ClubNewsNewsletter: Autumn 2020

1st November 2020


Hello Everyone,

Welcome to our new look Club newsletter!! The newsletter is something we have been encouraged to bring back from a number of you within the club and some local businesses as well who are all keen to keep up to date with our community football club. I hope it will add an additional connection between the club and community and continue to strengthen our community club values.

It has been a fantastic start to the season with a number of teams starting the season strongly, but more importantly it’s fantastic that we have been able resume football at all. Without the hard work of the Club Committee, managers in planning and preparing a safe environment and the parents and players abiding by the measures and keeping us all safe we may not have had any football so well done all. 

I hope you all continue to enjoy your football at Aylesford FC and I hope you all get involved with our new YOUTUBE CHANNEL, Mental Health Awareness initiatives and EasyFundraising all of which are great ways of supporting our club and the local community. If you would like to help the club and would be willing to volunteer we have some great incentives and really would welcome any help!


In this issue we met Kirsty Hebert, one of our new U7 managers. Given her pretty exciting sporting and coaching background we’re delighted to have her as part of the AFC family.   

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came about being the AFC U7s manager?

I was an England and Great Britain javelin thrower from the age of 14 and continued in my athletics career until I was 30 (when the injuries became too aggressive to train and compete). I competed in European and World Junior Championships and the ’98 Commonwealth Games where I took the bronze medal. I was also brakewomen in the GB bobsleigh squad for two years which was exhilarating and petrifying at the same time.

When I retired as a thrower I became a javelin coach for my club and England as well as starting my seven year stint as a football player. I started out at Lordswood Ladies as someone who had always played football at school but never took it further due to my athletic commitments. After a couple of years at Lordswood the club disbanded so myself and most of the team joined Aylesford Ladies. I spent a further five seasons at Aylesford before retiring to have my son William who now plays in my U7 team. I returned to playing football as a vet a couple of years ago and now play for Vintage Anchorians. 

I raised my hand to coach this team as I needed a new challenge in my life. With the help of my husband Andy and our friend Jamie (assistant coaches) we believe we can help in making these kids feel part of a team, enjoy playing football and give them a goal of their own. The main drive for us is seeing smiling faces at the end of each session and to see them come back for the next one.

What have you enjoyed the most about coaching so far?

Having a coaching background has helped immensely with taking on my brilliant little U7 team although in athletics I was used to coaching teens and above so coaching six year olds has been challenging, rewarding and most of all fun. The questions they ask and some of the things they say are legendary!

What’s been your biggest challenge so far?

The biggest challenge personally is that I have to realise that at this age and level of football, winning results aren’t the main aim; having fun and guiding them to enjoy the game is the priority. For me in athletics winning was everything; there were no prizes for second best! If we don’t win a match, that’ll be my biggest test – reminding myself that it doesn’t always matter… might take me a while to let that one go though!

Any tips for other coaches?

Being new to football coaching it’s hard to have a tip that I can pass on as I’ve got so much to learn myself, but as a coach in general I would say to any other coaches to be honest with yourself and to the athlete. If you believe they can achieve big things then your duty is to support them as far as you can. If you can’t give them what they need to achieve then let them go…. you can’t hold them back.

What football team do you support?

I support almost, kind of, nearly the best team in the world… Tottenham (waiting for the geers and groans

Club news: New MEMBER!!!  Equality and Diversity Lead

The club is very happy to have appointed Julia Keeley as our Equality and Diversity Lead. This new role is all about making sure that we’re as accessible and inclusive as possible. Julia will also been our Mental Health Champion…… It’s to help the club do the important job of supporting both our AFC family but also the wider community. 

Julia shares the committee’s belief that as a community club we have the potential to have a positive impact on many people’s lives. She explains:

“Football has the potential to enrich many people’s lives in so many ways. Sport and physical activity is hugely important for both physical and emotional wellbeing. It’s of course an opportunity for children and adults to enjoy playing a sport in a safe and welcoming atmosphere but it also offers the chance for players, coaches, families and spectators to enjoy sociable time together and establish valuable friendships. 

It isn’t just the players who are part of the club but parents, siblings, guardians, grandparents, other family members and friends. The social aspect of playing is just as important as the training and matches – if not more – and as a club we therefore hold the potential to impact positively on many lives. 

This is why my role is so important to me. I want to do all I can to establish effective community links and ensure that our club is in a position to welcome and support as many people from our local community as possible.”

Julia has several projects in the pipeline at the moment but in the current circumstances has chosen to prioritise mental health support.

“I am currently in the process of creating website content, including links to organisations who can provide support in times of emotional distress and crises. I have also established a close link with MidKent MIND who, I am very excited to say, will be collaborating with us to not only provide Mental Health First Aid training for our managers and coaches but also be providing their amazing services to anyone who needs emotional support, for any reason. More on that to come, so watch this space. 

I also want to work on understanding and eliminating any barriers (real or perceived) that are stopping people from getting involved in the club. I’m looking to set up a walking football scheme and disability football teams, which I am very excited about. And I’m working with the FA and specific organisations to make our club a supportive environment for refugee players. I also want to look into establishing a fund that will support a number of places for children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to access the game by offering help with fees and kit provision. Overarching all of this I want to make sure we are aware of and ready to deal with racism if necessary.

As you can see, I have lots of ideas and if I could have them all in place by tomorrow I would, but realistically it’s going to take a little bit of time, but I am extremely passionate about my role and so pleased that it was created by the club in the first place.”

“The first thing I’m going to do when I’m better is buy some new football boots!”

We talked to Riley Freeman, from the U9 Colts, about breaking his leg, why he loves Aylesford FC and his passion for Wolves. 

“I have about a million Wolves kits! Daddy and Grandad support them and we even met a man in hospital who was from Wolverhampton.”

Riley’s dedication to his favourite team is clear from talking to him, but his dedication to his Aylesford FC family has shone through over the past few months after sadly breaking his leg.

“I broke it playing rounders whilst celebrating my 8th birthday too. The paramedics had to cut my football boots off, so my team all chipped in and gave me money to buy a new pair. They also made a get well soon, you’re our number one video. Mummy and Daddy had watery eyes when they watched it.”

Riley and his parents all agree that after joining Aylesford Colts U8s last year the players, coaches and parents now feel like a proper football family. 

“It’s a really family orientated club. When we first joined everyone was so warm and welcoming. Now we all really look forward to going to football every week; it’s really social”, says Riley’s mum Keeley. 

“They seemed like a really nice team and I really like the Aylesford badge,” Riley adds. “Now we’re all good friends. They sometimes say I’m the best goalie in the league! I love making saves and everyone claps.

My coaches are awesome. Even when I make a mistake they support me to lift my head up. Aoran says ‘all the great goalies let goals in’. Even Manuel Neuer does.

I really want to get back to football. I was gutted when I knew I wouldn’t be able to play. But I’m not going to rush. I’m going to start exercise classes and go on Nanny’s treadmill to get fit again. Then I’ll get back in my kit and get back on a Saturday!”

A broken leg hasn’t stopped Riley from supporting his football family; he’s been to matches cheering his team mates on from his wheelchair and even turned up at training sessions. The family hopes that after his next fracture clinic, at the end of October, he’ll be able to wear a cast and do some light walking. 

Everyone at Aylesford FC wishes Riley a speedy recovery and hopes to see him back in goal as the U9 version of Neuer soon! 



After the recent Holiday Football Camp players were asked what they would like to see added to Aylesford FC….. they have requested a Club YouTube Channel and BOOM here it is! Aylesford FC YouTube

Our first video can be watched via the link HERE showing an introduction to the club, a massive thank you to everyone who contributed and The Sausage Man for the collaboration!

As you know, community is very important to us at Aylesford FC. YouTube is a platform built for communities. We believe that we, as a community, have something to bring to the platform. Having a YouTube channel will allow us to provide you as parents, players, and fans, not only a new way to support us and what we do, but a way to give back to you.

We will be working on ideas all the time, thinking of ways that we can capture moments, share memories and to entertain and support you. But we can’t do it alone. The more you support us, the more we will be able to create and give back to you. So, get involved. Please head over to our YouTube channel and subscribe. Its Completely FREE!

EASYFUNDRAISING – Support Us When You Shop

If you love this club and want to help keep it running way into the future for current and future players to enjoy, there’s a really easy way to show your support; it takes no time and minimal effort!  

All you need to do is to make your online purchases through the ‘Easyfundraising’ website or app. It’s simple:

  1. Log in to the website
  2. Choose Aylesford FC as the cause you want to support 
  3. Start shopping

Lots of the big retailers are on there including Amazon, ebay, Argos, Waitrose, GoCompare and more, and they all donate a direct percentage of your spend to the club. 

So far with just four supporters we’ve raised nearly £20 – imagine what we could raise with 400 supporters? That money will go directly towards improving facilities and equipment for our teams. 

Here’s the link to start supporting now: