Ex-Peterborough United footballer from Stevenage to launch N5L at Wembley

Student footballers from the N5L league with founder Louie Evans, who is pictured in the centre.

Student footballers from the N5L league with founder Louie Evans, who is pictured in the centre. - Credit: Archant

An entrepreneur who grew up in Stevenage is launching the UK’s first professional five-a-side football league, with the hope of encouraging families to get involved in sport together.

French football freestyle San Garnier at the promotional event.

French football freestyle San Garnier at the promotional event. - Credit: Archant

Louie Evans grew up in Blenheim Way and played professional football for Peterborough United for five years, before deciding to turn his hand to business and specialise in recruitment.

In 2006 at the age of 25, Louie founded recruitment consultancy The Pathology Group – which over seven years grew to boast £60 million revenue and employed 100 staff.

Having sold the business – now called Asclepius Global – last year, the 33-year-old is combining his love of football with his business acumen to create the National Fives League.

N5L will be made up of eight teams from eight major cities in the UK, with matches played every Friday night at venues including Wembley and Birmingham NEC.

N5L league founder Louie Evans.

N5L league founder Louie Evans. - Credit: Archant

Louie, who left school aged 16, wants it to be about more than just football, with entertainment comparable to the American NFL.

As well as cheerleaders, mascots, BMX stunt riders, free runners, dancers and live music, there will be opportunities for fans to have a go at sports such as breakdancing, Parkour and skateboarding before heading to their seats to watch the match. Each event will finish with a fireworks display.

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Louie, who still plays football with friends in Stevenage every week, said: “I just made the decision to stop chasing the football dream and go into business.

“My business was a real success and it allowed me to look at sport and my business acumen together.

“More than 1.5 million people play five-a-side football each week. It’s the second most popular team sport in the country – behind 11-a-side football – but it’s the only one in the top six by participation that doesn’t have a professional league.”

He added: “American sport includes entertainment, but in the UK we don’t do that very well.

“I don’t think there’s a sporting event in this country where a family can go once a week and there’s something for mum and daughter as well as father and son.”

Louie intends to have a three-month summer league – from June to August – when regular football isn’t played and when people are looking for things to do as a family in the summer holidays.

He said: “In 2016, there will be eight teams from all the major cities.

“We are going to make a TV show X Factor-style in each city in October to find the players, and there are various production companies interested.”

The league will be promoted with a special showcase event at Wembley Stadium in London on Wednesday, July 22, with five-a-side footballers from around the world.

For more information about N5L and to buy tickets to the showcase event, visit www.n5l.co.uk