Question : How do I find a gap in the Grassroots Football Market ? Answer : IDENTIFY A PROBLEM !

This blog post is intended for anyone considering a new project or adding to an existing programme to help them find a gap in the Grassroots Football Market : anyone therefore who has a business idea and would like to validate it OR is looking for an idea in grassroots football.


Our unique approach is to help Commercial Entrepreneurs and Social Entrepreneurs create

NEW MARKETS and attract NEW PARTICIPANTS to service unfulfilled needs by following this simple process :

  1. Identifying a Problem

  2. Clarifying ' What is The Job to be Done ? ’ - what job do players or their parents ' hire' grassroots football to do for them

  3. Delivering how Grassroots Football - in its fullest range - can therefore solve these problems? Entrepreneurs understood that Innovation is required; old traditional solutions of attracting participants to grassroots football such as tryouts, 11-aside games, inflexible opportunities to play, long seasons etc.aren’t going to get the job done

In this post we will highlight 4 Key areas : Inclusive Holiday Courses, Early Learning Programmes for Under 5 year olds , Football for 40 –70 year olds and Football for Girls

When researching our new online course INNOVATE ! Build Your Grassroots Football Startup’ we identified and interviewed over 50 Grassroots Football Entrepreneurs. You will see from the 50 Case Study Interviews that some of these individuals were Commercial Entrepreneurs and some Social Entrepreneurs but I was impressed how so many of them had been able to identify NEW MARKETS and attract NEW PARTICIPANTS to service unfulfilled needs

The Common threads throughout these Case Studies were : the ability to solve a problem, the recognition of a ‘Job to be done’ and the application of non - traditional solutions.

Identifying the problem was at the heart of the process. The Grassroots Entrepreneurs may have thought up a good idea but they realised that to identify a gap in the market their start up would need to solve a problem: not necessarily a football related problem but a wider social, educational, health or economic problem. Grassroots Football doesn’t exist in a vacuum and these Entrepreneurs were committed to seeing the bigger socio cultural landscape

Entrepreneurs recognised the question ' What is The Job to be Done ? ’ - what job do players or their parents ' hire' grassroots football to do for them? Initially it was not about how they or their children could become professional players but how grassroots football can impact on their lives as a whole .( For a fuller explanation of the ' Job to be Done ' theory please see this short video below from the late Clay Christensen of Harvard Business School)

How can Grassroots Football - in its fullest range - therefore solve these problems? Entrepreneurs understood that Innovation is required; old traditional solutions of attracting participants to grassroots football such as tryouts, 11-aside games, inflexible opportunities to play, long seasons etc.aren’t going to get the job done

I would like to share some of the following examples which highlight the ‘ Problem - Job to be Done’ process from the Best Practice in Case Study Interviews :

1.Holiday Courses for Children

  • Problem - increase in both parents working and the rise of single parent families + perceived safety concerns of parents of unsupervised play

  • Job to be done - provide safe, enjoyable, low cost, holiday child care with opportunities to learn new skills and be both physically and socially active, supervised by qualified coaches

The continued rise in the number of mothers in full time work in many countries highlight the need for child care especially in the school holidays , and thus low cost holiday football courses/ soccer schools continue to meet that problem but with increased emphasis on wider issues such as physical activity , health, social interaction , educational and nutrition as we discovered from Harry O’Riordan who founded Proformance Pathways while still a student and now employs over 50 coaches and 6,000 children in conjunction with the Marcus Rashford’s Activity Holiday Programme for children from low income homes

2. Early Learning Programmes for Under 5 year olds

Problem: fewer children per family ,fewer opportunities for social interaction within the family for pre- school 2- 5 year olds + increased sedentary, isolated ,solitary play for this age group

Job to be done :provide safe, physically active ,social play activities and the opportunity to gain new movement skills which are easy to learn + make friends.Thus movement experiences and social interaction via the medium of football

Parents want more than just child care for the children on a regular basis. Our interviews with Justin from Soccer Shots in the USA, Tom Byer about his work in Asia and the USA as well as Kevin Julian in Vancouver, Canada show how non traditional programmes have highlighted the social, health and educational value of football for 3- 5 year olds which has been so successful in capturing new converts to football


3. Football for 40 –70 year olds

Problem: Increasing Ageing Population and health costs for individuals and governments+ increased isolation and loneliness

Job to be done: low cost, local, physically active but low injury risk exercise, easy to understand team game with maximum social opportunities and a low skill threshold required

Walking Football . We interviewed Gavin Lemmon: former CEO Norfolk County FA and now a Regional Manager for the Football Association and Rahim Mohamed, Director of Soccer, Canada http://www.sasksoccer.com/ about the massive increase in numbers world-wide of Walking Football in many other countries including the USA

4. Football for Girls

Problem: Decreasing participation by girls in ‘traditional ‘ sports and physical activities. Higher sedentary and obesity rates than boys in most countries.

Job to be done : High activity team game ,easy to understand with low skill threshold which is seen as inclusive and ‘modern’ as a result of which girls can attain social, physical & psychological benefits. A game which gives girls a way to feel successful which isn’t focused on the way that girls look, but on the ways that their bodies are strong, skilful and capable.

Female interest in football is growing in every region in the world and in many areas this demand is not met. We talked to specialised consultant Natalie Doyle, founder of Sports Sister to find out more about why Football is now the biggest women’s team sport in England and The English FA claim there are almost three million active female players

On our new course ‘ ​​INNOVATE ! Build Your Grassroots Football Startup’ we highlight that ‘PROBLEMS ARE OPPORTUNITIES FOR SOCIAL AND COMMERCIAL ENTREPRENEURS’ !

On completion of the course , 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

  • Are you as serious about reviving grassroots football participation as we are?

What to do next -

1.50% ‘Early Bird' offer until April 30th 2022 will be £35 ( $49). To take advantage of this offer Click here

2. From May 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


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