Selective retention and elimination of young players in youth football is a major concern. In the Foundation (U7-U11) and Youth Development (U12-U16) phases of our Club there will be no ability based selection or trials. We are a development club and we do not believe that outside of the professional development phase, where focus turns to developing players for a future professional contract, there should be any selective retention.

The FA Law on Playing Time

“All team members should receive equal playing time where possible, with a best practice recommendation of at least 50% per player for each game.”

Following the FA’s youth review much research was undertaken as to why children play football. We conducted our our survey in February 2017 and asked our players the same question. The results can be clearly seen in the word cloud. 

However the FA’s youth review also found about 75% of children who play football stop playing the game before they get to the age of 13. The study found the top five reasons for this high dropout rate were:

  1. Lack of playing time.
  2. Overemphasis on winning.
  3. Other activities are more interesting.
  4. Lack of fun.
  5. Coaching/adult behaviours

Logically, there is no good reason to prevent a child from playing. Children learn new skills and practise what they’ve learned in training sessions on the pitch. They won’t learn anything by sitting on the bench – sitting on the sidelines is not one of the reasons why they come to football. Imagine if a lower ability child was forced to sit out of a maths lesson at school and only allowed in the classroom for the last 10 minutes!

As a development club Southport Football Club will continue to ensure we provide all of our players with a fair amount of playing time. By doing so we will go a long way to removing reasons 2, 3, 4 and 5 from the above list.

“Children earn the right to play by coming to training sessions and trying their best.”

By maintaining this ethos within our teams we will be contributing to each individual’s development equally, be providing a fun environment to be in, have a better developed team overall and have less chance of players leaving for other teams, sports or stopping altogether.

Regular attendance at one training session per week is considered reasonable and a fair expectation for team membership.

If additional training sessions are held the additional session is optional and will not affect a player’s selection for the next game.

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