Football Australia achieves 3-Star membership in AFC Elite Youth Scheme

Football Australia has received a 3-star membership within the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Elite Youth Scheme. 

The membership recognises Football Australia’s unwavering commitment to fostering and developing young football talent across the nation. 

The AFC Elite Youth Scheme's highest attainable 3-star membership serves as a testament to the exceptional quality of Football Australia's talent development program, establishing Football Australia as world-class within the region. 

The announcement closely follows Football Australia's accolade at the 2023 AFC Annual Awards in Doha, Qatar, where Football Australia received the AFC President's Recognition Award for Grassroots Football, further highlighting the commitment towards grassroots development. 

Ernie Merrick, Chief Football Officer at Football Australia, emphasised the significant effort and planning that had gone into this achievement. 

"As we see Football Australia's development programs continually advancing through collaborative efforts with FIFA and the AFC, our endorsement with a 3-star status in the AFC Elite Youth Scheme underscores our commitment to refining the processes and structures for our youth programs,” Merrick said. 

“This recognition is a source of great pride, and we are very honoured to be acknowledged in this manner. 

“Credit should be attributed to Technical Director – Men’s and Head Coach of the Subway Young Socceroos, Trevor Morgan’s initiative, supported by Technical Director - Women's and Head Coach - Women's U17, Rae Dower and Girls Youth Development Manager, Debbie Fisher. The webform was designed and created utilising the Data and Analytical skills of General Manager – Football Analysis, Data & Insights, Doug Kors and Alex Turner. All Technical staff contributed to the development of the programs.” 

In August 2023, a team of AFC experts, including members of the AFC Youth Panel, conducted a thorough evaluation of Football Australia's youth football programs and initiatives.  

The AFC was impressed with the holistic and dynamic approach to identifying and nurturing talent through a multifaceted strategy which involves collaborations with schools, clubs, talent support programs, National Training Centres (NTC), talent development matches, and the annual National Youth Championships. This all-encompassing approach ensures that no promising young players are left undiscovered, regardless of their location in the vast and diverse country of Australia. 

An essential feature of Football Australia's approach is the Talent ID Webform, a nationwide system for talent identification and development. Accredited coaches can use this platform to submit technical assessments, bio-maturation evaluations, and GPS data for players from various regions, schools, and academies. This valuable data is accessible to all stakeholders, including national youth teams, offering a comprehensive overview of emerging talent. 

The TeamUp Calendar, an interactive tool providing a comprehensive overview of all football activities, also contributed to the rating as it ensures that young players have ample opportunities to showcase their skills and allowing streamlined coordination of football activities. 

Football Australia's commitment to the women's game was also recognised, particularly for the "Future Matildas" program. This program was meticulously designed to identify and nurture young female footballers, underscoring Football Australia's commitment to building a strong pipeline of future stars in women's football. 

Football Australia is poised for an exciting future with the continuing mission to nurture and develop young football talent in Australia and make an impact on the international stage.