Building Grassroots Programmes

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1 Building Grassroots Programmes

2 What role to schools, clubs and community activities play in the development of women s football? What lessons are to be learned from each?

3 Grassroots programmes are the lifeblood of football development Grassroots programmes football programmes in schools, clubs and communities form the foundation from which players of the future emerge Grassroots programmes are vital to engaging and retaining girls and women in the sport as players, coaches, referees, administrators and volunteers Grassroots programmes are where the core values that football brings are formed particularly among youth However we have learned that many associations focus on national-team performance the detriment of grassroots programmes and this is even more of a problem on the women s side than on the men s side

4 Establishing grassroots programmes for girls and women: what we know Key Finding 1: Girls football programmes in schools provide an accepted route to encouraging more girls to play It provides the opportunity for girls to try the game away from the traditional, historical and cultural barriers associated with clubs Facilitates engaging large numbers of children in the sport at a time, and often with pre-existing sports facilities Inclusion of girls in football programmes in schools lends credibility to their participation particularly if it is built in to the curriculum Inter-school competitions build bridges to community programmes and clubs!

5 Key success factors in establishing football for girls & women in schools Establishing relationships and partnerships with the Ministry of Education or the Ministry of Health is critical In doing so, be able to articulate how football programmes for girls can help educators deliver on their learning objectives or teach children skills Formal development plans and estimates of demand for participation for football programmes by girls has proven to be effective. Support for the initiative from senior members of the association is critical to open doors and convince officials

6 Establishing grassroots programmes for girls and women: what we know Key Finding 2: Building bridges to clubs provides clearly defined pathways for sustained participation Builds from the base established in schools and provides a pathway for advancement Clubs are where female-only teams form (whereas it is often mixed in schools, until approximately age 12), which most girls we find prefer and is needed to keep them in the game at older ages.

7 Establishing grassroots programmes for girls and women: what we know Key Finding 3: Develop the infrastructure needed to support grassroots programmes Grassroots programmes need not only players, but suitably qualified coaches, referees and volunteer administrators to make them work With respect to programmes in schools, associations with the most success were actively engaged in training school teachers to teach football Integration within the federation makes a difference!

8 Establishing grassroots programmes for girls and women: what we know Key Finding 4: Identify opportunities for sponsorship and promotion to raise awareness and generate funding for grassroots programmes. Grassroots programmes can be a tremendous platform to capture value and attract sponsors Increasing the number of participants in these programmes drives value and including girls and women offers substantial growth potential Encouraging participation in a way that also benefits sponsors (e.g., activity-based rewards that drive sales) are easily measurable and can be very effective

9 Case Study: New Zealand Developing girls football in New Zealand through the Small Whites grassroots programme

10 Michele Cox Head of Women s Football New Zealand Football Director of Marketing & Communications FIFA U-17 Women s World Cup New Zealand 2008

11 Building Grass Roots Football New Zealand: Small Whites

12 Background & context New Zealand s football environment is unique We are not a traditional football nation Men s football as revenue source was limited We needed alternative ways to fund development

13 Background & context Potential to capitalise on women s football Introduction of a grass roots programme in 2001 Now football is the biggest junior sport in NZ Small Whites to All Whites

14 Key objectives Overall objective to provide opportunities for children 5-12 yrs to play football across NZ Alignment with NZF strategic plan objectives Provide additional platforms for sponsorship

15 Key objectives Specific programme goals Encouraging and rewarding participation and achievement Providing male and female role models Providing coaching resources for parents Generating revenue

16 What was done? Step 1 Identifying the need for the programme Research indications Revenue opportunity

17 What was done? Step 2 Development of Small Whites concept Equal focus on boys and girls Distribution of resource material through regional federations to clubs Resources provided free of cost during registration

18 Resource Materials Player of the Day Certificates Acknowledge achievement at end of game Tear-off redeemable vouchers Participation certificates Received by every Small White Acknowledging participation

19 Resource Materials Posters Tracking progress through the season Transfer of brand credibility Coaching Manuals Resource for parents covering basic principles, techniques, hints, sessions, Skills Academy

20 What was done? Step 3 Secure sponsorship deals Offset costs and generate revenue Pitch benefits of involvement Branding on material Business generation and ROI tracking Deals signed with 4 sponsors Milo, Uncle Toby s, Adidas, McDonalds

21 What was done? Step 4 Launch the programme Distribution of material initially to clubs Encouraging parents to get involved McDonalds Skills academies started

22 What was done? Step 5 Promotion of the programme Dedicated website Sponsorship of the NZ Herald sports page Small Whites Ambassadors

23 What was done? Step 6 Expansion into schools Lack of affiliation meant better initial access through clubs

24 What was done? Step 7 Review of programme Feedback questionnaires to 400 clubs Recording of material distribution Redemption of vouchers Website hits

25 What were the results? Triggered significant growth in participation 60,000 to 100,000 youth players in 4 years 35,000 female players 1 in 3 juniors is a girl THE NUMBER ONE JUNIOR SPORT IN NZ Girl s football the fastest growing school sport

26 What were the results? Over 600 qualified coaches, 25% are women Sponsors renewed their contracts Increased government participation funding Increased acceptance of girls and women in football

27 Key success factors Provision of football opportunities for both boys and girls Women s game was placed on equal footing through imagery Inclusion of girls increased value Enabled access to every child Important when media exposure is limited Voucher redemption programme a winner Rewarded players Gave sponsors access to a large target market Access to all clubs and schools through federations

28 Getting started Is your football network able to help with the delivery of a grass roots initiative? Do your programmes involve boys and girls? How could grass roots programmes provide value and income for your association? Are you providing your children with the very best start to the wonderful world of football?

29 Building Grassroots Programmes

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