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In a collaborative effort between the Great Britain U19 National Programme and National Leagues Competition Management, we are pleased to announce the launch of a Regional 11s series of games for U19 players set for launch in September 2024 following the conclusion of the U19 finals events.

Why are we doing this?

Over the past three years BAFA has been piloting a regional 11v11 initiative via the Scotland U19 team to give players who may not be participating with BUCS or the U19 National Programme the chance to develop their skills by participating in 11v11 competitive games. During this time, Scotland U19 has undertaken a number of BAFA sanctioned friendlies, allowing players from teams across Scotland to come together and play 11v11 football without some of the geographical barriers of National Programme selection. The coaching and support staff for Scotland U19 has been drawn from teams at all levels across Scotland, who have worked together to develop the players and grow the game for this age group.

Following the success of this pilot, and a collaborative approach between the National Programme and National Leagues Competition Management, this initiative is now set to be rolled out across other regions in the UK. Once up and running it will serve as the official pipeline for National Programme recruitment at U19 level. One of the main aims of this approach is to remove the financial and logistical challenges facing young players who currently have to travel to central locations to trial for the squad.

Additionally, this also allows players within National Leagues competition who are not eligible for National Programme selection, or who may not aspire to this, to participate in 11v11 fixtures.

What will it look like?

Five initial regional ‘franchises’ will be included in this model – some of which are already established or are in development.

⦁ Team Scotland U19 – Established.
⦁ Team North U19
⦁ Team Midlands U19 – In development.
⦁ Team South U19
⦁ SGS Pride U19* – Established.

These franchises will be set up as unique clubs and, as with Scotland U19, will be held to the same standards and expectations as other National Leagues member clubs with regards to governance, safeguarding and financial management. They will be expected to manage their own budget, generate their own income via camp and game fees to pay for things like facilities and uniform and have their own club bank account. While not directly subsidised by BAFA, they will be supported and guided through their development by Sam Stoddart, BAFA’s U16 & U19 Development lead, with input from National Programme staff. (*The exception to this is the SGS Pride U19 team, which is affiliated with BAFA and will be included in game scheduling to enable additional fixtures and collaborate on this project, but will operate independently otherwise. )

Franchises will host regional camps during September and October to prepare for two to three sanctioned fixtures scheduled by National Leagues Competition Management in October and early November. National Programme coaches will attend scheduled camps and fixtures to assess players and their personal performances.

Following the conclusion of the regional competition cycle, successful players from each region will be invited to attend the next cycle of National Programme U19 camps commencing in January 2025. This inclusive approach ensures that players who already have substantial 11v11 experience are identified and considered for National Programme team invitations, driving up the quality of participating players and also fostering growth and expansion within the franchise teams which we hope will build year on year, and benefit National Leagues club teams too.

For our young players, this also means an additional playing opportunity and added value from their BAFA U19 membership, which will also cover them for insurance for regional activity.

Where will my club be aligned?

All BAFA and BUCS clubs will be aligned to one of the Scotland, North, Midlands or South franchises. For the small number of participants who are linked to both a BAFA and BUCS team in different geographical alignments, their U19 team will take precedence. This alignment approach also applies to coaches. Applications for exemptions to this rule will require application to Competition Management and will be decided at their discretion following consultation with the impacted franchise teams. Club alignments can be found below.

Will this become the only route to joining the U19 National Programme team?

While this model will become the primary talent pathway from National Leagues to National Programme football, there will still be mechanisms to ensure those who are unable to participate in regional activity have a chance to engage with the National Programme.

What’s next?

In order to maintain a transparent process, National Leagues Competition Management are holding an online FAQ drop in session on Monday 13th May 2024 at 8pm to answer pre-submitted questions about the regional 11v11 pilot and franchise plans. Clubs are encouraged to submit any concerns or questions of a constructive nature on a Q&A form which will be emailed to U16 and U19 club contacts over the coming days.

What is the application process for Team North and Team South?

As part of establishing the North and South franchise, we are looking to appoint a Head Coach and General Manager for each of these teams and work with them to identify and appoint their coaching and support staff and set up and develop their franchises.

Interested applicants will be interviewed by a panel made up of representatives from Competition Management and the National Programme. On conclusion, the panel will appoint their selected franchise leads. These candidates will then work with and be guided by Sam Stoddart and National Leagues Competition Management to establish these franchises, and fixtures will be scheduled on completion of the same.

You can find role profiles for the Head Coach and General Manager roles for north and south here:

U19 Regional Football – head coach x 2 – North and South (volunteer role)

U19 Regional Football – general manager x 2 – North and South (volunteer role)


Interested applicants are expected to send a short covering letter detailing their coaching or management experience and outlining their suitability for the role by 10pm on Friday 17 May 2024.

Sam Stoddart U16 & U19 Competition Development Manager is hugely excited to get this project off the ground: “I have to thank Scott Rowe and Tonye Dokubo for their acknowledgement and collaboration. It is this type of combined effort that will allow this initiative to excel! At its core this project will allow U19 Players within the UK to participate in 11v11 football, something that currently isn’t an option for players who may not attend university or aren’t part of the current National Programme set up. We’re aiming to tackle this whilst providing a sustainable and exciting pipeline for our National U19 squad.”

Tonye Dokubo, National Programme Operations Manager is also excited for the possibilities offered by this project. “We’ve already seen the successes that Scotland have had with their U19 Franchise and I am confident that this can be replicated across the other regions. There is no doubting the benefits of getting our U19 players in the UK playing 11v11 football as early as possible. This should also have a positive effect on the U19 National team as they will have a wider pool of players with 11v11 football experience to recruit from.

We are also well aware of the fact that with the BAFA National Leagues and the BUCS competition, some of our U19 players will already be playing a substantial amount of football. Player welfare will always be the number one priority and that is why there will be an emphasis on clear, open, and transparent communication between the franchises, the National Leagues and BUCS teams within their regions to ensure that we are avoiding player burnout.”

Images courtesy of N50Sports Photography

Regional Franchise Alignments:


Team Scotland U19  Team North U19 Team Midlands U19 Team South U19  SGS Pride 
U16 Teams  Aberdeen Roughnecks Chester Romans Birmingham Lions Hertfordshire Cheetahs SGS Pride U17 
Dunfermline Kings Chorley Buccaneers Leicester Panthers Kent Exiles
East Kilbride Pirates Darlington Steam Northant Knights Kent Phoenix
Edinburgh Napier Knights Leigh Miner Bandits Nuneaton Jaguars London Blitz
Glasgow Tigers Lincolnshire Bombers Rugby Rhinos London Warriors
Highland Wildcats  Manchester Titans  Tamworth Phoenix Oxford Saints
Paisley Bears North East Academy  Poole Dolphins
Scunthorpe Alphas Rushmoor Knights
Sheffield Giants Solent Seahawks
Yorkshire Academy Assassins South Wales Warriors
Swindon Storm
Wembley Stallions
U19 Teams  East Kilbride Pirates Chester Romans Birmingham Lions Hertfordshire Cheetahs SGS Pride U19
Edinburgh Napier Knights Chorley Buccaneers Northant Knights Ipswich Cardinals
Highland Wildcats  Lincolnshire Bombers Nottingham Caesars  Kent Exiles
Manchester Titans  Rugby Rhinos London Blitz
North East Academy Sandwell Steeler’s London Warriors
Scunthorpe Alphas Tamworth Phoenix Poole Dolphins
Sheffield Giants Rushmoor Knights
Somerset Wyverns
South London Renegades
Team Scotland U19  Team North U19 Team Midlands U19 Team South U19  SGS Pride 
BUCS Teams Aberdeen Bulls Bradford Bears Nottingham Gold Portsmouth Destroyers SGS Pride
Edinburgh Mavericks Durham Saints Birmingham Lions Oxford Lancers
Edinburgh Napier Knights Hull Sharks Coventry Uni Jets Royal Holloway Bears
Glasgow Tigers  Lancaster Bombers NTU Renegades Reading Knights
Herriot Watt Wolverines Leeds Beckett Carnegie Warwick Wolves Brunel Burners
Stirling Clansmen Leeds Gryphons Leicester Longhorns Essex Blades
UWS Pyros Liverpool Raptors Bangor Muddogs Kent Falcons
LJMU Fury Edge Hill Vikings QMBL Vipers
Mancheter Tyrants Lincoln Colonials UEA Pirates
MMU Eagles DMU Lions KCL Regents
Newcastle Raiders Cambridge Pythons Sussex Saxons
Northumbria Mustangs Nottingham Green Canterbury Chargers
Sheffield Hallam Warriors  ARU Siege City Wolfpack
Sheffield Sabres Derby Braves Greenwich Mariners
Sunderland Spartans Staffordshire Stallions Kingston Cougars
UCLAN Rams  Keele Crusaders UCL Emperors
York Centurions Loughborough Students UEL Phoenix 
YSJ Jaguars Brighton Panthers
Chichester Spitfires 
UWE Bullets
Cardiff Cobras
Bournemouth Bobcats
Exeter Demons
Bristol Barracuda
Southampton Stags
Bath Killer Bees
Worcester Royals
Tarannau Aberystwyth
Gloucestershire Gladiators
Plymouth Blitz 
Swansea Titans
Bath Spa Bulldogs
Solent RedHawks 
Oxford Brookes
Surrey Stingers