What should we do in private school football?

To Episode 3 Soccer doctor Podcast Andy Harper highlighted the idea that private schools need to step up and invest in licenses in order to join the SAP / NPL system. At first glance, this idea has several benefits.

I live in Canberra, but since I grew up in Sydney and attended a private school, I feel that I’m somewhat accustomed to the field of the football community, which is underutilized to develop my football talent.

It is well known that the private school system is the most important part of Sydney’s rugby union ecosystem and has a much larger team of high school students than the struggling club system. Joey alone has 10 open-age rugby teams this year, but last year only six club teams competed in that age group throughout the city. For better or for worse, school is an important path to professional rugby.

Soccer also has a strong presence, judging by the money involved and the pedigree of coaches hired at GPS, CAS and ISA schools. Former professional players and coaches appear as soccer directors.

With tours to Europe (New Inton) and South America (Knox), young boys can have a great time. Schools show true ambition for football, unlike what they show in rugby.

It depends on which code is popular with your students. In addition, schools such as Barker, Knox, Waverley, Riverview, and Kings are clearly creating a love for games everywhere in the country, as senior football clubs play in district associations.

However, unlike rugby, football has a large and robust club system for amateur district association level teen players, four divisions of the NSW NPL, and a relatively new academy of A-League clubs.

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There has long been open debate over whether clubs or schools are better at developing talent. Some of Sydney’s most productive football factories are sports high schools such as Westfields, Hills and Endeavor.

So, as Andy Harper suggests, is there really room for private schools to level up? Is there anything they can offer regarding off-field education that could enhance the ability of elite talent to build a career in games?

I don’t know if many of them will step up in the current situation. To get started, you need to make football a year-round sport, in line with the amount of training that others have already provided. Some schools have a policy of encouraging participation in multisports rather than specialization.

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So are we missing out on opportunities by not encouraging competent schools to aim for higher goals, or is it better to maintain the status quo? I’m not sure personally, but my point of view is limited to NSW and ACT. Perhaps there are various situations throughout the country.

In the end, Andy Harper wasn’t completely right about the lack of school in the semi-professional system. There is one school that has an NPL license and is playing the best team at a higher level.

Radford College in Canberra has four teams playing in the NPL2 Youth under the umbrella of Capital Football. They are not a well-known sports school, but it is worth noting the results of this season.

What should we do in private school football?

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