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AFC Leyton Newsletter – March 2023

Message from Sofia, Welfare Officer

With Ramadan a few weeks away, it is a good time for our Muslim players to plan how to balance fasting with ensuring they continue to perform at their best.

Every year the FA work with Muslim players and health professionals to produce some fantastic guidelines to help with that process. The most updated version of these will be issued later this month. When Layla Banaras, who recently debuted for Birmingham City, realised that there was no guidance for fasting players, she decided to create a plan herself. The links to these resources follow and are well worth using if you’re planning to fast and play.

Our bodies’ response to fasting can vary. Some may feel more sluggish whilst others state their performance is enhanced.

The key is to establish what works best for you but in general, things to consider include:

  • Hydration – drink enough water between fasts and include Isotonic drinks to ensure your body retains fluids
  • Food – include complex carbs, good fats and plenty of protein, as well as fruit and vegetables.
  • Sleep – with sleep patterns disrupted, sleep deprivation can often be a greater challenge than hunger. Try to schedule in naps particularly on training and match days
  • Mental Health management – Engaging in spiritual acts, such as fasting and prayer, can help to give us a sense of purpose and well-being. This can have a positive impact on our mental health. If you are planning to fast, reflect on the importance of maintaining a healthy mind and body and establish habits that can continue well after the month is over.

With informed planning, you can make the most of Ramadan and continue to safely enjoy your football.

Always seek advice from a health professional/Doctor when making any changes to your dietary habits.

New Players and Volunteers

We would like to give a warm welcome to a new youth player Yvonne, who has joined the U13 Dragons – welcome Yvonne!

Two new excellent signings to the First Team, Tyla and Selinay. Both new additions made their debut on Sunday’s win vs Hackney Reserves.

A big welcome and thank you to Sofia and Connie as well! Sofia will be working with Chloe as a Welfare Officer and Connie will be our Event Coordinator.  Welcome to the team!

Spond Fundraiser - Spot the Ball!

Thank you to everyone who took part in our fundraising event on Spond.  We are pleased to say we have raised just over £800 which will help the club with getting new, vital equipment like new footballs, new corner flags, match day pegs & more!

Congratulations to the winner – Suzi! Suzi guessed the closest at just 2.13 pixels away!

March training topic

Each month, all coaches follow a training syllabus. The syllabus covers 3 main areas: in possession phase, out of possession phase and the transition phase.

This months training topic and focus is “Build-up phase: Beating the press”

Coaches will be encouraging and coaching new ways of beating a press. Can players play through the press? Can players play around the press? Or can players play over the press?

The build up phase encourages patience, comfortability on the ball and creativity.

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International Women's Day - Wednesday 8th March

AFC Leyton will be marking this important day on Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th March with some activities at training. We have chosen the theme “Inspiration” and some of our activities will be based around this theme.

AFC Leyton are committed to supporting girls and women participate in football, feel empowered off and on the pitch and see their worth. We lift each other up and we hope that players feel confident and supported.

Details will be on Spond!

General Updates

Upcoming Events

  • International Womens Day: Wednesday 8th March
  • Ramadan: 22nd March-21 April
  • Butlins: Friday 12th to Monday 15th May
  • Parents vs Coaches Match: Friday 9th June
  • Presentation Evening: Wednesday 21 June
  • Summer Football Camp: TBC
  • New Home Kit: September 2023


Youth Development Coach (Female only) – Please contact if interested in this role and want to find out more information.

Adult Reserves Team Coach (Female only) – Please contact if interested in this role and want to find out more information.

School Liaison Officer – Please contact if interested in this role and want to find out more information.

Referees – Please contact if interested in becoming qualified or for further details about the role.


Tournament season is around the corner and we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to get everything in place.

How does it work?

Our tournament team, Emma and Nic, will send you an availability request.  Once you have a full squad, we will book and pay with the tournament organisers and send your team an event request and ask for payment.

If you don’t think you can attend a tournament, please decline at the availability stage, we can always add you closer to the date if you are able to attend.

For any questions, please contact

Meet the Coach

Karl Howson - Under 8's Manager

What team do you support?

I’ve been a lifelong Arsenal fan.

Who is your favourite player?

Ian Wright and Thierry Henry are my footballing heroes.

Tell us something interesting about yourself?

When I was 16, I started a football club for me and my friends which me and my mum run for 2 years and won both leagues we were entered in.

What was it about AFC Leyton that made you want to join the club?

AFC Leyton stood out to me for the outstanding level of the coaches and facilities they have, now I’m part of the set-up I can honestly say we have the best camaraderie and team spirit than any club I have been part of.

What differences have you found in coaching girls to boys?

The main difference I have noted whilst coaching boys and now girls is that boys think they know exactly what they need to do and how to do it without instruction, where as girls are keen to know what to do and exactly how to do it.

When did you start your football journey? And what position did/do you play?

I started playing football at 12 years old and played in defence as left or right back.

When did you start coaching and why?

When I was 10 I had a trial with Arsenal, I got a call back for another trial but I was too shy and felt I was too small compared to the other kids, no matter what my parents said I didn’t want to go back. I now see my place as a coach to help inspire players to feel they have the confidence in themselves and their ability to never feel they are not good enough. I always try to show how practise, repetition and hard work is all anyone needs to become the best.

What do you enjoy the most about being a coach?

I like to build confidence in football as that’s something I lacked at a young age.

What song would you sing at Karaoke?

My karaoke song would be Return of the Mack by Mark Morrison.

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I could eat fruit or salad for the rest of my life with no problem.

Comments from Harry:

Karl has only been at the club a few weeks and has impressed me with his calm approach and passion for coaching. He has instantly built a fantastic rapport with the U8 players and parents and you can see the progress that has already been made in only a short amount of time.

A brilliant and welcomed addition to the club.

Karl with his team

First Team News

Meet Ayanna, AFC Leyton First Team Winger

Ayanna De Sousa, AFC Leyton First Team Winger

New Strategic Partner - Atkins Physiotherapy

I am pleased to announce a new relationship with local physiotherapy – Atkins Physiotherapy Consultants Ltd. Atkins have been helping the public for over 32 years and are based in South Woodford on the high road (opposite Tesco Express).

This newly formed relationship is hopefully the start of a long-standing one which gives all players signed for AFC Leyton a 15% discount on physiotherapy. I hope we rarely have to use their services but with injuries a common occurrence in football I’m pleased to have a trusted, local and experienced physiotherapy team to help and support. If needed, please get in touch with them and quote “Harry” or “AFC Leyton” for a high quality service, friendly approach and a discounted rate.

Leadership Contacts

Operations Contacts

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