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AFC Emley are launching a new junior section - starting with an Under 7s team in 2017/18.

We will be an inclusive set-up where participation and effort is more important than performance and results.

Starting with Under 7s in 2017-18, we aim create a new Under 7s each season as each age group ‘graduates’ until we have Under 7s to 16s. That will be a 10-year process of gradual and sustainable development.

We'll add questions - and some answers - as they are asked here.

My child is older - can they come along or can you start a team for them?

This is a difficult one and we've thought long and hard about it. We're establishing a new set-up and we decided we had to focus on one age group and build from there. We have no infrastructure, no junior committee, no coaches, access to one pitch. There were just too many obstacles to over come if we were going to make this a success so gradual development is the approach. We know this will be disappointing for older kids - including many who are already the children of fans and club volunteers etc.

We also didn't want other neighbouring clubs being negatively effected by us - we don't want to entice away youngsters already playing at an established club.

Do you have to be from Emley to play?

Absolutely not. We've established an informal partnership with Emley First School so that we give children in the village effectively a 'first refusal' on joining our set-up but we're likely to need to recruit from further afield.

My child will never play in the Premier League, is there still a place for them?

We're an inclusive club, we want anyone involved to have fun and enjoy the sport. Winning will be celebrated but so will trying hard and improving. We believe football can be a positive influence on a child's development - physical, social and emotional. If you want to be part of the team, you'll be part of the team.

How much will it cost?

The current answer is 'we don't know', or more accurately 'we haven't decided'. We want parents and carers to get involved and help shape the junior set-up. Basic costs will need to be met but this is not a profit making exercise and any excess funds will be put into developing the club.

Where will we train and play?

We've secured the Warburton Rec from the council for the coming season and this will be used for both training and games. Saturday mornings will either be training, home game or away game.

One aspect we need to explore is winter training venues. We'd hope to secure somewhere convenient inside when the weather turns bad (November to February approx) but this will have cost implications which will have to be met by those involved.

Long term, we'll need more and bigger pitches so we'll be working on that - hopefully with your help - once up and running.

What will we wear?

Another one we need to work out and talk to parents about as there is a cost to kit. Once signed up, shin pads and a water bottle are compulsory and appropriate football boots preferred to regular trainers - but don't buy anything until you're sure your child wants to be involved for the next few months.

We're hopeful a combination on sponsorship and fundraising will pay for team kits.

The senior club would like everything to reflect the club colours of claret and sky blue and feature the club badge.

Who will coach the team? Who else will be involved?

We're lucky to have secured a very experienced junior coach, Darren Cocker, who has many seasons of experience at Hade Edge but he will need support from parents and others to run the team, sort the admin, raise money etc. Without hands-on support from parents and others, this will not happen and will not be sustainable. Never has the old adage 'many hands make light work' been truer that when it comes to a football club.


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