A new amateur football body has been set up that could help fast-track talented young Jewish players into the professional game.
The Non League Football Association enables players to take charge of their careers. Players register their details including a profile and playing history, before joining a website database accessible to prospective teams and managers.
Set up by Newport County manager Dean Holdsworth and directors Clive Pollard and Tony Marks, the NLFA also offers discounts on football boots, kit and merchandise.
Edgware Reform Synagogue members Pollard and Marks started playing in the AJY League before stepping up to the MSFL. They now play in the Maccabi Masters League.
Marks said: “We realised that there are men’s and women’s teams throughout the country that did not benefit from one governing body that they could relate to.”
The site already has players registered from 30 countries. Members can communicate via a dedicated forum, blog and search for former teammates.
Pollard said: “There are some really good players in the JC MSFL and it baffles me why there aren’t more playing professionally. The league is close to our hearts and it would be great if we could help elevate a young player from Jewish football to a professional league club. That would be our personal goal.
“We might also be able to help teams find sponsors and help find them security on and off the pitch, including education, team building, insurance, legal and mortgage advice.”
Pollard set up a licensed soccer product sourcing merchandise company 25 years ago. The pair were also involved in running the official Chelsea Football Club shop at Stamford Bridge.