The Football Family is a team of current and former players, managers, coaches, and educators. Our strength is the knowledge and experience each member brings to the team from their successful work in academy or professional football environments. We then pair this with learning and teaching fellows from the Higher Education Academy to design bespoke mentoring and support initiatives with the primary aim of helping young adults transition from professional to non league football hence our hashtag (#StayInTheGame).
Our mentors are all professional footballers who agree to undertake training in life coaching skills. Our specialist educators consist of psychologists, life coaches, physiotherapists, strength & conditioners, technical coaches, and wellbeing practitioners. This provides a holistic approach to getting players the helping hand required to regain control of their football career and inspire alternative personal career pathways. We are also proud to work with excellent academies in the design and delivery of our initiatives.
It’s a fact that huge numbers of young players are released from professional clubs every season and many players then leave the sport to develop a career in alternative industries. At The Football Family we want to keep these players in the game through our mentoring and support scheme by giving candidates an opportunity to play football at partnered non league football clubs. We connect professional players (Mentor) to young released players (Mentee). It is without doubt the biggest influence and greatest successful initiative to addressing areas of psychological distress.
The Mentor has the empathy and understanding of the elite football environment, they live and breathe the challenges, the stresses and strains, and are all too aware of ‘what might have been’.
Former professional footballer Wade Elliott is one of our Patron’s
“The Football Family is a great idea being brought to life. I was blessed to have a career as a footballer and was able to make my way from non league at 18, to eventually, the very top level. It was possible because I had the support of a lot of people and this is exactly what the team here replicate. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a support network, we are talking about the lives of children and how we cope or move forward can depend on who we meet and who we trust. What a wonderful thing to be involved with, joining a team trying to give young people that same opportunity and guidance I had to help them fulfil their potential in football and life“.
Wade was released by his hometown club at 16, he went on to play non league for Bashley FC and study A levels at college, before completing a degree and combining training, playing and studying. He was spotted and signed by AFC Bournemouth, fast forward a professional career of over 700 appearances, a ‘play off winner’ with both AFC Bournemouth and Burnley, the latter seeing him score the winning goal at Wembley to take the clarets to the Premiership. After a long stint with Birmingham City further success came when Wade captained Bristol City to a memorable season earning promotion while winning a double of the Football League Trophy, and League One Championship.
Wade now coaches full time with Stoke City’s U23 squad.