Post-Covid - what are the effects on Grassroots Football and Youth Soccer Clubs and Startups ?

Updated: Jun 16

Update - please see this research in Sport Development in South Africa published in 2022 : Preparing for long-term success: Sport for Development’s strategies during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Abstract : This study compiled interviews with administrators in 10 South African based SfD organizations, assessing how they innovated and adjusted to the pandemic, as well as which strategies best helped them successfully manage change. Major findings include a need for collaboration among SfD organizations, a strong focus on creativity and innovation in the field, and a need for organizations to balance structure and flexibility to allow responsiveness to changing needs.



There is is no doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic continues to be a defining event in societies across the world. The loss of lives, livelihoods and the effect of the lockdown have been profound.

In many countries around the world there is still no grassroots sport and many young players have lost almost two years of regular participation


Added to the pandemic has been the recent inflationary price increases on many items, not least transport costs


This blog looks at some of the effects of the pandemic on Grassroots Football , examines some Case Studies in Europe, the USA and Australia AND highlight the OPPORTUNITIES FOR CLUBS & STARTUPS IN THE POST PANDEMIC ENVIRONMENT

This post will be of specific interest to anyone involved in a grassroots football clubs and those considering launching a Startup


18 months ago we published a 16 page report of on this subject ( click here to download )

Going forward the key aspects we highlight in this blog are as follows:


  1. Health and Welfare

  2. Economic Factors

  3. Case Study: Denmark

  4. Case Study : USA

  5. The Growth of Startups




1. Health and Welfare

  • The Health Agenda is a no brainer as post Covid every brand should consider itself a ' Health and Hygiene' brand

  • This study reinforces this view from a Health System point of view in pointing out that " Technologically advanced nations have revised their approaches to Public Health. More specifically, their interest has shifted toward promoting low-cost, highly effective healthy lifestyle behaviours. In this process, critical thinking continues to be revised about how best to achieve (i) sport engagement (ii) involvement in exercise and/or (iii) being more physically active in daily life lifestyles. " A simple example of this would be this Danish research : " Recreational soccer is an effective health-promoting activity for untrained men "

  • This study from Australia highlights the role youth sports has in a post pandemic environment in developing mental wellbeing and physical activity e.g. ‘recognising struggle’, ‘reconnection’, ‘re-engaging after restrictions, and ‘reimagining sport’

  • In the UK the market leader in the provision of Physical Education Lessons and after school football programmes is Premier Education who have commissioned and published their own Report Child Wellbeing 2021 We feature Premier Education in our online course : INNOVATE- Build Your Grassroots Startup

OPPORTUNITIES ? HAVE MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH and WELFARE AS CORE VALUES OF YOUR PROGRAMME


2. Economic Factors

  • In 2019 research by the Aspen Institute in the USA found that : " The biggest predictor of sport participation is the parents' income. Only 27.5 % of children from homes with incomes under $25,000 a year play sports compared to the 45.5 % of kids from homes with incomes greater than $100,000 a year

  • Furthermore in 2020 ,The Aspen Institute conducted a Survey that showed that "Low-Income Kids Are 6 Times More Likely to Quit Sports Due to Costs"

  • The Aspen Institute in 2021 reported that : " Wealth still factors into who plays: This was true before the pandemic and true today. In September 2021, 24% of parents in the highest-income bracket ($100,000 or more) said their child had resumed sports at a higher level than before COVID-19. Only 13%-14% of kids from the two lower-income brackets returned to sports at a higher pre-pandemic level"

  • This pre- Covid study of parents in the USA found that ' On average, parents say a third of their income goes towards covering their children’s expenses, including sports ' ( Download here ) and that One in four parents (27%) spend $500 or more and about 1 in 10 (8%) spend more than $1,000 per month on their kid’s athletics.


OPPORTUNITIES ?....... LOW COST, LOCAL GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL


3. Case Study Denmark

Following the excellent blog of Bent Clausen the Chairman of the Danish FA's Children's Committee, you can see some of fantastic increases in post - pandemic participation in Denmark

To find out more about the Danish FA's innovative Children's Strategy click here. The foundation of the ambitious strategy is a series of promises, values ​​and initiatives in various areas and arenas with a single purpose: To create the world's best children's football in Denmark.

Inspired by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and ICoachKids, the DBU has found the values ​​on which they want to build Danish children's football. The children's strategy contains a view of children with 12 children's rights and 10 children's promises, which means that we put the children's well-being and development first


OPPORTUNITIES ?.............. CHILDREN FIRST VALUE DRIVEN PROGRAMMES ESPECIALLY ATTRACTIVE TO PARENTS OF GIRLS AND VERY YOUNG CHILDREN


4. Case Studies USA

According to the Aspen Institute: " Some Kids are increasingly resuming sports at pre-pandemic levels" In September 2021, 47% of youth sports parents said their child has resumed sports at the same level as before the pandemic; that’s up from 40% five months earlier. Seventeen percent of children resumed playing at a higher level than before COVID-19. But regarding High School there was a noted Decline in High School Sports in the USA


OPPORTUNITIES ? ............SCHOOL PROGRAMMES


5.The Growth of Startups

Forbes Magazine noted a general increase in Startups as a result of the Pandemic here and confirmed by the NY Times

In the UK 80 new UK businesses were registered per hour in the first half of 2021


If you are thinking of building a Grassroots Football Startup then our online course can help you. Details here

  • What are the Course Benefits ?

On completion, all participants will take away a range of benefits including:

  • How to Identify and Quantify a ‘gap’ in the grassroots football market

  • How to use simple Data analysis strategies to obtain additional insight

  • Learn Easy Steps to launch your programme

  • How to Finance your Project

  • Developing an idea into a Business Plan suitable for potential investors

  • Obtaining confidential feedback to your Business Plan


What to do next -


1.50% ‘Early Bird' offer until May 31st 2022 will be £35 ( $49). To take advantage of this offer Click here


2. From June 1st 2022 the cost of the course will be £75 (approximately $99)


3. Participants on the course can complete the course at their leisure over 6 months OR complete all the tasks on course within 28 days and receive a Full 100% refund



And you can subscribe to our bi-monthly newsletter here to receive the latest industry news and analysing trends dedicated to maximising grassroots football participation



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