SKERRIES TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB
COMPETITIVE AGE GROUPS
The aim of this policy is to assist players and their parents to understand Skerries Town FC’s (“STFC” or the “Club”) process of placing players into a team that best suits their level of ability. It is the Club’s policy to grade players every year to ensure that all players have the opportunity to progress. This policy only applies to competitive age groups, U12 upwards. In accordance with League and FAI guidance, U11 and below will not be graded.
The Club encourages players and parents not to focus on which team a player is selected in, but rather, on the player’s own development during the season. It is also important that parents are supportive of their children during the grading process.
STFC is a community club and will always try to facilitate as many players as possible to play for the Club. However, if a team has the maximum number of players and there is no possibility of another team being formed, the Club may not be able to register a player.
The following table summarises the current arrangements for each age group. The maximum squad sizes are recommended by the FAI in their ‘Player Development Plan’. The Club’s policy is to adhere to these recommended squad sizes to enable players to get the playing time recommended in the Plan. Any exceptions to these squad sizes will require approval by the Club Committee.
Age group Team size Format Minimum squad size Maximum squad size Referee League tables
U8 - U9 5 a side Twin 12 12 No No
U10 - U11 7 a side Normal 9 12 Yes No
U12 9 a side Normal 11 12 Yes Yes
U13 - U18 11 a side Normal 14 16 Yes Yes
Why grade players?
There are some advantages in not grading players, such as maintaining friendships and family social groups, however, this can soon become an issue, in several ways:
Peer pressure – Teammates will often let their feelings be known in regards another player’s ability. This can often do more damage than any ill feelings resulting from the grading itself.
Exodus of talented players – Players of above average skills and their parents will often become frustrated and eventually leave for another club that does grade their players in the hope their child is put into a stronger team. The player’s development will also stagnate because they are not being challenged to improve.
Reduced enjoyment – Players who play in a grade significantly above their skill level will often feel left out as the more skilful players take control of games. Often this can result in the less skilful player leaving football to join another sport.
Confidence – If a player is playing in a high grade, but of lower ability, they may not have the confidence to do some aspects of the game. On the other hand a player of similar ability on a lower grade team, may actually do a lot more and may even be overly confident in their ability thus hindering the progression of other players on the team. A switch of these players then allows both players to be challenged at a level where they are confident, comfortable and happy.
In summary therefore, to not grade the children based on ability would take away the opportunity for some to progress and to participate at the highest possible level at a later stage.
Player grading process
Age groups U12 and above play competition games with published league tables, therefore all players U12 and above should, where possible, play in a team for their age and in a division best suited to their ability. League competitions for U12 to U18 (in NDSL) are graded as Premier, A, B, C, D etc. and players will be graded accordingly.
Teams will be selected based on the players skill, attitude and attendance at training. From U12 onwards, playing position will also be a factor in grading. For example, the ten most skilled players may not necessarily be selected in the same team if they are all strikers or all goalkeepers.
The following are the main guidelines for team selection and player grading (and re-grading):
Grading Appeals Process
Parents and players are able to appeal a grading decision they feel is unfair or inappropriate by:
Playing above your age group
It is important that children are constantly challenged or they will get bored. Therefore it is our club policy that if a player has the ability the club may move them from one age level to another after consultation with the child’s parent. Players that will be considered for playing above their age group are those deemed by the coaches to be highly skilled / talented. To be considered, players need to be playing comfortably in the highest level at the club for their age group and demonstrate that they can cope with the demands of the higher age group, both physically and mentally. Decisions are made based on what is best for the player’s development.