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

NSFA operate two Skill Acquisition Program (SAP) licences:

  • Northern Tigers FC SAP – U9/U10/U11/U12
  • Northern Tigers FC Girls Only SAP – U10/U11/U12/U13

Our SAP Philosophy

  1. Develop people and players for Northern Tigers FC senior teams (and beyond).
  2. Provide a positive and enjoyable learning environment for the players.
  3. Primary focus is on individual player development and understanding of the game within a team context.
  4. Long-term player development outcomes are more important than short-term performance fluctuations.
  5. Promote a winning mentality.
  6. These principles are reflected in our player selections, style of play, coaching style and program structure.
  • Players earn game time through effort, commitment, winning mentality
  • Players are encouraged to make decisions for themselves
  • Mistakes are viewed as learning opportunities that can accelerate development when combined with a growth mindset
  • Match day teams are of a similar/equal ability in each age group
  • Players are rotated between teams on a regular basis
  • Players will have an opportunity to play in all playing positions, including Goalkeeper in the absence of a dedicated Goalkeeper
  • Effort is rewarded

Player Eligibility

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.

SAP Player Selection Process

In 2025 Northern Tigers FC will operate one mixed FNSW SAP licence and one Girls Only SAP licence.

The player identification and selection process for the 2025 season is conducted over a number of months in 2024, replacing the ‘one off trial day’ process. This is more consistent with our philosophy of long-term player development. Some of the issues with the ‘one off trial day’:

  1. Players can miss attending the trial day due to sickness, injury, holiday, other sport commitments, not 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 are difficult to assess.
  5. The process can be stressful for players and parents.


2025 SAP Selection Process

  • Players must reside within the Metropolitan Far North State Titles boundary (FNSW regulations) to be considered for selection.
  • The process will stretch over a number of months in 2024 – observation of more players, multiple times, in different environments, from different sources.
  • Gaining input from a number of different stakeholders including NSFA Clubs – to reach more players and provide a more holistic assessment of each player.
  • Take into consideration as many players as possible born in the eligible age groups.

Players are identified and assessed in a number of different ways throughout the 2024 season:

  1. Existing SAP/GSAP players are continually monitored and reviewed during the season.
  2. Northern Tigers Development Squad players are continually monitored and reviewed during the season.
  3. We invite NSFA Clubs to identify and recommend potentially talented players.
  4. Players are observed playing in the NSFA community competitions.
  5. Players identified at XLR8 programs
  6. Players can submit an expression of interest via the Northern Tigers website to seek a trial opportunity.
  7. Players identified/recommended/EOI may be invited to train with existing SAP/GSAP players in the SAP/GSAP environment or attend separate trial sessions.


Selection Process Timeline for 2025

March to August 2024 Identify and assess players
August/September 2024 SAP/GSAP offers are made for the 2024 season
October/November 2024 If there are any places available trials may be conducted to fill the remaining places. Information on available places and potential trials will be advertised on at this time.

Refer to the SAP FAQ’s for more detailed information on Northern Tigers SAP.

NSFA operate two Skill Acquisition Program (SAP) licences:

  • Northern Tigers FC SAP – U9/U10/U11/U12
  • Northern Tigers FC Girls Only SAP – U10/U11/U12/U13

If you have any questions that cannot be answered by the information below please email

What is the Skill Acquisition Program?

SAP is a football development program at the highest standard within NSW and is for talented and committed players wanting to take the first step on the representative player pathway. SAP is the start of the FNSW/FA official pathway for players. SAP teams can be made up of both boys and girls (where the majority of players are boys), and there is a Girls Only SAP option.

Consistent with the skill acquisition phase of the FA National Curriculum the focus is on core skill development. This technical development will provide the foundation for players to later progress into Northern Tigers FC Youth League teams and beyond.

In addition to regular training sessions, players will be able to display their skills against other SAP licences from the metro area and outer Sydney areas in a season of scheduled non-competition games and gala days.

What is the eligibility criteria to represent NT SAP and NT Girls Only SAP?

Players must reside within the Met Far North State Titles boundaries. Proof of residential address will be required when selected. Please note this is a FNSW regulation.

Should girls play in mixed SAP or Girls Only?

Girls have a choice to be considered for both the mixed and Girls Only programs. Each individual’s preference is considered, along with coach recommendations, in consultation with parents.

Can a child register to play for a local club team and SAP at the same time during 2025?

No. Players are not permitted to be dual registered for a local team and a SAP team (this is a Football NSW and FA regulation).

How many teams and players will be selected in each SAP licence in 2025?
Age Group Year Born NT SAP Squads NT Girls Only SAP
U9 2016* 20 (16 boys + 4 girls) NA
U10 2015** 24 (20 boys + 4 girls) 14
U11 2014 24 (20 boys + 4 girls) 14
U12 2013 24 (20 boys + 4 girls) 14
U13 2012 NA 14

NB: The player numbers above are the maximum squad sizes; these do not have to be achieved if it is deemed the potential player quality does not justify selection.

* 2017 born players may be considered
** For Girls Only SAP 2016 born players may be considered


  • Dedicated NT SAP Technical Director
  • Two coaches are allocated per age group
  • On game day there are 2 teams in each age group
  • Each age group trains as one squad, with the squad split into 2 teams of similar ability for the weekend games (players are rotated between the teams over the season)
  • U9 – 7 v 7 game format
  • U10/U11/U12 – 9 v 9 game format

NT Girls Only SAP:

  • Dedicated NT Girls SAP Technical Director
  • One coach is allocated per age group
  • 1 team in each age group
  • U10/U11/U12 – 9 v 9 game format
  • U13 – 10 v 10 game format
When, where and what time are the training sessions?

SAP train at NTRA on Mon/Tues and Charles Bean on Thursdays. Start time 5pm

GSAP train at NTRA on Tues/Thur/Fri. Start time either 5pm or 6.15pm.

When, where and what time are the games?

The game schedule with dates/times for the entire season is typically released by FNSW in December.

  NT SAP NT Girls Only SAP
Games Sat or Sun (mainly Saturday) Sat or Sun (mainly Sunday)
Home Game Location NTRA NTRA
Home Kick Off Times* U9: 8:30am/9:30amU10: 8:30am/9:30amU11: 10:30am/11:30am

U12: 10:30am/11:30am

U10: 9amU11: 9amU12: 10am

U13: 11am

Away Kick Off Times Determined by the opposition Club Determined by the opposition Club
Season Duration (Games) Pre-Season: Feb/MarSeason: Mar to Aug Pre-Season: Feb/MarSeason: Mar to Aug

*Subject to change

Who are the SAP Coaches and what experience/qualifications do they have?

The NT Technical Director (Jason Eagar) has overseen SAP since the commencement of the program in 2013; holds an FFA A Licence, Masters in Sports Coaching and is an Advanced C Licence Presenter. All SAP coaches hold the minimum level of qualification as required by FNSW along with a Working with Children Check. Goalkeeper specific training is also provided.

What are the player fees for SAP?

The player registration fee is $1,672 incl GST.*

*Subject to change by FNSW

Can you trial/play an age group up?

All new players are considered initially for selection in their own age group unless specifically advised otherwise by the NT Technical Director.  Assessments will be made by the coaching staff to determine if it is in the player’s best interest to play up (or down) an age group.

Are dedicated Goalkeepers selected for each age group/team?

If a player in any age group is interested in playing Goalkeeper we will certainly consider/select them as a dedicated Goalkeeper. If there are no dedicated Goalkeepers selected then players are rotated into the Goalkeeper position on a weekly basis for games. Goalkeepers are provided with Goalkeeper specific training.

What are the player development options for players not selected into a SAP squad?

Identify a local NSFA club with a commitment to player development, this should include a commitment to coaching standards (including but not limited to coach accreditation standards, supporting the FA National Curriculum in terms of playing style and age specific training content).

NSFA Association SAP licenced Clubs will provide the development environment detailed above including competitive games in the NSFA SAP League – NSFA SAP League Info – Click Here

Northern Tigers run Development Squads for U8 up to U13 age groups; players will be selected to join these training squads. Training will be once a week (Friday) at Charles Bean and NTRA. For more information on the Development Squads – Development Squad Info – Click Here

Additional curriculum based professional training can be obtained via the NSFA XLR8 player development programs – XLR8 Info – Click Here


Please direct all questions by email to:

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