Scottish Women’s Football to launch new performance leagues to bridge gap
New Youth Performance Leagues are being launched by Scottish Women’s Football to ensure talented youngsters are challenged according to their level, and to bridge the gap between the grassroots youth setup and the former National Academy Programme (NAP).
The elite youth game is being enhanced, with the Scottish FA taking over running of the former NAP. This means SWF’s new performance tier will provide opportunities for clubs with teams in the grassroots game that do not yet qualify for the new SFA Talent Development setup.
The new Youth Performance Leagues will provide a stepping stone to academy football for the country’s best players at clubs that have outgrown the regional end of the game and are looking to push into the realms of performance football.
These will sit below the new Scottish FA performance leagues and participants will be eligible to play in the ScottishPower Youth Challenge Cup.
Teams signed up for the new leagues include: Ayr United, Finnart, Glasgow City, Hamilton Academical and Hutchison Vale at 14s, and Dunfermline Athletic, Edinburgh South, Falkirk, Glasgow City, Hibernian, Hutchison Vale, Musselburgh Windsor, Bayside and Spartans at 16s.
Commenting, SWF’s Operations and Competitions Manager Kirsty Fowler-Waugh, said: “With the Scottish FA taking over running of what was the NAP, I’m delighted to provide some clarity about SWF’s plans to ensure that the county’s top talent is able to develop in an environment that challenges them to be the best they can be.
“It has been clear that in some regional leagues there have been teams who require a higher level to develop, and our new youth performance leagues will do exactly that. They will also help ensure that as women’s football continues to grow the grassroots game develops at the same rate as the elite level and opportunities for girls to succeed grow too, with national-league football and a league cup competition.”
Fixtures for the new SWF Youth Performance Leagues and details of fixtures for the regional leagues will be released over the coming days.