Junior Development League

The Junior Development League is a way to provide talented junior players with the best possible learning environment. We do this through a specific skill acquisition program through clubs competing in the National Premier Leagues or the Hit106.9 Northern League One competitions. 

The Junior Development League is non-competitive and focuses instead on individual skill development. This provides a pathway for potentially talented players to represent a club from nine to 12-years-old. 

To include players from more regional areas, Northern NSW Football hosts a series of Junior Development League gala days in regional areas throughout the season.

2024 Junior Development League - approved clubs

NNSWF has approved clubs in the below table, either fully or on a provisional basis, to participate in the 2024 Junior Development League.

Adamstown Rosebud FC1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Provisional)1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)N/AN/AN/A
Adamstown Rosebud JFCN/AN/AN/AN/A1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)
Belmont Swansea FC1 Team (Approved)2 Teams (Approved)2 Teams (Approved)1 Team (Approved)N/AN/AN/A
Broadmeadow Magic FC1 Team (Approved)   1 Team (Provisional)2 Teams (Approved)2 Teams (Provisional)2 Teams (Approved)1 Team (Provisional)1 Team (Provisional)1 Team (Provisional)
Central Coast United FC2 Teams (Approved)2 Teams (Approved)2 Teams (Approved)2 Teams (Approved)N/AN/AN/A
Charlestown Azzurri FC2 Teams (Provisional)2 Teams (Provisional)1 Team (Approved)   1 Team (Provisional)1 Team (Approved)   1 Team (Provisional)1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)
Cooks Hill United FC2 Teams (Provisional)1 Team (Approved)   1 Team (Provisional)1 Team (Approved)   1 Team (Provisional)1 Team (Approved)   1 Team (Provisional)N/AN/AN/A
Edgeworth FC2 Teams (Approved)2 Teams (Approved)2 Teams (Approved)2 Teams (Approved)N/AN/AN/A
Kahibah FC1 Team (Provisional)1 Team (Provisional)1 Team (Provisional)1 Team (Provisional)N/AN/AN/A
Lake Macquarie City FC2 Teams (Approved)1 Team (Approved)   1 Team (Provisional)2 Teams (Approved)2 Teams (Approved)N/AN/AN/A
Lambton Jaffas FC2 Teams (Approved)1 Team (Approved)   1 Team (Provisional)2 Teams (Approved)2 Teams (Approved)N/AN/AN/A
Maitland FC1 Team (Approved)   1 Team (Provisional)1 Team (Approved)   1 Team (Provisional)2 Teams (Approved)2 Teams (Approved)1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)
New Lambton FC2 Teams (Approved)2 Teams (Provisional)2 Teams (Approved)1 Team (Approved)   1 Team (Provisional)1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)
Newcastle Olympic FC2 Teams (Approved)2 Teams (Approved)2 Teams (Approved)2 Teams (Approved)1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)
NIAS FCN/A1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)N/AN/AN/A
Singleton Strikers FC1 Team (Provisional)1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)N/AN/AN/A
South Cardiff FC1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)N/AN/AN/A
Toronto Awaba FC1 Team (Provisional)1 Team (Provisional)1 Team (Provisional)1 Team (Approved)N/AN/AN/A
Valentine FC2 Teams (Approved)2 Teams (Approved)1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)N/AN/AN/A
Warners Bay FCN/AN/AN/AN/A1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)
West Wallsend SFC1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)1 Team (Approved)N/AN/AN/A
Weston Workers FC2 Teams (Approved)2 Teams (Approved)2 Teams (Approved)2 Teams (Approved)N/AN/AN/A

Provisional approval has been granted on the basis the club meets the requirements set out within the JDL Licence Agreement.

Frequently asked questions

What is the purpose of Junior Development League (JDL)?

To provide potentially talented players with the best possible learning environment through a specific Skill Acquisition Program delivered by clubs competing in NNSWF’s Premier Competitions. JDL is non-competitive and focuses on individual skill development. JDL provides a pathway for potentially talented players to represent a club from the age of 9 through to Seniors in the National Premier Leagues (NPL NNSW), Women’s Premier League (WPL) or Northern League 1 (NL1). JDL provides Premier Clubs with an opportunity to identify and develop players for the respective youth competitions as opposed to identifying players from u/12 community clubs.

Why was Phase 1 of the draw held at the LMRFF?

Phase 1 was conducted at the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility (LMRFF) to enable NNSWF’s Technical Team to assess the skill level of players within teams as many times as possible in a centralised and controlled environment. The use of Football Five5 pitches was endorsed by Football Australia’s Technical Director. This approach enabled NNSWF to: • Complete 330 team assessments undertaken by NNSWF’s Technical Team to ascertain as accurately as possible the overall skill level of the players at each of the clubs. • Gather and benchmark data to guide future professional development sessions and the support provided by NNSWF Technical Advisors to Club Technical Directors (TDs). The use of the Football Five5 pitches (smaller pitch and less players) ensured that players got more touches, repeated the four core skills more often and increased the frequency of football decision-making.

How has NNSWF constructed Phase 2 fixtures?

NNSWF has assessed the data from 330 team assessments to appropriately group clubs for fixtures during the next 8 weeks. The placement of individual teams in pools may be considered in the future, however this approach is not supported by clubs due to logistical considerations including the capacity of Club Technical Directors to visit multiple venues on the same match day. This approach aims to minimise the prevalence of “blow-out” scores, which facilitate poor learning environments for all players involved. NNSWF acknowledges that some fixtures will still “blow-out”. NNSWF takes this opportunity to remind everyone that the JDL is a development league with the absolute focus on individual skill development. All premier clubs have been offered a licence to participate in the JDL. NNSWF does not distinguish between NPL and NL1 Clubs in the JDL. ALL clubs are JDL license holders and should not be distinguished in this phase as an NPL and NL1 club.

What will NNSWF do to assist and support clubs to develop their JDL program?

The JDL will be fixtured in three (3) phases in 2024.

This approach facilitates ongoing assessment of teams and club programs throughout the season and provides an opportunity for NNSWF to re-fixture the league on two (2) occasions throughout the season to better ensure clubs are engaged in matches that are at an appropriate level.

NNSWF’s Technical Advisors will be working with all JDL club TD’s throughout the season to provide feedback on their program delivery and to assist and support clubs to develop their young players.

How does the JDL benefit skilled and less-skilled players?

JDL is for players within the Skill Acquisition Phase.

The focus of the Skill Acquisition Phase of football development is to develop each individual player’s four (4) core skills:

  • 1v1
  • Running with the ball
  • First touch
  • Striking the ball


Whilst games are an important element of player development, it is important that progress is not measured by results or team performance but rather the progress of each individual player.

It is clear that winning or losing by large score lines is not ideal. NNSWF has implemented a staged format to the JDL in 2021 to better manage the likelihood and frequency of large score lines, however eradicating them all together is something that we simply cannot guarantee.

The format of the JDL fixtures is based on club programs rather than individual teams, and age groups. This allows club TD’s and other technical staff to be present for all matches at the same venue to support players and coaches participating in all matches.

Why are clubs allowed to put multiple teams into each age group?

Clubs are provided with the opportunity to have a maximum of (two) 2 teams per age group. The JDL considers that clubs need to develop and identify a minimum of 16 players to transition to 13’s. There is no evidence to suggest that limiting clubs to one team per JDL age group will disperse talented players across all clubs.

The maximum number of teams was agreed to by clubs and confirmed as part of the JDL participation agreement.

JDL clubs have the option to submit all, some or none of the age groups or teams up to the maximum that they feel benefits their club and their players.