Over 200 eager young players converged on Captain Cook Recreation Area in Toowoomba on Sunday for the Skills Acquisition Program (SAP) 2017 Mid-Season Carnival.
Girls and Boys SAP teams both played at the same ground for the first time in several years, and the result was an action-packed day featuring plenty of great football.
SAP provides talented U10 and U11 players with an enhanced football experience, while also preparing them for the future technical and tactical challenges of PlayStation 4 NPL Men’s and Women’s competitions and beyond.
[Images: Paul Smith]
SAP plays a key role in the future generation of players by laying the foundation of the FFA National Curriculum’s four core skills:
- First touch
- Running with the ball
- Striking the ball
Football Queensland SAP trainer Dean Simpkins believes carnivals are an invaluable part of the talent identification process.
“I would like to congratulate SWQ Thunder for coordinating the carnival for all the boys and girls, they did a great job,” said Simpkins.
“The carnivals and games schedule are an integral part of the Skills Acquisition Program as it allows us to identify where players are in their development stage”.
Teams from Brisbane City, Gold Coast City, Brisbane Strikers, Olympic FC, Moreton Bay United, Western Pride, Sunshine Coast Fire, Redlands United and SWQ Thunder all featured in the U10 and U11 Boys draw, while UQFC, SWQ Thunder, Olympic FC, Western Pride, Moreton Bay United and The Gap made up the Girls draw.
Liz Doherty coaches Olympic FC’s Girls SAP team while also playing in the Olympic PlayStation 4 NPL Women’s Queensland side.
Doherty is a vocal advocate of SAP, and can already see the program bearing fruit.
“There’s definitely a better standard than when I came through,” said Doherty.
“I had no option but to play with the boys, whereas now girls are getting the opportunity to play in an elite program that is all girls with female coaches.
“Having an all-girls program is central to keeping girls in the game.”
That training is essential for player development, while carnivals give teams an opportunity to test themselves on the park against other sides.
Doherty’s players were thrilled to play on a bigger stage after training together for months.
“They were really excited and it gave us a chance to see if they can transfer what they’ve been doing in training to a game,” Doherty said.
“The girls love it, they haven’t played much together and now they jump out there and they’re teammates.”
Jake Goodship is the Academy Director at Brisbane City, having arrived in Australia from England nine years ago.
Goodship sees SAP rapidly producing results that rival the progress made in his home country.
“I can see the increased standard and the quality of individual players,” said Goodship.
“I believe that what we’ve got in the SAP age groups is on par with some clubs in England.”
Goodship is always keen to impress upon his players the importance of playing football the right way.
“Scoring and winning games is always important for players, but it’s also important that they learn how to do that. They love playing the right way,” Goodship said.
“Players love winning no matter what, but it’s the way they do it that makes it more enjoyable.”