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How youth football is organised

In recent years, the FA has introduced many changes to encourage both player development and participation in youth football. At each age group, the number of players per team, pitch and goal sizes and the nature of competition varies. The formats vary slightly for boys and girls. For 2017/18, the following will apply:

Formats for Boys football

Age group Format Ball size Pitch size (yards) Goal size (feet)
U7 5v5 3 30×20 to 40×30 12 x 6
U8 5v5 3 30×20 to 40×30 12 x 6
U9 7v7 3 50×30 to 60×40 12 x 6
U10 7v7 4 50×30 to 60×40 12 x 6
U11 9v9 4 70×40 to 80×50 16 x 7
U12 9v9 4 70×40 to 80×50 16 x 7
U13 11v11 4 90×50 to 100×60 21 x 7
U14 11v11 4 90×50 to 100×60 21 x 7
U15 11v11 5 90×50 to 110×70 24 x 8
U16 11v11 5 90×50 to 110×70 24 x 8
U17/U18 11v11 5 90×50 to 110×70 24 x 8

Formats for Girls football

Age group Format Ball size Pitch size (yards) Goal size (feet)
U8 5v5 3 30×20 to 40×30 12 x 6
U9 5v5 3 30×20 to 40×30 12 x 6
U10 7v7 4 50×30 to 60×40 12 x 6
U11 7v7 4 50×30 to 60×40 12 x 6
U12 9v9 4 70×40 to 80×50 16 x 7
U13 9v9 4 90×50 to 100×60 21 x 7

Child friendly competition

In 2017/18, girls and boys football for U7, U8, U9, U10 and U11 will operate under the FA guidelines on child-friendly competition. Results of games are not reported, and formal leagues do not operate. Local leagues arrange pool matches for teams of similar ability, interspersed by festivals and tournaments at main venues.

For girls, the divisions are set at the start of the season and readjusted mid-way through to reflect ability levels.

The aim is to focus on player development, enjoyment and participation, and reduce the emphasis, often parent-driven, on winning cups and leagues. Child-friendly competition does not mean that games are not competitive!

Updated on October 22, 2017

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