Ryota Yoshikawa,Instructor for Junior football club
From youth football to society
Football from the grassroots up
Viewing the world of football from the very start
Be it Japanese national team players, world famous players, J League stars, or Sunday pub league players. Whatever player you're talking about, and whichever league they've made it into, they've all bound to have come from some form of youth football. The enjoyment of playing football that young, the pure joy that comes from simply kicking a ball around, is without a doubt, the ‘grassroots’ of football.
As anyone that is a coach working within the field of youth football has most likely to have felt at some point during their career, you cannot help but dream that one of the players that you coach will make it as a professional player within the top flight of the football world. But of course, this is not the only dream that we possess and work to fulfil.
The real dream is that our players will learn through the beautiful game the knowledge and humanity to become a fine member of society. That is the real goal of the game we are in. Furthermore, if we can inspire someone through football and create a love for the game like we have, through possessing this passion they may then inspire their children to play football, and when their children become parents they then inspire their children to play football. To create a community that is centred around football is truly a marvellous thing to accomplish. It is this thought deeply embedded in my mind, that drives me towards my own personal goal, that through football I can help to foster a link between the world of youth football to the ever changing world around us, and my players.
The big thrill and privilege for me as a youth football coach, is that whenever the team experiences victory or claims a goal, I too can join them in what they are feeling. That feeling of pure intense joy, the sense of unity that arises within the team, and the connection between these individuals that is strengthened. I know the feeling myself from my days in my high school’s football club as a player. Whilst there is a difference overall between the large and smaller scales of football clubs and leagues, this feeling of jubilation and togetherness, is pretty much the same for those top-flight players who go out onto the pitch in the FIFA World Cup or the Champions League matched as heroes. Surely they all recognise this feeling too.
It is not only experiencing this feeling that links youth football to the likes of national team heroes, providing a point in common between these two worlds. If you take a look at any tournament, there are numerous other trends of world-class level football that are clearly reflected, and evident to see in the world of youth football.
Through sharing the things that I feel on a daily basis as a youth football team coach, and the insights that I gain with much appreciation, I hope that you are able to discover and enjoy a different viewpoint of this truly remarkable game.
Kyoto Rakuhoku F.C.