A Women’s Youth League competition has been introduced for the 2018 season for all female players aged 17-to-21.
The Women’s Youth League is jointly run by the Football South Coast Junior and Women’s Councils and will be an expansion of the W21s competition to include teams who would have played in the W17/18s competition.
The teams will be graded into divisions with other teams of similar ability rather than by age only.
The reason for introducing the Women’s Youth League is to create more even competitions for teams and players as they transition from juniors to all-age women's competitions.
A number of other associations, including Canterbury, have adopted this model with positive results. Below is a basic outline of the competition.
What is the Women's Youth League
This is a competition for players aged between 17 (turning 17 before December 31, 2018) and 21 (turning 21 before December 31, 2018).
The Women's Youth League would be graded into divisions based on the ability of teams.
What does this mean for my team
- The Women’s Youth League will enable teams to stay together longer and provide an easier transition to all age competition.
- There will also be greater scope for clubs to form teams by combining W17 players with W18 and W21 players.
- This will increase the variety of the competition (more teams, more divisions, and the opportunity to play different teams).
- Teams will be matched against opponents of similar ability, which improves the quality of playing experience much more than being matched on age only.
Why is a Women's Youth League needed
Statistics show a drop off in playing numbers for female players in their late teens. As a result, there has been a disparity between the ability of teams in each of the U16s, U17/18s and W21s competitions.
FSC conducted a survey of players in these age groups who had not returned to the game in recent seasons and this was cited as one of the reasons.
How will a Women's Youth League change that
The aim of a Women's Youth League is to provide two or more competitive divisions and to ensure that teams play against other teams of a similar ability.
The Women’s Youth League allows teams to stay together as they transition from W17/18s to All Age Women’s competitions, and means that clubs do not have to dissolve teams that have some players outside the age requirements, or lose teams that have faced much stronger competition.
If all teams from the 2017 W16s, W17/18s and W21s competitions returned in 2018 there would be 25 teams in the Women's Youth League - enough for up to 3 divisions.
FSC statistics support that.
The following table shows the ages of players in the W16s, W17/18s and W21s competitions in 2017. It is estimated this would be enough for 20-25 teams
What about girls who have been playing W16s but are younger
Players in the W16s competition can be borrowed into the Women’s Youth League competition (maximum of three per team per game).
The WYL Committee has the discretion in exceptional circumstances to allow a player turning 16 in 2018 to register with a Women’s Youth League team.
What about Champion of Champions and the State Cup
FNSW has confirmed that teams from the Women’s Youth League would be able to enter the W18 State Cup and Champion of Champions, provided:
- the players registered to the Women’s Youth League team are age eligible (18 years old or younger); and
- No over-age players have participated in the team during the FSC Women’s Youth League competition.
Football South Coast will nominate a team for the W21 Champion of Champions, which Thirroul has competed in for the past two seasons.