Playing Football in London
Moving to London often brings with it many new challenges. There are some essential things that need to be taken care of first such as finding accommodation and setting up essential facilities like banking. Once you have taken care of the necessities then its time to explore the city and think about how you want to spend your leisure time. Football is one such pastime and is the activity I am asked about the most, its only fitting then that this year we kick of our new blog with a look at the football facilities in London and try and give some advice on how you can find a local team .
Where to start ?
Finding a team you want to play for is almost as challenging as finding accommodation in London. There are a lot of teams in London ranging from Junior to Senior level. For the purpose of this blog I think it pertinent to keep the standard of football at a level that would be attainable to most. There are 3 levels of football for amateurs
Junior being the lowest and senior being the highest. A lot of the clubs in London will have a couple of teams and you may find a club that has a team in a Junior and Senior league for example. New players are often given a trial and it would be up to you to compete with the players already at the club for a position, the manager will then decide if you are up to the level required to perform in that side.
Cultural Differences ?
I am always asked if playing 11 a side football in London is dangerous or more physical. There seems to be a perception from international clients that the amateur game in England is a more physical game than whats played overseas and on more than one occasion its been suggested to me that brute strength is used to hide weaknesses in technique and tactical awareness. Speaking from my own personal experience I can say that there are definite cultural differences but having not played 11 a side in another country I can only speculate as to what they are. Italian friends that I have played with often say that we lack tactical awareness and that coaching and training is poor. Spanish players will often quip that our technique sucks and that we have too much empahsis on getting the ball forward quickly. Australians will always laugh at the facilities on offer and the poor pitches available in London especially.
What to look for in a local football team ?
People get into football for a variety of different reasons. Choosing a team that fits your own personal needs is essential for your overall enjoyment. If your looking to make new friends in London then a team that has a good social scene would be a good fit. If your looking at joining a team to keep fit then you’re going to want a team that takes its games fairly seriously, there are plenty of teams that play just for the social aspect and may not be able to get a team out each week signing for one of these teams could mean that you dont get to play as much as you like.
Will it cost ?
Unfortunately most of the amateur clubs will have a cost associated to playing as a rule you may be asked to pay for the following
- Signing on fee (registration with the FA)
- Match Fees (for referees & pitch hire)
- Clothing (tracksuits)
- Bookings & suspensions (Red & Yellow Cards)
Its important to understand that all clubs are different and the above is a basic illustration of what you could potentially be asked to pay. The level of payment will mainly be determined by the sponsorship level of the club you play, unfortunately I have yet to find a club that has no fees. From experience the below is a good estimate of what it will cost
- Signing on fee £45
- Yearly subs £40-60 pa
- Match Fees £10 per game
- Clothing £25
- Bookings & suspensions (Yellow £10, Red £25 – £35)