Adult Football Growth - Kiveton Park Development

Creating adult team pathways to support player retention

Last season the Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA develop the Adult Football Growth Fund to support the creation of new adult teams for brand new adult clubs or existing clubs looking to develop new adult provision.

10 clubs were successful last season in receiving funds to aid the creation of new adult teams in preparation for the 2020/21 season.

Clubs works with the CFA to understand the need for the new teams and ensure the clubs had the correct structures in place to support the new adult provision.

One club that benefitted from the Adult Growth Fund was Kiveton Park FC, a large community club that used the opportunity to bridge the gap between their youth and adult provision through the creation of an adult male development team.

We spoke with Kiveton Park FC’s Chris Nelson to receive some feedback on how they used the funds, the rationale for creating the new team and how the development teams first season has gone so far.

We hope this will support any clubs in similar positions to Kiveton Park FC, who may also have aspirations of adding to their current adult provision, youth clubs creating an adult pathway or brand-new clubs that are looking to provide adult football provision.

See the comments from Chris on the development team below;

Why did the club look to create the new development team?

“I had a squad of 16 to 18 regulars, other players asking to join and U18s players needing an opportunity when they became too old for junior football. Some for the regular squad were not getting a game or just 20 mins here and there. I thought it would be better to try and have two 14-man squads on a Saturday and give players more chance to play.”

Recruitment of player

“We already had the nucleus of a team. We also contacted players that had previously played or shown interest and spread the word amongst the current players to ask lads they knew.”

Team workforce

“The club advertised on social media and by word of mouth. Also, discussed with older players whether they would be interested in helping either now or in the future.”

Adult Football Growth Fund

“Footballs, medical/ training equipment, fees to affiliate, league fees and cover costs for friendlies (pitch and referee).”

Player pathways

“It has been one of the priorities and also a problem area for our club. Our Under 18s teams have struggled to retain players and as club, we have been unable to offer anything for the players when they are finished with junior football due to the senior team being oversubscribed. We do not have a senior Sunday team (we explored the idea) and decided that with additional interest from older players to join the club, we now had an opportunity to mix more experienced players with younger lads and help them with their first steps into senior football.”

First season

“The main successes have been the number of players joining and showing commitment to be available for training and matches. The main challenges has been obtaining sponsorship for both teams (hard enough for one!!), trying to juggle two squads of players and then pick teams that keeps players happy and gives them game time, whilst still being competitive in the respective leagues.”

Clubs future

“With regards to men’s senior football, we hope to maintain the two Saturday sides and encourage more Under 18s players to join the senior section, even if it is just training and get a taste for it. We are submitting plans for a 3G pitch with Wales High School, which will give us more space to train and involve Under 18s with senior teams. In addition, we will have the opportunity to have midweek Under 19s/Under 21 teams as well as an Over 35s team for our existing players to move into when they reach that age group.”

FA Charter Standard club

“Being Charter Standard has helped us plan out our future and maintain what we have. We hope to take the next step to Community Status sooner rather than later.”

We’d like to say thank you and well-done to Chris and all at Kiveton Park FC for the great work the club has done and for sharing how they’ve got to where they are!

If your looking to develop new adult football at your club or develop a brand new adult club please get in touch and we will be happy to support and advise on how to best achieve this!


Leon Dearns (Adult Football Development Officer)