Get Inspired: How to get into Football

Girls in football training
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 five 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.
So how do I take part? Go to our Activity Finder to get into football near you.

The beautiful game. The national game. The world game.

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.

But don't be content to just watch it. Lace up your boots and get your foot on the ball to take part in perhaps the most easily accessible sport there is.

Aspire to be like: Fara Williams

Aspire to be former International Footballer of the Year Fara Williams

Fara Williams received the FA International Player of the Year award in both 2007 and 2009, and has received over 150 caps for her country.

Football

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Grassroots football is often where great players come from

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 teams socialise together.

It's a simple, fast-moving and exciting team game which showcases skill, agility and athleticism.

Grassroots

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Grass roots inspire Gary Neville

Jamie Vardy's remarkable rise from non-league football to Premier League winner with Leicester City has ensured that grassroots football will remain a buzzword for years to come.

Despite the seemingly exponential increase in the Premier League's glitz - and profits - it is on Britain's parks and playing fields that the future of the sport is ensured.

To find a local club near you, check out your national body's club finders here: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland. There is also a Creating Chances scheme in England, and Football Fun Days in Wales.

What else?

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How to be freestyle football world champ
  • If you don't fancy getting muddy, you could try five-a-side. Played on a smaller pitch, it's a good way to make sure you get on the ball more often - and run less! Click here to find out where you can play in England.
  • Futsal is similar to five-a-side, only played with a smaller, heavier ball. It places greater emphasis on individual skill and ball control, and is played extensively in both Brazil and Mediterranean Europe.
  • Struggle to get the joints moving? Walking football could be the answer! Essentially walking football is like football. Except you walk. Check it out here.
  • If you're more interested in stepovers than Sunday league, then freestyle could be for you. The video above will show you what's possible at the very top, but to get started click here.
  • The best thing about football is you don't need anything bar a ball to get active. Whether doing kick ups in your back garden or having a kickabout with mates, it all counts as exercise!

FA People's Cup

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Find out who can play in the FA People's Cup

The FA People's Cup is a joint venture between BBC Get Inspired and the English FA to give amateur footballers their own version of the FA Cup.

The cup started in 2015, and allows five-a-side teams to enter under a range of categories, encompassing youngsters, older competitors and those with disabilities.

4,300 teams entered the 2016 tournament and was covered by live text commentary and a round-by-round programme on the red button and iPlayer.

You can see some of the highlights here.

Women's football

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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.

Junior football

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Roy Keane gives advice to school children

Most people catch the football bug when they are young, and remain hooked for life.

Getting started early means that your football skills will come more naturally and be deeply embedded over the years.

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 football camps and more in Northern Ireland, and the FA Skills scheme in England.

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Alex Scott meets some aspiring young footballers

Disability football

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Kids meet up for international football camp

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 Northern Ireland Football Associations aim to ensure that disabled people have the chance to take part fully and fulfil their potential.

Coaching and volunteering

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How football creates Positive Futures

Whether you have played in the past or just have a keen interest in developing talent, coaching opportunities are available through the Football Associations in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.

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.

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.