There have been some large-scale changes to the delivery of junior football (U9-U12) across the NRF region in the last three years - most significantly, introducing the banding and fluid grading systems to junior football in 2019.
These changes are all about providing a more positive experience for all involved, aligning to the Balance is Better philosophy of Sport New Zealand and endorsed by New Zealand Football.
Alongside these changes, NRF has collected data on the reoccurring trends and patterns of junior football around the disparity of junior teams, the number of fluid grading movements and trends in results and double-digit score lines. This data means we can plan for future changes and enable clubs, coaches, and parents to ensure junior footballer experience our sport positively, at the correct challenge point.
The Game Day Guidance Document has guidance and information to enable coaches and parents to make in-game adjustments on the day to improve the experience for players on both teams should that be necessary
The Fluid Grading process means teams can move at any stage of the season to find the appropriate challenge point
Here’s an outline of the junior football structure in the NRF region.
U-9 – U-12 – Pukeko Band
The Pukeko band is established to localise junior football ages U9-U12. There is no limit to the amount of divisions in each area and the NRF Federation is split into the following areas in this band: Upper Harbour, West Auckland, Central West, Central East, South, Far South, Far North and Whangarei. This band covers all current age grades of junior football and keeps teams local to assist in minimising travel time and cost, particularly in the first years of experiencing NRF competition.
U-11 – U-12 – Kiwi Band
The Kiwi band applies to U11/U12 competitions only. This band looks to widen the localised playing environment for clubs by pairing the sub regions together across Auckland, expanding the range of teams playing each other but minimising travel requirements.
U-12 – Moa Band
The Moa band is for U-12 teams interested in competing against all teams across the Metropolitan Auckland area and Northland regions (separately). Please note, this is not a band created for clubs to identify ‘talent’ streamed teams to compete in. However, consideration must be given to whether this band is the appropriate challenge point for teams entered.
Junior Structure Matrix
Please note: Selected NRF clubs also deliver in-house football U-9 - U-12 ages.