Team Selection Policy

POLICY & PHILOSOPHY

Ashburton United Junior Football Club (AUJFC) will strive to provide all players with a fun and safe environment in which they will achieve maximum football development at training and in games.

Our club fields a number of teams in all age groups from U8 - U17 (boys) and U10 – U18 (girls) in the Yarra Junior Football League (YJFL). Each age group has different needs in terms of football development. Accordingly, the approach to training, game day and team selection policies will differ for each age group.

Our philosophy of ensuring that each player achieves maximum football development in a fun and safe environment remains paramount.

Team selection is a complex activity that tries to balance team numbers across the age group, whilst trying to support players in skill development and facilitate a cohesive team that fosters a sense of fun.

The age groups from U13 - U18 compete in divisions that are formerly graded by the YJFL. The club’s overriding objective for these age groups is to ensure that each team is competitive in each division in which they participate, thus achieving for each player the maximum development of football skills and enjoyment of the game. The club will strive to field a team in the highest division of each age group. 

Representations should not be made by coaches / officials to parents regarding which team their child will play in.


AUJFC TEAM SELECTION POLICY

U8 – U9 AGE GROUPS

Team selection will be based primarily on friendship groups. The club encourages players to make new friends and to this end will endeavour to ensure an appropriate mixing of friendship groups. Friendship groups will generally be mixed so that a team is not comprised solely of one school group and that players understand that they are playing for the ‘Ashy Redbacks’ rather than their individual school.

Teams largely comprising children from one school can have difficulties in fielding teams when conflicts arise re school commitments such as camps and social functions. Therefore, teams will comprise children from different schools.

These teams will not be graded. Players will not be chosen on ability. The focus will be on playing football with friends and building social inclusion. 

U10 – U12 AGE GROUPS

The move to Under 10 football is where players commence playing on full sized ovals with no zones. This is a significant change from Under 8 and Under 9 football as full tackling is also introduced at this time. To ensure the club meets its philosophy that each player develops maximum football skills and enjoyment of the game, parents will be provided an opportunity (as part of the registration process) to make a request on behalf of their son/daughter on which team would be the best fit for them, their current skill level and their coaching needs. These requests include:

  1. Requesting their child be considered to play in the year group’s highest division/s.

  2. Requesting their child to play with friends. These teams will aim to be placed in the middle level divisions however please note that if their child’s friends have all chosen to play in the highest division or lowest division, this may ultimately determine the level they play.

  3. Requesting their child be placed in a team where training will be based on skill development. The aim here is to ensure players who are new to football, still learning the craft or have not completed Auskick can have training and games structured at a level that will allow maximum development of skills during the season. These teams will be placed in one of the lower divisions. A big emphasis will be placed on fun and improving skills.

    Note – whilst formal player and team grading occurs from U13 upwards, the U10 – U12 competition grades are still structured by the YJFL in divisions and as such we want to ensure that players are not inadvertently placed into a division that is considered too high or low for their ability. Incorrect ability and grade can be detrimental to their development and growth if they are not contributing to play or being challenged individually and as such, their love for the game and their development can be negatively impacted.

This process allows players and parents to nominate where they believe their child should play to accommodate their individual development whilst also helping create new friendship groups within the Club.

Teams will be selected in consultation by the Registrar and Footy Operations.

U13 – U18 AGE GROUPS

Players at U13 level have moved into secondary schooling at this age so it can be considered a year of change. Boys and girls often develop at different stages and it is important that the club assesses individual development each year from U13 and upwards. The Club also recognises the importance of team balance and will endeavour to ensure that each team is competitive in the division that they are placed.      

  • U13 and above registered players will have the opportunity to train together during pre-season and play practice matches.

  • The Head of Coaching and Footy Operations, with input from the seasons coaches and the previous seasons player evaluations, will select squads from the available players during the pre-season training and practice matches.

  • The Head of Coaching and Footy Operations will assess the squads and make final decisions about the makeup of the teams.

  • Depending on player numbers, players will have the opportunity to move between teams during the early parts of the season.

  • As a general rule:

    • The Red Team will play in the highest division as allocated by the YJFL (Gold Division)

    • The Green Team will play in either Green (3rd) or Blue (4th) division

    • The Black Team (if numbers permit) will play in Black (5th) or Red (6th) division.

  • No child will be forced to play in a higher team even if their abilities suggest they should.

  • Each team will have sufficient key position players to ensure that the lower graded teams are competitive.

  • Pre-season and grading matches will be used to position players into teams as well as the teams position in the respective YJFL division.

  • Rotations between teams after the first four grading rounds will be done more on an “as needed” basis where injuries and unforeseen circumstances may occur.

  • YJFL rules state that:

    • No more than four players may be rotated between a higher and a lower graded team per round

    • If a player participates in six or more games in a higher division they cannot play in a lower grade for the rest of that season

    • If a player qualifies for finals in multiple divisions (minimum six games) within an age group they may only play finals in the highest division of that age group for which they have qualified

  • At the beginning of each season each team moving up an age group will be re-graded. The decision to re-grade is based on the knowledge that players can develop and change in body shape significantly over the 6 month summer period.


Team Selection Process - Who is responsible?

For the U8 to U12 age groups, the Registrar, Head of Coaching and the Football Operations department will select teams with input from the year group coaches.

For the U13 and above age groups, a selection panel will be formed by the Football Operations department for the various age groups undergoing grading. The selection panel will consist of, but is not limited to, the Head of Coaching, Football Operations and Year Group Coaches. The previous season’s player evaluations will be used as supporting data to make sound decisions.
 

COMMUNICATION 

For players within the U8 to U12 age group, players and parents will be formally advised which team they have been selected in by their respective Coach once determined.

For the U13 and above age groups, players and parents will be formally advised to which team they have been selected in through notification by the Head of Coaching.  

If a player or parent from any age group has any questions regarding team selection they can discuss the issue with the Footy Operations team. If the issue remains unresolved then the player or parent can discuss the matter with the Head of Coaching (harmit@ashyredbacks.org.au).
 

NUMBER OF PLAYERS PER TEAM

The club will limit individual teams to the maximum number of players as per:

Group Max number of players - Male Max number of players - Female
Under 8 16 -
Under 9 20 -
Under 10 22 22
Under 11 22 22
Under 12 22 22
Under 13 24 22
Under 14 24 22
Under 15 24 22
Under 16 - 22
Colts 26 -
Youth Girls - 24