Building on their five core philosophies, YFC VISTA has a far reaching view and approach to Grassroots Youth Football Development. Since it was launched in Spring 2013 and as part of the the VISTA DNA, each footballer is trained with a focus on Vision, Intelligence, Skill, Teamwork and Adaptability. The club seeks to offer a high standard of football coaching and development of youth players in communities where there is a lack of organised football. This month’s London Grilling we speak to Director of Football Development at YFC VISTA, Shane Glasgow.
Image: YFC Vista
1. How/why was the club initially started?
I spent five years in the United States coaching and promoting youth football after gaining GA level 1 . My time spent developing as a coach in the US made a huge impression on me in terms of the organisation and passion for youth sports.
VISTA was launched in Spring 2013 with the mission to offer a higher standard of football coaching and development of youth players in communities where there is a lack of organised football. As well as developing the skills and potential of young people we also wanted to support the social and personal development through teamwork and provide an all inclusive environment accessible to all.
2. How did you get involved in football coaching?
Football has always been a source of enjoyment and a big feature of my childhood. My Uncle was an initial source of inspiration as an ex-professional, and I was fortunate to attend matches, meet many players I grew up admiring who were his team mates and opposition.
I also had aspirations to play professionally growing up developing my skills through playing street football and joining local youth teams in my area. Many of the coaches who helped me and young people I grew up with made massive sacrifices and offering their time in limited resources to ensure we could have a safe environment to play and develop our passion of the game.
After unsuccessful trials at a professional Academy, I started to volunteer at local youth clubs and always ended up organising football tournaments and matches. My love for the game returned after a difficult period of my life where I stopped playing, realising I could still be involved in football and seeing how football/sport has a positive impact on lives of young people attracted me to coaching .
3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
We are committed to the long term development of players who participate in our programmes. Seeing the progression of young people in all aspects of their development e.g making friendships, growing in confidence.
4. Have you got any plans to extend the club to other boroughs in the future?
Yes, we are increasing our profile in the neighbouring Lewisham Borough mirroring the programmes in we have established in Southwark. We also launched Team Access which provides 1:1 and small group coaching for YP with disabilities in London Borough of Croydon while working to engage children in other boroughs where there is a lack of provision. We believe cross borough work is important as we want kids to foster relationships outside of their community.
5. Are there any challenges that you’ve faced in setting up the Youth Academy?
Sustaining a youth sports organisation is a massive undertaking funding, retaining and developing volunteers. We have found that we have grown and developed into much more then a football club. We provide a lot of support off the pitch for our young people and families also.
6. Have you seen an increase in interest for Vista Girls in recent years?
VISTA have always promoted the inclusion girls at sessions and activities across the club, our Grassroots Academy is also producing talented girls who have been selected to play for Professional Girls Academy and Centre of Excellences. Last season we launched our stand alone development programme which has steadily grown over the last few months. We recognise that there is still so much work to do in terms of providing programmes, development pathways, challenging attitudes, raising awareness amongst parents and families of the growth and exciting future of girls football in the community.
7. How has social media helped you in getting the word out about YFC?
We have yet to really make a true impact in terms of social networking and media engagement of our audiences. We have built up a loyal following who are always sharing the good work we do in the community. We have a Social Media Manager on board for the new season which we really feel will enhance and increase our club profile even further. Whilst word of mouth is invaluable in our growth we are really keen to share and update more of what we do with a wider audience.
8. Has anyone gone onto focus on Football as a career after training with you?
We have at present 4 players signed to academy football club but are very much at the beginning of a very long and challenging journey as only a very small amount of players will be privileged enough to receive a professional contract. As a community club we are keen to blaze a trail in offering opportunities, information, advice and guidance to young people in areas outside of playing as there are a plethora of roles behind the scenes at football clubs and sports organisations. Ray Quan Robertson Our current Club Secretary is 21 years old, as well as coaching he undertakes a variety of administrative roles at the club which has given the desire to get involved in business management and corporate aspects of football. He has recently enrolled on a Coaching and Management course at New Bucks University which offers specialist degree courses tailored to the football industry. He will attend lectures at the Wembley Stadium with a view to work within a professional football club.
9. What advice would you give to someone looking to get involved in football?
Many of the principles and skills that are developed as a player in all aspects will help in pursuing a career in football on and off the pitch. Determination and hunger to succeed are must as it is a highly competitive field no matter what industry you hope to enter. Sometimes you won’t gain recognition and making others aware of your talent is another obstacle. A key attribute that I have learned and observed from people who have succeeded in football is the ability to show resilience in the face of adversity, keep motivated, embrace challenges and keep things in perspective when everything doesn’t go according to plan. Always remember what the game is about and why you became involved in the first place.
10. Finally…can anyone get involved with YFC and if so, how?
We believe that there is an abundance of talented and positive role models who could offer a lot to our club. One of the many recurring themes and expressions used by members of our tight knit community is ‘VISTA Family’, we have developed a great spirit where newcomers are made to feel welcome, all our stakeholders are approachable and always willing to offer their support.
Interested members of the community who want to engage young people through football/sport can get in touch with our Club Operations Manager, Yasemin Ercan and request to attend one of our programmes to observe our sessions and interact with all our amazing volunteers and members!
Do you play for YFC VISTA or be interested in attending? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…