Fair playing time

Whether starting or on the bench, coaches intend to play every player at some time during each game they’re selected for


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Squad Selection U6’s

Initial squad selection

The club offers a taster approach for children in the Academy ages to try the game with no pressure. The club is aware that some children are late-developers and keenness to learn and play is an appropriate younger-age attribute that should be encouraged. Where possible we will offer opportunities at all ages (subject to upholding a safe environment to conduct sessions in).

In the first instance it may be necessary to hold enquiries on a waiting list, we are restricted to a maximum number of teams in younger ages, and are restricted by the FA Safeguarding ratios of Coach : Children attending our sessions, these ratios vary based on the age of the group. We aim to provide sufficient coaches appropriate to the age-group(s) being coached. This will usually be a request to parents to volunteer. The more volunteers, the more provision we can provide to chidren.

Team Selection 

When initially forming club squads at U7s coaches should not solely offer places based on ability. Ability should be a factor but not necessarily the primary one, instead focusing on coach-ability, (keenness to learn and implement), behaviour, respect and commitment (keenness to attend), friendship groups and availability.

The club provides a recommendation on the number of players to register per team to ensure appropriate opportunity throughout the season is achieved. The FA set a maximum limit on registered players per squad (this is all outlined in our Ethos)

Playing time

Whether starting, or on the bench, coaches intend to play all players at some time during the game. In development age groups (up to U10’s), we try to ensure that every player will have played broadly the same time as their peers over the duration of the season, with some exceptions such as a dedicated goalkeeper, availability, and long term injuries.

Squad Selection U7’s – U10’s

Initial squad selection

As much as coaches become aware, the club also recognises that children are aware of each other’s ability. This is true from an early age.

Therefore the coaches should not be expected to offer equal playing time at all age groups (see summary within the Ethos document) but should adopt a selection which allows appropriate playing time, taking into account players ability, confidence and fitness (not all children have the same energy / fitness levels / stamina. In some cases a rotational approach can be used to enhance appropriate opportunity throughout the season.

Team Selection 

Coaches should not take substitutes to matches just to present an image of a “full bench” to the opposition or to cover the eventuality of non-attendance by unreliable players.

It is possible that unreliable players may be considered carefully for selection, and discussions with the parents should take place to consider the selection of the player. Rotational approaches can be considered where squads exceed the clubs recommended registration numbers.

Captaincy selection

The club recognises that captaincy of a team enhances and improves a child’s development of core behavioural skills such as leadership, communication and respect. The club also realises that a child sees captaincy as an important form of recognition.

It is therefore the clubs philosophy that captaincy should be rotated around a squad as reward for commitment, behaviour and showing the core skills until teams begin to compete in 9 v 9 games (U11’s upwards).

Training players

Players develop at different rates and the Club’s philosophy is to include training players (non-registered players) in squads for competitive tournaments or friendly games over the season where possible and appropriate. This allows the coach the opportunity to “assess” the player in a genuine game environment.

The club expects at young ages coaches to accept a number of training squad players, this provisions the opportunity to ensure squads have longevity. The balance of training squad players vs facilitating coaching sessions is tough as such the club has outlined a maximum number of players attending any one session.

Multiple teams

Where a very large number of players are training with an individual age-group, the coach(es) may decide to run two or more teams. These teams at development ages (U7-U10) may be split through various means including but not limited to friendships, schools, ability.

The idea behind this is that all players have a fair chance to compete in matches and develop at an appropriate pace with likeminded players.

Squad Selection U11’s Upwards

Initial squad selection

From under 11’s upwards the coach may choose to begin selecting the team to become more competitive in line with the clubs summary of game time approach, by this age the players are aware of their own abilities compared to others.

This means competition for team places and the coach should balance this competition with the player’s development needs and the interests of squad sustainability together.

Game time

Performance based approach, demonstrating the transition into a more competitive environment, rotational options of the squad where recommended sizes are exceeded. All underpinned by the backdrop that all match day selected players will receive some game time.

Captaincy selection

Once U11’s and upwards or in 9 v 9 games the club accepts that coaches may wish to select a player who reflects the core skills required of a captain and the clubs philosophy changes to the acceptance that a coach may wish to nominate a “club captain” for an extended run of games / season.

Non-registered players

From U11 upwards the club no longer expects coaches to host training squad players (non-registered players), however they may choose to do so to support the sustainability of squads and enable assessment of players.

Annual registration

Fundamental to the clubs progress and philosophy is the opportunity for a player to be offered the option to re-register annually. This should be ahead of other non-registered players as a default option.

On occasions there may be a need to discuss options of remaining as a training squad player, leaving the club, or other alternatives with the Player/Parents. This should only be completed with guidance from Welfare and where appropriate evidence and information will have been captured to support the case by the club coaches.

For example, Lack of adherence to respect codes throughout previous season, lack of attendance, lack of commitment, a large gap in ability levels, recommended squad sizes being exceeded, fitness, capability which fundamentally causes a concern to the players Safety and Welfare.

The club provides a recommendation on the number of players to register per team to ensure appropriate opportunity throughout the season is achieved. The FA set a maximum limit on registered players per squad

What others say…

Football for all abilities

“I choose Thurlby Tigers because of the attitude toward fair play, not overly competitive, and I liked the morals. I liked the idea of my son making different friends as we live in Bourne. When I think of Thurlby Tigers I think of fairness, approachable coaches and local.”

Paula (Parent)

“Tigers is a local club which was recommended by friends. Tigers is a friendly local club with great teams for children of all abilities and a very professional feel to how the club is run.”

Matt (Parent/Sponsor)

More info…

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