Q: Why do DW Soccer School call themselves a Soccer School and not an Academy?

A: We feel that Academy relates to the professional level of football (i.e Watford, Arsenal Academy etc).  We like to be transparent and openly admit we are a platform to help bridge the gap between grassroots and Academy level football.  We do not endorse non-professional Academies calling themselves Academies or using the term ‘Elite’ for young aspiring players where we are very mindful about protecting children’s/parent’s understanding of this.

Q: What is the difference between DW Soccer School and other football training providers in Hitchin and surrounding areas?

A: We take pride in providing the best possible platform for children to learn and have fun whilst using football as the vehicle.  Our lead coach Darren Ward holds the prestigious A-Licence which is very rare amongst grassroots football. Along with Darren’s extensive 22 year professional football career, we use this experience to support our coaches to deliver a very high standard of coaching whether its for fun or to help players reach that next level. 

Q: How important is it to be a qualified/licenced football coach?

A: This is vital towards your child’s football development regardless of their level as it is a reflection of the capability of the coach in football. We hear a lot of coaches saying ‘Licences do not matter’.  We firmly disagree with this.  You would not have a pre-school teacher teaching at Oxford University. This runs alongside football coaching as you go through the ages/levels and being able to coach a player the right way and to their needs is crucial.  

There is huge difference between an unqualified coach, certificate qualified coach and a licenced coach.   For example, Level 1 & 2 are certificates which cover 5 V 5 and 7 V 7 (up to age of U10’s) whereas B, A and Pro are actual licences and are difficult to achieve (especially the A and Pro) due to the work required, understanding of football and the details these licences cover.

Like in life, we sometimes don’t realise how important something is until we have achieved it.   

Q: What is a ‘Community Trust’ within football?

A: There are a number of community trusts within football that use the badge of professional football clubs to help them grow.  This does not make them a professional outfit, neither does it guarantee your child will be considered to join the actual football academy of the badge that they are using. This is a total separate entity.

From our own experiences within football and as parents (where our own son was part of a ‘Community Trust) you have to be careful and not confused that your child will automatically be considered for a trial at a professional academy.  Hence the name, ‘Community Trust’.  Predominately the coaches are not highly qualified like professional academies are or had any real professional football experience.

We speak to a lot of parents and children who say they attend Watford, Luton, Stevenage Academy etc where on further questioning they are actually part of a ‘Community Trust’.

Although Community Trusts can provide a lot of support for their community which is great, we are very mindful that the children do not get disheartened thinking that they are part of a professional football club where on reality they are not and no way near a professional academy set up.  

Our advice is to be careful how this is communicated to your child and find a development centre who have a high level of coaching licence with experience of professional football if you would like to support your childs football development.

Q:  Can my child join/have a taster session even if they are a complete beginner?

A: We have a huge variety of training sessions throughout the weekday evenings and weekends to suit a variety of ages and abilities.  All you need to do is get in touch via phone or email specifying your child’s age and previous football experience and we will suggest the most suitable training session for them.

Q: I just want my child to have fun. Is DWSS the right place to come to?

A: Take a moment to think about this…….Fun to different people means different things and we hear a lot of football organisations use the word ‘Fun’ as a way to deliver what they do and that there is a very slim chance of playing Premiership Football. This is true but only a small part of a very bigger picture to earn a living through an industry you love as there are three professional leagues below the Premiership, National League, National League North, South, many non league clubs, an array of coaching opportunities, analysis positions, scouting…….the list in football for employment goes on and on! Our view on this is that your child might want to learn a certain position, how to pass, dribble, keep fit or even socialise with some friends to name a few. If they don’t know how to do this but would like to, the chances are that they wont be having ‘Fun’ which we have seen many times over. We feel that children should at least be given the chance to make their own minds up and if competitive football is not for them they can always go back to non competitive training.

Our sessions are ‘Fun’ and purposeful, enabling us to be able to cover all areas and needs for your child.

With this in mind, we can provide all of the above and much, much more through our weekly training sessions, Birthday Party’s, 1-2-1 training, Mini Schoolers, PDC groups and our Holiday Camps……to support ‘Fun‘.

Q: Is it too late for my child to pursue a Professional Football career at the age of 10, 11, 12?

A: It is like anything in life, the experience leading up to this and beyond can determine your pathway or the level which your child can reach, especially in a career that can be very short (i.e general age of retirement for Professional Footballers is early to mid 30’s).  There is a general rule of thumb with individuals who pursue a professional sporting career, that they need to hit a minimum of 10,000 hours of training to give your child the best opportunity with the potential they hold.

For example, many Professional Academies (i.e. Watford, Arsenal, Tottenham) start from the age of U6’s and will train a number of times during the week, including a game and being coached by ‘Licenced Coaches’.

If your child has not had this leading up to this age you can imagine there is huge gap and most cases unreal to achieve.

At DWSS we are able to provide structured, fun training, lead by an A-Licenced Coach starting from 2 years old which can prepare your child if they show signs they want to pursue a football career. We would rather have this opportunity available to save any tears than not.

If your child from a young age has not been attending a football organisation with a structured training programme,  licenced coach/s leading the way, with experience, reality says it will be difficult to pursue the level of football they would like to.

Q: Are you going to franchise DWSS like other football organisations are doing?

A: No. We feel that if we did this that it would take away the uniqueness of what we offer and dilute the service that we provide. We are aspiring to keep the high standards going, support the local community and are not interested in franchising to ultimately make more money.

Q: Are you going to start teams and play matches?

A: We have created DWSS to support local grassroots clubs who do a fantastic job to provide young children the opportunity to play matches during the weekends. We are here to work alongside these local clubs and develop both young players who are/will be looking to join a team and those who would like a bit more training for their own personal development. We have a PDC (Player Development Centre), which plays an organised friendly match once a month during the week that doesn’t interfere with any club commitments a player may have but only enhances this.

Q: What does a PDC (Player Development Centre), mean?

A: We have created a PDC to provide ‘Higher Performing’ local players the opportunity to showcase their ability against each other, similar PDC groups or Professional Academies. We work to their needs so that they can develop to the level that they are currently at/would like to get to.  Due to our level of coaching and contacts, we are able to provide this level of service which not many grassroots teams can.  

Q: My child already plays at a higher level, how will DW Soccer School help my child reach that next level?

A: Through DWSS years of experience and coaching support.  Darren was once where every child was at within grassroots football and took the steps so many are aspiring to take to progress.  Darren uses this experience to helps support and progress your Childs development.  Through his coaching philosophy, tips on being game-ready, recovery, confidence, reading the game and understanding it, he can help deliver some of the most profound training/advice your child will receive to help support their development.

Q: My child already plays for a football team would you recommend additional training?

A: A large percentage of DWSS players currently play football and attend extra training with DWSS.  The level of training we provide helps develop players football development further which in turn then helps their team development.

Q: Can I come along for a free taster session?

A: All first sessions with us are free.  It is important to us that any player who has a free taster session has enjoyed it, feels comfortable, had fun and learnt from it too.  It is also important that parents/guardians see how we coach their child.

Q: Can I join in the middle of a term?

A: A child can join DWSS at any point during the term.

Q: Can I move session if I have already signed up to a particular session?

A: As long as there is space in the training session you are looking to move to we are more than happy to accommodate this.

Q: Can my child do more than one session at DW Soccer School?

A: Yes.  We offer 25% off any additional session your child attends after their first training session.

Q: My childs brother/sister would like to attend a taster session, do I receive a discount for this?

A: Yes.  We offer a 10% sibling discount.

Q: What happens if my child misses a training session?

Q:  We will endeavour to offer an alternative session within the week if there is space for a chance for your child to catch up.

Q: How is the standing order broken down?

A: We have taken into account all of our training sessions throughout the year (39 in total) and split this across 12 months.

If a player leaves within the 12 month period and the standing order is cancelled where there is an amount outstanding to be paid, DWSS will invoice the customer and this invoice must be paid within 7 days.

Q: Am I tied into DWSS for a certain period?

A: If you pay for the term you have paid up until that specific term ends and that is when your Childs training will end.  If you pay a monthly standing order you are more than welcome to leave anytime.  If there is an amount outstanding for training sessions this small amount will be invoiced to you upon leaving.

Q: Do I need to buy the DWSS Kit? 

A: The kit is not compulsory to purchase.  Your child can attend the training sessions in any football/sport attire they would like.  We do specify shin-pads due to the players safety.  The kit can be purchased at any time throughout their duration at DWSS.

If the kit is NOT purchased you are not entitled to the benefits that DWSS provides (i.e Player Profile, Individual Reviews, discounts off a range of services we provide etc).