2024 General Assembly looks at the past, present and future of the Youth FA

The 2023-24 General Assembly of the Youth Football Association took place on Saturday, 1st June, at the Centenary Hall. This year’s General Assembly was divided into two parts – the first was dedicated to statutory matters, including the administrative and financial reports which were unanimously approved by the attending delegates, while the second part was an open discussion on the points emerging from the workshops held during the seminar celebrating 40 years of volunteering last November, and the Association’s vision for the coming years.

In her introduction to the administrative report for season 2023-24, Stephanie Rocco, the General Secretary of the Youth FA, reflected on the mission of the Association over the past 41 years leading up to its current status with all the associated activities and initiatives.

“As we look ahead to next season, we embrace the ongoing challenges while emphasising the importance of enhancing the nurseries’ contribution according to the current realities,” Ms Rocco said. “Their essential role in youth development should not focus solely on helping our children become football players but also prioritise the formation of their character.

“The mission of the nurseries starts at the base… it’s not only about the competitions.”

In reaffirming the Youth FA’s mission to promote grassroots football in its purest form and support youth nurseries, Ms Rocco said: “The Youth FA remains firmly committed to consolidating the socioeducational aspect as we firmly believe in the benefits of social responsibility initiatives.

“We are also looking forward to playing a very active role in the discussions on the reform of nurseries. We need to approach this process with an open mind while fully recognising the importance of effective communication.”

Looking Ahead

Norman Darmanin Demajo, the Youth FA President, spoke about the need for the Association to safeguard its core values while ensuring its relevance in today’s football landscape.  

“I always ask myself… how can we be of service and strengthen our support for youth nurseries at pre-competition level?” Mr Darmanin Demajo said. “The relevance of the Youth FA in grassroots football is still high.

“My message to all the nursery administrators and volunteers is this… never underestimate your contribution! The Youth FA and the nurseries are guided by the same principles and objectives… football at this level is the foremost priority for all of us.

“Let’s not look at our nursery children as ‘sources of income’, but as human beings, who come to us not with a cheque, but with a smile, a desire and a passion to just play football.”

Presenting the Youth FA’s vision for the coming years, Mr Darmanin Demajo said the Association’s work will be based on the following pillars:

Participation and Inclusion

  • Organisation of festivals at pre-competition level;
  • Special Olympics Malta – participation in Youth FA festivals;
  • Explore viability and level of interest in Coaches On Wheels sessions for girls in Gozo.

Wellbeing, safeguarding and education

  • Collaboration with the Foundation for Social Welfare Services, through Aġenzija Sedqa, focusing on the prevention of addictive behaviours;
  • Dar Kenn Għal Saħħtek – awareness and guidance to children and youths dealing with issues related to obesity and eating disorders; 
  • Helpline to address safeguarding and wellbeing issues in a confidential manner.

Football, Live It With Love!! – Social Responsibility

• Goal is to promote inclusivity and equal opportunities for all children in Malta and Gozo. With the support of potential sponsors and benefactors, the Youth FA intends to create a fund to assist families facing financial challenges in paying the yearly registration fees for their children to join football nurseries.

Digital Magazine

The second issue of Football, Live It With Love!!, the Youth FA’s digital magazine, was launched during Saturday’s General Assembly. Encouraged by the positive feedback for the first edition, the Youth FA is doing its utmost to produce a high-level magazine which serves as a compelling source of information on grassroots football, the key projects and events of our youth nurseries and the mission of the Youth FA, enhanced by uplifting stories of homegrown players who are making the country proud.

The latest issue of Football, Live It With Love!!, explores the football journeys of three prominent Malta players who have progressed through the youth ranks to make the grade at senior level – Haley Bugeja and the Mbong brothers, Joseph and Paul.

Leave a reply