Kids football is changing – smaller pitches – smaller teams – smaller goals – child friendly competition
Posted by Dean Holden at November 27th, 2013
by Clive Harrison, 18 November 2012
On 28 May 2012, The FA formally ratified some of the recommendations of the Youth Development Review. These amendments to the youth game can be found here (scroll to the bottom) in our individual guidance booklets; Youth Leagues, U7/U8, U9/U10 and U11/U12 resources.
These resources and amendments have been developed over two years of research, consultations and listening to those involved in the youth game, most importantly those that play – the children.
These positive changes have been put in place to improve enjoyment, fun and development of young players allowing more touches, on a better proportioned pitch with an increase of involvement in the game as a whole. The changes within The FA’s Youth Development Review will make youth football better for everyone involved. We recognise that they present some challenges in the short-term but, with your help, we can make football better, more relevant and more enjoyable for our young players.
The changes will be phased in from 2013/2014 season and these resources are available to assist, help and advise you of the changes to age groups, pitch size and Laws of the game. They also aim to provide you with good practice and other recommendations to improve players participation and enjoyment as well as minor changes to develop better players.
It is important to note that the Law changes to Mini-Soccer that include a retreat line, the option of quarters for development matches and roll-ins for U7/8 are optional for season 2012/13.
This is about a modern, child-friendly approach to youth football, challenging the win-at-all-costs mentality that is stifling development and enjoyment for young people. Working together with a proactive attitude, adults can help develop a better learning environment for young people that puts their needs at the centre of the process.
The FA has also recently created its ‘Big Pitch’ to demonstrate to adults what it is like for young children to play on adult pitches, you can watch the video here: http://www.atyf.co.uk/videos/. The ‘Big Pitch’ was marked out to a massive 150 x 100 yds with a 32 x 9 ft goal post!
‘Let the Kids Play!’
FA changes to youth football – what’s in store?
The structure of English youth football will be changing from the start of the 2013/14 season.
That is when the FA’s new youth development proposals will start to become reality.
The changes have two main strands:
1) a revised player pathway
2) a flexible, child-centred approach to competitive football
So what will the changes mean for your club, team or league?
Youth football change: 1) Revised player pathway
* New 5v5 format for U7s and U8s
* New 9v9 format for U11s and U12s
* New formats phased in for U7s & U11s only in 2013/14 season
* Mandatory for all age-groups from 2014/15 season
* U9s and U10s continue to play 7v7 and U13s upwards continue to play 11-a-side
* Age-appropriate pitch and goal sizes
* More touches of the ball
* More goals and scoring attempts
* More one-v-one encounters and dribbling attempts
* Leads to increased enjoyment
* Helps develop technical skills
* Provides better preparation for 11-a-side football
Youth football change: 2) Child-friendly approach to competition
* Traditional league table season to be phased out for all kids up to U11s
* Phased introduction of flexible competition starting 2013/14 (see table below)
* Seasons will be split into thirds
* Each third to feature developmental matches and trophy events
* Trophy events will increase in duration as kids get older (see table below)
* Short-term burst of competition for even youngest kids (U7s & U8s)
* Parents and coaches encouraged to drop a win-at-all-costs approach
* Puts emphasis on learning & development
* Puts kids at heart of football process
* Reduces adult-driven pressure on kids to win
* Winning & losing still at heart of game
* Makes more matches competitive for more kids
* Leagues will ensure trophy events are evenly matched
* Teams can be moved between mini-seasons to match ability
* Reduces likelihood of 18-0 drubbings – no good for anyone
Have your say on the upcoming changes to youth football:
Now that the FA’s proposals have become confirmed plans, how do you feel about the future of youth football? How will it affect your team? Do you see the short-term benefits for kids and the long-term benefits for the game? Or are you concerned about how it will work in practice?
<How can other sports embrace these requisite changes? Your sport in particular? If sports truly looked at the world through their children’s eyes, things would be very different! Playing area, equipment and rules should (MUST) benefit kids in order to ignite (not extinguish) their passion!
USA Tennis is making changes too. See the video below!
I feel a rant coming on… good I have my next topic to write on… stay tuned! – DH>