The FFA player pathway for girls supports the development of talented players throughout their football journey.
In Queensland, various support programs are in place for girls including Skill Acquisition Phase (SAP) Programs, National Premier Leagues Women’s (NPLW) and girls academies, the National Training Centre (NTC) delivered by the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) and regional Talent Support Programs (TSPs).
9-12 years of age is the golden age of learning technical skills which FFA call the Skill Acquisition Phase (SAP). The focus at this age is on the development of game-related functional skills.
South East Queensland
FQ has issued a five year licence (2018-2022) for 13 clubs to run full-time SAP girls programs in South East Queensland in Under 9/Under 10 and Under 11/Under 12 age groups.
FQ introduced its SAP rating regulations for quality assurance to ensure licence holders are delivering their services at a consistently high standard. Dependent on the qualification of coaches, coach mentoring, and the level of program and session planning, clubs can earn a gold, silver or bronze rating each year or fall into the non-rated category.
FQ operates the Under 11/Under 12 girls league, while Under 9/Under 10 girls play in the local boys competition. Both age groups participate in a pre-season and mid-season SAP carnival.
Football Queensland has engaged five regional centres and clubs to provide SAP coaching for players in regional areas including Wide Bay, Central Queensland (CQ), Mackay (Magpies Crusaders FC), Townsville and Cairns on a part-time basis.
Centres are encouraged to set up girls only teams, but regional girls can also participate in a mixed program.
The Central Queensland, Mackay, North Queensland and Far North Queensland regional programs are part of the Quad Series and incorporate attendance at at least two regional carnivals, while all regional centres also have the opportunity to participate at the SEQ-based SAP carnivals.
Football Queensland has issued a five year licence (2018-2022) for 13 clubs to run full time National Premier Leagues Women’s (NPLW) and girls programs in south east Queensland for Under 13 Girls, Under 15 Girls and Under 18 girls age groups, creating a pathway into the NPLW competition and Westfield W-League.
A wide range of requirements regarding venues, coaching qualifications and program planning are set for NPLW clubs. FQ’s licence criteria and club technical audit aims to create an elite development environment where players are part of a program that follows the National Football Curriculum, while training three nights a week and playing in Queensland’s highest level junior girls competition.
NPLW junior players may be invited to QAS training sessions to provide additional training as part of FQ’s Talent Support Program (TSP).
FQ has established its own Talent Support Programs (TSP) in Central Queensland, North Queensland and Far North Queensland, while Under 13-Under 16 players in Mackay are identified through the NPL full-time program provided by Magpies Crusaders FC.
The three regional centres coordinate a part-time representative program for the region’s most talented players under FQ’s TSP banner in Under 13/Under 14 Girls and Under 15/Under 16 girls age groups. Regional centres participate in the Quad Series made up of two regional and one Brisbane-based event and the FQ Community Cup.
QAS players don’t earn automatic selection into the Under 14 and Under 15 Girls state teams. Trials include regional and NPLW players who perform well throughout the year.
Identified players will receive an invitation to the FQ Girls State Challenge in May where the most talented players from South East Queensland and regional Queensland will play and train together to gain selection for participation at the National Youth Championships (NYC) in July.
The National Training Centre (NTC) is a centralised full-time football program for girls aged 13 to 17 in most capital cities across Australia. Football Queensland operates its NTC program with the support and under the name of the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS).
Identified through a network of scouts and NPLW club Technical Directors, the QAS has programs for Under 13, Under 14, Under 15, Under 16 and Under 17 players. The eldest age group (Under 17) is known as the BRFC/QAS program and is the official pathway to the Brisbane Roar Westfield W-League program.
For the most talented players, it is also pathway to national team selection in the Westfield Junior Matildas or the Westfield Matildas.
QAS teams train up to four times a week, with games on the weekend in the junior NPL Queensland and NPLW competitions. Each QAS team is placed in the FQPL or NPLW competition which will provide the appropriate environment for the players’ development. Currently, the teams play in the following competitions:
• Under 13s will compete in the Under 15 NPLW
• Under 14s will compete in the Under 13 FQPL
• Under 15s will compete in the Under 18 NPLW
• Under 17s will compete in the NPLW senior competition
All teams play additional mid-week friendly games against boys SAP and NPL Queensland teams.
Players in the QAS program have access to:
• Coaches from FFA, FQ and Brisbane Roar technical departments
• Highly-experienced head and assistant coaches (head coaches expected to have minimum A or B Licence, and assistant coaches minimum C Licence)
• A dedicated strength and conditioning specialist
• Dedicated medical staff with access to a physiotherapist and sports trainer
• Education sessions on subjects of nutrition and sports psychology
The NTC Challenge participation is open to the best 16 and 17 year old SEQ-based players and talented female players in regional Queensland who perform well throughout the year. Regional players may follow an individual training plan during the season (i.e. training with boys’ TSP) and attend training blocks in Brisbane to prepare with the NTC squad.