The Different Leagues

There are various leagues our teams play in. A list of the most common ones is included below with a bit of information on each.

Competitive / Non-competitive Football

All leagues have to organise their football in line with the FA's policy on team size and competitiveness at the various ages. At present, competitive football starts at U12, with the majority of games played before that age being friendlies, organised by the league, but with no results published or prizes awarded.

At U11, the leagues do tend to organise "mini trophy" competitions, which last 4 or 5 weeks and have prizes awarded for finishing first. You would usually play 2 or 3 of these throughout the season. This is to start to prepare the players for full competitive football the following year.

In addition, from U12 upwards, there are knockout cup competitions available to enter too.


Crowborough League

By far the league in which the most of our teams play, simply because geographically, it's closest. Covering West Kent and East Sussex, your furthest matches are potentially as far as Hailsham or Eastbourne, with the majority located much closer to home in Tonbridge, Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells etc.

Matches take place on Saturday mornings until U11, beyond which they move to Sundays (usually mornings but could be any time).

The Crowborough League is a really good league, well organised and local. The standard of the teams reduces slightly once you go beyond U12 as the strongest players and teams tend to go and play in the Kent Youth League, which only starts at U13.

Website: http://www.crowboroughleague.co.uk

FA Full Time Link (U11 up): https://fulltime.thefa.com/LeagueDetails?leagueid=4344945


Kent Youth League

The Kent Youth League starts at U13 with 11 a side football and the standard is as high as you can get for grassroots football in Kent. Only one team per age group per club is allowed entry and only the very best players from the club would be selected for that team. Divisions are set up geographically, but you're looking at journey times of up to an hour and in the cup competition, you could be drawn against anyone in the whole of Kent.

This is a "serious" league with a major commitment. You are expected to provide post-match food for your opposition for example. Matches can only take place at certain times unless you have prior agreement from the league and only some of our pitches are KYL approved (The Rec. and the 3G at the moment - Groombridge and Ashurst are not)

In the run up to the U13 age group, Chris will begin a conversation with the coaches most likely to be in a position to take a team into the KYL. Our plan is to have a team in this league every year. 2017 / 2018 we have teams at U13, U14 and U16.

Matches take place on Sundays.

Website: http://www.kentyouthleague.co.uk


Tandridge League

The Tandridge League is a slightly harder challenge than the Crowborough League and as matches take place on Sundays, it is a good one for our strongest teams to enter at U11, which is when district football starts, meaning the best players generally aren't available for Saturday games as they're playing for the district team.

Location-wise, you're looking at the majority of the games being around Orpington way, up into South-East London. There are some more local teams who sometimes play Tandridge League (Foresters, Tonbridge Angels, Sevenoaks all notable examples), but we're in the minority around these parts.

Matches take place on Sundays.

Website: https://www.ourkidssports.com/Leagues/profile/id/23


Mid Sussex League

The Mid Sussex League is a new adventure for our club for the 2017 / 2018 season, with both our U14s and U17s entering.

The majority of the teams are based around Crawley, Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill etc. but there are games as far afield as Brighton and Eastbourne. The standard is generally quite high, but divisions are ability-based rather than geographical, so there is a division for everyone.

One thing to note here is that this is the only league to offer an U17 age group (most jump straight to U18), so something to consider if you have a team you think would struggle with the 2 year age bracket of going straight to U18.

Matches take place on Sundays. There are also futsal and 3G tournaments arranged by the league during the season, which is a nice touch in terms of providing something a bit different.

Website: http://www.msymfl.co.uk

FA Full Time Link: http://fulltime-league.thefa.com/ProcessPublicSelect.do?psSelectedSeason=39350347&psSelectedDivision=711764056&psSelectedCompetition=0&psSelectedLeague=1375655


Others

There are other leagues it's possible to enter. The Sussex Sunday Youth League is a very high standard, similar in it's top division to the Kent Youth League. There is also the Rother League (Saturdays) which is based around Hastings, the Sussex Saturday League (also Saturdays) and the Maidstone League (Sundays) which is generally up towards the Medway towns.

In the end, the league you choose will largely be down to the level your team are at and what your players and their parents want to do in terms of travel. For stronger teams, going further afield eventually is inevitable. For the rest of us, you can comfortably stay in the Crowborough League and have a good standard of football against teams of a similar level to yourselves without the hassle of extra travel.


District Football

One thing that may affect which league you want to play in is the arrival of Saturday morning district football at the U11 age group. The very strongest players in your age group will have a good chance of playing for the district if they want to (West Kent for the majority of our players and possibly even the full Kent team for the very best, although this is rarer). This is organised through the players' schools and it takes priority over club football.

If one of your players is selected for the district, you can expect them to be unavailable for you on around 70% of Saturdays, so you may well want to move to a Sunday league like the Tandridge league if this is going to affect a lot of your players. To give you an idea, on an average year, Langton Green has provided between 4 and 8 district players per age group. That's pretty much the core of your team if you have a strong team at U11s.

For more info on this, speak to Gavin Berkerey, Kevin Corbett or Chris Allen, all coaches who have been affected by this in the past and who moved to the Tandridge League because of it.