Teenager footballers will not be thrust straight into the senior game if new plans from the Sunday Alliance League come to fruition.
Doncaster Alliance League officials are pressing ahead with plans to form a youth division next season, bridging the gap between junior and adult football.
“We have contacted the eight or so teams who are currently playing in the Doncaster and District Junior League’s U17 league and explained what we are hoping to do and two of them have already got back to us to say that they are interested,” said Alliance secretary John Steele.
“We are hoping that the others will also decide to come on board and we’ll also be looking to attract new teams as well.
“Ideally we would like to have at least 12 teams, but if we don’t get that many then we would still go ahead, providing we can get eight or nine clubs with the teams playing each other three times.”
John feels that there is a need for a youth division, not least because of the sizeable drop-out rate for players in their late teens.
He added: “What we are also finding is that some of those U17 players who go straight into open age football struggle with the physical aspect of the game.
“They also come up against players in their 30s who have been around a long time and who are more streetwise.
“If teams play together in a youth division, it not only keeps players together but they could then decide to join the senior league the following season.
“It also gives the players another year to develop before going into open-age football.”
Players participating in the proposed new league would have to be under 18 on the date of registration in August.
“There are still a lot of things to be decided, such as whether we run a cup competition for the Youth Division or whether they play in our KO Cup,” John said.
“We’ll be calling a meeting for interested parties in the next few weeks.
Players who started the season in the youth division would still be able to transfer to an Alliance League side during the season.
“As long as the numbers for any one team weren’t too big it wouldn’t be a problem because we envisage that clubs would have big squads,” he said.
Further details can be obtained from John on 07876 544363.