27th July 2017.
Of all the sports, few are as simple to begin playing as football. At its most basic, all you need to start is the ball. Everything after that can be a matter of using your imagination. However, it is in fact very easy to go far beyond that. If you love the game of football, you probably spend at least some of your time hunting for a game to join. Do you organise a group of your friends occasionally to get together and play? Well, why not take it to the next level? Organising your own pub league or a regular game of five-a-side doesn’t require a huge investment of time or effort.
Where should you begin, though? Even if you know people who would be interested, you should undertake some thorough planning before you ever schedule your first game. With everything properly in its place, you can ensure that you and your friends have a blast. To help you get started, we’ll examine the things you need to incorporate in your amateur league and some ideas for achieving an ideal setup. We’ll prove that you don’t need much to get a fun, regular game going that you can always enjoy.
Gauge interest and consider registration
Step one might seem like the most obvious of them all, but figure out your players first! You can’t organise even a casual weekend game if you don’t know enough people willing to play. Your approach here will depend on your overall goal. Do you want to form a team to play against others in a small but sanctioned league? Do you instead just want to set up a meeting with a group of your friends from down at the pub? In the latter case, asking around should be sufficient for finding enough people. You may even want to consider putting up flyers to gauge additional interest. Cast a wider net and ask friends to ask friends, too.
You’ll need to familiarise yourself with the rules for entry and the requirements for competing with your newly formed team. Make sure everyone is on the same page as far as expectations go, such as when you will practice and when you will play games. These expectations can be as casual or as organised as you like; some people just want to kick the ball around and have fun. Others love to compete! Strike a balance between the two in your organisational stage and then research how to register your newly formed league.
Determine when and where you will play
Once you’ve assembled a team — and hopefully held some trials to see who can really play — you’ll need to start thinking about the actual logistics of playing. Where will you stake out your home pitch? How frequently do you want to meet and play there? You’ll need to work through the process of arranging for a space, which may include coordinating with other teams in the area to avoid conflict. For serious teams, renting a pitch often comes with a price. You cannot simply show up and add wear and tear to a pitch; you’ll need to block out time with a paid rental.
Scout out a location that is both nearby and reasonably affordable for your team. If you only plan to meet occasionally, you may not need to put up a substantial financial investment. However, for league play, a home pitch is a vital asset for your team. It is where you will host challengers and meet to practice. With that in mind, take your time in doing the homework to stake out a good location. Some pitches will already have all the equipment necessary, like goal posts, which can save you some cash. If not, though, don’t worry; we’ll soon see there are good options in that area for many teams as well.
Developing your kit without busting the bank
For teams that intend to play seriously in sanctioned games, you’re going to need a kit. The most important component of your team’s kit, of course, are the uniforms. Designing and arranging for a kit will naturally require another financial infusion from the members of your team. In some cases, you could stump for a sponsor — but that is only viable if you intend to organise a very serious team. For a more casual affair, you may not need a proper kit at all, but to play against others, it’s often a requirement of the local governing body. On the bright side, you’ll have the opportunity to choose your own colours and distribute numbers to the team members.
You may be able to find discounted or budget options that fit within your team’s financial ability. If you only intend to play five a side, that doesn’t have to translate to a massive investment of funds. Investigate all your options as you look at kitting out your new team. You’ll be far from the first person to be in a situation like this; consult others and ask around to see where they got their kit. You could score a helpful recommendation that puts your team in colours in no time.
Choosing must-have equipment: balls and goal-posts
Okay, so you’ve gathered together your team, you’ve found a pitch to play on, and you’ve even ordered your kit. Now what? If your pitch didn’t come with corner flags or goalposts, you’ll need to look for a solution there. The good news is that this is a cost you will only incur one time, as these items should last you for the duration of your team’s existence. You may even be able to find gently used equipment to purchase at a reduced price.
Some venues will supply you with a ball to use, but if you’re just playing a quick weekend game, you’ll need your own. Quality is worth the expense here. A match-level ball will play just right and respond to kicks and headers as it should. It’s not much fun to play with an inferior or under-inflated ball. You may want to consider purchasing several, to provide for the ability to rotate and as a contingency, in case any of your balls become lost.
Other essential items for any local football team
With all these things gathered together, you are practically ready to begin gathering for games on a regular basis. There are just a couple of other things you might want to consider planning for before you call for your first weekend match. What are they?
A fully stocked first-aid kit is an absolute must-have. We all know just how physical football can become, and on rainy days with a wet pitch, collisions are inevitable. So are scrapes, cuts, and other minor problems. The ability to break into your first aid kit and immediately help an injured team-mate will be a valuable one. Most football related injuries, save for the serious sprains or breaks, can easily be cared for with the items found in a first aid kit.
Consider the possibility of providing refreshments for half-time or at the end of a game. A portable dispenser for water or a flavoured sports drink might be a big hit with your team-mates. Avoiding dehydration is just as important as having fun on the pitch. Check to make sure your pitch rental will allow you to bring these items around beforehand, just in case.
All set? Get out there and play!
Undertaking the organisation of even a five-a-side league can be a daunting task at first. Wrangling all your players together and coming to an agreement on where to stake out your home pitch can be a big challenge on its own. Once you clear the initial hurdles, though, you’ll find it is mostly smooth sailing. Don’t skimp when it comes to choosing your kit, though; a better investment now will mean less of a need to pay for replacements later. Gathering up supplies like goal posts doesn’t have to be difficult, either. Just remember that when in doubt, ask for help! There is always the opportunity to ask someone with more experience in setting up these amateur recreational leagues. With practice and some trial and error, you’ll soon have your league running smoothly. Will you be contenders for the distinction of being the best team in the area?