When half a dozen Under 11 teams decided to get together in 1995 to play a series of games in a loosely structured league, the Exeter Friendly Competition was born.
Two more teams joined the following year and the league began to gain momentum, as well as a title sponsor for the first seasons in the form of Exsports. As the children aged, inevitably, an Under 13s competition was formed to accommodate them and the foundations were laid for the Exeter & District Youth Football League.
“What a fantastic sporting initiative this is, we are proud to be part of it and are now looking forward to the season ahead” – Dave Owens, Company Director of CPM (Complete Project Management)
Children came from far and wide, so in 1999 the Mini Soccer division for Under 10s was launched by the FA and 11 clubs brought 18 separate teams for the first season. It was a resounding success and within two years there were teams for Under 8s, 9s and 11s. Keeping the children in such tight age bands meant they could play against children of their own age, which kept the competition fun and intense.
In 2003/4, a massive 101 clubs entered teams and the Under 12s formed a competitive league, in the true sense, for the first time. The league also entered the Devon Country Inter-League Competition for Under 12s, with a combined team that took on rivals from Plymouth, East Devon and North Devon.
Considering the humble roots of this football league for kids, the commercial arm has always gone well, with the likes of Life Pensions Investments, Hendy Honda and even the local branch of Sainsbury’s in Alphington all taking title sponsorship deals with the league over the years.
Now Function28 has taken over the title sponsorship and Russ Murch, the owner and a huge supporter of local youth football, is very keen to take the league to the next level.