Building on the success of last season, the forthcoming 2015/16 campaign promises to provide further development of the 9v9 format for junior football at Under 12’s. Following an initial pilot in East Gwent during 2012/13, the introduction and roll-out of the improved formula appears to be going from strength to strength. This season a total of 13 junior organisations, including all four Gwent FA affiliated leagues, will embrace the new structure which offers the following key benefits to all players participating:
- Smaller pitch and player numbers allow players to be more involved in the game
- Players spend more time on the ball on average than they would in an 11v11 game
- More repetition develops greater technique, players are more comfortable on the ball
- Revised pitch size ensures the game puts a more realistic physical demand on the players based on their actual physical maturity
The development of this small sided game approach to the Under 12’s structure links directly with key strategic objectives set by the FAW and Welsh Football Trust as part of the 2020 vision for football right across Wales. The 2015/16 Regional Football Plan for the Gwent area specifically includes Target 3 (Player Retention - Boys) which has an ambitious long term aim of achieving 30% of young people playing twice a week. The continuation and roll-out of the 9v9 format at Under 12’s contributes to these high-level goals.
Andy Pask, Welsh Football Trust Partnership Manager for the Gwent FA region said: “The 9v9 format has proved most effective in terms of developing the game locally. Players have embraced this new arrangement and Coaches, via the McDonalds Coaching Workshops provision, have also engaged with the process”.