Kicking Dreams into Reality: The Heroes of Grassroots Football

Grassroots football is any football where the main driver is the love of the game

All over the world, people are playing football for fun. The child on their own kicking a ball against the wall. The playground matches packed into a few minutes of school break time. Youth teams. The local leagues. Jumpers for goalposts. Grassroots football IS football.

During the pandemic, when professional leagues shut down completely, there was a big boost in popularity of local leagues and amateur football. Anywhere that football could continue attracted an audience. It was rare proof that if the world’s top leagues suddenly ceased to exist, people would still watch football.

Grassroots football is also very much on trend. Support for neighbourhood teams is booming. Getting involved in football might even fight loneliness.

Visiting the Emirates is an experience, but so too is stopping by Ladywell Arena to watch Lewisham Borough FC.

At this level, sport becomes more than competition. It’s community, connections and friendships. Nothing feels like getting carried away in a chant with tens of thousands of others, but when you’re one of a few dozen, it’s a different experience. Your voice, heard. Your impact, real. If you don’t know who your local local club is, go and find out!

At Matchday, the superstar players are an obvious draw. We have thousands of professional players, officially licensed and ready to become part of your collection. But we imagine too. What if YOU had a card in Matchday, one you could use in game? What if your whole local league team was digitised and preserved within the Matchday universe? How awesome would that be?

We can’t promising that this will be a feature from day one (or even two), but local leagues and grassroots ARE something we are super interested in. We have a commitment to supporting football at this level and we hope to scale this up in the future. Right now, we’re proud to be a sponsor of Norwegian Namsos, found way up amongst the mountains and fjords of central Norway.

Founded all the way back in 1904, Namsos IL’s women’s team plays in the in the Norwegian fourth division, its men’s in the fifth. To get an idea how closely entwined they are with the local community, you need only see the variety of shirt sponsors they have. From multinational electronic giants like Elkjøp to local car dealers and family bakeries. Without the support of all those in the community big and small, clubs like Namsos would struggle to exist. We are proud to to be a part of this club, and hope to be involved with many more in the future.

Parks and Rec

Matchday is also a proud sponsor of the professional US NWSL team Washington Spirit, home of the electric Trinity Rodman. It is worth taking a moment to realise that football has struggled to get a professional foothold in the US. After a couple of short lived attempts in the early 2000s, it was only just over a decade ago that the NWSL was established. Without grassroots football cultivating talent and knowledge of the game, this would surely still be a fantasy today.

From Sunday League to Super Sunday.

The aim of grassroots is much more than incubating professional players. But it is a legitimate route towards the top leagues. Local clubs like Senrab FC in London and AS Bondy in Paris count many well known football names amongst their former players, including a certain Kylian Mbappé.

Play it Forward

You can be a hero too (if you’re not already!). Grassroots clubs always need a hand. Perhaps you already contribute to one? We’d love to hear your stories over on X or Instagram!

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