Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughYouth Football changes for the better - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Youth Football changes for the better - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Youth Football changes for the better

In the week I sat down and watched the recent ‘Special Report’ on Sky Sports. They looked at the changes that are being made to all Youth football in England.  The changes that are being implemented are designed to gradually improve young players England, and the future provide a better development for future England stars.

I fondly remember my childhood football days playing in a Lincolnshire league called the Mid-Lincs County league. I started at Under 9’s level and therefore played two seasons at 7v7 football. When the season came that I went up to a full size pitch I was a month short of my 11th Birthday.

I remember that season being a difficult one as everyone had to adapt to a big pitch, more players in the squad and of course… the offside rule. Now being a player that likes to have a lot of touches on the ball and confident on the ball I didn’t find it as much of a problem playing on such a big pitch. For the quieter players who don’t go looking for the ball every time their team wins it back found it slightly harder and ultimately boring. As for our keeper well his job was virtually impossible.

Whilst watching the Special Report on Monday I sat and thought… I wish I played in that system when I was a youngster. For me I feel that the new rules will make junior football better.

Now for those of you who don’t know the new rules here they are.

. Under 7’s and Under 8’s will play 5v5 football on a 5 a side pitch.

. Under 9’s and Under 10’s will remain playing 7v7 football.

. Under 11’s and Under 12’s will play on half a full size football pitch in 9v9 games.

. Under 13’s and up will play full size 11v11 football.

. There will be no leagues or a full season until Under 13 football.

These new rules have been based on a system in many other countries such as Spain and Brazil. There systems have been used for years and you only have to look at their national teams now to see the likes of Iniesta, Xavi, Kaka and Neymar to see that the country has produced some world class players.

The taking away of competitiveness until Under 13 is another good idea as it allows equality and young footballers the chance to play for enjoyment rather than being pushed too hard to succeed at such a young age.

The main outcome for me from the new rules is that players will be able to develop at a slower pace which is a good thing as it allows them to really focus on their skills whilst young and learning. The step from small sided football to 11 a side football won’t be as big and therefore it won’t come as a shock to someone when they start playing full sided matches. 

Daniel Clark