Girls Player Placement Policy

1. Purpose

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

One of the challenges for a junior football club with more than one team in an age group is placing players in teams in a way that satisfies parents/guardians, players and coaching staff. This policy is designed 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.

3. Implementation

Under 8s – Under 13s

The club has a policy of not selecting players for particular teams on the basis of any perceived playing ability at these levels. The desire is to encourage participation and facilitate players playing with friends, making new friends, having fun playing a competitive team sport, and learning and developing football skills.

During these years:

  • players should be placed in teams with a reported peer connection
  • each team should have players with varying degrees of skill, ability and confidence
  • each team should have equal numbers so as to minimise the risk of one team having a shortfall of players on match days.

Any request from a parent or player for the player to move to another team will be considered in line with these guidelines.

In these age groups, players should be given the opportunity to play in a variety of positions throughout the season. The emphasis should be on player enjoyment and development, rather than on winning. All players should be given the opportunity to play at least three quarters of football on match day and a minimum of two quarters during finals games.  All players should be given a chance to lead, whether as a team captain for a match, in training activities, or in other leadership roles.

Under 14s and Under 15s

Under 14 and U15 age groups (where 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
  • primarily, though not exclusively, composed of players with skills, ability and confidence commensurate with their own
  • structured in such a way as to minimise the risk of one team having a shortfall of players on match days.

Where necessary, the coaching staff will conduct an assessment of players in each age group prior to the commencement of each season. This assessment will take into account the skills, experience and physical size and strength of each player. The outcome of skills assessment, coupled, where possible, with consultation with the player and the player’s parents/guardians will determine the make up of the teams. There will be no compulsion to play in a particular team if a player wishes to play in a lower grade with their friends, unless the desired team is full.

Under 16s

Under 16 teams 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. The club will consider the wishes of players, where they would prefer to play in a lower level team to remain with their friends and they will accommodate such requests if team numbers allow and if it is deemed positive for the player and for their team.

Youth Girls

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. The players usually train as a squad. Placement within the teams will be decided by the coaches on a weekly basis.

The selection criteria for the highest graded teams will consider skill as well as overall team competitiveness and commitment to training and team rules. The lower graded teams will accommodate those who are not able to play at the higher level and those who wish to continue playing football at a more social level.

Training, Game Time and Playing Positions

Across all age levels players should:

  • be guaranteed three quarters of game time for home and away games, and
  • be guaranteed two quarters of game time in finals.

Up to at least U14s, 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 particular coaches.

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 her 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 January 2020 and will be reviewed annually.

Opinions on our Player Placement Policy are sought each year in the annual FJFC Parent and Player survey and in coach surveys. This policy aligns with the desires of most players, parents and coaches at the club.

5. References

YJFL Statement of Rules and By Laws (see Section 6. Player Eligibility and Schedule A – Grading Guidelines)

6. Related Policies

Age Group Policy
Boys Player Placement Policy