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

NSFA operate three Skill Acquisition Program (SAP) licences:

  • Northern Tigers (NT) SAP – U9/U10/U11/U12
  • Northern Lions (NSFA) 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. Players are encouraged to be competitive and win games, but not at the expense of our principles and long-term development objectives.
  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.

2019 SAP Player Selection Process

The selection process for the 2019 season will change from the one off Trial Day process conducted in previous years. The one off trial day process makes informed decisions difficult when taking into account our philosophy of long-term player development. Some 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 players 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.

2019 SAP Selection Process

  • The process will stretch over a number of months in 2018 – feedback on 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 between 2007 and 2010.

Players are identified and feedback is obtained in a number of different ways throughout the 2018 season:

  1. NSFA representatives attend local NSFA games to observe players participating in a familiar environment.
  2. NSFA request clubs to identify and recommend potentially talented players at their club against a set of criteria.
  3. For players born in 2009 and 2010 free Talent ID sessions are run in late July/early August – Talent ID Sessions – Click Here
  4. Players identified at NSFA XLR8 programs – XLR8 Info – Click Here
  5. Players can submit an expression of interest via the Northern Tigers website – Expression of Interest – Click Here
  6. Players identified/recommended may be invited to train with existing SAP players in the SAP environment.
  7. Existing SAP players are continually monitored and reviewed during the season.

Selection Process Timeline for 2019

May to August 2018 Identify players in community football who are currently not playing SAP
Late August 2018 SAP offers are made for the 2019 season
Mid October 2018 If there are any places available open trials will be conducted to fill any remaining places. Information on available places and potential trials will be advertised on in mid September 2018
Early November 2018 SAP 2019 season training commences

NSFA operate three Skill Acquisition Program (SAP) licences:

  • Northern Tigers FC SAP (NT) – U9/U10/U11/U12
  • Northern Suburbs Football Association (NSFA) Lions 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 of the highest standard 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/FFA 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 FFA National Curriculum the focus is on core skill development. This technical development will provide the foundation for players to later progress into National Premier League Youth 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.

Why are there 3 SAP licences (NT SAP, NSFA SAP, NT Girls Only SAP) run by NSFA?

NSFA have run one SAP licence (Northern Tigers SAP) since Football NSW (FNSW) introduced SAP in 2013. The number of players’ trialling for a place in the Northern Tigers SAP program has continued to grow over the past few seasons, resulting in many talented and motivated local players missing an opportunity. The additional SAP licence (NSFA SAP) and Girls Only SAP now provide greater opportunities to satisfy the local demand for this level of development for boys and girls.

What is the difference between NT SAP and NSFA SAP?

The NSFA Technical Director is responsible for both licences ensuring consistency across both programs, including but not limited to: football philosophy, coaching quality and style, periodised annual season plans, training and match day structures.

The only differences between NT and NSFA SAP:

  1. Coaches – NT SAP and NSFA SAP have their own unique and dedicated coaching teams (both equivalent in standard).
  2. Training locations:
  • NT SAP: Charles Bean Sportsground (Lindfield)
  • NSFA SAP: NTRA (North Turramurra)
Who can trial for NT SAP, NSFA SAP, NT Girls Only SAP?

Only players living in the NSFA region (within the Met Far North State Titles boundaries) are eligible represent NT SAP, NSFA SAP and NT Girls Only SAP. Proof of residential address will be required when selected. Please note this is a FNSW regulation.

Which Mixed SAP licence should you trial for - NT SAP or NSFA SAP?

You can trial/play for whichever licence you would prefer. Given NT and NSFA SAP are run identically; the point of difference is the training location. Most people will choose a licence based on the most convenient training location.

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 2019?

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

How many teams and players will be selected in each SAP licence in 2019?
Age Group Year Born NT SAP Squads NSFA SAP Squads NT Girls Only SAP
U9 2010* 20 (16 boys + 4 girls) 20 (16 boys + 4 girls) NA
U10 2009** 24 (20 boys + 4 girls) 24 (20 boys + 4 girls) 14
U11 2008 24 (20 boys + 4 girls) 24 (20 boys + 4 girls) 14
U12 2007 24 (20 boys + 4 girls) 24 (20 boys + 4 girls) 14
U13 2006 NA 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.


  • 2 teams in each age group with 2 coaches per 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:

  • 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 and weekend games?


Training sessions 3 sessions per week 3 sessions per week 3 sessions per week
Training Days Mon/Tues/Thurs Mon/Tues/Thurs Mon/Wed/Fri
Training Start Time Between 4.45pm and 7pm* Between 4.45pm and 7pm* Between 4.45pm and 7pm*
Training Duration 1hr to 1r 10min 1hr to 1r 10min 1hr to 1r 10min
Training locations Charles Bean Oval (Lindfield) North Turramurra Recreation Area (NTRA) North Turramurra Recreation Area (NTRA)
Games 1 per weekend(Sat or Sun) 1 per weekend(Sat or Sun) 1 per weekend(Sat or Sun)
Home Game Location NTRA NTRA NTRA
Home Kick Off Times** U9: 8.30am/9.30am

U10: 8.30am/9.30am

U11: 10.30am/11.30am

U12: 10.30am/11.30am

U9: 12.30pm/1.30pm

U10: 12.30pm/1.30pm

U11: 2.30pm/3.30pm

U12: 2.30pm/3.30pm

U10: 9.30am

U11: 9.30am

U12: 10.30am

U13: 11.30am

Away Kick Off Times Determined by the opposition Club Determined by the opposition Club Determined by the opposition Club
Season Duration Pre Xmas***: Nov/Dec

Pre Season: Feb/Mar

Season: Mar to Aug

Pre Xmas***: Nov/Dec

Pre Season: Feb/Mar

Season: Mar to Aug

Pre Xmas***: Nov/Dec

Pre Season: Feb/Mar

Season: Mar to Aug

*Specific times for each age group to be confirmed.

**NT and NSFA alternate morning/afternoon kick off times.

***Training only twice a week and no weekend games in this period.

Who are the SAP Coaches in 2019 and what experience/qualifications do they have?

The NSFA 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. For NT and NSFA SAP each age group has two assigned coaches per age group, Girls SAP have one assigned coach per age group.

What are the player fees for SAP in 2019?

The player registration fee is $1,500 incl GST.

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 NSFA 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.  Players may (in certain circumstances) be able to play in the age group below (determined by FNSW’s Relative Age Effect guidelines).

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 FFA National Curriculum in terms of playing style and age specific training content).

NSFA will be running Development Training Squads in 2019 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.

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:

Our Partners

Auto One Waitara
Besteam Sport
Business Plaza
Football NSW
Foundation IT
Wahroonga Village Podiatry