The FA’s new Respect campaign - We Only Do Positive - was recently promoted by the Northampton and District Youth Alliance League (NDYAL) to clubs and parents of under-7s ahead of the new season.
Around 10 years ago, the League - working in association with the NFA - launched a season curtain-raiser to welcome new coaches, players and parents, whilst also addressing some issues that were occurring around matchday behaviour.
At Goals Northampton on Saturday 8 September, over 20 under-7s teams, supported by more than 250 parents, attended this year’s event - which was one of the largest to date.
Debbie Preston (NFA Football Development Officer) presented to the attending parents about the FA codes of conduct and concluded by showing the new We Only Do Positive video.
Speaking after the event, Debbie said: “I have been fortunate to be a part of this event from its conception, and while the delivery and format has undergone changes over the years, the message remains the same; parent pressure and shouting from the touchlines take away the enjoyment from the game for young players.
A recent survey carried out by the NFA asked young players in Northamptonshire (under-7s to under-18s) what they liked and disliked about playing grassroots football.
‘Playing with friends’ was the thing they liked best, while ‘shouting from the touchline’ was their biggest dislike. These outcomes are supported by The FA’s survey from last season, which showed more than 90% of young footballers play better with positive encouragement.
It is obvious that there is still some work to do around educating clubs and parents, but events like these, alongside The FA’s We Only Do Positive campaign, help massively in the education.
The NDYAL thanked all referees, parents, players and supporters who attended the day and wished them all an enjoyable season. There was also a special mention of thanks to Goals Northampton, who hosted the event free of charge as a show of their support to local youth football.
To read more about We Only Do Positive, please CLICK HERE