Many of us would like to take part in regular sporting activity but are often hindered by work and family commitments. It’s a particularly common problem in 5-a-side football, with people not able to commit at all, or having to drop out from time to time. Anyone involved in 5-a-side football will be only too aware of the difficulties teams can sometimes face putting a full team out due to late withdrawals, but a fast-growing FA scheme is out there to help people to just turn up and play.

Just Play!

The FA’s Just Play! scheme gives the casual footballer aged 16+ the opportunity to simply turn up to a venue and have a game of football. It serves a purpose for those who can’t or don’t want to commit to an eight or nine month long season of regular matches and training.

There are Just Play kickabouts up and down the country, and sessions are run on a weekly basis over 32 weeks of the year by a Level 1 coach – and they’ll provide the balls, the pitch and the teams.

The latest roll out is in Greater Manchester. Venues and clubs across the region can now apply to become part of the Just Play! initiative by becoming an accredited FA Mars Just Play centre.

There are other tools out there that help teams ‘find a player’ – like the excellent and aptly named findaplayer.com – but the Just Play scheme is geared more towards the individual who can’t commit to regular football.

The Manchester FA is currently calling on clubs, venues and community centres across Manchester to support the programme and host Just Play! sessions, ensuring that anyone who wants to get involved in football has an opportunity to do so, regardless of ability and other commitments.

Just Play sessions can run for any of the following groups:

Any club or venue delivering the Just Play programme will receive the following resources:

  • Equipment pack – 5 Nike Footballs, a set of branded bibs, cones and a marketing banner, giving you all you need for a successful session
  • Digital marketing library – access to a range of digital marketing assets including A4 and A3 Posters, A5 Leaflets, Social, Digital and Email Signatures to help promote your new centre
  • Just Play organiser kit – Nike branded kit including t-shirt, shorts, pants and rain jacket to ensure you look the part, whatever the weather!
  • Just Play organiser support – Guidance and support provided to all session leads to help maximise delivery
  • FA events platform – A new digital platform upon which you simply and easily organise your kickabouts, leaving more time for the more fun stuff, like playing football
  • National promotion – The FA & Mars will help promote the programme nationally helping to attract potential new participants to your kickabouts
  • Support from your local FA – additional support to make your centre a success.

This is a terrific idea and there’s no reason why other regions can’t implement this scheme. If you would like more information on how to get involved and set up as a Just Play! centre, you can get in touch on justplay@thefa.com.

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