Moss Bank Junior Football Club use their own blueprint for the club, which has been in place since 2017. The aim of this blueprint to enable the club to cement to its original principles and take an overarching view of every age group to ensure all teams are structured to benefit the future development of every young footballer at Moss Bank Junior Football Club.

This document sets out the Club Philosophy, Structure and Future for our football club. It is intended to formalise the ideas and practise that were set out and understood when the club was formed, to be reinforced, encouraged or adopted by teams. This has led to many coaches. parents and committee members asking what Moss Bank Junior Football Club stands for?

The intention is that the ideas, aims and objectives stated here, will be formally reinforced by the club in its entirety.

This gives Moss Bank Junior Football Club a clear identity as a football club within the community as we strive to compete with other clubs for new players.

It is not intended for this document to be voted in at committee level as these principles were already in place, and adhered to when the club was formed in its early years. This is just a formalisation of the original policy intended to get the club ‘back on track’ to its ‘Raison d’etre’.


Moss Bank Junior Football Club was formed by Marcus Howarth in 2006. The age group structure was hierarchical, i.e. each team played at a different ability level, and it was accepted that players of higher ability would be expected to play at the appropriate level. It was understood that ‘mixed ability’ teams were diametrically opposed to the principles of the ‘Hierarchical’ structure, and caused many issues especially in older age groups. This was the founding ethos of the club. Further initiatives were adopted in the form of an emphasis on the FA 4 corners model and its principles, qualified coaches, acquiring the best facilities available, and investing in good playing surfaces. All of these initiatives helped the club to attain the coveted ‘FA Charter Standard Status’

Over recent times the ethos has either been lost, watered down or compromised, and this document outlines the rationale behind the re-adoption of these founding principles, in order to give Moss Bank Junior Football Club;

  1. A permanent credible identity
  2. A player centric footballing philosophy that primarily evolves around player development
  3. A clear pathway for both players and coaches to achieve
  4. The adoption of ability structure within each age group

i.e. each player will play for a team based on their ability

Simply put, the club will have an expectation that all members accept the principles so that each player and coach will strive to be the best they can, in terms of commitment, attainment and development.

This in turn will give Moss Bank Junior Football Club the clear identity that we need in order to keep attracting players who want to develop their football.

Organisation Philosophy

Utilising the founding ethos of ability based football, the club will adopt the principles of the FA ‘The Future Game’ document (see download at the base of the page) and the FA 4 corners model also explained on this page.

Which is, “The FA Technical Guide for Young Player Development, published in 2010, and outlines a philosophy and vision for the future of youth development in English football.

Central to the message are the principles of creativity and innovation, for both coaches and players, and a playing philosophy based on quality passing, possession and building play through the three-thirds of the pitch.

Out of possession, the philosophy calls for a tactical approach to defending in which all players contribute.”

There will also be an emphasis for coaches to encourage the development of skill based practises so that each player can acquire fundamental basics of control, dribbling and turning techniques.

In football, organising players into ability groups is a common practice in youth development programs and can also be seen in various amateur and recreational leagues. The purpose of creating ability groups is to ensure that players of similar skill levels are grouped together for training and competition. Here’s a summary of why and how ability groups are formed in football:

Why Ability Groups are Formed:

  1. Skill Development: Grouping players by ability allows coaches to tailor their training sessions to match the skill level of the players. This ensures that each player gets appropriate challenges and opportunities for improvement.
  2. Fair Competition: In competitive leagues, ability groups help create a more balanced and fair playing field. Teams with similar skill levels can compete against each other, leading to more exciting and competitive matches.
  3. Boost Confidence: When players are grouped with peers of similar skill levels, they are more likely to experience success, which can boost their confidence and motivation to continue playing and improving.
  4. Individual Attention: Coaches can provide more individualized attention to players in smaller ability groups, addressing specific weaknesses and helping players reach their full potential.

How Ability Groups are Formed:

  1. Player Evaluation: Coaches typically assess players’ skills, including dribbling, passing, shooting, and defensive abilities, during training over the season. They may also consider factors like speed, agility, and game intelligence.
  2. Objective Criteria: Coaches often use objective criteria such as performance in drills, game situations, and physical fitness to determine a player’s ability level. These criteria help ensure fairness and transparency.
  3. Regular Assessment: Player assessments may be ongoing and discussed amongst other age group coaches and Head of Age Groups, allowing players to move between groups as their skills improve or if they need additional development in certain areas.
  4. Communication: Parents and players should be informed about the reasoning behind the grouping and be encouraged to communicate with coaches about their goals and aspirations.
  5. Balancing Teams: In whole age groups, coaches may aim to balance teams in terms of skill level to promote competitive and enjoyable games. This may involve redistributing players between teams to maintain a fair competition.
  6. Development Focus: The primary focus in youth football should be on player development rather than winning at all costs. Ability groups should facilitate development by providing the right level of challenge.
  7. Positive Environment: Coaches should create a positive and supportive environment in which players are encouraged to improve and enjoy the football, regardless of their ability group.

It’s important to note that the specific methods and criteria for forming ability groups can vary depending on the level of play, the age of the players, and the goals of the whole club. The ultimate aim is to provide an environment where all players have the opportunity to grow and enjoy football while recognizing and nurturing their individual talents and abilities.

If you feel this is not happening then you must approach your coach or Head of Age Group to discuss your concerns and worries. Please don’t wait until your worries or your child worries get worse as this could be resolved at an early stage.

Club Structure.

As a football club, there is a wider standard committee who take responsibility for the day to day running of the club. However, in the past a ‘core’ football based committee was key in ensuring that the club, its coaches, players and teams, were all focusing in the right direction. This included handling not only the ‘Playing style’, but also determined which teams played in which leagues, ensured player and coach discipline, as well as child protection issues.

Effectively this smaller ‘core committee’ acted as a steering group for the club.

It was made up from a small number of committee members who had extensive football knowledge and experience, and the wider committee adopted the ideas and principles from this section of people.

A reaffirmation to this organised structure is key to the adoption of the principles laid down in this document.

Age Group Structure

  • Head of Age Groups (HOAGS)

At each age group it is intended to create at least two teams (where numbers exist). There will be a Head of Age Group (HOAG)’ who will take overall responsibility for the teams. It is recommended that this should be one of the Manager/Coaches of a team in that age group.

This person will understand the ethos of the Club and agree the placements of players within each team.

  • Manager/Coaches Qualifications

Each Manager/Coach MUST be a minimum ‘FA Level 1’ qualified coach, or they must make the provision to attain this accreditation within their first season. The club will contribute financially to the cost incurred.

However during the initial year, an up to date ‘CRB’ clearance, ‘FA First Aid’ and ‘Safeguarding Children’ certificates MUST be in place along with completion of the online ‘FA Respect’ module.

Non-compliance is not an option as the club is an ‘FA Charter Standard Club’ and must meet strict criteria to retain its status.

This is the minimum expectation for a Moss Bank Junior Football Club Manager/Coach and will require Continued Personal Development (CPD). The club will support individuals who wish to progress their coaching skills beyond this requirement.

The free online ‘FA Respect’ module must be completed by all club officials and team captains. All other club members are encouraged to complete this too.

Minimum of two teams in each age group & Development

Where numbers are sufficient in an age group, the aim is to offer the minimum of two squads to meet the needs and abilities of all players.

This will be via streaming the players by ability into separate teams. Each team will be placed in to a league at the relevant standard.

The ‘Higher Ability’ team will consist of the highest ability players available with the aim to play at the highest level appropriate and to create an environment to challenge the players to be the very best they can be.

The ‘Medium Ability’ team will provide appropriate ability football at a slightly less competitive level to allow for development at the right pace, whilst building confidence and optimising enjoyment levels. All “Medium Ability” players will have the opportunity to move up to the higher level teams should it be the correct move for the player (higher level players can also move down if deemed appropriate). ‘Medium Ability Team’ coaches will not hold players back from moving upwards.

The ‘Lower Ability’ team will provide an environment based on fun, development at a slower pace, an environment that allows learning to be fun, coaching pitched at a level that is engaging and focused. The ‘Lower Ability’ teams have the opportunity to develop further which will play at the right level and will be an engine to promote fun, development at the right level, playing games at the right ability level and a chance for that player to further develop to advance into the ‘medium ability teams’. The Coaches at Moss Bank Junior Football Club are here to help the players fulfil their individual potential, not to get results for their own egos!

An overriding principle will be that a player of a higher ability should be encouraged to move to the ‘Higher Ability’ team. However there may be occasions where the individual player requests to stay in the ‘Medium Ability Team’. This may also occur when a ‘Lower Ability’ player should be playing in the ‘Medium Ability’ Team with a similar request. This is acceptable, but efforts should continually be made to review this situation. This is done with discussions with the Head of Age Groups and Senior Management Team.

If it is obvious that a player in the ‘Higher Ability’ squad needs to be playing in the ‘Medium Ability Team’, then this adjustment must be discussed and planned and reasoned. If it is obvious that a player in the ‘Medium Ability’ squad needs to be playing in the ‘Lower Ability Team’, then this adjustment must be again discussed and planned and reasoned.

If the environment is good and everyone understands the expectations, then player transitions between the squads should be seamless.

As players develop from age 6 to 21 they will undergo changes in growth rates, technique, confidence etc. It is therefore vital that they are playing in a team that suits their ability level. Player movement for age groups is usually completed close season/pre-season however under other circumstances such as defragmentation of teams, exceptional circumstances, etc this will be discussed with the SMT and Coaching Director Team to undertake movement of players when appropriate and right to do so. This will be a collective discussion with input from coaches of the club initially followed by a more formal process thereafter.

Moss Bank Hatchlings 2-3 year olds

Engaging in fun football activities with a 2/3-year-old can be a great way to introduce them to football and improve their coordination and motor skills alongside their ABC (Agility, Balance and Control). The key to this activity is to keep it fun, low-pressure, and age-appropriate. The sessions are to be patient, as  23-year-old’s coordination will improve with practice. This mini dribble relay will not only introduce them to football but also help develop their gross motor skills and build a positive association with physical activity. The goal at this age is not to develop professional football skills but to foster a love for physical activity and introduce them to the idea of playing football. As they grow and develop, we will gradually introduce more structured football activities and drills. The key is to keep it enjoyable, age-appropriate, and focused on building a positive association with football ready for the next stage in their football journey.

Little Green Dragons 4-5 year olds

Activities for this age group are centered around the ball control and coordination skills acquired during the first part of the session and second group team sessions. From the age of 3-5 we learn our children the ABC – Agility-Balance-Control. We split the 3 and 4 year olds to a more relaxed and fun session whilst using size 2 footballs. The 5 year old children will also undertake a fun session based around basis skills in football incorporating the ABC and also using a size 2 football. This session will end with 3×3 or 4×4 small guided games which incorporates stop and start about the fundamentals and fun of football. This will include finding space, running with the ball, awareness of who’s around you but all based on FUN. We aim to have sessions which will bring your kids home with a smile on their faces. Group sessions which will help your kids develop lasting friendships. Parents involvement will increase their child’s self-confidence whilst strengthening the bond with the child. Develops sound ball skills in both feet, left and right. At the same time we teach the importance of fair play and abiding by the rules. The programme is about development not competition. The sessions are more than just developing a child’s affinity with and control of the football – it is about giving them a well-rounded start in their physical, social and educational development and working on the ‘whole child’. Research shows that when children are fit and receive the proper amount of exercise, they perform better in school and are able to learn at a higher level. From a young age, it’s important children learn develop good habits while practising footwork. Simple activities involving controlling the ball, basic passing and dribbling are all incorporated into fun games. Parents and carers, are welcome to get involved with their children while all children will cooperate with others in small groups which develops social skills.

Once a player turns 6 they are eligible to play football against other teams in a structured way. Sometimes however if the coaching team feels that a player continues to need the nurture and development of the more structured fun sessions then they will remain in the Little Green Dragons until a time that the coaching team feel its right for them to be involved in a more structured session involving 5×5 games as part of a development league.

Once a core of players have turned 6 years old and are ready to play in structured games they will be put into random teams to undertake coaching sessions and games. These teams are not based on ability and the emphasis is more on fun and enjoying playing football as a team. A 6 year old will take part in a team and league for 18 months due to the structure of the league format of U7s age groups and the FA rule of children can play football at 6 years old. Once this has been completed the players will be moved into the right ability teams so that further development of the player is undertaken in their correct level of football ability. This will be completed as above in the Age Group Section in relation to movement of players based on ability.

  • From the Top down

Like all successful sports clubs, the ‘High Ability’ team will be the ‘Flagship’ squad for each age group. The ‘Medium Ability Team’ will provide enjoyable, competitive football for its own players and also support to the ‘Higher Standard’ squad where appropriate. ‘Medium Ability’ teams will not be left “high and dry” and if a player is ready to move “up” then the coaches will work together to ensure that a reciprocal arrangement is made. We will also when possible have a ‘lower ability team’ which will play at the right level and will be an engine to promote fun, development at the right level, playing games at the right ability level and a chance for that player to further develop to advance into the ‘medium ability teams’. However, one of the main aims of the club structure is to remove the current issues of one age group catering for a very wide range of ability levels, (unless there is only one squad in an age group, when it may be unavoidable). It does no player any good to play and train with players who are of a vastly different level either up or down the ability ladder. We expect our schools to “set” pupils according to their ability and speed of learning and so our young footballers should benefit from the same structure.

  • Applying the Blueprint

Applying the development principles should be encouraged and will be easier if more players in each squad are of similar ability.

At 5v5 and during the initial stages of 7v7 format age groups, the game is more about development of the players. Equal time on the pitch, rotation of positions, and encouragement of the style of play is more important than winning.

When the 7v7 format enters the ‘Competitive’ arena (currently mid-way through the U8 age group), this is the ideal time to implement the teams based on ability ethos. A lot will depend on the ability of the group and the number of players.

If necessary a further season of development can be considered. However, around the ages of 10/11 (School year 6/7), the 2/3 tier structure should be operated.

At 9v9 and 11v11, the structure must be applied.

Overall a common sense approach should be employed.

Going Forwards

Before the start of the 2023/24 season each playing member, parent(s) or guardian, when signing up or renewing their membership will be prompted to read the relevant code of conduct forms.

Each Manager and Coach will also be required to sign up to the ‘Managers & Coaches’ version of this document and the relevant Codes of Conduct in order that the Club can move forward as a whole. It is generally accepted that all members of Moss Bank Junior Football Club are already following the accepted Codes of Conduct.

This will be the cornerstone of each member’s commitment to the club.

Team Applications

All team applications from Managers will go via the Club Secretary, only when the appropriate Manager/Coach sign up has been satisfied will the Club Secretary process the application.

Player Pathway to Senior Football.

After U16’s, Moss Bank Junior Football Club will operate U17/18 and U21s teams where it feels beneficial to the club and players. It is intended that players of good ability are encouraged to follow a pathway that takes them into Senior football and into our Open Age teams (1st team and reserves) then onto Vets football and Walking football so that a clear pathway is made.

The Moss Bank Junior Football Club senior committee team is positive that all coaches, members and friends of Moss Bank Junior Football Club will support this important initiative which will enable EVERY player at Moss Bank Junior Football Club to achieve their potential. Furthermore, this ethos was always in place at the Club and is the major factor in the Club’s establishment. This ethos is now documented so that there is absolute clarity with regards to our identity going forwards.


  • If you are not positively affecting the behaviour of your players, you cannot call yourself a coach.
  • Be the expert and the role model. Young players will mimic the actions of their coach.
  • Encourage players to be creative. Players must understand the coach will forgive positive mistakes.
  • Be creative when planning a practice session. Do not make your sessions one dimensional. Players will find them boring. Make it possible to create the ‘Decision maker’. Be concerned about your standards as well as your players. Do the right thing for your group not the easy thing. The players need to see that you care and that you are setting the standards when it comes to work ethic.
  • Get to your session early and if possible, set up your whole session. Start your sessions on time. Keep your breaks short (for recovery only) This way the players will learn how to refocus quickly and often.
  • You are responsible for creating an environment where your players can develop winning habits.
  • Understand where you are in terms of club and player level. You still strive to be the best you can possibly be.
  • Success cannot solely be based on winning games. Have a balance between winning and developing a squad of players that are capable of competing at their highest level possible. If your coaching session is technical and tactical and conducted in the correct manner, then winning football games will follow.
  • Have rules and guidelines.
    1. We are here to learn
    2. Be respectful to others
    3. Become a team player
    4. Have a great work ethic
    5. Stay positive
  • Treat all players with respect. If respect is shown by coaches, it is generally given back with effort, concentration and honesty.
  • Work hard and have fun transforming a young athletes potential into performance. Practices should be fun places to be. Educate your players on the difference between enjoyment and being silly.
  • Focus on potential. Do not just focus on what your players cannot do, focus on what they can do.
  • Protect your hard working players. Do not let the players that give less than 100% ruin it. No yelling is needed, just sit them out for a few minutes then invite them back in by asking them ‘Are you ready to focus now?”.
  • Tough love is needed but do not cross the line. Before we give up on a player because of their attitude, try to find out more about the player. You may be their only role model.
  • Let’s get rid of the statement “This is how it’s always been done”. Let’s become a modern coach. The game has changed, people have changed, so we have to be forward thinking and be constantly aware of changes within the team. The difficult task is not implementing new ideas but trying to get rid of the old ones.


  • Command – “I want you to do this…”
  • Q & A – “How can you get the ball to the open wide player?”
  • Observation – “Watch how Johnny opens up his body when receiving the ball.”
  • Guided discovery – “Show me how you can switch the play.”
  • Trial & error – “Recognize the moment to drop the ball back.”


  • Keep everything in perspective
    – Played well and won – Celebrate.
    – Played well and lost – Disappointing, but there were lots of positives.
    – Played bad and won – Good result, but we need to improve.
    – Played poorly and lost – With hard work this week at practice, we will get it right. Team work!!!!

At Moss Bank Junior Football Club we know that performance follows attitude. With the right attitude, coaches, boys and girls will commit to the hard work, preparation and to the challenge of doing their team job well. They will be encouraged to come out of their comfort zone and understand that football is about decision making and working together as a team.

Attitude is shaped largely by:

  • The personality of the player.
  • The influence of parents, role models, friends.
  • The practice and coaching situation we put them in.

Add these three together to get our coaching environment.

Inside this document we aim to give the coaching staff a culture of teaching, developing, standards, discipline, care and concern. This will lead to inspiration and commitment to the pursuit of a stable football program.


Moss Bank JFC focus’s all its attention on the player. We want to develop good players and good people. Decisions are made that are beneficial to the player and to the team. We will not succumb to the short term pressures of winning or feeding coaches or parents egos. This is not easy and it comes with many challenges. We have to be focused on the long term goal.

What we will focus on are:

  1. Coaching excellence, not results – Constantly teach the process. Do not get carried away with the result of the game. If you focus on results you will stop doing the correct things that helps to develop a player. If you focus on performance then you will always be able to work out why you won or lost. Stay in control and the players will also. Judge yourself on the progression of the players and the team not your win/loss record. Sure, we have to win for the sake of the players but this should not be our motivation.
  2. Be patient – Teaching the game excellently and ignoring the score does not mean you will not win. We will win better and more often if we are patient and stick to the process.
  3. Teach the parents – Parents will not buy into the process if they do not understand how it benefits their child. Sell the benefits. Seeing their child improve and seeing the enjoyment that they are having will sell the process. Keep parents up to date with what is going on. Practice / game times etc. Great communication will help you in the future.
  4. Coach appropriately – The process is like a jigsaw puzzle with each and every one of us responsible for a piece of the puzzle. Be an expert on your part of the puzzle. Work out the top three priorities of the group and also work on each individual player. Inspire the players to keep on improving. Juggling and long team running exercises are excluded from practice sessions.
  5. Understand growth stages – Boys and Girls develop physically, mentally and emotionally at different rates. We have to understand this and not give up on the late developers.
  6. Discipline – The good kids on your team, the ones that come to practice and give 100% will want you to address the players that give 50% or the players that do not give their best efforts. These are our values. Our players give 100%. These values do not guarantee us a win but what it does is gives each player individual toughness and binds teams together as a unit. Tough love will be needed but we must not cross the line when discipline is required.
  7. Challenge the players to manage themselves – Players must be motivated to work on their skills and fitness away from the practice field. Hold them accountable for their actions.
  8. Love the artist – Most of our players will become disciplined. They will be good at learning from our coaching sessions. We will get a few players that will create their own patterns of play. This is higher risk but a higher reward. Are we big enough to forgive them for their mistakes? As long as the player is respectful and follows the rules of becoming a team player, then we think every team needs an artist of some sort.
  9. Trial and error – Our practice sessions are challenging. This will lead to mistakes. Dealing with mistakes is the biggest part of a player and coaches development. It’s what happens after the mistake that is important. Learn and move on. Do not be afraid to ask for advice.

ConfidenceThis is how we make them feel. A confident player…

  • …is not afraid of having the ball.
  • …maintains positive body language, even after mistakes.
  • …will try something different and will enjoy being coached.

CommitmentThis describes their motivation

  • This player is consistent with effort and behavior.
  • Players feel a sense of achievement from learning new skills and mastering tasks.
  • Our players believes in the MBJFC process.
  • A committed player will take on difficult challenges.
  • Our players will encourage their team mates.

ControlHow well can they control their emotions?

A player with excellent control:

  • Feels engaged with energy before practice or games.
  • Team mates rely on the attitude of this player. They keep calm under pressure.
  • Recovers quickly from mistakes and moves on quickly to the next task.
  • Does not dwell on disappointing performances.

Concentration – A players ability to focus on the right things at the right time.

  • This player is not easily distracted from their role on the team.
  • Stays focused on what is going on around them.
  • They know that mistakes will happen. They have to move on to the next part of the task.
  • They are capable of concentrating on their own job as well as their team-mates.

CommunicationHow they communicate with coaches and talk to team-mates.

  • Encourages, motivates and composes team-mates.
  • Listens to coaches and team-mates instructions.
  • Shows respect to everyone around them.
  • Can communicate the coaches instructions clearly to the team and in the right manner.

CourageEncourage bravery

  • A courageous player wants the ball when the game is on the line.
  • Our playing style is to play the ball through the thirds. Players have to be courageous to play this style of football.
  • Trusting each other encourages bravery.

Our values reflect the FA’s four corner model

4 Corners

Children’s values and what they want from their sporting experiences are very different to adults. The Football Association has conducted research with groups of children across the whole country and the top six reasons why children play football are highlighted below:

  • Trying my hardest is more important to me than winning
  • I love playing football because it’s fun
  • It helps keep me fit and healthy
  • I like meeting new friends through football
  • It’s a really good game and I love it
  • I like playing with my friends

The FA have realised to develop players technically, we as coaches also have a responsibility to develop the person as an individual. The four corner model encompasses four key attributes that are vital in developing any young footballer or sports person : Physical, Technical, Psychological and Social elements.


Ball Mastery, Practice and Group Play

Moss Bank JFC football coaching provides our children an opportunity to learn new skills from a young age in a calm, safe environment, free from adult criticism, to practice and try out their ball skills and group play.

Practice makes perfect!


Understanding, Decision Making, Confidence

Moss Bank JFC children are provided with time and space to think and make decisions, without the wall of adult noise and pressure that spoils most Leagues. Every mistake is a learning opportunity. Equal time on the pitch in mixed ability teams grows confidence and leadership skills.

Mistakes accelerate learning!


Co-ordination, Conditioning, Challenge

Moss Bank JFC coaching doesn’t just give kids full-on fitness sessions, the fast-moving play accelerates their ABC motor sills: agility, balance and co-ordination. The level of physical challenge, from sprinting to be first to the ball to being brave in challenging for it grows their physical abilities and confidence.

Equal teams means more competition!


Communication, Self-esteem, Teamwork

Moss Bank JFC coaching can help develop children’s communication skills from a very  early age, when they are very self-focused, gaining a greater understanding of group play allowing them to focus on team play as they grow. Our positive environment, equal teams and age specific sessions are aimed to help build their self-esteem.

Children learn more by playing than watching!