In my local football association, the leagues are “non-competitive” up until age 12. Although, having said this, go down to any sideline at an under 6 game and I bet you most parents will know the score. The competitions after the age of 11 start to keep track of results, tables and also gradings. Now there is grading for U9s and above, but the divisions are separated into the last names of Socceroo’s and Mathilda’s rather than 1st, 2nd, 3rd. I think this is a nice addition as it promotes Australian Football and provides kids with an idol to look up to. But from the age of 12 the association is basically telling players whether they are good or not so good at football.
But I am just thinking out loud (or more specifically on a keyboard) what if our association had a non-competitive comp throughout the winter season? would it and could it be beneficial to football in the community? Social 5 – aside football has recently taken off in the area with new competitions opening up every off season. Futsal has been branded as a fun way to play football on a smaller scale. The fields are smaller, less players, smaller goals and shorter game duration, with rules in place to keep the game flowing. So, could this translate to normal football?
Why have a non-competitive league in the first place? Well, I believe that local football is losing players as a result of the fun being taken out of it. As we get older the outcome of a match becomes more important than the enjoyment of the game. I have spoken to a few people who said they quit the game once they got to all ages because it got to serious even at the lower divisions in all ages. I personally think that having a non-competitive league would increase retention and maybe attract new players as well. The more people playing the sport the better, someone may play it because all their friends are playing it and may go on to be a lifelong contributor.