Stockton Town Football Club are proud to announce exciting new opportunities for player development within the junior section.
The forthcoming season will see selected boys junior teams enter into the newly established North East region of the Saturday Junior Premier League (JPL).
At present, there isn’t a current offering for girls teams due to the number of teams in the area being insufficient, though the belief is the rate of growth in this area will provide the opportunity in the not too distant future.
The JPL is endorsed by the Football Association at national level and has a track record of successfully implementing academy format development football in other regions.
The aim of the JPL is to provide junior grass roots players the ability to compete at the highest level with a limited number of participating clubs in any given area. Entry into the league is limited to clubs that meet its stringent entry requirements.
The club was delighted to be approached by the JPL and immediately recognised the huge potential for not only player and coach development and but also increasing the profile of the club as a whole.
As the league aims to provide competitive opportunities for the strongest junior players in the respective areas, it is not appropriate for all of our playing members, and the club has worked with coaches and managers to establish which age groups would benefit from this opportunity.
It is the clubs intent that the JPL will present an additional Saturday league opportunity, which will be run in parallel with our traditional TJFA Sunday league commitments.
The age groups identified for entry into the JPL for the forthcoming season are the U9, U10 , U13, U14, U15 and U16 age groups.
After consultation with all our coaches, we are delighted to confirm that the move has received unanimous support with all the age groups committing to running both a JPL and TJFA offering.
During discussion, additional support has been identified due to some logistical issues surrounding Saturday commitments, but the club is working with these age groups to provide the support required.
It is anticipated that once our entry into the JPL is announced there will be interest from the wider community, which will assist in providing the additional support identified as being required.
Planning and preparation for the forthcoming season have commenced and It is anticipated that existing coaching and management teams will take the lead in the process with support from Liam Cox.
Where we currently have more than one team at a particular age group, the respective managers and coaches will discuss player development opportunities internally in the first instance with the intent of holding open days for further recruitment across all the age groups from the middle of June.
We have compiled a FAQ document which we will regularly update as further queries are raised.
In order to limit the lines of communication and potential for duplication we would ask all queries be addressed via the team managers.
Do players have to join the Junior Premier League team if they don’t want to?
No. Whilst the aspiration is to provide appropriate development opportunities for the players, no one will be expected to join if they do not want to.
When will squads be finalised for the JPL team?
It is envisaged that the planning process will commence in earnest in Mid-June with a view to identifying initial squad members by Mid-July.
Can a player play for a JPL and TJFA Stockton Town team?
Absolutely! Feedback received from managers and coaches indicates that in all likelihood we will have an offering at both JPL and TJFA for the age groups identified.
Could a player predominantly play for a Stockton Town Sunday team, but still have the opportunity to progress to the JPL team in some capacity?
Yes. While we cannot foresee how the forthcoming planning stage will develop, we would hope that such progression would be possible.
Will two paying memberships be required for players representing STFC on a Saturday and Sunday?
It is expected that a team member regularly representing Stockton Town in both the JPL and TJFA would pay an enhanced membership payment, but this would be only to cover additional costs such as registration and referee fees. The additional costs are currently being assessed and will be decided over the coming weeks.
What other clubs in the region will be involved in the JPL?
Examples of other clubs taking part are; Gateshead, Wallsend Boys Club, Chester-le-Street United, South Shields, Darlington FC, Sunderland Foundation and Seaton Carew.