Can my son play for two football teams is the most common question we receive from the Player Scout community.
The answer depends on what level and age your child is playing. This can also come down to coach’s or club’s discretion.
Can My Son Play for Two Football Teams: Grassroots
If your son is playing Saturday or Sunday grassroots football, then he must register or sign for that club.
The club then register the player with the local grassroots league. This informs them that your son is now a member of that team and can now play for that Sunday team. But, if your son receives a separate offer to play on a Saturday for a different grassroots team, this is ok as the two leagues do not conflict.
This is also the case for playing school fixtures and grassroots fixture. In fact, most schools encourage young players to engage in weekend grassroots football.
Can My Son Play for Two Football Teams: Grassroots and Academy
When a player signs for a professional academy, things get a little more serious. Depending on age (see below) your son may train 3-5 hours a week plus a game or tournament on the weekend.
So, most academies don’t allow players to continue playing grassroots football. Pro clubs invest in expert coaching and care for young players and need them to commit to only them. This includes:
- Professional coaching
- Professional facilities
- Top level game programmes
A player registration confirms this mutual agreement. Where the player agrees to the clubs rules and regulations and the club agrees to offer the player the highest standard of coaching and development.
Academy games/training often coincides with the grassroots games. Therefore even if the academy allow you, it’s difficult to play for both.
When Can My Son Play for Two Academy Teams?
Academies cannot register players before the age Under 9’s. Although pro clubs offer players younger players the chance to join either the development centres of the Pre Academy.
The pre-academy is one step below joining the official academy set-up. The main goal is to prepare a young player for academy football by introducing the clubs coaching philosophy and syllabus. This is also a great period to ease the child’s nerve by getting to know the club and its coaches. Academy coaches often work with the pre academy, so they can get to know future players.
Pre Academy players receive invites to train and play in a series of friendly games for the club. This is not an official registration for the club, so players are free to play for grassroots teams, school and even other pre academies.
Giving you the opportunity to learn more about the professional team infrastructure and allows the player to keep playing for fun with his grassroots team.
Pre-Academy and development centres are not essential for a player’s development. But they can ease the transition between grassroots football and academy.
What Is an Academy Registration?
The English academy system official starts at U9’s with an agreement between the player and the academy. This is an academy player registration.
Registration between a club and player is a binding agreement and taken very serious by the Football Association. Both sides mist sing an agreement/registration form. The player must remain at the club for as long as the registration suggest, this depends on the player’s age.
Registration Duration per Age Group:
The age group you play in depends on the age you will be on August 31st, below is the current age group birthday calculator:
Any player under registration cannot play for any other football club. An exception to this may be the player’s school team, however this depends on the school/club relationship.
Every young player from U9 to U18 in the academy system has to register before taking part in any academy training or games. This includes:
- Players on trial
- Student Registration
- Professional Contract
Registration will then carry on until the end of the registration period.
The question can my son play for two football teams is not as straight forward as it first seems. It all depends on the your level and age.
You will enjoy playing football more if the pressure is off. Playing in the park, for your school or grassroots teams helps build your confidence and social skills. You will learn technical skills and receive professional coaching with Pre academy/Academy. However playing at this level at a too young an age may not benefit you in the long run.
If your son is good enough to have offers from two football teams (and you have the time to cart them around to matches) we suggest taken every opportunity to enjoy the game and play as much as possible. As when it’s time for academy registration, playing for fun will be a thing of the past.
We will leave the last word to Liverpool FC legend Dietmar Hamann:
“I think that grassroots football is more important than any academy football because you need to develop your skill and ability, make mistakes yourself and find solutions to change”