Junior Team Selection Policy

Our commitment

We believe that football (soccer) should be safe, enjoyable, and inclusive and maximise individual participation. Essendon Royals acknowledges that positive experiences in junior competition will contribute to children developing a lifelong love of football. Our team selection policy is designed to enable junior players to aspire to playing at a higher level if they so desire as well as playing socially. Players will be selected to play at an age appropriate level with team members of similar skill level.


Grading Period & Attendance

  • Grading will be held at a selected Essendon Royals venue for each age group between end of season and October for returning players.
  • Subsequent grading for new players will be held periodically per age group following season commencement
  • There will be more than 1 grading session per age group
  • Dates will be advertised on the club website, social media and via email to existing members and to any non-members who are waitlisted through an expression of interest.
  • It is the players and guardian’s responsibility to check the website and ensure they are able to attend grading.
  • Attendance at all grading is recommended to enable the player to be placed in the most appropriate team for their level of skill.
  • All players attending grading must be registered with Essendon Royals with a current email address, mobile number, name and date of birth or they will not receive any correspondence from the club. Details of how to register with the club are on the club website.
  • Players unable to attend grading should notify the club in writing so that the club may apply the appropriate consideration for the player.

Grading Panel

  • The club will appoint a coaching panel to oversee grading for each age group and players will be assessed on technical and tactical skill as well as attitude.
  • Squad selection will be made by the coaching panel with advice from the age group coaches and the club Technical Director. Where multiple squads are available in an age group being selected in a squad does not constitute being selected in a specific team.

Age Group Selection

  • The number of teams in each age group will depend upon the number of players available in that age group. Essendon Royals will have a base team policy for each age group to be released after returning member grading.
  • Players will grade & play in their respective age range. Exemptions are only permitted upon application to the club in writing. It is the club policy that players will only play above their age range if their football skill level is assessed as high. For example players in U8s will need to be able to play in U9 Kangaroos to play up an age group. 
  • The number of positions in the final squad shall be based upon the age group, gender and number of teams competing in the age group. The number of positions shall be decided by the club for each age group and publicised before the commencement of grading.
  • Essendon Royals returning players will be guaranteed a position with the club upon the payment of a deposit and space being available in the age group. 
  • The club shall define and outline the criteria of team selection. The exact criteria will not be published, however it will include evaluation of the following
    • Behaviour, attitude towards training, other players and coaching staff
    • Past performance and history with the club
    • Technical and tactical skill
    • Team fit and requirements

Completion of Grading

  • At the conclusion of the grading, training squads will be emailed to all registered participants with a training squad coach and time. This group will train together until the final teams are selected. This enables coaches to make final adjustments to the squads.
  • Selected players will be asked to confirm their positions with a financial deposit. The deposit will be credited towards registration fees. Non-members may also be asked to pay a one off new membership fee.
  • Players who are selected and pay the deposit to hold their spot, who then elect to play or trial elsewhere, shall be deemed to have forfeit both their fee and position within the squad. There will be no exemptions.
  • At a nominated date (advertised on the website and emailed to guardians) prior to the season commencement, final team squads will emailed to registered and paid players. A player will not be placed in a team if they are not registered on myfootballclub and fully paid.

Points for Consideration:

  • Essendon Royals is a community football club and our primary focus to build teams is football ability. We are a football club and although social relationships are important do not expect that you will play in the team that you played in last season because friends are in that team. Grading is done on ability. It is not in a player’s best interest to be playing with children of greatly differing ability.
  • Making new friends is one of life’s skills and a team sport is a great way to practice this. Parents and coaches will ask for social relationships to be considered however this will be a secondary consideration when selecting an age group squad.
  • Proposed training times for the season will be advertised on the website. Every attempt is made to keep these as accurate as possible but training times also depend on coach’s availability (they all work as well as coach), pitch availability and the number of teams the club fields. Training times cannot be changed to suit individual players.
  • If a player does not attend any grading then they are unlikely to be placed in one of the higher level (Kangaroo) sides. While the club will endeavour to place that child in a team that suits them there, is unlikely to be much flexibility for movement between teams.
  • If the club receives more enrolments than they have coaches, players will be put on a waiting list. Only when a coach is allocated will a further team be opened. All our coaches are supported by the technical director and by the club, which will pay for any coaching courses, completed by coach volunteers as well as paid coaches.