Table of Contents
ST. BRENDAN’S PARK FC (known locally as Park FC) was founded in 1971. In our first year we had a total of 22 members including players and committee with 95% of them coming from St. Brendan’s Park itself. Since our foundation St. Brendan’s Park FC has become one of the biggest and most respected clubs involved in Kerry soccer. The club started with one team in the Kerry District League, in 1971, and when numbers grew we entered a second team and this still did not satisfy the demand from our expanding membership and we became the first club in Kerry to have three teams playing competitive soccer.
We were also inaugural members of the Kerry District League and Kerry Schoolboys/girls League and, because of very dedicated management committees and coaches over the ensuing years, we now have teams in every age group.
Our record in both the Kerry District League and Kerry Schoolboys District League is well documented in both local and national media and we are very proud that the Park FC has won every honour available in the County at every age group from under 10 to the over 35’s.
Our first games were played in the large green area adjacent to St. Brendan’s Park housing estate and this pitch is synonymous with both The Park FC and Kerry soccer. It is part of our history and we have maintained it, and still do, to the highest possible playing standard. Of course, our ancestral home was, and always will be, the pitch at St. Brendan’s Park housing estate. Some of our greatest victories were there but as the club grew we had to look seriously at our future.
We eventually purchased land from Tralee Town Council in Croogurts, Cahermoneen and what stands there today is Christy Leahy Park, the end result of the foresight of excellent chairpersons coupled with the hard work and fund raising of dedicated club members and management committees over the years. Our club grounds were named in honour of one of our founding members Mr Christy Leahy who continues to this day to give his time voluntarily to our great club by assisting with our Academy.
The development and expansion of Christy Leahy Park was made possible through the unbelievable contribution made by successive governments who have continued to support clubs and organisations like our own by providing generous financial grants to develop and improve playing facilities.
The next step was to enclose the grounds and over the following years the grounds have been transformed into two superb playing pitches, an excellent all weather training facility, the building of a clubhouse containing four changing rooms, referees room, laundry room, kitchen and a meeting room. In 2010, the provision of a much needed car park was completed as well as the construction of a permanent club shop in 2017.
IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME
In response to growing demand we started our Academy in 2006 which has the mission to develop young players so that they can be ready to make the step up to the full match environment which begins when players play in Kerry based competitions and FAI and Regional Competitions starting at U12. As a result of having excellent playing and training facilities our base for attracting players has spread rapidly over the years from beyond our traditional area with children coming from all over Tralee and beyond to be a part of Kerry’s biggest soccer academy.
This has led to fantastic success being achieved in recent years by our club sides at underage levels where we have won many honours at county and regional level and have succeeded in some very strong showings in National Competitions progressing to the later stages of these competitions playing against the best young players in Ireland.
St. Brendan’s Park is a very ambitious club that wishes to build on all of the hard work and success to date and continue to grow as a club. In order to do that we must work together as a club to ensure a bright future for our club and most importantly for our many players that currently play for the club at all levels as well as the many players that we hope to see walk through our gates in the future.
This hard work requires the dedication of all club members including our Management Committee, all coaches and volunteers involved with our club and most importantly our players and their parents. Our future as a club depends on the spirit of volunteering and people giving their time generously to the club which is a tremendous gesture of Community spirit.
In 2018 our Academy has approximately 190 players, our schoolboy’s/schoolgirls teams have approximately 160 players, we also have a Senior team playing in the Kerry District League. Having such a high number of players, we need a lot of coaches and managers to keep our soccer teams playing and training. We also as a club have identified a need to develop a document outlining our vision for the development of our players and a blueprint identifying our aims and a clear pathway of how we are going to achieve our aims.
The Plan includes the most important aspects that any ambitious soccer club must consider when working with children and young people. Child and Player Welfare is the number one priority of this club. A coaching philosophy comes next, that includes a step by step approach to developing footballers starting from our youngest players at age 4 right through to Senior level. The maintenance and development of our playing facilities follows this as well as the introduction of a player’s charter, a coach’s charter and a parent’s charter.
Our Aims – Player Development – Playing Style
In 2015 the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) developed a Player Development Plan (PDP) which sets out the implementation of a player – focused model on enjoyment and skill development whilst reducing the emphasis on winning at all costs.
To achieve the above aim a change to our coaching methods in this country has been identified. The FAI’s Coach Education Pathway 2017-2020 has been tailored to suit the needs of coaches whose ambitions are to work in different strands of the game – grassroots and volunteer level to elite/professional level.
“It is hugely important that coaches around the country understand their role in fulfilling the Player Development Plan and the restructuring of the Coach Education Pathway will facilitate those that wish to coach with grassroots clubs and those with ambitions to work with elite players,” FAI High Performance Director Ruud Dokter, 2016.
St. Brendan’s Park FC fully supports the FAI PDP as well as the FAI’s Coach Education Pathway. As a result, we have at Academy level made the necessary changes to our coaching and training structure to create the best environment possible to implement the recommendations of the FAI PDP. This begins at u6 level through the various stages of our Academy ages to league level. Below is a summary outlining the plan for each age category for developing young players. For full details see the FAI PDP. All coaches must be adequately prepared and educated on the principles of coaching requirements for the ages of players they are dealing with.
4 V 4 Format applies to u6 & u7 Players.
Coaches will work with players on this format allowing children to learn the skills of playing soccer. There are no goalkeepers in this format and winning is not the aim of the game. Allowing children to play, learn and express themselves as well as offering encouragement is the main requirement of coaches and parents when dealing with players in this category. In cases where matches are played scores are not to be kept under any circumstances. The weight of the size 5 football for this category is 290 grams. Light footballs are required to protect players when heading the ball, the footballs gradually increase in weight as players get older.
5 V 5 Format applies to u8 & u9 Players
This format helps players in this age category to progress their football ability with the introduction of goalkeepers. Players as they develop will begin to understand the shape and structure of their team and will be encouraged to pass the ball, use skills and shoot for goal at all available opportunities. As before no scores are to be kept, players are encouraged to play the game, have fun and enjoy the feeling of playing football in a non-competitive environment. Retreat lines are introduced for goal kicks in order to encourage goalkeepers and players to pass the football out from the back. Allowing children to play, learn and express themselves as well as offering encouragement is the main requirement of coaches and parents when dealing with players in this category. Football weight – 290 grams, size 5
7 V 7 Format applies to u10 & u11 Players
Players in this age category will be played on a larger pitch than the younger age groups with a heavier 320-gram size 5 football. The rules are more tailored to a normal match situation as players prepare at this age category to enter a competitive football environment. Teams at this age category should be playing as many challenge matches as possible and training sessions should be designed to help prepare for the match day experience. Allowing children to play, learn and express themselves as well as offering encouragement is the main requirement of coaches and parents when dealing with players in this category. Football weight – 320 grams, size 5.
9 V 9 Format applies to U12 Players
At U12 level players play in competitive leagues, referees are introduced and the matches are played mainly according to normal rules. The offside rule is introduced, normal rules in relation to fouls and misconduct apply. All players should be guaranteed at least 15 minutes playing time, 30 minutes preferably. Coaches are advised to not direct play when the match begins. Parents should openly support and encourage players and uphold fair play. Football weight, 370 grams, size 5, official league tables apply.
11 V 11 Format is introduced at U13/U14
This age category sees the introduction of a full sized pitch with full sized goals. As before normal rules apply, players at each age category must be guaranteed minimum playing time and it is the coaches responsibility to ensure that all players get that minimum playing time as recommended. Squad sizes may be restricted depending on competition rules. Parents should openly support and encourage players and uphold fair play Football weight – 320 grams, size 5. Official league tables apply.
11 V 11 – U15/U16
As in the previous age category normal football rules apply. As the players move up to the older age category match duration increases and therefore so too should the minimum game time for each player. This again is the coaches’ responsibility to ensure all players get their minimum games time. Parents should openly support and encourage players and uphold fair play. Football weight – 450 grams, size 5. Official league tables apply.
Coaches: St Brendan’s Park FC wishes to ensure that all of its coaches are appropriately qualified to coach players in each category. Coaches will be supported in learning to do this by completing the various coaching courses provided by the FAI within their coaching pathway model.
Coaches must learn and be willing to learn, this will equip them with the skills and confidence to apply a player centred approach to all coaching at training sessions and preparation for training sessions as well as match day preparation.
In order to help its coaches to achieve the required coaching qualifications the club will endeavour to provide as much support as possible including financial support if feasible to allow coaches participate in approved coach education courses.
The coaching and practice done at the Academy and through the various age categories is intended to achieve the aim of helping all players to be comfortable in possession of the football. Players should as they progress though the various stages of their football development see improvements in their ability to perform the core tasks required of any soccer player which include passing, shooting, dribbling, heading as well as defending/attacking individually and as a unit.
The modern trend in coaching and playing style is to encourage goalkeepers and defenders to be able to pass the ball out from the back and build play through the various stages of the pitch. The encouragement of players to play quality attacking football is the style of football we intend to get our teams playing and this can be achieved through persistence and by allowing our players to develop without the pressures of a win at all cost mentality.
Our intention is to develop soccer players who can progress through the development age groups into becoming high quality players at u17/u18 and into senior football. This should greatly enhance our own teams operating at this level as well as ensuring that we as a club develop players to play in the underage league of Ireland for Kerry and perhaps other teams and hopefully we can help players with real talent to fulfil their potential to play at the highest level of soccer in this country and beyond.
Players need as much game time as possible to improve. This is an undeniable fact and as a club we fully recognise this. Our aim is to ensure that our players get the opportunity to play in matches and ultimately enjoy the feeling of participating in matches and being part of the team. Players will only play the game if they continue to enjoy it. In modern times we are all only too aware of the high rates of children who drop out of sports and exercise activities particularly in their teenage years so in order to address this issue our aim is to try to ensure that players continue to enjoy playing soccer and to feel that they are given a genuine opportunity to play and improve as players.
The Management Committee of St Brendan’s Park FC in agreement with our Director of Football and coaches have agreed that players in our younger age categories (up to and including u16) will be guaranteed minimum playing time in all competitions run within the Kerry Soccer format. This commitment to our players and playing time will be explained to players and parents by the Coaches/Director of Football at the beginning of each season so that everybody is clear on what they can expect in relation to playing time.
This means that at times as much as we all want to win that it is not the number one priority of the club to win every match as we seek to ensure each child is treated fairly and given an opportunity to play.
All adults involved in football have an important role to play in promoting good practice. Their first priority has to be the children’s welfare, safety and enjoyment of the game. Adults should be aware of the emotional, physical and personal needs of children and should ensure that children are treated with integrity and respect. The trust implicit in adult child relationships in sport places a duty of care on all adults, voluntary or professional to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the child while engaged in football. Adults have a crucial leadership role to play and contribute to the creation of a positive sporting environment for children. This allows the child to develop and express themselves in an open and secure way. (FAI Child Welfare Policy 2014)
Every sporting club or sports organisation in the country must now have in place procedures in relation to child welfare. A dedicated Child Welfare Liaison Officer must be in place within each club and in our club the current club chairperson automatically assumes that role. Therefore, if anybody within our club structure witness’s child abuse or becomes aware of a case of child abuse through the course of their club duties then that person must contact the Child Welfare Liaison Officer who will make a referral to children’s services (Tusla) and if necessary the Gardai.
All coaches must be Garda vetted and attend a course specifically in relation to child welfare. This is absolutely non-negotiable!! It is up to any individual working with or coaching children to ensure that they are compliant with child welfare regulations and the club management committee must ensure absolute compliance with requirements in relation to Child Welfare.
We ask that all club players, officials and visitors to our club grounds respect our facilities at all times. Our playing/training areas can only be maintained to an excellent standard if properly looked after.
Our playing pitches and astro training pitch are in high demand for usage so therefore playing times and access to these facilities are controlled by the clubs Grounds Officer. All club officials and coaches must comply with the Grounds Officer in relation to pitch usage and training times. It is also most important that all equipment used for training and on match days be securely and safely returned to their proper place after use. This includes goalposts, footballs, cones etc. Team coaches/ managers are responsible for tidying up after training and matches. The club suggests that older players and parents help out in this regard (brush out the dressing rooms) and also that parents should help coaches with the heavy lifting involved with moving goalposts. In summary, please leave our facilities as you found them.
Coaches Charter – Players Charter – Parents Charter
The aim of St Brendan’s Park FC is to help our players to develop their footballing ability to its full potential.
In order to achieve this, we need Coaches/ Club Personnel, Players and Parents to work together to create a safe and friendly environment.
St Brendan’s Park FC – Coaches Charter 2018
- Coaches must always lead by example and show respect for all players, match officials, visiting teams etc. A coach should always conduct his/herself in a manner which will never bring St Brendan’s Park FC’s good name into disrepute.
- Coaches are required to prepare properly for training sessions/matches and dress like a coach. Coaches must also tidy up after training/matches and leave our club facilities as they found them. Parents and players should be encouraged to assist in this regard.
- Coaches must always strive to create a safe environment for players to play and train. It is essential that coaches make their players aware that bullying in any format will not be tolerated by the club.
- Coaches are encouraged by the club to advance their coach education and knowledge of the game. The club supports its coaches in pursuing coach education when it is feasible and of the benefit of the coach and the club.
- Coaches should insist that their players always show respect for opponents, team mates etc. and also insist on players arriving on time for training/matches.
- Coaches are encouraged to communicate with parents in relation to updates on matches/ training times etc. Coaches must not communicate directly with players under age 18 by text, email, social media etc. Where coaches are having difficulties with parents the Director of Football and Club Secretary must be informed.
- Coaches should seek assistance from the club if they feel they are struggling with any aspect of their role within the club. The Director of Football can be contacted on all issues relating to Football matters. Child Welfare issues must be referred to the club Chairperson/ Child Welfare Liaison Officer.
- Most importantly each Coach must take direct responsibility to ensure that they are fully compliant with all Child Welfare Regulations. When asked to produce certification by the club full compliance is essential.
Please note that the coaches charter is in place to help our coaches and provide clarity in relation to their role within the club. Our intention is to support our coaches in any way possible so that the coach can also enjoy the experience of coaching with our club.
St Brendan’s Park FC – Players Charter 2022
Note: Academy players are not required to sign this form but parents are requested to explain to their children what is required of them when on club duty.
St Brendan’s Park FC – Parents Charter 2022
Parents: Please note that the above Parents Charter is intended to provide clarity for parents as to what the club expects of you. We also intend that as parents you will feel informed of what you can expect from the club and what to do if you wish to talk to the coach or the club management on any issue.
Finally, please note that the club is run by volunteers, can you help?? If coaching is not for you then perhaps you can help in other ways, we would love to hear from you. There is a huge amount of work to be done to keep a club like ours going. All help is valued and appreciated.
Social Media Policy
St Brendan’s Park FC in keeping up with modern communication trends uses various Social Media and Communication platforms to report club news and distribute various notifications, match reports etc. All users of such communication platforms must always communicate information in an appropriate and professional manner.
Our club Public Relations Officer (PRO) has access to our Social Media pages and the Clubs official website. He will post match reports or announcements at the request of club officers. Any individual connected with the club in anyway should always be cautious when leaving comments online in any post that can be in anyway associated with the club. As a club we acknowledge the importance of ensuring that all information distributed on club communication platforms is distributed in a manner that in no way offends or causes alarm to any other person/club/ organisation etc.
We also must insist strongly that all club officials, players and parents never comment in an inappropriate or offensive manner on Social Media sites of our club or any other club that we encounter through our positions related to St Brendan’s Park FC.