FA Charter Club Standard Club of the Year 2016
Words: Paul Chapman
Somersall Rangers is one of the oldest junior football teams, formed back in 1961. Five years ago the club was down to just three teams and the committee had two ways to go – let the teams run their course or work hard as a committee and get the club back to where it belongs as a force in junior football. Today, grassroots football has succeeded.
Somersall Rangers FC has exceeded, winning the prestigious status of ‘FA Charter Standard Club of the Year 2015/16’ at this year’s FA Community Awards. Presented by McDonald’s, the county award recognises the club’s progression and how hard it works to create a friendly and fun environment for all players involved.
Dale Spragg, who nominated the club for the award, said: “Five years ago the club dropped to just three teams. To revive the club, volunteers organised soccer schools to give local children the opportunity to play football and progress in to the club’s teams”
The club now has over twenty teams representing them in the Rowsley and District Youth League and Sheffield & District Junior League. Progressive and forward-thinking, the committee have devoted themselves to develop the club and continue its legacy.
Darren Hirst is one of the Dad’s who got involved after the club asked for parents who were interested in helping? Today he’s a qualified FA Level 1 Coach and his son James plays in one of the Under 9’s teams.
“Helping out has been fantastic” says Darren, “it’s great to think that we’re developing homegrown talent. Who knows what level the kids will end up playing at in the future. I’d like to think that in years to come some of them will be coming back to volunteer to referee and help out.”
The club has in excess of 20 teams with players from age 4 to 18 years, training takes place for each team at locations across Chesterfield and each team has a dedicated group of coaches that work with the players.
The feeder squad consists of kids from four years old and works to develop key skills and get kids playing as a team. “The whole thing is largely non-competitive” explains Darren. “The kids do play in a league with local teams but no results are kept. Instead they amass respect points, these are given for things like how they treat the referee, how parents behave on the touch line and areas that show that the teams have respect for the other team and officials. During play, for instance, if we’re winning heavily, at half time you give the opponents chance to bring on extra players to even things up. Adopting this philosophy won us our first trophy in our first season in the Rowsley and District Youth League for under 7. ”
“Coaching focuses on the Four Corner Model which considers, technical ability, physical wellbeing, social and physiological aspects. It looks at the whole person to bring them on, even the language used when coaching is considered to help encourage and be positive about progress.
“The kids love it” says Darren, “They are so keen and the friendly, safe, age appropriate training is all about bringing on skills and developing that lifelong involvement in sport.”
I asked Darren’s son James a few questions about being part of Somersall Rangers?
“Playing football has given me confidence and I’m not afraid to go up to people who I don’t know and ask if I can play too. The beauty of football is that it’s played all over the world and you don’t need to know many foreign words to get involved.
“I can play in any position but my favourite is in midfield so I get to run the length of the pitch!
“Playing for Somersall Rangers has improved my skills and I enjoy being part of the club. At the end of the season we have an awards night where we get trophies and our new kit. I would love to get the ‘Parents Player’ award but my Dad can’t vote for me.”
The club has risen from the ashes, it’s great to learn that the under 9 Blues have had some success in tournaments this year. Runners up in Ashover, then made it to the semi finals in Brampton and came away with a win. The Clay Cross Under 9’s Trophy.
If reading this has inspired you or your kids to get involved, the club would love to hear from you. Darren coaches the under 9 Somersall Blues at Holmebrook Valley Park on Thursday evenings. Details of the teams and locations are on the website below.
Thanks must also go to sponsors, Arrow ECS sponsor the Under 9 Blues kit and Air Care Compressed Services Ltd sponsor the training jackets.
Liam Rooney, Football Development Manager at Derbyshire County FA: “We are fortunate to have so many fantastic clubs and volunteers who help us strive towards providing better footballing opportunities for young players. We know how much work goes in on a weekly basis and The FA Community Awards allow us to say thank you.”
Contacts: Sean Hoole (Chairman) 07985 937781; Rob Cooper (Secretary) 07511565242; Shane Madden (Development Coordinator) 07929 723440