Girls Playing Football

Youth Council

Giving Young People a Voice in Grassroots Football

Our Youth Council is a group of young leaders which aims to inspire, empower, and provide a voice for all young people to influence change, and positively impact football in Hertfordshire

Created in the summer of 2023, our Youth Council has established five focus areas in support of Hertfordshire FA’s wider strategy; Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Women and Girls, Coaching, Refereeing, and Safeguarding. The Youth Council also assists in the organisation of the County Cup competitions, as well as building its own social media presence.

To ensure that our Youth Council continues to make a meaningful impact in the county for years to come, we will be having our own input into the Hertfordshire FA Strategy for 2024-28, shaped using ideas generated and results gained in our first year of operation. This will provide us and our future youth council members with long term objectives so that development is sustainable, effective and at the heart of our decision making.

Our Youth Councillors are aged between 16-24 and each is paired with a member of Hertfordshire FA staff to be mentored and supported in their own development. This means that, while the whole Youth Council works collectively on a team project, each champion has the opportunity to pursue their own projects that they feel passionately about with the guidance of their mentor.

Interested in being part of this group and supporting the development of local youth football? Contact for further information.

Supporting the Next Generation of Football Leaders

If we are to build a bright future for football in our county, we need to ensure the voice of young players, coaches, referees and volunteers is reflected in our work.

Establishing the Youth Council is the latest step in formalising the input of young people into our organisation and providing them with a platform to influence Hertfordshire FA decision making.

We are also keen to support any club in starting a Youth Forum so players have a say in how things are run (see below).

Karl Lingham, Hertfordshire FA County Football Development Manager, speaks at the FA Community Awards 2017
Due to the proportion of affiliated football being played by young people, it's vital to ensure that their voices are heard in the administration and development of the game.
- Karl Lingham, Hertfordshire FA CEO

Meet the Youth Council

Introducing the members of our Youth Council and their areas of focus

Youth Council Chair Madeline Hurley



Currently a Sport and Exercise Psychology student as well as Leadership and Development Lead for the FA National Youth Council, Madeline has previous experience as a Wildcats centre coach and referee in Hertfordshire and is inspired to make sport inclusive and accessible for everyone.

“I’m really excited to be looking after a team of passionate and driven young people, and supporting them to make a positive impact on football in Hertfordshire.”

Youth Council Member Sofia Gibbins


Social Media & Safeguarding 

Experienced in working across different aspects of Hertfordshire football with players of all ages through roles ranging from Coach, Manager, assistant physio, Club Welfare Officer, as well as supporting with social media activity.

“I am overjoyed to be part of the Hertfordshire FA Youth Council to help further my development and expand on my experiences.”

Youth Council Member Noah Mitchell



A referee who understands the value of sport to develop confidence and leadership skills, using volunteering as a platform to balance both social and professional development.

“I’m delighted to be on the Youth Council. As a qualified referee myself, I will make it my priority to help young referees cope with the stress of the role.”

Youth Council Member Reece Tailor


Developing Women & Girls Football

The co-founder of a Hertfordshire based football club, this was a natural progression after years of being heavily involved in coaching and running teams, with the aim of creating an inclusive community environment for all to develop their love of the game.

“My biggest aim in football is to help grow the female game and I hope my role on the Youth Council will help support in delivering equal opportunities”.

Youth Council Member Seb Hutchinson



Driven to make competitions in Hertfordshire more accessible for young players and referees as well as working to create a safe space for people to come and enjoy themselves playing the game.

"As a lifelong football fan and player, working within the football industry to facilitate delivery of the game is a dream come true."

Youth Council Member Fitz Steger-Lewis



Balancing jobs in performance analysis and coaching following academy recruitment and coaching work across the country. Constantly broadening experience through actively seeking opportunities and qualifications in areas including goalkeeping and futsal.

"Much of my time is devoted to football, so it's great to have the chance to make a positive impact on something I'm passionate about"

Youth Council Member Maisie O'Shea


Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

A passionate advocate for the physical and mental health benefits of being active with an enthusiasm for football which was sparked from a very young age. Also a keen futsal player and football coach.

"Being involved has the power to change lives for the better. I want to ensure that football and it's positive benefits are accessible to all."

Make your voice heard

Get Involved in Running Your Club

Involving young people in making decisions that affect them is important. Not only does it mean that they are more likely to have a positive experience, but also it gives them a sense of ownership and the chance to learn new skills.

For football to continue thrive in the future we must encourage and embed an ethos of community volunteering in the younger generation and bring these young people through into leadership positions in the structures of clubs and leagues.

We are committed to ensuring young people are actively involved in the development of the game and have produced a guide to help any club interested in launching a Youth Forum to get started. Visit our Youth Zone pages to find out more.

Youth ZONE