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The Rookie !

Last year we told you about a new ‘Rookie coach’ programme we were starting, the idea of this initiative was to engage older children and young adults during a transitional moment in their life.

As always not only do we want to improve a child’s football skills, but also help them as much as possible develop life skills, and the Rookie programme is fundamental to this. .

The initial blog Jake wrote on this last year titled; ‘Emerging leaders’, generated lots of interest and engagement from parents and young adults, and despite all the challenges that 2020 has brought, we managed to develop the ‘Rookie programme’ even further this year.

Those that have attended our Holiday camps this year in Redland, would have seen a whole team of ‘Rookie Coaches’, proudly displaying the Soccer Shooters ‘Rookie coach’ Tee shirts. All the Rookie coaches range in age from 14 to 18, and all of them have attended our sessions as attendees over the years, and some still do.

It was a very proud moment for us all at Soccer Shooters to see the Rookies embrace their role with such commitment and vigor. Seeing them take responsibility, support coaches, lead small groups, share ideas with other Rookies and even adult coaches was fantastic

One of my favorite moments of the summer was when one of the Rookies gave his feedback on how ‘we can improve going forward’. The use of the term we, showed that they really felt a part of the team, felt able to express their opinion and were keen to ensure we as an organisation continually improved.

Some of the Rookies are now supporting us at our midweek classes in paid roles.

Anyway that’s enough from me, we thought you would like to hear first hand how some of the Rookies got on this summer.

Best wishes


Tom Brazier-

I now play for Clevedon Town and I used to play for Bristol City Academy. I became engaged with Soccer Shooters through playing for Clifton United which is run by James Wilson who I got to know over the years I played there. I was about 14 when I contacted him to ask whether I could help out with the Fundays over the summer. This is the second summer that I have supported Soccer Shooters.

I feel as though I have learned to be more organised and proactive to ensure that the kids have the best day possible and I understand the process that allows a day to run smoothly.

I found communicating with some of the younger kids challenging in the first couple of days but with some help from the more senior coaches and some experience, I felt I could really connect with the kids and understand how they were feeling just by their body language or how they were expressing themselves.

In future I can look back on this experience as the first time, of hopefully many, where I have been able to coach and also more importantly learn to use some vital communication skills that will help me in the future.

I really enjoyed making lots of new friends with the rookie coaches and the senior coaches. I also loved seeing the progression of kids' footballing ability and social skills from the start of the summer to the end.

Izaak Haines

I’m Izaak and I’m in year ten. My parents say I’ve been playing football since I could walk and I believe them! I love football – playing it, watching it, talking about it. I’m just about to start my ninth season with Clifton United and am currently captain of the U15 team. I spent some time with the West Brom/Jamie Shaw development centre when I was at junior school which was a good experience and helped me develop as a player. I’ve been involved with Soccer Shooters for 7 years as a participant developing my football skills and relationships with the coaches, some of whom train teams at Clifton United.

I’ve been maintaining my love of football and increasing my interest in coaching through being a Rookie coach at Soccer Shooters since summer 2019 and I’m really enjoying learning things that will help me in the career I want to have in sport.

- This summer I feel as though I’ve learnt how to coach and be around the children on a more personal level and get to know them better.

- I found keeping the children socially distanced at the start quite challenging as they didn’t get all of the precautions that we had to put in place.

- In the future I can look back on this experience as very positive, I helped Children get back to playing football and having fun with their friends.

- I really enjoyed working with some new coaches that I hadn’t worked with before as it helped improve some of my coaching styles by seeing theirs.

Connor Ibbotson

I really enjoyed the atmosphere, the kids and the football, this is because it all made what could of been a couple of tough weeks a fantastic time and made me want to come back to do even more. The coaching staff made it fun for me because they let me make sessions up and if it failed, they gave me feedback as to why. The kids were kids and I love them for that, and the football mainly because that is one of the loves of my life.

I feel I have learnt how to manage my emotions, stay calm and have a good time whilst making sure everyone is safe.

I found some of the behavior and some kids who needed more time with me challenging but I have now realised that sometimes you can't do what you think you want to do but what you need to do.

In future, I can look back at this as a positive experience for me as I not only had fun, I matured greatly and made some new friends along the way.

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