Kent FA and former Gillingham footballer Andrew Crofts launch new #LetUsPlay video

by Lauren Abbott

Let Us Play.

That is the plea from Kent's Football Association which has released a video highlighting the importance of positivity and not pressure when it comes to the county's youngest players.

Football's governing body in Kent has drafted in former Gillingham player Andrew Crofts - and his parents - to talk on camera about the power of being positive around children playing the beautiful game.

It is the second time the organisation has released such a video with the hashtag #LetUsPlay - the first appeared over 3.4 million times across social media.

The new video's aim, says the county's football association, is to remind everyone involved with youth football in Kent that enjoyment, playing with friends and a love of the game must come above putting pressure on today's young players.

A spokesman said: "We’re passionate about working hard to improve the environment for our young players. Football should be a place for our young players to love. It is important that we recognise support in youth football looks very different to adult football. We need to collectively create an environment that is safe and fun for young people to play.

"I don’t think any adult goes out with the intention of abusing a referee or ruining the football experience of a young person, it’s a very heat of the moment decision, and we need to change the social norm. We would love adults to take responsibility for their actions and contribute towards an exclusively positive environment."

Kent FA says it knows pressure is not always intentional but positivity must shine through
Kent FA says it knows pressure is not always intentional but positivity must shine through

During the video the Welsh international, sat alongside his parents Larry and Dawn, explores how he was helped to become the best player he could be and what role his own parents' positivity played in his career.

The Newport County player made his professional debut at 16 for Gillingham FC, going on to represent his home town 174 times. He broke the record for the most international caps ever received by a Gillingham player, playing 29 times for his country.

Andrew Crofts during his time at Gillingham
Andrew Crofts during his time at Gillingham

Domestically, he also captained Brighton & Hove Albion under manager Gus Poyet before signing a three-year deal with Norwich in 2010, gaining promotion to the Premier League with the Canaries in his first season at the club with 68 appearances, many of which were in the Premier League.

In the video he is asked about his memories of grassroots football in Kent, his experience with Chelsea at 16, and the important role his parents played in making sure he always enjoyed his time on the pitch.

Kent FA is keen for children to love their football
Kent FA is keen for children to love their football

A Kent FA spokesman added: "Parents have likely got a young child at home who has either played football, or will do in the future.

"We have a collective responsibility to make that the best environment we can, not to get professional footballers, but a decent generation of polite, hardworking and passionate people."

To learn more about the work of Kent FA and football in Kent visit www.kentfa.com

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