The Football Fun Factory is open to boys and girls of all ages, abilities and experience levels. We do everything we can to make it the most welcoming environment possible, where children can play the game pressure-free, with a big smile on their face!
My favourite of all of our programmes is called ‘Tots Football Fun’. These sessions offer an introduction to football for 2-5 year olds. Across all of our venues, we welcome thousands of children to our sessions and we have a brilliant mixture of boys and girls of all abilities. In this programme we have a much higher percentage of female participants than any other programme. In my opinion, this is because there are no barriers or pre-conceived ideas about who should participate in football. There is not a 2 year old on this earth that would even stop to think that ‘football is a boys game’ and that ‘girls shouldn’t play football’. However, these kind of comments and internal thoughts can sadly creep in for children at a later age and subsequently, female participation drops off the older children get – certainly within our programmes.
As these toddlers grow older into young children, teenagers and eventually adults, they will come across many forms of discrimination. Sadly, they will encounter people who discriminate against others based on sex, religion, sexual preference or race. But these are all learned behaviours.
Football should be played without any barriers to entry. Certainly not discrimination of any kind. If only every human being on earth had the same outlook of the 2-3 year olds in our sessions…. They get it so right! All they are interested in is having fun – tick! They have no thoughts of who should or shouldn’t play football – tick! They have huge amounts of energy and enthusiasm – tick! And certainly… they would never, ever, have a thought of any discrimination of any kind. Discriminating thoughts and behaviours are learnt from elders. Not ones that you are born with. Maybe we could learn a bit from these toddlers, eh?
At the FFF we’ll continue to showcase fantastic values in all that we do and reward positive sporting behaviour and hopefully, people across the world can learn to conduct themselves in the same way our toddlers do!