Age Group Formats - Grassroots Football UK

Age Group Formats

This article outlines the the relevant conditions for the different age group formats, such as ball size, pitch size, goal size, match length and whether the match is ‘competitive’ or not.

In England, Age groups run as per the school year, so a player born on 1st September would be the oldest in your team.

The English FA fairly recently introduced new formats for different age groups in an attempt to match the age and size of the players more sensibly to the size of the goals and pitches they’re playing on. The below summarises where we’re at…

Age Group Formats - Grassroots Football UK

* pitch size is approximate. In reality, this will depend on the space available. Goal size is also intended as a guide, particularly in the older age groups – many clubs don’t have the luxury of owning a set of 21 x 7 and 24 x 8 goals. Either is fine for 11 a side football.

** by “competitive” we mean are results recorded / published and trophies are awarded for 1st / 2nd place etc. In the younger age groups, this is not the case (all matches are friendly matches), although smaller “mini tournaments” are sometimes held by leagues throughout the season in the U11 age group to ready the players for competitive football and provide a taste of what that’s like.

Please note that age group formats may vary depending on whether junior grassroots football is played in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Age Groups – Playing Up or Down a Year

You can not field a player who is in the school year above in your team – you will get a fine if found out and any results would be null and void.

Players can, however, play up a year by one year. So an U11 player can play U12 football for example. See your individual league’s rules for the specifics of how this works.

15 year olds and above are allowed to play U18 football.

16 year olds and above can play adult “open age” football.

Thanks to Langton Green Coaches for this article

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