CLUB SO WELCOMING FOR YOUNG PLAYERS?
I like to think that I’m approachable and open. I give opportunities to all children, every child matters! The club got dispensation for one child and to see him thrive in the environment the club has created is brilliant. It’s a family club also, we have many siblings involved at the club and they all support each other which is fantastic to see!
HOW DO YOU MAKE TRAINING SESSIONS INCLUSIVE?
I try to make the children feel special, I have nicknames for most of them or I liken them to a player in whichever position they play in. That helps with their confidence and self-esteem. In training, it’s a relaxed environment and we have lots of fun and the kids are always joking around and having banter!
HOW DO YOU LIFT THE SPIRITS OF YOUR TEAM AFTER SUFFERING A DEFEAT?
Results do not matter at the end of the day, it’s a learning curve. Development for me is key, I love getting out there on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with the children to try and enhance their game. As long as the children have a smile on their face and enjoy the football, if we lose it’s a case of ‘we go again next week’.
Celebrating Grassroots Football – Josh Rutherford with the Under 7s and Under 8s of Amble East End Juniors
WHAT’S YOUR BEST BIT OF ADVICE FOR KIDS OR PARENTS LOOKING TO JOIN A YOUTH TEAM?
WHAT SHOULD THEY LOOK OUT FOR IN A CLUB?
It’s a case for a parent to find a club where their child is comfortable and is going to express themselves. It’s a journey for the children, it’s the best age to play football and it goes quickly. There’s nothing better than playing football with your friends and school friends, so make the most of it and create special memories for a lifetime.
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO USE YOUR NEW EQUIPMENT IN TRAINING SESSIONS?
The equipment is ideal for the children at the club because some of the equipment we can use will help enhance the fundamental development such as using ladders, hurdles and speed rings so that will be beneficial.
IT’S CLEAR FROM ALL THE ENTRIES THAT FOOTBALL COACHING HAS A BIG EFFECT ON CHILDREN’S LIVES. WHAT POSITIVE EFFECTS DO YOU SEE IN CHILDREN WHO JOIN SPORTS CLUBS?
Creating memories playing with their friends, the buzz from scoring match-winning goals, making vital saves and goal saving tackles. Winning games also breeds confidence as well, they come into training the next week full of beans.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR ADULTS AND TEENS WHO ARE INTERESTED IN CELEBRATING GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL THROUGH COACHING OR VOLUNTEERING?
If you love the game, get involved. You honestly get a buzz and it makes you so proud of coaching your own team, seeing children develop and enjoying the beautiful game.
Celebrating Grassroots Football – Josh Rutherford with the Development Squad of Amble East End Juniors
TO SUM UP
The whole team at Stadia Sports would like to congratulate Josh and Amble East End Juniors for winning the bundle. We’d also like thank everyone who submitted a nomination for their coach or local team; it was a pleasure to read so many wonderful entries celebrating grassroots football.
If you’ve been inspired by Josh’s Q&A and would like to find out more about Amble East End Juniors, you can follow them on Twitter . You can also contact your local Football Association to help find a club near you.
If you run a club and are looking for some training equipment, be sure to check out our clearance section! You’ll find plenty of bargains on top quality sports accessories!