Published 09 July 2021 4 min read
Grassroots Football

Inspiring future generations

Written by:

James Kendall

As England prepare for the UEFA EURO 2020 Final, find out  how we're aiming to continue building from grassroots level upwards

As we reflect on the England men’s senior team’s historic achievement in reaching a first major tournament final since 1966, it's worth reflecting on this inspirational group of players and staff that are really helping to unite the nation during this difficult period.

It's been hugely encouraging to see the country come together during UEFA EURO 2020 and get behind the team so enthusiastically.

One of the key benefits of a major football tournament is the wider audience it brings to the game. Every year, 14.1m people play grassroots football in England - with 13.5m people playing regularly - but interest across the country swells by as much as 10m people during a major football event.

This provides a unique opportunity to attract more participants to the game, leveraging the strength and popularity of our England teams to inspire future generations and positively impact grassroots participation.

Due to the strategic foundations that have been put in place, we're well-positioned to facilitate the expected post-EURO rise in interest and participation, while serving and leading the game for the many millions that play nationwide in the long-term. 

Our director of football development, James Kendall, says England is ready for an increase in participation
Our director of football development, James Kendall, says England is ready for an increase in participation

In May 2021, we launched England Football with the intention to better connect the grassroots game to England’s elite and provide game-changing digital tools to make access to football easier than ever before.

We also unveiled a new four-year grassroots football strategy ‘Survive. Revive. Thrive.’ earlier this year, which has the needs of players at its heart and will focus on the areas of the game that our insight tells us will have the most impact across participation (male, female and disability), facilities, clubs and volunteering. 

The breadth and depth of grassroots football in England means it is uniquely placed to change people’s lives by bringing communities together and improving the health of the nation. And because of the scale of football, the impact it can have on society is unique which is tremendously exciting, particularly as the nation emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Over the coming days, media interest in the England team will reach fever pitch and it’s worth remembering that every single player’s journey starts at a grassroots level, whether with a club or school.

There is a deep connection between this history-making squad and the grassroots game and how many of them have graduated through our England National Teams Development system and benefitted from the England DNA.

The impact of EURO 2020 has already been significant and the platform is set for the next generation of young players and participants across the country.