Coaches at Ashridge Park FC were given a taste of the Premier League on Saturday, when a football mastermind dropped in for a Coach Education Day.
John Allpress is a legendary figure in youth football coaching, having worked at a series of professional football club academies, along with playing a major role in the overhaul of coach development at the Football Association.
He now works at Tottenham Hotspur FC, improving the standards of coaching at their academy, supporting the first team with new recruits as they strive for success in the Champions League.
The day took place at Ashridge Park FC’s home ground at St Crispin’s School on Wokingham’s London Road, and comprised an interactive classroom session followed by a practical exercise on the pitch with Ashridge Park’s Under 14 side.
Despite the differences between grassroots youth football and the Premier League, many discussions carried a similar message.
“In order to succeed at the highest level, players need to show enthusiasm”, said John.
“They need to be able to run for their team, and try their best in everything they do.
“That’s what we’re looking for to determine success”.
The practical session utilised new metal goal posts, which John declared “open and ready for many Ashridge Park goals”.
The posts recently replaced plastic goals as part of the Club’s improvement programme, thanks to a successful grant application made by Ashridge Park FC to the FA and Premier League, which part-funded the upgrade.
The club’s chair, Ady Dolan, highlighted the importance of investing in coach development.
He said: “Our club is all about giving children a safe and enjoyable environment in which to play football, and to do everything we can to help develop them into decent young people.
“We teach them the importance of respect, determination, teamwork, and trying your best at all times.
“The people who deliver that message are volunteers, who not only coach children on how to play an accurate pass or make a great tackle, but they also act as role models on how to conduct yourself.
“Developing coaches through sessions such as this, thanks to help from high calibre mentors like John Allpress, will help us to ensure that children get the best experience possible at Ashridge Park.”
Ashridge Park FC was established in Wokingham in 1991, and is an FA Community Club which is the highest status that a grassroots football club can achieve.
They have 29 teams, ranging from Under 7s to Veterans, as well as a thriving Soccer School for Foundation and Year One children. The club has vacancies at next season’s Under 7s, Under 13s, and Under 10 Girls.
Anyone interested in joining should visit www.ashridgepark.co.uk