FA Young Leaders Award

Teenagers striving to be coaches had the opportunity to put what they had learned into practice at the Young Leaders Coaching Festival.

Held at Walsall Wood's Oak Park, a batch of 12-16-year-olds were able to show The Albion Foundation coaches what they had learned during their time on the FA Young Leaders Award course.

Passing, defending, shooting and goalkeeping were all on the evening's curriculum as local grassroots teams were coached by the 13 youngsters.

"It's brilliant to see so many aspiring coaches here tonight," said Sam Whitmore, Football Development Coordinator for the Foundation.

"It's my chance to step back and see what they've learned and they will also hopefully pick up some new coaching skills.

"It's all around organisation, planning, prep work and it's about how they adapt to working with different types of children and managing them in a football session."

The event was held so the children could showcase what they had taken from the course, with the hope it will also benefit them for years to come.

"It's a great experience for them, it gives them an advantage for later on in life because they will be able to go straight into their FA Level One qualification and they've already got the skills in place so they will be able to adapt easily," said Sam.

Planning and delivering sessions is a coach's bread and butter and an invaluable experience for the young coaches, who guided 7-11-year-olds through the evening's drills.

"I want to do something in football but I don't know what yet, so doing something like this gives me a bit of experience in everything and it's given me a lot of ideas," said 13-year-old Cian Daniel.

"I thought it was good because there was a variety of ages and we had done all the training before so to put it into something was good.

"It can be hard work but it's very rewarding."

Max Garlick was also on the course and delivering his own session made him appreciate the hard work put in weekly by his usual coach, Sam.

"Once you're in that zone you realise how enjoyable it is but also the difficulties that come with it and the challenges coaches face," said Max.

"If your drill's not going well or the players aren't enjoying it and they want to do something else you've just got to trust yourself, go forward and see what's right for you.

"Coaching has shown me a new pathway and that I could take a career in it."

For more information regarding the Foundation's work within grassroots football, please email