Wednesday 18 April 2018, 06:58

Bringing hope at the home of grassroots football

  • Hackney Marshes Youth Football Symposium and Showcase offers unique opportunity for aspiring footballers

  • London venue considered one of the homes of grassroots football

  • FIFA has donated equipment to Hackney Marshes and has plans for more upgrades

Hackney Marshes represents all that is beautiful about grassroots football. Considered the spiritual home of 'Sunday League' football in the United Kingdom, over 80 pitches span across all the London ground, where people of all abilities have access to play the beautiful game.

Recently Hackney Marshes hosted a symposium for young men in the local area, aged 17 to 21 years old, aimed at introducing them to the vast world of opportunity there is within the game on and off the pitch.

Coinciding with a football tournament where scouts and visiting coaches from North American universities were in attendance, the symposium featured a forum of professionals from various footballing industries who shared insights into their jobs with the participants. The forum gave the young men the chance to broaden their view and mindset to understand the array of opportunities football can afford them.

The panel members and guest speakers included professionals working in broadcast journalism, administration at associations, marketing, scouting and various others. FIFA Beach Soccer and Futsal Manager Brent Rahim took part in a forum moderated by former BBC journalist Leon Mann, giving insight about career opportunities outside coaching and officiating.

FIFA visited Hackney Marshes last year in the build-up to The Best FIFA Football Awards hosted in London to donate 50 goals and nets and over 100 adidas footballs. Following the visit, FIFA will maintain the relationship and commitment to Hackney Marshes by replacing the goalposts this summer. The new goalposts will be inaugurated at the start of the new football season.

Whether some participants are brought over to play football at American universities and earn academic scholarships from their time playing at the symposium or others discover a new career passion, Hackney Marshes continues to be a bastion of hope and opportunity.