The Junior Section of the club caters for players from age 6 to 16. Between 16 and 18, boys play for the Youth Team, which is part of the Senior Section. But between 6 and 16 there are a number of different formats for different age groups.
The club tries to get all the junior players involved with the Senior teams giving them opportunities to be ball boys at senior games.
Depending on fixture congestion and pitch condition, we also try to get each of the 11-a-side teams a chance to play on the Front Pitch, possibly under floodlights, at least once once per season, usually in late spring or early summer when the senior team fixtures are complete.
At Under 13, 14, 15 and 16 football is organised into 11-a-side competitions. Currently all these teams play in the Mid Sussex Youth and Minor Football League, although we have had sides playing in the Epsom & Ewell, Tandridge and Horsham & District youth leagues in the past. All the leagues run their own League Cup competitions which all sides must enter. If the managers and coachesof a team feel their side would benefit from it, the club will also enter them into the Surrey County Cup. But the standard of football in the county cup is very high, so if the coaches don't feel it would be a worthwhile exercise, a team won't be entered.
All our sides at this level will play their home games on the Back Pitch at the New Defence.
The Football Association decided a number of years ago that at Under 11 and Under 12 sides should play no more than 9 players on each side. The idea is that with less players on the pitch each player gets more on-the-ball time. We are delighted to support this initiative and again the Mid Sussex Youth and Minor Football League are putting this into practice. The leagues that the sides at these age groups play in are non-competitive across the country.
All our sides at this level will play their home games on a specially marked out pitch within the Back Pitch at the New Defence.
7v7 and 5v5
From Under 10 down to Under 7, the FA has very strict rules about the amount and type of football children can play. Under 9s and 10s play a maximum of 7-a-side, while Under 7s and 8s play 5-a-side. All of these age groups play in non-competitive leagues. The results are not published and league tables are not compiled. But they are allowed to compete in 3 mini tournaments each season.
All our sides at this age group play in the Crawley Leagues, the games for which take place on a Sunday at Broadfield and K2 in Crawley.
The Football Association produce lots of guidance around junior football development and much of it is available to read here