Age Group Formats

Age groups run as per the school year, so a player born on 1st September would be the oldest in your team.

The FA fairly recently introduced new formats for different age groups in an attempt to match the age and size of the players more sensibly to the size of the goals and pitches they're playing on. The below summarises where we're at going into the 2017 / 2018 season:

Age Group Format Ball Size Pitch Size (yards) * Goal Size (feet) * Competitive? ** Match Length
U7 (school year 2) 5 v 5 3 40 x 30 12 x 6 No 2 x 20 mins
U8 (year 3) 5 v 5 3 40 x 30 12 x 6 No 2 x 20 mins
U9 (year 4) 7 v 7 3 60 x 40 12 x 6 No 2 x 30 mins
U10 (year 5) 7 v 7 4 60 x 40 12 x 6 No 2 x 30 mins
U11 (year 6) 9 v 9 4 80 x 50 16 x 7 No 1 x 60 mins
U12 (year 7) 9 v 9 4 80 x 50 16 x 7 Yes 1 x 60 mins
U13 (year 8) 11 v 11 4 90 x 55 21 x 7 Yes 1 x 70 mins
U14 (year 9) 11 v 11 4 90 x 55 21 x 7 Yes 1 x 70 mins
U15 (year 10) 11 v 11 5 100 x 60 24 x 8 Yes 1 x 80 mins
U16 (year 11) 11 v 11 5 100 x 60 24 x 8 Yes 1 x 80 mins
U17 / U18 (6th form) 11 v 11 5 110 x 70 24 x 8 Yes 1 x 90 mins

* pitch size is approximate. In reality, this will depend on the space available. Goal size is also intended as a guide, particularly in the older age groups - most clubs don't have the luxury of owning a set of 21 x 7 and 24 x 8 goals. Either is fine for 11 a side football.

** by "competitive" we mean are results recorded / published and are trophies awarded for 1st / 2nd place etc. In the younger age groups, this is not the case (all matches are friendly matches), although smaller "mini tournaments" are sometimes held by leagues throughout the season in the U11 age group to ready the players for competitive football and provide a taste of what that's like.


Age Groups - Playing Up or Down a Year

You can not field a player who was born in the previous school year in your team - you will get a fine if found out and any results would be null and void.

Players can, however, play up a year by one year. So an U11 player can play U12 football for example. See your individual league's rules for the specifics of how this works.