This month will mark the 16th year since I registered Middleton Park FC with the local FA and we started to prepare three teams (U14’s, U15’s and U17’s) to play their first season of league football in the Charles Rice Junior football league.
The early days were a real challenge, as a 21-year-old man trying to create an organisation with no money, no experience and only Google to advise me – it was a challenge! The first few years were rocky both financially and on the pitch, with teams regularly taking double figure loses and having to spend hours fundraising so we could get out of our second hand kits and develop our own club identity.
16 years on … what’s changed? Well, we now have 16 junior teams from Mini Tots (U3’s) to Under 12’s; three Senior teams which includes a Veterans team (Over 35’s) and over 200 playing members.
What has been crucial to the development of the club has been establishing a functional committee of committed individuals who all hold a specific role and responsibility. A more recent addition to the club has been the creation of our fundraising committee who now take sole responsibility for the club’s events and fundraising, in turn supporting the sustainability of the club. They helped us win £1,000 from Radio Aire’s Cash for Kids just before Christmas. Our committees currently have a handful of volunteer vacancies including Welfare Officer (x2), Football Development Officer (x2) and more.
More exciting for the club has been our link with Leeds United Academy. We have now seen a progression route for our more advanced players to move to and all our kids are assessed by the Academy on a regular basis and this has allowed many children to move into Academy football. On Saturday 11 January Leeds United sent their Academy coaches to work with our U6 and U8 teams on our own pitches which was exciting for the kids and really enjoyable for all.
One thing that is really special to me is seeing the boys I started with now returning as men with their children and some of them volunteering at the club too, it shows what a great community club we have now created.
If you would like to get involved with the club through sponsoring us, coaching, playing or volunteering on our committees, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me, Wayne Dixon on 07852 311717.
This post was written by Wayne Dixon
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