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About Us

Robin Russell

Robin has  over 40 years of experience in football development—he started his career as a qualified teacher and played semi-professional, before joining the English FA in 1978 as a Regional coach and then Assistant Director of coaching,

Technical Coordinator and then  Head of FA Learning 

At the FA,Robin was responsible for a number of Innovative programmes launched by the English FA which included the following :

  • FA Funweeks - from launch in 1983 Funweeks were franchised out to Grassroots & Professional Clubs, County Football Associations, Local Authorities,Sports Centres and Private Entrepreneurs who met criteria provided by the Football Association. By the mid - 1990's Funweeks had become the largest sports holiday programme for children in England with more than 300,000 children attending each year 

  • FA Coaching Centres - launched in 1985 as weekly after school coaching sessions this FA franchised programme was delivered by Clubs, Sports Centres,Local Authorities,Private Entrepreneurs and Community Programmes who met FA criteria : numbers exceeded  over 500,000 participants per year within 5 years 

  •  FA Soccer Star  Technique Tests : From 1998 until 2008  this unique Educational Soccer Program has been used by over 20,000 coaches and teachers involving over over 2 million children.Test results fed into a computer at the FA to provide rankings

 Over 100,000 copies of the Soccer Star book and 50,000 copies of the Video sold

      Translated to several languages including Madarin 

                                             + in 1995 FA Preliminary Soccer Star

                                                 for Footballers with Disabilities

                                                 and Learning Difficulties (developed & improved very successfully over the years by Jeff Davis)    

  • Mini- Soccer : Launched in 1992, more than 500,000 5-12 year olds currently play this form of football.

 

  • FA Curriculum Guide  &  FA Cross - Curricular Projects: used by over 20,000 Schools: 

  • The FA  Games Assistant Service for Schools :

  • FA Trained Coaches provided by local providers franchised by the FA

  • Girls Football Development- from 1990 Robin was responsible for the creation of the FA's initial Girls Football Development Programme, the recruitment and management of the

      first staff appointed by the FA dedicated solely to Girls and Womens Football ​​

  • Football in the Community Programmes : Robin was responsible for

the creation of several Football in The Community Projects

e.g. Portsmouth FC, Crystal Palace FA, Brighton and Hove Albion FC, Gillingham FC

and then was the FA's representative on the Management Board

of the very successful National Football in Community Programme as

recorded in "  Football In The Community: A Modern History"

  • Robin was responsible for the development, transition from

FA Coaching Awards to introduction of UEFA Coaching Awards

in 1996 and in 1997 initiated  the The FA Coaches  Association

which became The  FA Licensed Coaches Club and through the work of Jamie Houchen

became the largest Football Coaches Association in the world  

  • The FA Charter for Quality was developed by  Howard Wilkinson (FA Technical Directors) and Robin Russell  in 1997 which led to a number of innovations including  The FA Charter Standard Programme ( by John Mcdermott )  The FA Women's Development Programme

( by Kelly Simmons )  The FA Child Protection Programme (by Tony Pickerin) ,

The English Youth Football Academy System  ( with Dave Richardson )

and ( with Howard Wilkinson )the creation  of the National Football Centre-

St. George's Park

  • Robin also initiated the FA Level ONE Coaching Award in 2002

which was developed by Les Howie to involve over 30,000 students per year by 2005 

  • FA Learning Limited In the early 2000s, Robin was responsible for the creation of FA Learning Ltd—the home of all FA educational activities. As the company’s first CEO, Robin

introduced the a number of initiatives including the development of 7 e-learning courses

     involving over 500,000 students within 5 years 

Robin left full time employment at the FA in 2005 to become UEFA's first 

Football Development consultant, continue for a number of years as a consultant to the FA

and start his own business in Football Development and online soccer education: Sports Path. 

UEFA 

A founder member of the UEFA Grassroots Panel in 1995 Robin helped develop the UEFA Grassroots Charter launched in 2002 , revised in 2008 and 2021 and as a UEFA Consultant since  2005 , Robin has personally visited and provided advice on the development of grassroots football to over 90% of UEFA's National Associations

Sports Path 

Robin has also acted as a consultant on e-learning, coach education and football development projects with FIFA, CONCACAF,  and several National Associations ( including Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Turkey, Cyprus )  and top  clubs, including Southampton FC and Shakhtar Donetsk

 

 

With LMA Chairman, Howard Wilkinson, Robin created the

LMA School of Football Management and developed several

football management courses, including ‘Creating a culture of excellence' focusing on leadership for soccer coaches, and ‘Identifying potential talent’ helping football coaches identify young talent.

 

The most recent Sports Path online course aims to help startups innovate in the global grassroots football market. 

 

Asian Football Confederation 

From 2015 , Robin has been a Grassroots and Youth  Football Development Consultant for the AFC and a member of the AFC Grassroots Panel contributing to the creation of the AFC Grassroots Charter (Video Interview  here ) and the AFC Elite Youth Scheme.

As part of this role Robin hs provided advice for more than 50% of the National Association members of AFC  

US Youth Soccer 

In 2019 Robin was hired by US Youth Soccer to investigate means to increase the growth and retention of the number of registered youth players in the USA as part of the GRIP project. See here 

Mahd Sports Academy, Saudi Arabia 

Anglia Ruskin University,
Cambridge, England

In 2021 Robin was hired to draft a Needs Analysis for this Academy: the first in Saudi Arabia to include girls 

Since 2015 Robin has lectured on ' Sports Development ' for the Football Coaching Bsc. Course