Get Goal-side

The lads have recently learned the benefits of pressuring as opposed to diving in on defence. Our next training block is be focused on ensuring our defenders are aware of players behind them at the throw in and in general play. 

Goal-side is the widely used term to describe a position between the player you're defending and the goal. 

Our goal will be to have these lads marking goal-side more often and making the most of an opportunity when they're not being marked properly. 

Throw ins

The typical defensive positioning at a throw in revolves around how far the defenders think the thrower can throw. This results in a semi circle of defenders around the thrower with gaps he can aim for. 

If a ball is thrown through one of these gaps or over the defenders then the opposition attackers often find themselves on a run towards our goal. 

Coaching Activity

We'll play a game whereby the ball is thrown, rolled or passed in from the side each time the ball goes out. Once the ball is in the players will simply try to score but it's what happens before the ball goes in that counts. 

As soon as a ball goes out of play the coach or a player will start looking for the most attacking throw in option, most commonly an attacker who has managed to out-position his defender. 

Defenders will be encouraged to mark goal side but it'll become pretty obvious after a few precise passes pick out unmarked attackers. Defenders will soon realise they cannot just make a wall of defenders and they each attacker needs to be marked Goal-side. 

Goalie Ball

We want to encourage a fast paced game whereby the keeper get's the ball into play as soon as possible. Until now the short pass or roll to a close team-mate has been the recommended option because it's safe and we've been desperate to prevent goals from our own goal kick. 

Now that most of the lads can pass fairly accurately to half way from the edge of the keeper's box we'll be encouraging them to get the ball there quickly while looking first for attackers who have out-positioned their defenders. 

They'll be taught to decide between a throw, roll or placing the ball to pass in to space for our attackers before looking to their defensively positioned team-mates. 

Coaching Activity

Similar to the Throw in activity above, each time the ball goes out play will restart from a goal keeper or coach. 

Attacking players will be encouraged to quickly transition into counter attack by moving into a position and signalling the space they want the ball passed into. This will be with hand signals, not shouting. 

Ideally, parents and coaches will gather balls next to each goal so keepers can grab a ball quickly. Getting the ball in play fast will help the lads think faster about where they need to be to get goal-side or into an advantageous position. 

2 v 1 and 2 v 2 Transition

Asking players to consider 3 or 4 passing options while running with the ball is simply too much for most 7 and 8 year olds. We've actually been quite happy to see individuals running the ball without looking for a pass because we want them strong running with a ball. 

We now want two players working together more when they go on attack. The lads will be encouraged to look for their team mate straight after making a safe touch. 

This is a situation which can cause frustration for parents and team-mates because we're used to seeing premier league players pass when they should be these lads are still learning.

Coaching Activity

2 attackers will start off attacking just the keeper.

1 defender will then be introduced and attackers will be encouraged to commit the defender before passing or moving to beat him. 

Defenders will be encouraged to pressure without diving in. I'm still happy to see a player take on his defender but will suggest they look up for team mate as well. 

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Preparing for the 2019-20 Season

The next 6 months is sure to fly by and we’ve recently met with senior club members to discuss what to expect next season. 

There's a lot more time commitment required as well as fees and travel compared to what we've encountered so far so it's important that we do what we can to prepare. 

We have pressure to absorb players from multiple angles right now and with our 2019-20 format changing to 7 aside football we need to take on some players if we’re to go back to two squads. 


Each team is put in a round robin league with 3-4 others with one match per Saturday. There is often a weekend off in between match days. 


Matches are 20 minutes each half with 7 players on the field including goalkeepers.

We’ll play at home and away so matches will could be anywhere from Winchombe to Bourton on the Water or Churchdown.


Match fees will be £2 on grass and £2.50 when playing on astro-turf. The astro-turf surfaces around Cheltenham will be used for Winter season matches. 

Teams, Squads and the Training Group

We currently have three teams Rovers, United and Albion. Plan is to keep these teams for tournaments between now and the 7 aside Lakeside tournament in May. 

We’ll want 3-4 subs for each match so match day squads will be ten or eleven. We currently have 18 players so we’ll be expanding our training group shortly.

We have 6 aside and 7 aside tournaments coming up this season so need to increase numbers if before the March tournament if we’re to have comfortable numbers to our standard field three teams.


Each team needs at least one Level 1 Qualified Coach. Conor will be one of those and Jin will be another. Ideally a couple more will put their hand up so both teams stay “compliant” should one of us be unable to attend a match.

Assistant Coaches

Andy and Frank will continue their roles but we'll likely want one or two more to help with the larger group. 

Mid-Week Practice

We'll start a mid-week practice session in September.

Younger teams often get low priority when it comes to booking space on the astro-turf but if we can get in early with our preferred times then there's a better chance we'll get what we want. 

Please click here and complete a few questions to help us know when's best for you...


Turf fees are just £2.50 per child which is great considering it provides lighting and a reliable surface to practice on each week. This will however mean an increase in fees compared to this season given there will also be the standard £2 fee per match. 

Anything I've Missed? 

Please comment or message me with any other details you'd like to know or things you know about the u9's season which others should too. 

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Attacking and Defending

We've spent the last 3-4 weeks on putting the lads in positions where they cannot avoid the need to use their weaker side and become aware of the benefits of improving it. This next coaching block will help them make the most of their new abilities and exploit any deficiencies in their opponents. 

Using Team-mates and Diving in

Over the last few weeks we've been warming the lads up with a gauntlet style activity whereby players dribble through a channel and attempt to get past defenders. There's loads of running, deception, tackling and fun. 

The lads love this activity but they've both disappointed and delighted with their performance. 

On attack the lads have surprised with their ability to perform challenging combination passes to get past a defender while on defence we've found the lads very static and erratic in their strategy for tackling.

This next coaching block will be aimed increasing the likelihood attackers will use their team mates and defenders will decrease their likelihood of getting skinned. 

Draw and Pass 

One activity will be aimed at teaching the lads how to use their team mates to beat any defender or goal keeper with an effective draw and pass. 

By committing the defender, passing to a team mate and sprinting ahead two players can effectively utilise their numbers to beat defenders and goal keepers on a regular basis. 

Forcing Attackers wide and waiting for a mistake

The other activity will teach defenders to shepherd attackers towards the touch lines so they have less passing and shooting options then taking the ball only when the attacker makes a bad touch on the ball. 

Many of our best defenders are diving in and gifting 1 v goal keeper opportunities to the opposition. Our aim with this block is to have defenders prevent this situation and the likelihood they'll miss a tackle or foul the opposition. 

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Bishops Cleeve Colts u8 Rovers

Becoming Two Sided

We have some exceptionally talented footballers in our squad but even the most "able" are running around the ball so they can kick it with their stronger foot.

This is not uncommon among young players (or older) but I personally feel that ignoring the obvious is irresponsible. 

Learning to kick with your weaker side is not easy but the longer we delay, the harder it becomes to learn.
Many of these lads have only just learned how to kick a ball properly with their strong side so learning to use the weak side is going to be much easier if we do it now than if we wait till they’ve developed a dependency on their stronger leg. 

A Long Timeline

We have four months before our next FA tournament and I suggest we use this time to (among other things) encourage the lads to improve their weaker side in practice and play. 

Our next few practices will be aimed at showing them just how much it’s costing them to be a one sided footballer. We’ll then teach them how to use their weaker side in the hope they’ll experience enough success to realise that they can improve the leg they thought was simply there to stand on. 

Is This Necessary?

You may be thinking…”I never put time into improving my weaker side and I turned out a pretty good footballer”. 

Yep you, like me, probably got very good at shifting the ball from weak to strong before putting a shot on goal, a cross into the box or a long pass up the line but imagine if your opposite number had actually paid attention.

As part of our next month’s practice we’ll ask the lads to learn which leg each team mate is strongest on and how they can improve their defensive efforts with the knowledge that most under 8’s cannot shoot, pass or even dribble with their weaker foot.

How We’ll Do it at practice

Our next proper tournament is not until March (dates tbc) so after the mini tournament (8th of December) we'll get the boys back into groups which suit their ability rather than their tournament teams. 

We’ll then use a series of games and activities which make it easy to see the improvements which are being made with the weaker side. 

Asking the lads to attack situations which should utilise both legs will not only help them understand the importance of using both feet but reward them for taking the risk of using a leg which they’ve previously not trusted to do the job they want.

Reality Check

Fact is that Me, Frank, Andy, Jin and most lads who do not make it into top top teams have spent our time improving our ability to work around a perceived inability to pass and shoot with our weaker side.

It doesn’t matter how well you rate your child’s ability to use either foot right now. They can drastically improve their experience of football, simply by using their weaker side more often in an environment which will never reprimand them for having a go. 

How You Can Help

I’m sure you’ll agree that just because they practice it on Saturday, doesn’t mean they’ll remember it for the following week. If you’d like to help your son improve their confidence over the next few months then please remind them how hard it is to pass a ball fast and long to the left with their left foot or to the right with their right foot (if your child is left footed). 

We’ll make it obvious that if the boys want to be able to pass left and right, without the opposition guessing their stronger leg, then they need to be strong at passing with both feet.


Passing with the weaker side

Take the time to pass with them. After congratulating them on their ability with the stronger side, tell them that you’re going to pass to their weaker side so they can improve their ability. 

Practically every will rebel against this suggestion and tell you that they cannot use their weaker side. This is absolutely normal but if you can encourage them to have a go then they’ll notice the improvement every single practice.

Do they Have a wall?

One of the easiest ways (especially if you’re too busy) to improve their passing ability is have them kick a ball against a wall or rebounder. I personally don’t think a rebounder (at this age) will be useful but happy to be corrected, considering I haven’t bought one.

Have them count the number of passes they can get with one touch per pass. This sounds easy but when a ball bounces to their weaker side they will want to take a touch to control it, then pass with their strong side.

Keep it light hearted and ask them how it’s going. If they say it’s too hard to use their weak side don’t push it. If they’re attending practice regularly then each time they come home they should be more willing to give it a go.

Make a big deal of any improvement in effort, number of kicks or ability.


The next few months could either be used to improve our ability to continue using one leg or both. The easy option is to tell the lads they don’t need their weaker side. 

The longer term (not as long as you think) and better option is to make them aware of every opponent’s weaker side, the ability of their own weaker side and their teammates’ weaker side. This way they’ll not only improve but make better decisions about how they move the ball and how they defend. 

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About the Squad

Teams Shake Up

The squad has shown a huge leap in playing ability since splitting Rovers and United into three teams.

While the teams we originally setup were aimed at allowing school friends play together, the coaches and I have decided we'd like to mix things up through Winter.

Keep reading to learn the new teams we'll be trying at practice and what we're hoping to achieve. 

The New Teams


Frankie Gibbons

Leo Pocket

Marley Yearwood

Joseph Dee

Bishops Cleeve Colts

Alfie Edwards

AJ Scott


George Ballinger

Tyler Graham

Alfie Danter-Wilson

James Kennedy 

Max Williams

Thomas Harvey


Joshua Tredwell

Alessandro Biselli

Thomas Ford

Oliver Williams

Alfie Ashworth

Manas Atreya

Aron Baker

Why the Shake up?


The players from Albion and United have benefited from having new team mates and have developed new friendships but the Rovers could do with getting more time with the lads outside of their school class.


We want to keep the full squad used to playing with everyone, not just for their time with Cleeve Colts but for years of football and other life experiences.

They will continue practice in groups based on ability at times and at other times based on their tournament teams.


The lads will learn more playing with team mates they haven't played with much before. They'll also learn from playing against former team mates.

Many will find themselves having to do more or play different roles than in the past and others will get the opportunity to do more of what they want without feeling such responsibility to do what they have previously.

When's It Happening?

We play a mini tournament on the 8th of December so will try out the new teams at practice this Saturday.

Each child will likely react differently to the change.

Please let us know if yours is upset. We are obviously trying to play a balance between friendships, abilities, goalkeepers but can make small changes.

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November Tournament Day Two Results

Day 2 was another great one in terms of learning for the lads.

It was the first time we'd allocated attackers and defenders so given we'd had just one practice on the concept the lads did exceedingly well to implement it under pressure. 


Playing in Division 1 meant these guys were always going to find it hard to get a win. They surprised everyone with long spells of equal possession and opportunities against the only three teams to finish in Div 1 for both tournaments so far. 

After looking like they could shock the crowd and opposition with a goal there was short periods when they'd concede 3 or four goals in quick succession only to re-establish themselves. 


I didn't see a lot of these guys but every time I looked I found them camped in the opposition half and dominating play. Playing in Division 2 should have meant these guys had a tough time but the lads performed well enough to finish second in the group. 


These boys played hard and appeared to have a great time regardless of the results. Attacking play was far better thanks to the attacking role introduced but the lads couldn't put enough balls in the opposition goal to get a win. 

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November Tournament Day 2 Preview

We have a few changes planned for Day 2 with Ollie coming back into the Div 1 Albion side and United Coach, Jin, unavailable. 

We introduced the roles of attackers and defenders on Saturday and while we don't expect large scale improvements we hope the lads will show more urgency to get out of their half each time the keeper gets his hands on the ball. 

Day 2 Pools

Find the pools below with September Tournament Division number next to each team.

We'll never place expectations on results because anything can happen on the day but having an idea of previous history does help us see what challenges lie ahead. 


The lads will again be without their goals merchant, Josh, but if they can maintain the strong defence demonstrated on Day 1 and get attackers up the field more often then they should do well. 


Thomas Harvey moves into the United side which achieve our squads two biggest winning margins in Day 1 of this tournament. 

Parents Luca and Ben have agreed to take over coach duties as Jin is unavailable. 

Bishops Cleeve Colts


Our first Div 1 side benefits from the return of Ollie as they take on three very strong sides as well as Gotherington Juniors who just pipped our Rovers 2-1.

The boys are having an absolute blast and have had a good balance of wins, losses and draws which is building character and strengthening their bonds. 

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November U8s Tournament Day 1

Our lads achieved something special at this tournament with one team going undefeated and making it into the top division while another wracked up over 10 goals on two occasions earning a place in division 2 of six.

At the September tournament, when our two teams played well to earn a place in the 3rd division so there’s been loads of progress in the last couple of months.

Bishops Cleeve Colts Football Club now has three of the five teams playing in division 1 in Day 2 of the tournament, thanks to results from Adam Coates’ successful teams, Colts and Rangers. 

We split the two squads into a third team after the September tournament because there were 4-5 players on the bench.

This reduced the substitution numbers so each player had significantly more playing time.

There were two very experienced players absent, making the performances even more special.  

Bishops Cleeve Colts u8 Rovers


The Rovers had a tough pool and with Josh out through injury, struggled to score goals.

They played two teams who finished in division 1 in the September tournament, as well as one from the same division (3rd) and one below.

Defensively the boys played really well, conceding just a few goals against teams who played in the first division in September

They demonstrated a huge improvement in their understanding of how to position themselves at goal keeper ball and moved the ball around well with Alfie Ashworth showing great improvements on attack and defence. 

Throw ins regularly led to attacking play and the boys created a lot of chances but converted too infrequently to finish matches on top. Josh’s return in the 2019 tournaments will make a huge difference as will another couple of months practice. 

These guys will play in division 5 on day 2 and benefit from the extra time they should get with the ball.


This newly formed side surprised everyone with an unbeaten run of 2 draws and 3 wins, enough to qualify them for the 1st division.

Many of their games were close and there was a 4-3 win with the last goal coming in the final minute of play. The boys are starting to show an intent to pass the ball across the opposition goal as opposed to shooting from an acute angle.

Manas stepped up as goal keeper and showed huge improvements in his distribution as well as shot stopping.

Bishops Cleeve Colts u8


United were without a substitute but went undefeated until the final match when they played a strong Lakeside team with an interesting formation. 

Our new coach, Jin, managed the team for the first four matches and had this to say of the experience:

“Great to be involved in my first tournament, I was really impressed with the boys and thanks to the parents for their help & support i.e. Luca running across the fields to find a bib for our goalie.

Also proud the boys kept their spirits ups when the weather turned ugly, by huddling together under an umbrella and singing Christmas carols”

James played out of his skin in goal and AJ became a scoring machine slotting at least 7 goals in the first 4 matches.


I think it’s safe to say that everyone was surprised but the results of Day 1 of this tournament. Considering none of these players had been in a club side just fourteen months ago, the lads have come a very long way and love every minute.

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November Tournament Details 2018

Here are the details for our November Tournament

CYFL U8s 5 v 5 Football Tournament 2018

Thank you for signing up for the upcoming U8s Tournament run by CYFL, we look forward to welcoming you all to this fabulous morning of football.

I would like to remind all clubs and managers that you are responsible for your parents and supporters’ behaviour. We as a league will not tolerate any bad language or abuse of either players or referees. Players, parents or coaches will be banned from any further participation and the Team could be removed from the Tournament.


Newlands Park Sports & Social Club

Southam Lane



GL52 3PE


Qualifying rounds

Saturday 10th November 2018


Saturday 24th November 2018

Players to arrive at 8:30am

Tournament Teams


Alfie Ashworth

Aron Baker

George Ballinger

Joshua Tredwell

Leo Pocket

Marley Yearwood

Tyler Graham


Frankie Gibbons

Alfie Danter-Wilson

Joe Dee

Manas Atreya

Thomas Ford

Thomas Harvey


AJ Scott

James Kennedy

Max Williams

Oliver Williams

Alessandro Biselli

Bishops Cleeve Colts

Alfie Edwards

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Bishops Cleeve Colts Football Club

Rules for CYFL U8s 5 v 5 Football Tournament 2018

The rules are designed to be simple and as near to 'real' football as possible, except for:

Age qualification U8s: Players must be under the age of 8 at midnight on 31 August in the playing season. Players qualifying for the U7s are permitted to play at U8s level.Pitch: Maximum 40 x 30 yardsGoals: 12 x 6 feetBall: Size 3Match: 10 minutes straight through


4 for a win

2 for a score draw

1 for a draw

0 for a loss

no goal difference

Teams: 5v5 with recommended squads of up to 10

Substitutes: 'Rolling' subs during any break in play

Pass back to keeper: Allowed

Goal kicks: Pass-out only (foot, roll or throw)

Offside: No offside

Sliding tackle: Players must stay on their feet (free kicks will be given for a sliding tackle).NB: slide tackles committed by the defending team inside their own penalty area will result in a penalty kick.

Barging and charging: Normal physical contact including shoulder-to-shoulder is allowed but deliberate 'barging' or 'charging' into other players, even with the shoulder, is not allowed (free kicks will be given).

Free kicks: All direct, opposition retreat 5 yards

Corner kicks: Opposition retreat 5 yards

Kick-offs: Ball must go forward, opposition retreat 5 yards

  • Discipline: We have a simple three-stage discipline process:

[1] After minor infringements, players will be warned and reminded of the rules.[2] For more serious infringements or persistent minor infringements, players receive a 'Yellow' card.[3] For very serious infringements or a second Yellow Card offence, players receive a 'Red' card (excluded for rest of game and cannot be replaced but can continue in the tournament).

Dissent: Under our Respect guidelines, the referees will not tolerate any form of dissent from players or spectators.

Noise levels and shouting instructions

We have a simple rule: the noise level from the touchlines must remain BELOW the level of noise on the pitch. The children should be the loudest sound we can hear. If noise levels rise too much or continuous instructions are being shouted, preventing the children’s learning, then the referee will stop the game and ask adults to stick to the Respect League guidelines.

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