The TEAM 19 programme aims to address the 16-19 participation drop-off through a national network of Further Education (FE) Colleges driving the creation of intra-college TEAM 19 football leagues which are led by students for students.

The project is being delivered in partnership by British Colleges Sport (BCS) and The FA, and is supported by Sport England. Over 100 people packed into the stunning facilities at Telford College in Shropshire to be part of the official launch day. Students, players, teachers, parents, volunteers, coaches, County FA and club staff were just some of those in attendance who were treated to a number of inspirational speeches before being able to watch the students from the college compete through their very own in-house “Telford College TEAM 19” league.

Pete Ackerley (FA Senior National Game Development Manager), Karl Lines (BCS National Football Development Manager), Clare Howard (The Association of Colleges) and Janet Ellis (Principal and Chief Executive, Telford College) all spoke passionately about the incredible value of being in a team and the powerful effect that TEAM 19 can have in helping young people to enjoy participating in football. But the real star of the show had to be Telford College student Sarah Nickless, 17, who spoke movingly about the unique experiences that football has given her before encouraging fellow students, across colleges up and down the country to get involved in TEAM 19.

Karl Lines, who project manages the TEAM 19 programme on behalf of BCS and The FA commented: “It’s great to launch TEAM 19 with a bang and so inspirational to hear students like Sarah speak about how highly they value opportunities like these. The best part of this project is that students like Sarah will be involved from the start in leading it and so there is a great deal of excitement for what can be achieved. With this support behind us, we aim to give recreational football in colleges the recognition and profile that it deserves.”

Donna McIvor, The FA National Football Development Manager for Education, believes: “TEAM 19 is about changing the culture of sport in further education, to make it student led, it is about listening to what students want and then supporting them to make it happen. TEAM 19 can not only increase the number of young people playing sport it can also support many of them to develop core skills such as communication, teamwork and leadership that can help them to gain employment in the future.”

The TEAM 19 project works by encouraging colleges to sign up to running a fun and competitive intra-mural or ‘TEAM 19 league’ for their students aged 16-19. Under the exciting TEAM 19 branding, colleges can showcase their own college league on the TEAM 19 website, connect with others involved nationwide through the ‘Fan’ site, whilst also competing nationally against other colleges through a ‘virtual’ leader board system each term.

Colleges will be encouraged to fully involve students not just in the playing but also in the organisation, marketing, promotion, refereeing and running of the league through a ‘student management team’ approach, to ensure that students are able to take some ownership for their own provision.

For further details on the TEAM 19 project please contact Development:

T: 01903 766855

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