Girls Player Placement Policy
The FJFC provides an opportunity for the children of Fitzroy and surrounding suburbs to learn the game of football and the skills of being part of a team and a community. Safety and wellbeing of players is paramount in all that we do. We acknowledge that players join our community for a wide variety of reasons and our goal is to provide a pathway for them regardless of their motivation. As a club we want to develop, foster and encourage each child’s enjoyment of football. This policy has been developed with these considerations in mind.
2. Policy Statement
This policy is intended to provide clear guidelines for players, parents/guardians and coaches. Involvement in Girls’ Football has increased quickly and significantly in recent years and consequently the Girls’ Football environment is different from that of Boys’ Football. As a club we will continue to follow advice from the AFL and YJFL on developing guidelines for Girls’ Football, whilst holding the welfare of our girls as central to this. With a more diverse skill base spread across a smaller number of participants, this will see necessary variation in Player Placement Policy.
Under 8s – Under 13s
The club does not allocate players to teams according to playing ability at this age. We encourage participation and facilitate players playing with friends, making new friends, learning and developing football skills, and being part of a team.
Players will be placed in teams:
- with a reported peer connection
- along with players with varying degrees of skill, ability and confidence
- to ensure sufficient numbers to field a team each week and allow each player to play three quarters of football.
Any request from a parent or player for the player to move to another team will be considered in line with these guidelines.
Players are given the opportunity to play in a variety of positions throughout the season. the primary focus is on player enjoyment, development and team spirit..
Under 14s and Under 15s
Under 14 and under 15 age groups (if there is more than one team in the age group) is deemed the appropriate stage to place players in the level of competition most closely suited to their stage of physical development and to their football ability, while bearing in mind their desire to play with their friends.
During these years, players should be placed in teams:
- to maximise their opportunities to develop and enjoy their playing experience, and minimise undue risks of injury
- along with players with skills, ability and confidence commensurate with their own
- to achieve similar numbers so as to minimise the risk of one team having a shortfall of players on match days.
Where necessary, the coaches will conduct an assessment of players in each age group during the preseason period that primarily considers the skills, experience and physical size and strength of each player. Player preference and social connections are also considered. The selection process is managed by the Coach Development representative for the age group.
The coaches will communicate the guidelines and process for team selection to parents and players throughout the selection period. Once teams are selected there is minimal movement between the teams, unless exceptional circumstances apply.
Under 16 teams (if there is enough players for more than one team) will be streamed according to merit. The selection process will be clearly communicated to players, parents and guardians prior to the commencement of the season and the criteria for the highest graded teams will consider skill as well as overall team competitiveness and commitment to training and team rules. Some players may choose to opt out of the selection process and nominate for the lower-graded team.
The Youth Girls teams include under 17 and under 18 players. The Club will support older players’ applications to continue playing with their teams if they are still school age. If there are enough players for more than one team, the selection criteria for the highest graded team will consider skill and experience as well as overall team competitiveness and commitment to training and team rules.
We acknowledge that at this age, players have competing priorities (study, work) and differing attitudes to competitive sport. The lower graded team will accommodate those players wishing to develop and improve their football as well as those who wish to continue playing football at a more social level.
When there are two Youth girls teams, they may offer quite different environments for players, whilst being equally committed to their team and purpose. The players are encouraged to take ownership over the naming of the teams if ranking them as 1 and 2 does not adequately reflect the commitment and purpose of the team.
Training, Game Time and Playing Positions
Across all age levels players are
- guaranteed three quarters of game time for home and away games, and
- two quarters of game time in finals.
Up to at least U15s, players should be given an opportunity to play in a variety of positions. Thereafter it is anticipated that players will play in more settled positions, but coaches are still encouraged to take a flexible approach in the best interests of player development and the team.
Up to at least U15s, all players should be given a chance to lead, whether as a team captain for a match, in training activities, or in other ways.
At all age levels where there is more than one team, coaches are encouraged to have the teams do some training together as a squad – such as warm up or particular drills. However, this will ultimately be up to the coaches to determine what will work best for the teams and the players.
Playing out of Age Group
The age groups for the YJFL are clear and state that player date range is the 1st January to the 31st December (see YJFL Rules & By-Laws) For example, an Under 13 player needs to be turning 13 between 1st January and 31st December in the year they play. Players must register in their correct age group and be prepared to show proof of age documentation.
Players will be required to play in their age group unless an exemption is granted. An application for an exemption must be submitted in writing to the Coaching Director and should set out the reasons why the exemption is sought. Exemptions will be granted only in special circumstances, and will be assessed taking into account all relevant circumstances, including the following:
- League rules and regulations
- Whether there is a shortfall of players in the players correct age group or in the age group in which they wish to play
- Safety and Wellbeing of players
- Whether the player has previously been granted an exemption to play out of their age group.
Friendship groups do not usually constitute special circumstances justifying an exemption.
Players should train with their correct age group until any exemption has been granted.
4. Evaluation & Review
This policy was reviewed and updated in July 2022 and will be reviewed annually.
Opinions on our Player Placement Policies are sought each year in the annual FJFC Parent and Player survey and in coach surveys. This policy aligns with the views of the majority of players, parents and coaches at the club.
YJFL Statement of Rules and By Laws (see Section 6. Player Eligibility and Schedule A – Grading Guidelines)
6. Related Policies