raising the bar

Looking to bridge the gap

Over 120 Leagues around the country that are currently providing U18 or U21 divisions have recently been surveyed by the Football Association.

The task was for the leagues to highlight their experiences in order to help identify a body of good practice that might convince other youth or adult leagues to review how they look to keep players over the age of 16 playing into their adult years undertaken by the Football Association.

It has long been acknowledged that moving young people from a youth environment to an adult competition is a challenge for all sport. In football the need for transitional support is underlined by the fact that young people’s participation in football falls from 52% of the population in the 13–15 age range to just 26% when they are 17–18. Literally losing half of the players who are involved with the game up to the age of 15.

Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA, along with The Bud Evans DB Sports U18 League, and The Meadowhall Sunday League have already highlighted number of clubs to have a number of players who will be ineligible to play U18 Football but who will be eligible to play in the U21’s or Adult football next season.

Martin Gilmour, S&HCFA Board member and Chairman of the Meadowhall Sunday League said: “The challenge for football is that although some of this drop off is for very plausible “life” reasons – for example starting work, going on to further education at university or college, which also could mean moving out of the area, socialising and end of parental support – we need to find ways to ensure a greater proportion of these young people can be retained in the game meaning adult football would be in a much healthier state.”

The Bud Evans DB Sports U18s League has been a national pilot league for player registrations via the Whole Game System and due to this the league can now identify teenage players who reach the age of 18. This means that with the County FA we can support the transition of teams and individual players into U21s football and/or adult football.

Representatives from clubs around the S&HCFA region are invited to attend a transition meeting on 18th January 2017 at The Source Skills Academy, Meadowhall Way, Sheffield, S9 1EA.

If you would like to attend or require any further information then please contact Mark Wozniak Football Development Officer at Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA on 0114 261 5500 or by email mark.wozniak@sheffieldfa.com


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