Aimed at children from 4 (turning 5 in first half of 2019) to 8 years old, the First Kicks and Fun Football Programmes group players by age. They practice once a week and play mini-games every Saturday morning and occasionally Friday nights. The mini-games last for 8 minutes then the “home team” stays on the mini field while “away teams” move clockwise into different grid for following game.
Teams are made at the very beginning of the practice and are made according to friendship rather than skills. This allows the children to have fun and fall in love with the game first and foremost. There is not a competition ladder for these age groups with the focus being on fun.
Practices have a special set up made out of 4 to 5 different zones coned out with a coach in each zone delivering the FUNdamentals of football in a challenging and fun environment. This includes ball manipulation, 1 v. 1, 2 v. 2, passing and shooting exercises and minigames. Players are moved around each grid every 7-8 minutes to experience a different practice or exercise.
The Club’s preference is to keep players practicing with their own Saturday team every week however sometimes the teams are mixed to stimulate children’s social skills and behaviours.
Grade 8 (plus any grade 7 players who are technically developed enough) is the last year of WOF training. The Club selects rep teams to go and play tournaments around Auckland. In accordance with the Club’s meritocratic philosophies, players are selected based on ability.
Since the introduction of this system the Club has been regarded by the Auckland football community as one of the best Junior Development clubs in New Zealand.
The season will launch with a Muster at Becroft Park on Friday 5th of April starting at 5.30pm. There will be food and drinks available and there is a senior game on later for everyone to stay and watch.
The programme will start Monday 8th of April (grades 5,6 and 7) and Wednesday 10th of April (grade 8)
Training times are 4pm till 4.45pm for grade 5 and 6. Grade 7 will start at 5pm and run till 5.45pm on Mondays.
Grade 8's training runs from 4pm till 4.45pm on Wednesdays.
All training sessions are 45 minutes long.
Games will start on Saturday 13th of April. Kick off is at 8am for grades 5,6 and 7 and 8.50am for grade 8.
All games have 3 rotations and the mini games are 12 minutes each.
We don’t run trials for these age groups as we want to let the children play with their friends. In grades 6, 7 and 8 we try to keep players in the same teams as last year. For grade 5 we try to select teams based on schools the children attend so the children will be with familiar faces.
Occasionally we play the more developed children in older age groups. We see how those children compare with older age group children and whether they are ready for the older age group.
Generally we run 1 training per week for each age group for about 45 minutes, this happens on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. On training day children are grouped up by their allocated team and practice in a rotational training set up. There are 4 to 5 different areas where the children rotate every 6-8 minutes. Each area covers aspects of football therefore there are small sided games, individual techniques, group techniques, challenges and competition of various kind, all run by our trained club coaches.
Game days are Saturday mornings with a 8am kick off for grades 5, 6 and 7 and finish by 8.40 am. Grade 8 starts at 8.50am and must finish by 9.30 am.
All games have 3 rotations per match day and the mini games are 10 minutes each.
All mini-fields are marked 1 to 5 with corflute panels attached to the goals to enable parents to know where their child is playing. The lay out always stays the same unless we have to occasionally change it due to council restrictions. Games start on the hooter and rotations are also done on the hooter.
Each Saturday teams are designated as home teams and away teams. During the rotation the home team plays all its games in the same grid/mini-field and the all away teams rotate clock wise to play the next home team. There is a draw in place and all team managers will have a copy of that. There is no record kept of results or a competition ladder as these grades are about development rather than competition.
Grades 5, 6 and 8 are required to clear all mini-goals and take them back to the club house after their games. All cones/flat markers used need to be given back to either the game day manager or the grade convener.
Grade 7 is the “year of grace” and players/parents are not required to pack away gear, however they must make sure there is no litter left around the fields.
Friday Night games
This year we aim to play some games on Friday early evening. This will give players and parents the chance to watch the seniors playing night games at 7 pm. Our first team players will come around before their warm up and watch the children’s games .This is part of our club strategy to build a strong link between our junior football development pathways and our first teams.
Parents will be advised far in advance so they can plan their weekends accordingly.
Game day management
Each team has a manager on site to help with substitutions and rotations and they have the team bag with bibs and POD trophy plus certificates.
There will be a designated referee (manager or parent) on each mini-field who helps the children during games. Usually the referee needs to work by the side-line opposite to the spectators’ line so he does not interfere with the children’s game.
Coaches will not go on the field on game day unless the children need some “directional” help. In those situations the coach will stop the game quickly and intervene than leave the space promptly (30 seconds max in and out).
There are no corners. Each time the ball crosses the base line the attacking team must retreat to half way to allow opposition to restart from the base line. All restarts must be along the base line where the ball went out. No restarts from goal mouth. Opposition teams can move in only after the ball has been passed in.
Conveners will be on site to help and to remind everyone about side-line behaviours, grounds usage guidelines and that is the children’s game.
Our Match Day Manager will also be on site to help as well.
There is a very specific layout which everyone adheres to. The main pitch by Becroft Drive (slope side with trees) will be roped off around the perimeter and no one is allowed to cross the ropes to reach other pitches. This is due so we can minimize the wear on our main pitch. If you see it cordoned off please walk around it. At times we may also choose to rope off the other 2 main pitches as well.
No Bicycles, scooters, push chairs, prams or wheel chairs are allowed on any pitch at any time, please walk around pitches as per markings in place.
Spectators are only allowed on the outside boundaries of the main full size pitch ( a map will be available ) and need to move around the pitch to reach each mini-field. Please do not walk across the main pitch where mini-fields are set up.
Training day cancellations will be notified on the Club’s website as well as on the Club’s Facebook page.
Game day cancellations will be notified on the Club’s website as well as on the Club’s Facebook page.
What Gear is required
The Club supplies playing shirts. Players are required to buy black shorts and black socks. These can be purchased via the Club’s online store on the website.
Children must also have boots, shin pads and a water bottle both for training and on game day.