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22.05.2012 10:50 Age: 2 yrs
Category: Front Page, Junior, Game Development, Club Development

Junior Club in Focus - Para Hills Knights


Para Hills Knights has welcomed over 50 new junior players to its club in 2012 after implementing Small Sided Football (SSF).

The Knights have fielded two teams in Under 6, Under 7 and Under 11 this year after not previously having any SSF teams since its inception nationally in 2008.

Para Hills SSF Delegate James Stockdale admitted the format has been a huge success at the club, with the increase in participation and new families being welcomed to the Knights.

“The launch of Small Sided Football has opened the club to a greater level of player participation. We have increased our junior membership from 130 players in 2011 to over 180 players this season,” he said.

“More importantly, we are providing boys and girls with a program where they can learn the game of football in a fun, safe environment.”

“Interestingly, it is also teaching the parents and other spectators (who may or may not be familiar with the sport) the fundamentals of the game. The atmosphere around the club surrounding the game of soccer is not only healthy – it is thriving.”

Stockdale acknowledged the SSF format has been well received at Para Hills with all six teams thoroughly enjoying the experience.

He also admitted the SSF Under 6/7 Gala Day Format is proving to be a massive success with the eight competing teams from across the Knights’ zone alternating in hosting the event each week.

“The small sided game has been warmly received in a relatively short amount of time,” he said.

“Our Under 6/7 players are having a great time and are improving every game they play. When the kids arrive at training they run to the coaches and are excited to be there.”

“Also, the gala day format is fantastic. Players get a lot of time on the park and get to play against new opposition all the time.”

Stockdale highlighted there has been a change in the outlook on football by the players, parents and coaches with the emphasis now clearly on the experience and not results.

“Our Under 11 players look at the game a little differently than they have in previous seasons as they are being introduced to a possession-based game philosophy,” he said.

 “Our coaches hold no emphasis on game results, but challenge the players to improve their technique and position awareness. The kids are working hard at training and are enjoying success by playing some really smart football.”

Stockdale admitted he has high hopes for Para Hills in the future and dreams of a Knights senior team full of SSF graduates.

He is also confident the format will expand over the next few years and is already planning for another successful season in 2013.

“In ten years time our goal is have our senior first team full of players who graduated from the Knights SSF program,” he said.

“We have several outcomes we want to achieve before 2013 that should result in expansion of Small Sided Football including hosting a SSF registration day in October 2012. All new players are welcome to join.”

“We are hoping increase participation to field a team in each age group in 2013 with the goal of increasing participation every year onwards. Due to the flexible nature of SSF our club could easily field 2 sides in each age group.”

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