National Youth League to start in September

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has moved to secure the future of talented young players with the introduction of a National Youth League in conjunction with the next Hyundai A-League season.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has moved to secure the future of talented young players with the introduction of a National Youth League in conjunction with the next Hyundai A-League season.

“The establishment of a national youth league competition was identified as a priority in the National Football Development Plan we released last November,” said FFA CEO, Ben Buckley.

“This competition is particularly important because, for the first time, talented young players will have an opportunity to play regular, quality competitive games regardless of whether they are part of the AIS program, the State sports institutes or the State football leagues.

“There is also a clear link with the Hyundai A-League, as well as the various national teams in football at Under 17, Under 20, Under 23 levels, as well as the Socceroos.

“If you-re a young, talented male athlete, football should be your sport of choice as it offers fantastic opportunities within Australia as well as unparalleled opportunities to wear the green and gold representing Australia on the global stage,” Buckley said.

The national youth league will comprise seven teams, with each of the current Australian Hyundai A-League teams also having a youth team. This linkage is very similar to development models used throughout European and English football competitions.

“The key to improving the technical skills, proficiency and tactical maturity of players is playing games - and as many games as possible,” National Technical Director of FFA, Rob Baan, said.

“The new national youth league competition will provide players aged between 16-21 years of age a clear pathway from youth leagues to senior level and then on to professional level. When combined with existing State-based competitions, players in the national youth league will play between 35-40 games each year.

“For Australia to improve its competitiveness in world football at all levels, our players must be playing competitive matches against quality opponents during this critical development period for young, elite sportsmen,” Baan said.

The integration with the AIS programs means that the best 16-17 year olds will not only be recruited to the AIS on scholarship, but also be offered contracts by Hyundai A-League youth teams. State Institute players will be used on a replacement roster when required.

Baan describe the national youth league as being of “paramount importance” to the future technical development of football players in Australia.

Buckley added that the National Youth League competition will assist in the current and future development of Hyundai A-League clubs also.

Each of the current seven Australian Hyundai A-League clubs will field youth teams and play 21 rounds (18 Matches + 3 Byes) in line with the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season draw. These matches will be scheduled as either curtain-raisers to Hyundai A-League fixtures or the day after, depending on the preference of the club.

National Youth League - Competition Details

Competition Format

7 clubs o Adelaide United o Central Coast Mariners o Melbourne Victory o Newcastle Jets o Perth Glory o Queensland Roar o Sydney FC

Season: 21 rounds (18 games + 3 Byes)

National Youth League to commence on the last weekend of September.

Age 16 - 21 (must be 16 on 1 January in year the Youth League commences), maximum age is 21; must be no older than 20 on 1 January in the year Youth League commences

15 Players on the team sheet.

Each Youth Player must receive a minimum of 30 minutes game time

4 over-age players (including Goal Keeper) allowed to play in Youth League Match

National Youth League Player Regulations

10 - 12 Youth Development Players per club

Youth Development Players will sign a Youth Development Agreement which is of amateur status

Minimum agreement period- 1 season

Maximum agreement period - 2 years

Hyundai A-League Clubs can select any player within the age group, must be Australian (or in the process of obtaining citizenship) and can be from the AIS

Hyundai A-League clubs must draw replacement players from the Youth League Player Squad, except under certain circumstances


Each nominated Youth Head Coach should hold a minimum of a Football Federation Australia - B Coaching License (or acknowledged equivalent). For more details go to


Match Officials for National Youth League matches will be drawn from an elite panel of referees which have been identified for future Hyundai A-League appointments.