Football youth league hopes to keep players engaged during the lockdown

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The National Football Youth League (NFYL) have announced activities to keep their young players active and support their mental well-being during the lockdown.

The NFYL’s founder, Louise Macey, created the league more than 10 years ago. It is the highest level of under-19 football below the academy systems. With promising young players hoping to achieve their aspirations in football, Louise said it has been hard for them to cope with the lack of activity during the lockdown.

Louise said: “Quite a few were due to sign scholarships and contracts and it’s devastating for them. We will continue to look for opportunities for them when football resumes.

“Some of our clubs have stayed open for education for the most vulnerable players and have been practising social distancing.”

Many professional football teams have been involved in events such as FIFA tournaments and different social media challenges.

Louise went onto say: “We are arranging FIFA tournaments for all the clubs to be involved with, as well as staying in touch with players through Zoom as they still have fitness and academic targets to achieve.

“One of our coaches who is an ex-professional has been delivering food parcels to disadvantaged players, which he wishes to do without publicity.”

A professional football agent also spoke on the lockdown and the impact on their players. Jacob Noonan, from Global Tier Sport’s Management, represents Leicester midfielder Sidnei Taveres, as well as other EFL players.

On the topic of keeping in touch with his players, Noonan said: “It’s difficult because they are young so we have to organise meetings with parents too. We plan workouts with their personal trainers as it’s easy to step out of a routine so we are trying to keep them motivated during the lockdown.”

Professional players have been in the news for breaking the lockdown rules, notably Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish and Everton Striker Moise Kean, with Noonan saying:

“The problem is not every player has the support and guidance at home. As we are not physically with them we cannot control their actions. However, we are doing our best to guide them during this tough time.”

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