Mark Staines: “We’ve got some big plans for the year ahead”

Mark Staines, the President of GB Minifootball, talking about the English Federation and the new England Women’s Minifootball team in the interview with

– You’ve been a member of the EMF for 2 years, tell us about what’s happened in that time?

– We became a member in September 2017, since then we have grown massively, we’ve taken the England Men’s team all around the world and we’ll have played on 3 continents come October. We’ve competed at the WMF U21 World Cup, and next month we’ll compete in the Women’s World Cup, so it’s exciting times ahead. We’re getting more and more stability to the association all the time, with more people wanting to become involved, and we’ve got some big plans for the year ahead.

– You’ve set up the England Women’s Minifootball team, how did that come about?

– It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a couple of years, the women’s game is growing all the time, and we believe now is the right time to get involved with a national team.

– How did you select the squad?

– We held trials in Manchester, we had girls from all over the country attend, and from there we invited so many back to train with the squad.

– How strong is your current squad?

– It’s hard to tell, women’s Minifootball is not that big in the UK, therefore most of the girls are from an 11 a side background, so it’s our job to bring in coaches that can educate them about the small sided format and to develop them as players. The more time we have, the more people will know about the team and the more players will be available to us to select, so the team will get stronger and stronger over time.

– You mentioned the coaches, tell us more about them?

– We’ve brought in Mark Rees and Gary Thomas. Both have very good backgrounds in Football,

Gaz is an FA/UEFA Coach, who’s been involved in the game for 26yrs, and was the former Assistant Manager of the England men’s Minifootball team, and he worked with Manchester United, so he brings with him a lot of experience.

Mark has worked with some of the biggest names in the women’s game having been involved with the Manchester City double-winning team that reached the Champions League semi-finals, many internationals were in that team.
Mark has a very good coaching style and passion for the game that’s going to be the team. He’s been coaching for 15 years.

– What’s next for the team?

– Mark and Gary will hold their first session with the squad on the 11th August,

– When will the team play their first game?

– We will look to arrange a friendly for the team in late August, early September, we don’t know who the opposition will be yet.

– Can you talk us through how you overcame some of the obstacles you faced during this time?

– Starting a new association is never easy, of course you have existing associations that want to stop you evolving and competing with them, and funding is hard to come by at first, but we’ve remained true to ourselves and we’ve done everything the right way, and now people are seeing for themselves what we offer to players. We have some very supportive sponsors and we owe a big debt of gratitude to them for showing faith in us from the start.

A lot of Minifootball operators want to make money from their centers, and that’s understandable, but we offer something different, as the World and European bodies official UK member, we want to develop Minifootball as a sport, it’s not about making money for us, it’s about giving people an opportunity at national, European and World levels to showcase their talents, everything is provided for the players, all they have to do is show up, be respectful and enjoy it.