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Southwater Royals FC Managers Hand Book

with special thanks to Mike Tydd and Matt Tyerman

Version 1.4  01/06/2021 UPDATE

So you’ve got the job. You’re the gaffer. Whether you’re a budding Mourinho or a reluctant volunteer, you’ve got the responsibility of managing the team. We have travelled the same path and know that it can be daunting to begin with so we have put together this short guide to help you in your first weeks and months. We are one big family and if you need any help just ask.

This hand book is intended to be a guide to help you, the team manager, to go about your role in a way that will maximise the enjoyment and development of the players and coaches involved in the team. 
The guide is based upon F.A. advice and rules and guidance from current and previous managers. Whilst it is intended to help you understand the ethos of the club and what you are required to do by the F.A., it will not cover every situation you come across and, in these cases, you must speak with the Management Committee or other managers for advice. 
The handbook looks at the basic roles you may be involved with during your time as a manager and coach and gives advice on F.A. rules, HDYFL, SCWGFL, MSFL and SSFL's good practice and bad practice. 
The guide has been put together by existing managers, with the aim of helping new managers avoid some of the problems they have experienced during their time in youth football and to relay the expectations of Southwater Royals FC, the League's and The F.A. 
Southwater Royals Football Club: "Our Mission" 
Southwater Royals Football Club wishes to promote the positive sides of sport to as many children in the area as possible. Teamwork, exercise, sportsmanship and having fun are some of our primary goals and as such Southwater Royals F.C. is an inclusive club, wishing to offer these benefits to children of all abilities.


Although the aim of any sporting fixture is to win with children playing in Grassroots, Development Football, we believe in an ethos of inclusion for all players and that all players in Mini-Soccer age groups should be given the same opportunities to train, play and develop their abilities in a safe, un-intimidating environment.


It is our role as managers and coaches to ensure that everyone, children and adults, has an enjoyable time.


#PlayYourPart #LetThemPlay

Contents Introduction

1.  Southwater Royals Football Club Mission | Contents

2.  Gareth’s Foreword

3.  Safeguarding

4.  Before you start - What do you need to have in place before your first session?

5.  F.A. Charter Standard

6.  Team Structures – Playing Squad - Player Registration

7.  Team Structures – Management

8.  Booking club facilities | Sponsorship

9.  General advice

10. Parents | Children with Special needs | Booking friendlies

11. Tournaments | What happens if a player is scouted? | Club Colours and Kit

12. Club Community

13. Presentation Day | Race night | Christmas Raffle | Volunteers | Useful references and external links

Gareth’s Foreword

At this stage, we invite you to read the following letter, taken from the "FA Respect, We Only Do Positive" handbook.  
"Dear Youth Football Coaches,  
In your position, you’re likely to be one of the most important role models in a young person’s life. Your role in helping children to develop as footballers and young people should never be underestimated. The way you act, the way you behave and the time you commit plays a massive part in their lives.


At this point, I’d like to recognise and thank you for your commitment. For the countless hours spent travelling between matches, stood on the side lines in the pouring rain, offering advice and guidance, pumping up footballs, putting the nets up, filing reports and so on.  At youth level our first and foremost aim should always be that everybody enjoys their football. The majority of players are at school all week and choose to play to spend time outdoors, to get some fresh air and to enjoy themselves.


Sometimes they’re happy to learn, sometimes they just want to kick a ball around. Everybody should get to play, enjoy the game, have fun with their friends and grow their love of the sport.  The Football Association’s Respect campaign champions positive values and behaviours such as fairness, integrity, inclusion and leadership. Our mantra is ‘We Only Do Positive’ which highlights the impact of positive encouragement in the game. When trying to help young people to improve and reach their full potential, it’s more important to find things people do well and highlight those, than it is to find fault in performances.  Research shows us that 90% of players perform better with positive encouragement. Being positive about a young person’s actions or behaviours has a much better effect on their development than being negative towards them, which can be something they associate with other parts of their lives and have a real detrimental impact.


In my own career, I have learnt from every coach I have worked with and having worked with youth players at every level, and as a parent myself, I view a coaches’ job as both a responsibility and an outstanding privilege to be able to influence young people’s development".  
Best wishes,  
Gareth Southgate 




Safeguarding is the most important part of being involved in youth football. Please see below the clubs requirements with regards safeguarding.  

 Every training session and match played must have at least one coach with a current FA Level 1 Qualification (minimum) & current FA First aid qualification present, otherwise the training or match will need to be cancelled
 Parents and coaches are NOT to "play football" with the children doing training due to risk of injury. The FA strongly advises against adults playing within youth football settings (Those where the child is under 16). The disproportionate skill level and physical size presents the potential opportunity for injury to the child/young person involved.


It is The FA’s experience that adults playing games within youth football in either training settings or so named ‘friendly matches’ (often historically referred to as ‘lads v Dads’ games) can result in injury. It should be noted that the injury of a player in such circumstances has in the past resulted in legal action being taken by the injured party against the offending player/adult and may fall outside the limitations of the clubs insurance. Whilst coaches may deem themselves to be ‘aware’ and skilful enough to avoid contact the risks of injury remain high.


With the best of intentions; enthusiasm and effort on behalf of either party can and does result in physical contact. FA Learning coaching courses make it very clear that coaches are not to join in games when working with youth teams. Indeed such activity would be deemed in conflict with the Respect Code of Conduct for Coaches and leaves the coach open to potential claims against them.


 Smoking - Southwater Royals actively promote a "Smokefree Sidelines" approach, asking that all members of our coaching team and representatives of our club refrain from smoking on the sidelines or in view of / within a reasonable distance from all our children.
 All Coaches must have a safeguarding certificate 
 Parent helpers without a safeguarding certificate must always be supervised by a member of the club who has a safeguarding certificate and must not be left out of sight or ear-shot with children. 
 Make sure you know who the Clubs Child Welfare Officer is and direct any concerns or questions to them.

There are no stupid questions – if in doubt ask! Contact Kimberley Showell,

Before you start - What do you need to have in place before your first session 
There are certain things that you will need to have in place before you can take your first session. Its important that you have these in place to protect yourself, the club and the participants.
 Your F.A. Level 1 Coaching qualification 
 Your F.A. Safeguarding certificate 
 An F.A. DBS check 

 The FA 1st Aid Qualification. The FA do not accept any other form of 1st Aid Qualification.
A complete first aid Kit, that will only contain the recommended FA equipment (ONLY order via the club) list available here

 Balls, cones, bibs and any other equipment that you require for your session, talk to our equipment coordinator.

 Registration forms for players that include all relevant medical information and a passport photo for everyone attending
 The first 4 items are required for your F.A. Coaches License 
Good Practice 
 Plan your sessions as much as possible, it will help them be successful and make them more enjoyable for you and the kids 
 Don’t talk too much, keep the kids busy and active 
 Be positive, if a child is not doing things correctly try to be as positive as possible when helping them

F.A. Charter Standard 
Southwater Royals F.C. have worked extremely hard to achieve the F.A. Charter Standard and its very important to the club that we maintain this accreditation. 
In order to maintain this, we need to ensure the following; 
 Club officials in correct roles


 Managers and coaches have current and up to date qualifications:

ALL Managers must to be FA Level 1 Qualified (minimum), DBS checked, FA 1st Aid Qualified and Safeguarding certified.


ALL coaching staff must achieve the new FA PLAYMAKER qualification and complete a DBS check as per the current FA Charter Standard Club minimum requirements.


 Managers, coaches, players and parents follow the F.A. RESPECT Code of Conduct available here
Below is an extract taken directly from the F.A. Code of Conduct. 
Play your part and observe The Football Association’s Respect Code of Conduct in everything you do. 
On and off the field, you need to:


 Show respect to others involved in the game including match officials, opposition players, coaches, managers, officials and spectators


 Adhere to the laws and spirit of the game


 Promote Fair Play and high standards of behaviour


 Always respect the match official’s decision


 Never enter the field of play without the referee’s permission


 Never engage in public criticism of the match officials


 Never engage in, or tolerate, offensive, insulting or abusive language or behaviour.

When working with players, you need to:


 Place the well-being, safety and enjoyment of each player above everything, including winning


 Explain exactly what I expect of players and what they can expect from me


 Ensure all parents/carers of all players under the age of 18 understand these expectations


 Never engage in or tolerate any form of bullying


 Develop mutual trust and respect with every player to build their self-esteem


 Encourage each player to accept responsibility for their own behaviour and performance


 Ensure all activities I organise are appropriate for the players’ ability level, age and maturity


 Co-operate fully with others in football (e.g. officials, doctors, physiotherapists, welfare officers) for each player’s best interests.


Team Structures – Playing Squad

So now its time to think about your new team! Having a squad that is too big or too small can cause you difficulties and whilst building your new team its important to remember that Southwater Royals FC is an all inclusive football club.


As the manager of one of our Mini Soccer Teams (U8 - U11) remember that if you have too many players, you may be unable to effectively manage playing times.  In the U8 through to U11 age groups, the FA Guidelines state that all players registered to your team on WGS must receive equal playing time in league games, regardless of ability.


From the U12 age group (Youth Teams) upwards, when competitive football and league records are introduced, player trials/assessments may be held as part of your team and player development. This will assist in the future building of your squad offering a more flexible approach to player management.

But bear in mind that the opposite is also true. If you have too few players, you could find yourself short for games when people are ill or if people are away.

Getting that balance right is also important as we do not, as a club offer/operate training only teams or such like at any age group.

A good number of players to start with is 14 – 16 per team. Please see below the F.A. Structure for age groups and team sizes. Consider that by the time you get to 9-a-side you will probably have lost a few players or you may wish to add another team.

At every stage, communication with your parents and players is key, helping to identify a child's needs, understanding abilities that vary greatly among young players and discuss options that will best support the future development of the child. Child welfare and Safeguarding must always be at the forefront of any decisions taken. You should always work to promote a positive and constructive approach to player management and development.

Player Registrations

As the Manager you must make sure that all of your players are registered on the FA WGS system. They are then permitted to attend training, participate in league games (player cards produced to confirm eligibility) and potential tournaments/competitions.

All players MUST be registered to play in the correct age group (Boys, Girls and Mixed Teams) based on the current FA guidelines (special circumstances will be considered by the SMC) Each team is responsible for their own player registrations. The process for each new season will begin in July and you will receive the full support of the registrations team, team Managers and the SMC when registering your team. But don't worry, its not as hard as it sounds.

All players must be registered on the WGS (Whole Game System)  as this ensures the player is insured by the FA Bluefin Player and Public Liability Insurance policies, as per the Charter Standard requirements. The ONLY exception to this rule is when a player attends open trials.

Important point, each league has an agreed MAXIMUM number of players that can be registered to play and you must not sign more than that number for your team.  As an example, Horsham and District Youth Football League stipulate that no team are allowed to register more than 20 players.

If you wish to sign a new player during the open season, you should contact the player registrations officer for the club who will advise you on what steps to take.


Format Age Minimum players in team 

Minimum players at a fixture 5v5 Under 6, 7 & 8, 7v7 Under 9 & 10, 9v9 Under 11 & 12  and 11v11 Under13 onwards. This may vary for girls football teams as the girls football section develops and continues to grow and we are updated by the FA.

F.A. - No players under 6 are per permitted to play in a match of any kind, but are permitted to attend our Under 6's Development Coaching

Wildcats Centre - Age U5 through to U11 inclusive as per the FA Wildcats Centre guidelines.


Good Practice

 Try to get a large enough squad and helpers to allow you to field 2 teams. (Remember the League stipulated MAXIMUM number of players allowed to register) This will help enormously by giving you the opportunity to match players by ability, into appropriate groups which will help them learn and develop their football better.


 If you need more players speak to the Management Committee, they will be able to advertise your requirements on the Royals website, the official League website and social media accounts. We have worked hard to establish a recognised brand and identity for the club, therefore advertising must only be published by the SMC Media Coordinator.

Team Structures – Management 

It is not possible to do everything on your own, you will need some help, the more help you can drum up from the parents the better. Try to get a couple of parents to help with the coaching, they will have to complete their online FA Playmaker qualification, as per the current FA Charter Standard Club requirements.


You will also need a Team Rep as an additional point of contact for the team. The role of this person is to assist the coaching team with off the field duties and to be a point of contact for the parents. Your team representative would ideally be another child’s parent, although many team representatives are the managers partners this does mean that you tend to have holidays at the same time and may make your team representative less approachable is a parent wishes to discuss concerns of a sensitive nature. 


As previously mentioned you also have the CWO (Child Welfare Officer) as a point of contact should you need any additional help with safeguarding. 
Booking Club Facilities 

Southwater Royals FC DO NOT have a Bookings Coordinator. Your league is updated each season with details about your allocated home ground. The club have secured training facilities and you will be notified, again at the beginning of each season where your training session will be held, what day and at what times. You will be allocated a winter and summer training location, which for some teams will be different. The club will always try and be as flexible with start times and days as possible, we understand that not everyone has a 9 till 5 job.


If two teams share a pitch (e.g. U9/U10 share 7v7 pitch at Christs Hospital (CH) preference to the booking is given as below:

 League games have priority over friendly games.


The order in which you will play your League game on the day will be determined by your relevant league. If you share a pitch with another team, the league are responsible for order of play and start times. You must adhere to the League requirements for a home team changing a venue, with the latest notification time to the League currently being on a Tuesday evening by 7pm or the club may be fined.


 There is no preference on the age group when there are two friendly matches or two league matches to be organised. However try to remember that we are all a part of the same club, so work fairly between teams and remember, keep communicating with each other.



Sponsorship of playing kit and equipment for the financial health of our football club.


We want our teams to look professional, have the equipment they need so they have the best possible chances of success.

There are three types of sponsor;

Parent Sponsor


This type of sponsor will pay what they can towards kit for their child’s team and will not want their money to go to other areas of the club. These parents may want to pay for more than just a shirt. But they will not want to pay towards another team for personal reasons.

Company Sponsor


The parent of a team member could approach a company to sponsor their son or daughters’ team. The parent may well have a business of their own. The emphasis of this sponsorship would be just to support that specific team with their kit/equipment requirements.

Commercial Sponsor


This type of sponsor may wish to pay an amount that the club will distribute across several teams that may be in need of it.


All these types of sponsor deals need to go through the Club Treasurer and the Management Committee for assessment and approval. We don’t want Managers and Parents doing what they want as getting a sponsor is important and needs to be managed fairly and correctly.

There is a sponsorship pack on the website,


Sponsorship should be carried out fully in the open and through the Club Treasurer.


Don’t purchase kit without first obtaining the authorisation from the Club Treasurer and all the sponsorship funds. If in doubt speak to the Club Treasurer or a member of the Senior Management Committee.

General Advice


It is important to remember that you’re team members are the most important thing in their parent’s lives. There can be challenges both on and off the pitch, however the most common reason for any such challenges is lack of communication. The parents will be a valuable asset to the team, so it’s vitally important that you keep a good level of communication going between you and them.

 Make sure that you are approachable, both in person and other forms of communications.


 Ensure that you have a team representative that your parents can approach if you are not available. In the unlikely case that you find yourself in a difficult situation, you should not feel you have to deal with it alone, contact a member of the Management Committee as they are there to help you in such situations.


 Always try to see other people’s points of view if they have concerns. Ultimately you may not agree with them, but you need to be open to constructive criticism or suggestions.


Following these guidelines and keeping open channels of communication, will help keep misunderstandings to a minimum and give you the opportunity to deal with any potential problems early before they escalate. 
Children with Special needs

You may have a child or children who has some special needs wanting to join your team. As a club we are inclusive and if there is space they must be offered a place. It’s essential that you are fully aware of any conditions that may affect your session so that you and the children in question get the most out of any sessions.

It is the responsibility of the parents or guardians of the children to give you all the required information relating to their child’s special needs, but do make sure you ask them specifically for this information at the earliest possibility. If the child requires 1 to 1 supervision, then the parent must be available to join in the session to assist you with this.

Please remember that you are (probably) not a trained professional and if you need help contact our Child Welfare Officer. The club will assist you in these situations.


Booking friendlies 

Be friendly with other team’s managers and coaches that you meet, we would recommend sharing contact details. There are also manager contacts available on the HDYFL website and it would be good for you to contact them and introduce yourself. These two steps will help you build up a network of contacts so that you can arrange friendly matches when you feel your team would benefit from them. Book friendly matches in as early as possible, the later you leave it the harder it will be to get games. 

As soon as Christmas has passed you will be inundated with invitations to tournaments. These can be great fun. Our advice is to make a list of your invites and sit down with your coaching team and discuss which ones you would like to enter. Don’t leave it too long though as the best ones tend to get booked up early. Although it may be tempting to put your strongest team in to try and win it, you must ensure that everyone is given the same opportunities. It may even be worth entering 2 teams! 
What happens if a player is scouted?

If a player in your team is scouted it’s important to understand the process as parents will be coming to you with questions. If the player has been scouted by a professional club, they will be in contact with yourself or the club Committee and they will be able to provide you with all the information you need. Be wary of players being offered places in paid academies and the like, this is not the same as being scouted by a professional club.


The normal procedure is that the player will be offered a trial for a set amount of time and during this time they will not be able to play for you.


Although it is frustrating loosing your best players, this should be seen as a compliment.


Club Colours and Kit 
It is important that all our teams have a consistent kit colour and branding so that the Royals teams all have the same identity.  
At the time of writing the current kit manufacturer is Errea and the kits colours and styles are as follows –  


Errea Lennox Sky Blue (Home Shirt)


Errea Lennox Yellow Fluo (Away Shirt) 
Errea Bonn Shorts Navy/White


Errea Active Socks Blue/White 

We have two main kit suppliers and the details are –


Premier Sports in Colgate –


Broadwater Sports, Worthing – 



Club Community 
Aside from football, Southwater Royals F.C. also has a strong sense of community. Social gatherings are a great way for the teams and parents to get to know each other and to realise they are part of a club that is far bigger than their individual team.


These gatherings can also be a great source of fundraising for the club and we would ask that you encourage the parents and players to attend our social and fundraising events. Regular favourite events in our calendar include an annual Race Night, Christmas Raffle and Presentation Day. 
Presentation Day 
Presentation Day is our largest social event and it occurs in the early summer at the end of the football season. We hold inter-club tournaments, mixing similar aged teams into smaller teams for the competition, we also put a lot of effort into fund raising on the day. However the most important aspect to this day is to recognise the players’ efforts throughout the year.


There are presentations for all age groups and you, as the team manager, will be asked to say a few words to the team and parents as well as make these presentations. 
Race night 
Race Night is our second largest social event. Held in the autumn months the Race Night is an excellent opportunity for the entire Royals family to get together for an evening of fun and fundraising. Every team has a horse race dedicated to them where there are 10 horses and jockeys that can be sold to parents.


We would also like to get a sponsor for each race. On the evening there is a tote for fun betting on the horses (50p per bet). Both children and adults have a great time cheering their horses and socialising with other teams. 
Christmas Raffle 
The club hold a Christmas Raffle, we ask that all teams get involved in buying and selling raffle tickets. We have historically had some amazing prizes for our Christmas Raffle and if you feel any of your parents would like to help finding prizes please ask them to contact the senior Management Committee. 
It takes a lot of time and effort to run a successful grassroots football club. You have already taken a big step in offering your time and expertise by becoming a team manager. If you could please remain on the lookout for any parents who would be willing to offer any assistance it would be gratefully appreciated.

Visit our Helpers Wanted page at the following link:


As the club continues to grow, so does the background work required and many hands make light work. Whether a parent can offer to help out on a one off basis or take on a role within the club the Committee would love to hear from them. 
Useful references and external links


Southwater Royals F.C. Website


The F.A. Respect Website


Horsham & District Youth Football League Website


Sussex County Women & Girls Football League


South Surrey Youth Football League


Premier Sports in Colgate


Broadwater Sports, Worthing 


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