Life after We Make Footballers: What football looks like for children aged 12 and over

We Make Footballers
31 May 2022

We Make Footballers provide football coaching across England for kids of all abilities aged between 4 and 12. In the time they spend with us, children are taught how to make the most of their potential by FA qualified coaches in a fun and safe environment. But what happens after We Make Footballers?

Playing football between 4 and 12 is merely a child’s introduction to the beautiful game. We know that our responsibility to both children and football is huge; get it right and a child will fall in love with football for the rest of their life and become an advocate for the sport. Get it wrong and they may never understand why football is the most popular sport in the world.

This is why a child’s footballing journey does not end when they are too old to attend We Make Footballers. By the time they leave us, we aim to have prepared and made a child ready to take the next steps as they head towards their teenage years.

Here are some examples of what football can look like when a child becomes a We Make Footballers alumni.

Progression into their school A-Team

We Make Footballers believe that every child who spends at least four years with one of our academies will be a good enough football player by the time they reach secondary school to play for their school's A-Team.

Competition for places in a school A-Team can often be fierce, but the education children receive from We Make Footballers between the ages of 4 and 12 stands them in good stead to make the grade.

By focussing on the FA Four Corner Model, we work on the four different aspects of the game which come together to maximise the ability of a football player. The Technical Corner focuses on skills and technical ability. The Physical Corner looks at improving attributes such as speed, agility, balance, power, strength and reaction time.

The Tactical Corner is essential for the modern-day player. Decision making, off-the-ball player, 360-degree awareness, creating space and learning the rules of the game are areas often overlooked by training academies that focus solely on the technical side of the football.

Yet football is played as much in the mind as it is on grass. Being a football thinker by the age of 12 gives players an edge on those who have not yet had their brains as well as their bodies trained to produce optimum performance.

Finally, there is the social corner. The skills picked up here such as teamwork, communication, reaction to failure, concentration, composure and leadership will make a child stand out at secondary school, not just in their quest to get in the A-Team for football but also in everyday life.

Playing for a local grassroots side

Every We Make Footballers academy forges links with local grassroots sides. These relationships are a two-way street, beneficial to both the club and our academies but most importantly, young players.

When We Make Footballers deem a player ready to progress into a matchday environment beyond their weekly training sessions, we can recommend a club to them that we know will provide a continuation of their footballing education. 

Parents often find themselves worrying when it comes to making such a decision; how do they know whether a grassroots team is suitable? Will their child it at their new club? Will they get a level of coaching to help them make the best of their abilities? 

We Make Footballers take the stress out of the whole process by guiding the best grassroots clubs to join at the point when the player is ready to do so.

As for the grassroots sides, we partner with, they can recommend a player who joins them and needs a little more work on their game to We Make Footballers for weekly coaching sessions. This extends the reach of our academies to more children, enabling us to help improve a greater number of young players and drive real change in English football.

By the time a child leaves We Make Footballers aged 12, we aim to have them playing for a local grassroots side – should that be the road they wish to go down – as well as having progressed into their school A-Team.

Joining a professional academy

We Make Footballers have helped young players into professional academies at clubs including Chelsea, Brentford, Norwich City, Watford, Fulham and Arsenal over the past 10 years.

Some have even gone on to play for England at the youth level, including Ashanti Akpan who represents her country at Under 17s and has become an Instagram sensation in the process. Her skills and videos on social media have earned her over 65,000 followers.

Aside from their roles with We Make Footballers, many of our franchise owners and coaches also work for professional clubs as coaches and scouts for their academy systems. That enables We Make Footballers to provide a pathway into the professional game for players who excel in their weekly football training sessions.

We Make Footballers also hold regular Talent Identification Events across all venues, allowing players to showcase their skills in front of scouts from both professional and grassroots clubs. Talent ID days are packed full of fun and excitement and can even be the start of a dream career in football.

Of course, very few children go on to make it as professional footballers – even if they spend their entire time in the academy of a professional club from a very young age. We Make Footballers realistic enough to know that, but that does not stop us from doing everything in our power to help every player we work with fulfil their potential and play to the best of their ability.

Coaching with We Make Footballers

Having been providing weekly football training for children aged between 4 and 12 for a decade, we are at the stage where We Make Footballers alumni who completed their time with us several years ago are now returning as coaches.

It is a pathway into a career in football that we are keen to encourage. Not many people make a full-time living from the sport through playing professionally; coaching on the other hand offers the opportunity for anyone to work hard, get their FA Coaching Badges and forge a career in the sport.

Age is no barrier either when it comes to quickly becoming a success in football coaching. We Make Footballers offer franchising opportunities, allowing coaches to run their own business no matter how young they are.

We Make Footballers Medway for example was recently taken over by 19-year-old Amy Haynes, who had been coaching in the academy since the age of 16. The mantra if you are good enough, you are old enough applies across We Make Footballers.

It is a testament to the environment and culture provided by We Make Footballers too that players keep in touch when they leave our academies at the age of 12 and then return to work with us in later life. 

They want to help deliver football coaching to the next generation in the same fun and safe environment they experienced during their childhood. 

Enjoying a lifetime relationship with football

When children join We Make Footballers, it is often their first exposure to playing the sport. One of our most important roles is therefore to make it enjoyable so that they might enjoy a lifetime relationship with football.

If a child finds themselves developing a negative opinion about football or suffers a bad experience through poor coaching, a badly organised session or an environment lacking in encouragement and positivity, then that can be enough to put them off the game.

Whilst we want our players to progress into professional academies, and school teams and to find careers in football if that is what they wish to do with their lives, our biggest success is the number of children who leave them We Make Footballers sessions smiling and wanting to come back for more.

England is a nation of football lovers. By the time a child completes their coaching education with We Make Footballers, we want them to have a love of the game that will last for the rest of their lives.

To start your child on the footballing journey, sign them up for a free trial session with We Make Footballers. You can find your nearest academy on the We Make Footballers website.