Shaun Hession, Firefighter and Coach from Leicestershire joined former England and Chelsea star Graeme Le Saux and Sky Sports presenter Ben Shephard to tell the country that 'Football Needs You'. The Football Association's latest campaign aims to inspire mechanics, teachers, accountants, DJs and everyone who loves football to take their first steps to becoming a grassroots coach or referee. The ambitious target for the inspirational new 'Football Needs You' campaign is to encourage 50,000 new Level I coaches by 2011 and 8,000 new referees by 2012.
Shaun first started his coaching career in the late nineties. Three years ago when his son Jack became interested in football Shaun started coaching junior footballers, and after taking The FA's coaching badges he is now running the sessions.
Shaun commented: "It's great to be able to coach local kids - and the qualifications have helped me help them to get better."
Pulling on his tracksuit alongside Shephard and Le Saux, Shaun and the other real life stars of the 'Football Needs You' campaign, were put through their paces by The FA's top coaching staff at Burton's Court to set them on their way to a rewarding career in coaching.
The 'Football Needs You' nationwide advertising campaign also features Jaz Dhami, a Punjabi singer, Prison Officer Tracy Burnett and Air Steward David Green, all of whom retain their passion for coaching and refereeing while juggling their busy professional careers.
Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said: "Millions of us spend hours of our lives watching football, talking about football and analysing matches. 'Football Needs You' is a chance to put that knowledge and passion into practice and give something back.
"Becoming a coach or referee is a rewarding experience. We need more good coaches to inspire and develop young players, giving them the skills and confidence to play football regularly and striving to be the best they can be. I wish The FA the best of luck with this excellent campaign."
In a bid to get people to stay in the game England Coach Stuart Pearce and 2010 FA Cup Final referee Chris Foy have also joined the grassroots heroes, by taking cameo roles in The FA's new 'Football Needs You' cinema adverts. The ads take a light-hearted look at the unassuming characters at the forefront of the grassroots coaching and refereeing scene in a 'Never Mind the Buzzocks' style spoof. As well as being available online at www.TheFA.com/FootballNeedsMe from October 1, the adverts will also be aired in 220 cinemas for four weeks across the country reaching an estimated audience of one million viewers.
Stuart Pearce, England coach and U21 manager, said: "The really rewarding thing about being a coach is watching improvement in players, coaching them during the week and seeing them put the skills they have learnt into practise during a game on any given Saturday. I would encourage anyone with a passion for football to discover how rewarding coaching can be."
Supporting The FA's 'Football Needs You' campaign Premier League and 2010 FA Cup Final referee Chris Foy is excited by the unveiling of The FA's first ever advertising creative focused on encouraging those who enjoy the game to get into refereeing. He said: "Having joined the police force at 21, refereeing provided me with a great opportunity to stay in the game that I love while at the same time pursuing my professional career. It doesn't matter if you're refereeing at Old Trafford, Anfield or Stamford Bridge the same fundamentals and enjoyment of refereeing apply whatever the level."
The FA's 'Football Needs You' campaign forms part of the National Game strategy, a £200 million investment in grassroots football. The 'Get Into Coaching' objectives are supported by McDonalds and the 'Get Into Refereeing' campaign runs in association with Carlsberg.