Bracknell Cavaliers is a local football club which aims to cater for children of all ability levels and backgrounds. While based in the south of Bracknell, we have players from across the town and its surrounding areas. As a club we run teams from under 7 up to adult. We also operate a very successful soccer school for younger children (from age 5 approx) which then directly into our under 7.
The club is affiliated to the Football Association (FA) and is a FA Standard Charter Development Club. We are currently working hard towards FA Standard Charter Community Club, the highest level of accreditation for “grassroot” or community clubs.
While we do currently operate one all-girl team (at Under 9) , all youth teams (up to U16) are mixed and the club always welcomes girls and boys.
How we are organised
As a club we are organised into various teams. Each team consists of a manager and squad of players. Many clubs also have additional coaches. All managers and coaches are unpaid volunteers , most are also parents of players and the club always encourages involvement from parents/carers. All of our volunteers hold current DBS Enhanced Certificates and undergo regular FA training for child safeguarding and first aid. We also expect and support all our managers and coaches to qualify as FA coaches.
Outside of the teams we also has a committee who are responsible for the overall running of the club. As a first point of contact with the club please always feel free to email or phone one of them.
FA Respect Program
The behaviour of everyone involved in football from coaches and players to the parents is critical in allowing us to provide a safe and fun environment for everyone involved. Bracknell Cavaliers uses the FA Respect program as our key to achieving this. We would encourage all parents to access the guide here. If you ever have any questions or concerns please do reach out to your manager, our Welfare Officer or any other Committee member.
The FA also publish lots of videos on Respect. They are well worth watching and can be accessed from this link.
That said, as general advice what we request is
- Keep it positive. What players need is encouragement, not criticism. It doesn’t make them try harder and it can stop it being fun for them
- Cheer on both teams.
- Avoid coaching yourself. That’s the manager job and you can confuse the players. If you want to get involved speak to the manager and see what he/she needs. The club is always looking for extra help!
- Do not criticize the referee. Ever. Many of our Referees are teenagers themselves and without them there is no game. If they make a mistake see final point!
- Encourage your child to be a good competitor and to win and lose with good grace.
- Be careful what you put on social media.
- It really is just a game!
What age group is my child?
Youth football is organised into age bands which broadly follow school year groups. All are based on the age of the child on the 31st of August. As general guidance please see table below
|Age on 31st August
|5 v 5
|5 v 5
|7 v 7
|7 v 7
|9 v 9
|9 v 9
|11 v 11
|11 v 11
|11 v 11
|11 v 11
|Year 12 / 13
|16 or 17
|11 v 11
FA rules also allow players to play up one year, that is, at one age group higher.
In line with FA policy, youth football up to and including under 11 is deemed as “non-competitive” . What this means in practice is that while matches themselves are played as normal (and can be very competitive indeed) results and league tables are not published. The league keep records purely to facilitate streaming teams into sections of similar ability. As part of this we expect all our parents and players to adhere to the spirit of this rule and avoid publishing scores themselves on Facebook or similar.
At under 12 and above all scores and associated league tables are published.
Interested in joining?
We’re always interested in new players and if your son or daughter is interested please do get in contact. You can either contact the Club Secretary or one of the managers directly. Please go to our Team Vacancies page for specific vacancies in teams
Please do be aware that
- All teams have a maximum squad size set by the league. This is to ensure that everyone gets to play a reasonable amount. This sadly can mean a team doesn’t currently have a space
- Teams also can have varying ability levels and its important players are in teams who’s level is suitable for them
What can I expect?
All our mixed teams play in the East Berkshire Football Alliance League. Matches are played on Saturday mornings from September and April each year. Additionally you should expect a team to train one evening a week for between an hour and an hour and a half. In summer this will be on grass at various locations and in autumn to spring it will be at Easthampstead Park Community School on their artificial pitch. Our Girls team play in the Berkshire County Girls League who play in regular tournaments over the season rather in a league format.
Players are expected to attend training each week. Obviously this isn’t always possible but a text message or call if a player can’t make it is expected. Football training sessions need to be planned and this is difficult when you aren’t sure how many players you will have. Aim to arrive 5-10 minutes early as this avoids the dreaded trickle of players turning up over first 10 minutes of a session!
Club rules do require all players of primary school age (up to under 11) to have a responsible adult present at all training sessions and matches.
New players are welcome to attend training for a few weeks without any commitment to see if the club and team is a good “fit” for the player and the club makes no charge for this. Players are not allowed to play for the team in an official match until they join the club itself. It is recommended to come along to a match as a spectator to allow your child to get a feel for what match day is like as this is very different from training and can be a slightly intimidating experience especially if joining an established team.
In return you and your child can expect the club to provide a safe and fun environment to play football and develop as a player. You should expect your Manager to provide timely information about training and match schedules and to listen to any feedback and concerns you have.
On match days, we do encourage parents to provide support but this should be positive only and we do ask parents to refrain from offering playing advice from touchlines. We know its hard but it generally just confuses the players, especially younger ones. To help with this many managers will prefer to have parents on one side of the pitch and coaches/players on the other.
At youth level, players can be substituted on and off multiple times during the match and each manager will have their own approach to this. All players must play at least half of each game. Playing time beyond that is at managers discretion. Some teams also have more players in them than a match day squad allows so players may also need to miss a game entirely.
What does my child need?
All players are must wear shin-pads at all times while training and suitable boots. Simple shin-pads can be bought from shops like Sports Direct for around £3-£4 but please note that they will also need to have football socks on to keep them in place! We recommend all players wear “Firm-ground” (FG) boots which have molded plastic studs and this is compulsory on our artificial/3G pitch, “astros” are really only suitable for astro-turf and very hard grass pitches in summer. If your child doesnt have their own boots the club operates a free boot swap service where you may be able to borrow a pair. Steel studs are not allowed on our training pitch at all but can be used on grass pitches. If in doubt, talk to the manager and they can advice.
Beyond that, players should bring a water bottle and wear suitable clothes for football and the weather.
Football is played all year and players should expect to both train and play in cold/windy/wet days so suitable gear is required. Beyond the usual football kit it is worth investing in “base layer” tops and shorts as well as rain-proof jackets, hats and gloves. Again shops like Sports Direct are a good source for this. As a parent we’d also recommend a good umbrella for winter training and matches. If in doubt talk to your manager.