Get Inspired: How to get into Football

Fast Answers

Why get into football?

Simple yet endlessly exciting and dramatic, it's the most popular sport in the world for a very good reason!

Who is it for?

Whatever your age, ability or fitness level, there is a type of football suitable for you.

Is there a cheap option?

All you really need to play 'The Beautiful Game' is a football. Kick around on your own or with friends.

What if I want a proper workout?

Joining a weekly 5 or 11 a side game increases your fitness and improves your game. Plus it's a good way to see your mates.

Can I take it to another level?

There are leagues galore and it's very competitive, with professional clubs recruiting players as young as seven.

Is there a disability option?

National Associations across Britain are increasingly pro-active in providing disability football options.

Is there a family option?

Family Fun Days run throughout the year to encourage families to take part in football-related activities.

Football is a phenomenon. Hundreds of millions of people across the globe live and breathe it, playing it with their friends and watching their heroes at a local stadium or on TV. But the UK is not just watching it, they are playing it too - in fact, five million people pull on their boots every week across the country. Thousands of football grassroots training schemes take place each year in parks, sport centres, schools, universities, gyms and colleges. Find somewhere to start playing near you by checking the Football Association club finders in England,  Scotland,  Wales  and Northern Ireland. 

Football

feet in mid air about to kick a football

Football provides a truly extensive variety of physical exercise. Players run, kick, dodge, sprint and jump, and constantly twisting and turning your body increases endurance, promotes agility and develops physical coordination. Football also promotes teamwork on and off the pitch, as many team socialise together. It's a simple, fast-moving and prolifically exciting team game which showcases amazing skill, agility and athleticism.

'Kickabout'

Boys playing football

Unlike other sports, a casual game of football is incredibly easy to set up. All that is needed is a ball, makeshift goals and varying numbers of competing players. Get together in a park, field, on the beach, a school playground or even on a quiet street and get active!

5-a-side

A five-a-side match

If fast, competitive, small-sided and skilful football is your thing then 5-a-side is for you. It's a great way of getting an intense 'after work' work-out with a bunch of friends. And despite the official name it's often played by 4 or 7 players a side, so however many of you there are you can still get involved. There are hundreds of FA accredited centres across the country, so get some friends together and get playing! If you live elsewhere in the country then contact your local club to get started.

11-a-side

Grassroots football inspires Gary Neville

This is the beating heart of grassroots football across the land. Come Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning, Britain is alive with cheers from wide open spaces (like the famous Hackney Marshes) as men and women battle for goals. The bonds made while playing and competing in a league can be incredibly strong - some players are friends for life after representing the same team for a number of years. Plus, you'll be as fit as a fiddle. Players remain in constant motion, running roughly five miles typically in a 90-minute game (which burns nearly 1000 calories). Local football clubs also offer a variety of social events outside of game play.

To get involved, contact the schemes and clubs in your area by checking the websites of the Irish FA  , Scottish FA,  Welsh FA  and English FA.  There is also a Creating Chances  scheme in England, and Football Fun Days  in Wales.

Junior football

Local football coach to make FA Cup draw

Most people catch the football bug when they are young, and remain bitten for life. The popularity of football across the UK means that there are an ever-growing range of programmes and schemes for kids to get involved with football. Getting started early means that your football skills will come more naturally and be deeply embedded over the years. So, in Wales, find out more about the Mini Football scheme.  In Scotland there are schemes for both primary-aged school children  and secondary.  Find out about the Small Sided Games strategy in Northern Ireland,  and the FA Skills scheme in England.  UK Wide, Street League  is an organisation that helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds through the power of football.

Women's football

Get Inspired: Faye White on football

With 1.4 million women and girls playing football, there's no doubt that it's the nation's most popular female team participation sport. Around the UK there are schemes designed to help girls get into football - from grassroots to the professional game - as well as routes into coaching. Each Football Association across the country has information specifically to encourage women to play so get contacting in Scotland,  Wales,  Northern Ireland  and England. 

Disability football

The wonders of blind football

Disability football is well served across Britain, with a host of different opportunities for different groups of people. The English FA's Disability Talent Programme  is designed to produce football excellence as well as personal development. The Wales Football Trust  have a dedicated Disability Co-ordinator to deliver a fully inclusive programme. Likewise, the Scottish  and Irish Football Associations  aim to ensure that disabled people have the chance to take part fully and fulfil their potential.

Coaching and volunteering

Get into football coaching

Whether you have played in the past or just have a keen interest in developing talent, coaching opportunities are available through the Football Association in Northern Ireland,  England,  Scotland  and Wales.  You can also try Sports Coach UK  for coaching opportunities. Or use your skills to help a local club - find out about volunteering opportunities in Scotland,  Wales,  England  and Northern Ireland.  Join In UK  can also help you find a club that needs your hands on attention.

Aspire to be like: Fara Williams

Inspire to be like Fara Williams

What next?

1. Go to our Activity Finder to get into football near you.

2. Or find your nearest club in England,  Scotland,  Wales  or Northern Ireland. 

3. Share your story  and inspire others!

Are you inspired to try football? Or maybe you are an expert player already? Get in touch and tell us your experience of the game by tweeting us on @bbcgetinspired,  visiting us on Facebook  or email us on getinspired@bbc.co.uk.

See our full list of activity guides for more inspiration.