If your kid tells you he’s not really into football, you could use some “Sid” power

By on April 7, 2014
Years ago, Sid Lloyd gave up a teaching career to bring a British-style of football education to the Tokyo scene. The British Football Academy has been tapping into children’s enthusiasm for the game in the last ten years. Tokyo families catches up with Sid.


Sid Lloyd, the man behind British Football Academy

What inspired you to start a football academy in Japan?
I was player/manager of an expat football team in Tokyo for many years but was dismayed at the limited opportunities for both adults and children to play football in Tokyo.

How is British football different from other styles ?
The British Football Academy’s philosophy is ‘Football Fun For All’. We want children to play with a smile on their face, enjoying the game. All of our sessions are conducted in English so the children are immersed in an English speaking environment.

Did you have any challenges when you first started? 
Finding locations to have our sessions was & still is the biggest challenge for us. There are so few facilities in Tokyo and the ones there are can be very difficult to reserve (often by lottery as little as 1 month before the day) or have many, many rules & regulations to use them.

Tell us how your journey has been since starting in 2004.
Things started slowly, our first location being YC&AC in yokohama. We added 3 or 4 more locations in Tokyo & built our numbers up to 500 children. Then there was the Lehman Shock, followed by the Tohoku earthquake which decimated our numbers with so many foreigners leaving. We have now managed to build up again, with many more Japanese ‘ex-pat’ kids being members. We are now back up to around 500 members at 6 locations.

Any upcoming events or special programs to celebrate your 10th anniversary?
We will be holding a 10th Anniversary Football ‘Jamboree’ at Yokohama Country & Athletic club on Saturday May 24th with many football games for kids of all ages.

We hear some parents say their kids are not into football. Can love for football be developed or is it something that comes natural to them?
This is something that can be developed. We start with 3 year olds playing games that involve the use of a ball. These fun games have them interacting with coaches & other kids while learning different skills that will be needed for football with the focus being on having fun. As they get older these skills will be put into more ‘football like’ games that they will love playing.

What in your opinion makes a positive sports experience for children?
Having fun with what they are doing, even if they are making mistakes. Encouragement and praise play key roles in making a positive impression.

How early should kids learn the sport?
We like to start the kids at the age of 3 so they learn to play within a group. They don’t actually start playing football per-se until about 5 or 6 years old.

Any advice to parents who want their kids to develop a love for the sport?
Don’t force a child into playing but let them watch and join in at their own speed. Constant praise without any pressure and the children will develop a love of the game quickly!

The British Football Academy has sessions for children ages 3 to 15.  Regular sessions are held at YC&AC Yamate every Friday. For more info, www.british-football-academy.com

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