A football club set up for the community and by the community which also includes Southall’s first women’s football team is something that Southall Athletic Football Club has been busy building and growing in recent years.
The club, originally formed by Ajay Gore and Amar Chana who are still active members, was founded in 2019 as they felt there was a real lack of community focused clubs in the area and now the Middlesex Football League Division 2 team look set for their best season ever during 2023/24.
Along with the men’s team, Southall AFC also has a women”s team, three under 16 teams, under 15 team, under 13 and under 11. It says it aims to provide a full range of opportunities for all the community.
To help with its growth, there will be a Southall Athletic Charity bike ride on 20 August 2023, which is also the 44th birthday of club secretary Dave Hayes.
Speaking to EALING.NEWS, Mr Hayes said: “I joined at the end of the 21/22 season to set up the youth section along with a vast array of coaches from a previous club in the Greenford area but the true success of this project is we are all volunteers dedicating our time to provide a safe haven for young children to come and enjoy the nations number one sport.”
Along with Mr Hayes, taking part in the ride are: Ajay Gore, Gabriel Chiedozie and Julian Gerrard. Herpreet Nirwal will be driving a van of supplies to keep the riders fuelled along the route.
On its fundraiser, the club said: “We are fundraising because we believe in the power of football to bring communities together, to provide sporting equality and to provide lasting opportunities for future generations.”
The money raised will help the club deliver more outreach work across the community which includes a no charge initiative for disabled people.
Mr Hayes explained. “In support of Southall Athletic football club we are taking on an 80 mile cycle to raise funds for the club visiting all the London clubs in the professional game along with a visit to Middlesex FA HQ.”
Mr Hayes added: “The money will help the club continue to provide free football sessions for the poorest in our community, support our free disability football initiative and ensure we continue to work towards our goal of sporting equality in Southall.”
To support the sponsored bike ride for Southall Athletic Football Club, click here.
Mr Hayes also revealed more details of its plans and what it is offering to locals. He said: “We are now looking to recruit players to start U7 / U8 / U9 and U10 teams in the future with a clear vision on offering football for all across all age groups and abilities. We are currently offering Free sessions to special educational needs children on Wednesdays at Rectory park in conjunction with the Sikh Human rights group , Middlesex FA and Indian Gymkhana FC.”
Youth and getting more females to play the game is a key focus. He added: “We are also starting up squad girls in September for girls aged between 12-16 to create a pathway to the Women’s team also in conjunction with Middlesex FA. The youth section is one year old at Southall Athletic with over 103 players registered and looking to grow the club by 20% this season.”
Details of Southall Athletic Football Club teams and when they meet:
- Men’s Team (Open Age) – Playing on Saturdays and Training on Wednesdays
- Women’s Team (Open Age) – Training on Wednesdays and Sundays
- U16 x 3 Teams – Training on Wednesdays and Saturdays with matches on Sunday
- U15 x 1 Team – Training on Wednesdays and Saturdays with matches on Sunday
- U13 x 1 Team – Training on Wednesdays and Saturdays with matches on Sunday
- U11 x 1 Team – Training on Wednesdays and Saturdays with matches on Sunday