The Skill Acquisition Program (SAP) provides a clear, professionally delivered development opportunity for young footballers in NSW.

Northern Tigers Football Club and Northern Suburbs Football Association together run two SAP Licences – Northern Tigers SAP and NSFA Lions SAP. These programs are of equal standing and are provided with the same level of coaching and support.

SAP covers Under-9’s through to Under-12’s, at which point players can progress into the NPL Youth or Association Youth League.

Our Approach

All representative programs at NSFA and Northern Tigers have a ‘player-centric’ approach and this year we extended that to include our smallest, but most exciting players by issuing Individual Player Assessment Reports to each player. Each report set out key attributes for player development and an assessment from their coaches.

Each player received a detailed SAP report made up of two components. Part A was a direct feedback report from their TWO coaches, outlining the player’s character, effort and attitude as well as a reflection on their core skills development. Part B of the report is a technical assessment of players within a 5 vs 2 exercise where all players were filmed. Coaches were able to dissect each player’s individual skills, techniques and intelligence to provide a detailed individual assessment.

We hope these reports will be used positively to encourage players to work outside of the SAP environment to better themselves, as well as providing a detailed guide for coaches to hone in on individuals to improve them into future First Grade Tigers!


To register for these SAP programs, players must reside within boundaries of either the Northern Suburbs Football Association or Central Coast Football, as per Football NSW regulations. Proof of residency is required at the time of registration.

2018 Player Selection Process

The selection process for the 2018 season will change from the Trial Day/s process conducted in previous years. The one off trial day/window process makes informed decisions difficult when taking into account our philosophy of long-term player development. Some issues with the trial day/window process include:

  1. Players can miss attending the trial window due to sickness, injury, holiday, other sport commitments, not being aware they are on.
  2. Players unfamiliar with the process of a selection trial may become nervous, conservative, and not perform to their potential in a one off trial scenario
  3. Due to the volume of players attending the trials and the limited time to conduct the trial; the process does not allow for a thorough assessment of a player’s potential
  4. The assessment of players can only be limited to technical skills – important attributes related to attitude and the capability to develop in the long-term cannot be assessed
  5. The process can be stressful for players and parents

Changes made for 2018

  • The process will stretch over a number of months in 2017 (observe more players, multiple times, in different environments)
  • Gaining input from a number of different stakeholders (to reach more players and provide a more holistic assessment of each player)
  • Take into consideration as many players as possible born between 2006 and 2009
  • Players are identified and assessed in a number of different ways throughout the 2017 season:
  1. NSFA representatives attend local NSFA games to observe players participating in a familiar environment. Players are identified and invited to multiple sessions to be assessed by SAP coaches.
  2. NSFA identify high performing community teams and invite them to ‘SAP Experience’ training sessions to be assessed by SAP coaches.
  3. NSFA request clubs to identify potentially talented players at their club against a set of criteria. These players are invited to multiple sessions to be assessed by SAP coaches.
  4. Players identified at NSFA Football School/Holiday Clinics programs are invited to multiple sessions to be assessed by SAP coaches.
  5. Players can express an interest in trialling for SAP via the NSFA/Northern Tigers website – NSFA representatives then seek out more information from the players’ club and possibly invite them to attend some sessions to be assessed by SAP coaches.
  6. Existing SAP players are continually assessed during the season, including two formal assessments.

Selection Process Timeline for 2018

June to August 2017 Identify players in community football who are currently not playing SAP
August 2017 Seek expressions of interest from existing SAP players for 2018
August 2017 Invite identified community players and existing SAP players to 5 weeks of SAP Games in August/September 2017 for further assessment.
August/September 2017 Conduct 5 weeks of SAP Games (note players that do not attend will still be considered for SAP selection)
End September 2017 First Round Offers Released for SAP places in 2018
Early October 2017 First Round Offers Acceptance due
Early October 2017 Second Round Offers (if required) Released for SAP places in 2018
Mid October 2017 Second Round Offers (if required) Acceptance due
Early November 2017 SAP 2018 training commences

Our Partners

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Football NSW
Foundation IT
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Team Rhino
Wahroonga Village Podiatry