Our aim through team selection is to ensure that all children within the UHCF junior programme are placed in an environment that provides them with an enjoyable football experience, at an appropriate challenge point given their individual age and stage of development.
First Kicks and Fun Football (U7/U8)
This age group is about fostering a love of the game while learning the fundamentals of the game.
Teams at First Kicks and Fun Football (U7/U8) are selected on the basis of stated preference (i.e. friends they want to play with, previous teams and school/pre-school attended).
When registering, you can indicate names for possible team-mate preferences. As a club we will try our best to ensure that some, if not all, of the requests are met when selecting teams so our newest children have the best possible football experience.
Mini Football (U9-U12)
After registering a child at U9-U12, you will be given the opportunity to indicate which challenge point the child would benefit most from. Specifically, you will be asked to indicate if the child would prefer to be considered for a more development-focused team, a more social-focused team or a team that is somewhere in between.
The time and commitment required will generally increase as children move from social-focused teams to more development-focused teams, with development-focused teams likely having additional trainings as well as more opportunities to participate in tournaments (in addition to the regular Saturday games).
At U11-U12, committing to a more development-focused team also includes committing to the Wellington Regional League, with games played across the wider region on Saturday mornings. All teams at U9/U10, will play in a Hutt Valley league.
Children registering for Mini Football can indicate names for possible team-mate preferences (noting that these preferences will not be part of the consideration when forming teams that are more development-focused).
Those who want the opportunity to be part of a more development-focused team will be invited to participate in an assessment process as part of the club’s junior pre-season programme.
More information about the assessment process, is set out below.
Team and squad formation for development-focused teams in Mini Football (U9-U12)
For each grade in Mini Football (U9-U12), the club’s Director of Football and Junior and Youth Development Officers will put together a group of coaches (independent of the grade) who will help organise the children into an appropriate training and playing environment for development-focused teams. These coaches will attend sessions during a defined pre-season period to observe the children train and play and this will inform the environment they are placed in for the season ahead.
The final make-up of development-focused teams in Mini Football will be based on how the child performs during the pre-season period, their playing history and their willingness to commit to a more development-focused environment. Selections for the remaining teams in Mini Football, teams in Fun Football and teams in First Kicks will be made by the grade manager (and will take stated preferences into account).
While the number of teams at each challenge point will depend on the level of interest and ability in any grade, the club generally expects to field two development-focused teams within each Mini Football grade. At each grade, these development-focused teams will be encouraged to work closely within a squad environment with scope for children to move between the teams within the squad over time.
Children who are on the fringes of those development-focused teams (or who can’t commit fully to a development-focused team) will be offered the opportunity to be part of a team that is ‘somewhere in between’ development-focused and social-focused. These teams will play in Hutt Valley competitions.
Regardless of whether a child is placed in a more development-focused team, a more social-focused team or a team that is somewhere in between, our expectation as a club is that all UHCF junior coaches look to strike a balance between developing player’s skills and creating a positive, inclusive team environment.
2023 preseason programme
The club will host junior preseason training sessions (open to all of those from U9-U12 who are registered/registering for the upcoming season). These sessions, which will be developed and designed by the club’s Director of Football and Junior and Youth Development Officers, and will include a mixture of skills sessions, small-sided games and larger-field games.
More details on the specific dates and times will be published on the club website in mid-February and shared by grade managers with those who are registered or who have played in that grade previously.
Want to know more?
If you have any questions, please get in touch with your grade manager.