The elite football players of today have arrived at their current destination by proceeding along one or more recognised pathways. These include, or have included, the NSW Football Institute, club football at representative level, and State Titles.
A new pathway now exists. In recent years Football Federation Australia (FFA) has identified schools football as another pathway for player recognition. Current Socceroo Massimo Luongo gained his first big break in English football without being part of any Institute program. Luongo attended Waverley College, a private school, in his Secondary School years, while playing his club football at APIA‐Leichhardt. In 2009 he represented NSW All Schools at the School Sport Australia (SSA) National Championships at Perth and was named Player of the Tournament. From this tournament, he was selected in the Australian Schoolboys squad (http://nswschoolsfootball.org.au/historical/natboys_09.html). It is important to remember that Luongo had not been part of any talent identification program, other than through the school football system.
FFA, in conjunction with SSA, is now actively using the school football system to identify talented footballers. At this year’s SSA National Championships at Adelaide (run in conjunction with the 2017 Pacific School Games), states will send teams in the following age groups: 18 Years and under Girls, 16 Years and under Boys, and 12 Years and under Boys and Girls. For Secondary Schools students, tournaments in NSW will still cater for 19 Years and under Boys and Girls.
What is the importance of this information for our young footballers? Treat seriously your opportunities to play football while at school: play for your school in State Knockout Competitions and attempt to gain selection in Zone teams and Regional Teams. State Championships at both Primary and Secondary level are then available to you, followed by the All Schools Tournament and National Schools Championships. And remember that these pathways will be available to both boys and girls through both the public and private school systems. Ask your teachers at school about what you may have to do to be involved.
For information on what is happening in the world of football in secondary schools in NSW and Australia, keep a lookout for information on this web site and its associated Facebook page:
For clarification about any of the above, please contact Ron Keith at the following address: