balls and cones setup for grading

We recognise that players participate for different reasons, e.g., competitiveness, fun or purely social activity. Player assessment and grading will assist with the formation of more balanced teams, placement in appropriate competitions and allow for better player development. In addition, we believe this is a way to assist with increasing participation, establishing player development pathways and maximising overall enjoyment from playing football.

Frequently asked questions

What is grading?

It is a process to assess player abilities and ensure the club and its coaches provide the development needs of the child for the season.

Grading or player assessment is a key process in delivering a positive club environment, ensuring effective player learning for the season while also supporting the efforts of the club coach.

Who gets graded?

Youth players between the ages of 8 and 12.

When is grading?

Grading and player assessment is conducted during pre- and post-season. Dates will be announced on the club’s channels.

Why grade? What is the purpose of grading?

It is employed when the number of players in an age group is larger than required to form a single squad. The FFA recommends that children should be grouped based on age, abilities, interests and needs.

Taking an education perspective, each player should train and play at a level that is most appropriate for her/his development stage. Players do not develop, if the level of resistance is too low and it’s too easy or if the level of resistance is too high and it’s too difficult.

The data collected at grading is then used to inform team formation for inter club competitions.

Where will grading be hosted?

FC Five Dock host grading at our local grounds of Nield and Timbrell Park.

How is grading performed?

In simple terms, grading involves a series of skill tests. The following four core skills, identified in the FFA National Curriculum, are assessed:

  • first touch
  • striking the ball
  • running with the ball
  • 1v1

Numerous coaches facilitate the skill tests while a grading panel determine team formation.

What grading isn’t

It is not talent identification. It is not 100% accurate. Player grading at the club should not be confused with team grading undertaken by the CDSFA (see below).

What are the positive benefits of grading?

For the player (fun and learning)

The goal is that all players, during training and at game day, have a sense of competence, autonomy, inclusion and connection that leads to greater enjoyment.

For the teams (competition)

The goal is that development needs are delivered on game day as evenly matched teams of similar abilities compete against each other.

For the club (coach)

The goal is that the task of the coach (especially those volunteering) is made a little easier where it is possible to assemble a group of players with similar abilities.

How grading contributes to the local football competition

Our local association is the Canterbury and District Soccer Football Association (CDSFA). The CDSFA is responsible for organising and managing the competition for local club participation.

As part of the competition management process, the CDSFA grades teams into divisions for competition. It is the CDSFA that ultimately determines the level (division) a player competes at on the weekend.

If the club doesn’t conduct grading, it is more likely that a child could be placed at a competition level that does not support her/his development stage resulting in a poor experience and lack of enjoyment.

Player positions (U8-U11)

Positional attributes (strengths and weaknesses) are not considered for team formation as players’ positional preferences do not firmly form until the teenage years.

Game time and positional rotations (U8-U11)

Appointed coaches are required to provide equal game time to their players during the season. They should also provide equal opportunities for players to experience ALL positions in the format they are playing.

Squad sizes and game formats

AgeGame FormatSquad Size
U5-U74 v 48
U8-U97 v 78 - 10
U10-U119 v 910 - 12
U12 - U1811 v 1114 -16

What if I disagree with the decision of the grading panel?

Any parent may appeal a decision of the grading panel.  If you wish to appeal a decision of the grading panel, you  must notify FCFD’s Head Coach in writing – paul@fcfivedock.com.au– of the appeal.

The Head Coach, in consultation with the appropriate grading panel members, will review the decision and will let you know if they either affirm or overturn the original decision.

The subsequent decision of the grading panel is final and any further issues should be referred to FCFD’s Head Coach.

For all other grading questions and help contact FCFD’s Head Coach Paul Higgins.

Player assessments/grading policy – updated 13 Dec 2021