WHEN all football throughout South Wales is off, the Vale of Glamorgan Soccer League (mini section) is still able to play thanks to generosity of Parkwood Leisure offering the Barry Sports Centre astro pitch free of charge. Last weekend more than 200 players from clubs across the Vale used the venue.

The under 7s play all their matches on the astro turf from 9-10am and, after that, it's offered to clubs fairly throughout the season when pitches are unplayable. Currently, the under 7s have only missed two weekends.

It's been a great success, with players developing and learning each week. The format is 4v4/no 'keepers so there is plenty of goals, and less numbers on the pitch means more touches, allowing each child to be more comfortable on the ball.

We will be introducing a futsal ball next week for the under 7s. The futsal is slightly heavier than a normal ball and certainly does not bounce as much. This allows the players of this age more time to control the ball and express themselves.

“As a little boy in Argentina, I played Futsal on the streets and for my club. It was tremendous fun, and it really helped me become who I am today.” Lionel Messi, FIFA World Footballer of the Year 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

We are now the envy of a lot of leagues as we have, for the first time, met 100% accreditation at mini level ages year 2 to year 6, and our thanks to all clubs, coaches, helpers, players and parents for supporting this. A lot of hard work has gone on at the clubs putting coaches through DBS checks and courses to gain the relevant qualifications to take a team on a Saturday morning.

For more information on club accreditaton, please go to http://www.welshfootballtrust.org.uk/McDonaldsClubAccreditation.ink

Wes Drew is now the new safeguarding officer for the Vale of Glamorgan League and one of his roles is to maintain this accreditation, and work with Andy Pask (FDO with the FAW) to help all coaches/clubs continue in this vein.

If anyone has a child who is looking to start playing football, but needs some guidance, please phone 07528230362. Hopefully, we can put you in touch with a club or development centre which will benefit your child.

Vale Soccer League (mini section)