The GFA Academy are excited to announce a new and innovative match programme being implemented this season in conjunction with loyal and proud sponsors Aztec Group.
The idea behind this unique concept is based around ultimately ensuring all Year 3 to Year 6 Foundation Academy players are provided with a challenging but competitive match based forum, which hopefully will go some way to negating the constraints faced when living in Guernsey.
Utilising the opportunity to embrace the 2 year age banding rule, we have created a league structure which will be contested fortnightly per age grouping. The ‘Aztec League of Nations’ will continue throughout the season, concluding with one team being crowned the league winners, and becoming the first ever winners of the ‘Aztec Trophy’!
The league will consist of 6 mixed age group teams for Years 3&4 and 7 teams for Years 5&6, with the matches being 5 a side and each team having a squad of 6-7 player’s maximum. Goalkeepers will be representing more than one team due to number constraints and to ensure they are utilised/challenged fully within their preferred position. Matches will be 15 mins each way, with each team having 2 or 3 games per specific match day. Parental support will be encouraged by surrounding the pitches to create a positive atmosphere for them (which hopefully will be respectful of course!)
GFA Academy Director, Tony Vance commented that;
‘We have tried to ensure all teams will be competitive, irrespective of that there will be a ‘Transfer Window’ opened up during the season to allow some player movement, but ultimately we are hoping that matches will be close and challenging as this will ensure an exciting league campaign. There may be times however where teams may win comfortably or lose significantly as that of course is simply ‘the nature of the beast’, after all it happens in the Premiership! It goes without saying that we will look to provide and develop coaching tips/tactics where relevant to step in and support those that might need it. Ultimately we want to give as much responsibility to the players themselves, as this is of course a huge part of our ethos, and one of the best ways they will develop.
Fixtures, results and match reports will be published on the Academy website, via social media and other media forums.
Tony Vance added that;
‘During the season, and more than probably at the end of the campaign, we will also hold a knockout cup competition, again for a trophy with medals, etc. – more details will follow on this during the season. The plan is for this competition to run annually which will mean that the age bandings will of course change year on year, which again is an exciting and challenging part of this concept. One season the players will find themselves being one of the elder members of the squad, which will hopefully see them being a leader and a strong influence to the younger members of the team. Of course, the following year they will then be having to play out of their comfort zone slightly, having to integrate with new players and competing against stronger more physical opposition.
Finally, and to clarify, developing and introducing the ‘Aztec League of Nations’ is one of the major reasons we decided not to enter the regular festivals this season. We felt it was time to try something different and to take the players out of their comfort zones a little bit whilst also trying to help balance peoples weekends more as we were very conscious that the children and parents were being stretched fitting in festival after festival. Of course it will also allow those children who wish to play regularly for their clubs in the festivals more of an opportunity to do so, as I know that some clubs and parents were keen for this to be available to them.’
To summarise, the key points and benefits behind the introduction of the ‘Aztec League of Nations’ are:
Everybody loves matches!
An internally run competitive and challenging league concept
5 a side
The players will have more touches of the ball
Enables flexibility in positions
More goal scoring opportunities
Players will ‘lend’ the ball more
More 1 v 1 situations are created.
It’s new and innovative
A trophy and medals to play for!
2 year age banding – taking players out of their comfort zone
Click on the links below to view the fixtures for Aztec League of Nations