A plan to utilise the FIFA U-20 World Cup as a platform to boost grassroots football in New Zealand is taking shape. On Friday 8 May in Christchurch, football’s world governing body will conclude the second of two courses and festivals organised over the past fortnight.
Seventy coach educators from New Zealand’s seven football federations took part in the courses in Auckland and Christchurch and 250 children joined the respective football festivals, which rounded off the grassroots activities.
Commenting on the event, Peter O’Hara, the FIFA U-20 World Cup LOC Leverage and Legacy Director, said: “The courses were a key part of the Leverage and Legacy Plan for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, which has a comprehensive set of objectives aimed at improving football capability and participation. Through our plan, we also aim to celebrate multiculturalism and diversity.”
The programme will help us to achieve our overall purpose - to lead, inspire and deliver football across New Zealand.
During the courses, coaches had the opportunity to plan 35 other grassroots festivals that will be staged in each of the U-20 World Cup Host Cities. “The FIFA Grassroots Football Festivals are a fantastic opportunity for New Zealand Football to continue to expand the game by engaging new children in football, providing positive experiences and helping them fall in love with our sport,” said Owain Prosser, Football Development Manager of New Zealand Football. “FIFA’s courses have also been very successful at developing New Zealand’s grassroots coaches, providing knowledge and empowering them to develop their players, volunteers, and clubs in their local community.”
Additionally, coach educators put together a calendar of over 100 festivals taking place throughout the year in the various football communities of each of New Zealand’s seven federations. A special festival for girls is scheduled for 6 June when the Football Ferns (New Zealand’s national women’s team) play their first match at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015.
"The FIFA grassroots courses have provided coaches from our regional federations, clubs and schools with the opportunity to develop their knowledge of the game at this important stage,” concluded Andy Martin, General Secretary of New Zealand Football. “This in turn will have a substantial impact on player development in New Zealand, engaging new players in fun activities focused on enjoyment and learning. The programme will help us to achieve our overall purpose - to lead, inspire and deliver football across New Zealand.”
Between 2011 and 2014, some 300 grassroots courses and festivals were organised and 15,000 coaches trained by FIFA in 143 countries, and more than 350 such events are scheduled to take place over the next four years. The grassroots budget has been increased from USD 8 million (2011-2014) to 10.5 million (2015-2018). A total of 60,000 youngsters have taken part in FIFA grassroots festivals to date, with 80,000 more expected by 2018.