The Aberdeen & District Juvenile Football Association has announced that the Under 12s age group will be playing 9 v 9 football in preparation for the step up to 11 v 11 come August 2018. A meeting was held on Wednesday night with all of the coaches in the area to gather their opinions, with all of the teams giving positive remarks back.
Ray Riddell is the driving force behind it. Ray attended a meeting in Perth about the initiative with the Scottish FA and then reported back to the coaches involved in the Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire area.
Riddell has worked at a few clubs in the ADJFA having also been chairman at Formartine United Youth. Riddell spoke about the decision to get underway early by saying: “It will be good because it’ll be 9 a side football with 11-a-side rules. I have been involved in kids football for a number of years now and everyone has different opinions on football. I am 44 years old and I played 11-a-side football when I was 8 years old however the game has changed since then.
“I think it will help the players find their feet quicker once they get to 11-a-side. I have been involved with the ADJFA just coming up to a year now and I like to ask the coaches for their views. Before the meeting there were two people who weren’t sure about it however by the end of the meeting they wanted to go for it as well.
“You’re playing in 7 a side goals so there isn't any new equipment to be bought. That would have been a major setback for us, the kids in the goals are small as it is, I just think it’s a natural progression for us.
“There is a big jump from 7 a side to 11 a side, I am hoping to do a few taster games in February/March which will be two 30 minute halves so we can look at it instead of going and giving the clubs their fixtures in March and say ‘There you go, there’s your fixtures.’
“I want feedback from the kids as well because I look at it and they are the most important people involved in this. I will ask if they liked it and also did they learn from it? Then I can feed that back to Hampden and say what my area is thinking about it. I am looking forward to it.”