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Even Stevens


In an Even Stevens team, Theo and Fran each get to play an even amount of game time. 

We're very excited to create and roll-out ‘Even Stevens’ to teams at U12 and below, supporting the FA's Respect campaign. The aim of 'Even Stevens' is to help coaches even out the game time played by their squad, and to get more young people playing and enjoying the great game. 

Research tells us that children and young people play football for simple reasons; to have fun and be with their friends. The main reason they stop enjoying the game is because they don’t get to play enough.

The FA’s mini soccer and Futsal handbook highlights the rules which are in place to help you ensure that the game of football is fun, enjoyable and rewarding and for all.

Here are our key principles taken from the handbook:

  • Always make the game fun.
  • As coaches, you are role models. Along with our referees, you should always help young players to learn the game.
  • Development games can be split into quarters, so lets use that time effectively.

Have you considered...

  • Your squad size, so that everyone can play today?
  • Your squad size not exceeding twice the size of the playing format; this is to help ensure everyone gets an equal game.
  • Asking your players to manage their own substitutions?
  • What your coaching and club philosophy is? If your coaching / club is built around values of fair play and respect, are you living this out with your team?

Our Top Tips for making your team an Even Stevens team

  • Use an equal playing time calculator to work out how long each player should be on the field. This is a guide for you to bear in mind. The welfare of a player is more important than even playing time. If a player is injured, dehydrated or frustrated then take them off the field of play. 
  • Time the match yourself or ask the referee to let you know when a certain amount of time has passed to make your changes. The countdown timer or stop watch on your phone or watch is all you need. 
  • Utilise the format of the game, half/quarter time to make your changes. 
  • Use the handy downloadable resources below to make your match day easier.
  • Make sure you let the parents of your players know that you are using this initiative, as well as the opposition coach on match day. They will be fully on-board and it's great to spread the word.
  • Use 'Even Stevens' as a method of attracting new players. Even playing time will be a big draw to players and their parents alike. If you need any resources to promote your use of 'Even Stevens' please get in touch.  

Get In Touch

Rebecca Snelling

Football Development Officer - Clubs and Leagues


07518 904243

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