Vale Juniors F.C are delighted to introduce a new club ambassador, Steve Holland the current England men’s 1st team assistant manager.
We have been speaking to Steve recently regarding our push to improve facilities both for Vale Juniors and the wider Congleton community, something behind the scenes we are working extensively on. Our vision for this is shared with our partners in the Congleton Sports Trust.
Steve started his footballing journey with Vale Juniors and we are delighted he has agreed to offer his support to the club and the drive for better sporting facilities for the community of Congleton.
Please take a few minutes to read a letter from Steve bellow.
I’m writing to express my support for Vale Juniors FC in their attempt to improve facilities for young people in the local community, including developing a sports hub and 3G pitch. I’ve been very fortunate in my sporting career, but it all started in Congleton with Vale Juniors.
In my current role as England Assistant Manager to the senior men’s football team we are 6 months from the World Cup in Russia. To experience a World Cup with your own country is the pinnacle of your career. Prior to this I spent 8 seasons at Chelsea FC coaching the 1st team. In this role I experienced every game that football can provide at the highest level. Winning the champions league in 2012 was undoubtedly the highlight, but winning the Europa league and 2 premier league titles along with the FA cup and League cup were incredible experiences I will never forget.
My coaching career began at Crewe Alexandra FC aged 21 and lasted 17 years in a variety of roles, an incredible learning experience. However my football memories began well before that. As a young child playing for Vale Juniors I used to love the training and couldn’t get there quickly enough. My coach was someone I had great respect for, who installed good values and principles that I’m certain have stood me in good stead to this day. We were also successful too … winning 3 trophies one year!!!
Maybe it whetted my appetite for success. Even now I remember the feeling of winning with my friends from school. It was inspiring! … like a drug, you wanted to win again and again. If you would have said at that point as an inspired young teenager that I would one day experience the things I have it would have been hard to believe. But if I can, then anyone can!
I’m sure with reflection my experiences with Vale Juniors and the environment they created played a major part in me following the career path that I have. I’d like to think that the same opportunities are available to kids in Congleton today.
Facilities are so important in this respect. Keeping kids that just want to play football inspired through the winter months can be difficult, especially when games are cancelled due to waterlogged pitches, or they need to travel out of town to use facilities. Floodlit 3G pitches are a godsend, allowing practice all year round and providing a good playing surface to develop skills. But they’re only part of the solution. There’s also a need for well maintained pitches for kids to play matches at weekends, plus facilities for them to change in the correct environment.
The sports hub vision will bring these together with facilities for parents. It will I’m sure create an opportunity for others to be inspired and move into the sporting arena in the future.
England Mens 1st Team Assistance Manager