What are the youth football categories?

One of the greatest riches of football is the wide range of grassroots football categories that exist. A key aspect for children to be able to practice this sport with players of their age and start practicing it from a very early age.

If we put children as young as 8 years old to play soccer with teenagers as young as 14, surely the result would be a scandal. Precisely for this reason, there are different football categories by age, which make inequalities disappear. We are talking about independent categories of the different provincial or regional football divisions that exist in each federation, which establishes the necessary context so that the organization of the different teams is as fair as possible. 

Since this topic can be somewhat complex, especially due to the age of each of these categories, we leave you with an analysis of the different categories of Spanish football that currently exist. By the way, if your future player is not yet old enough to play or does not have a team of his category, he can always entertain himself with the footballers from the Playmobil Professions collection, with whom to pass the time and have fun while it is time to jump to field.

Age categories in Spanish football

Pre junior category: Although traditionally the pre junior category was the first in that classification by age of the players, there are many federations that have added soccer leagues for even younger children. There is no specific name for this category, although most of those that exist use the term lollipops to refer to it. Children of 3 or 4 years old play in this category, being the first contact of these little ones with this sport.

Prebenjamín category: Leaving aside the lollipops, this would be the first official category, so to speak. The age of the prebenjamín is between five and seven years old and they generally play in soccer fields 7, since doing so in a soccer field 11 would suppose an excessive physical effort. Third-year players, age 7, can also play on a junior team.

Youngest category: The next category to mention is the youngest. It includes 8 or 9-year-old players who, depending on their experience, are beginning to have a minimum knowledge of the game, as well as the skills to move around the field. Again, we are talking about a category that is played on 7-a-side football fields, for physical reasons. By the way, the oldest youngest, nine years old, can play in the higher category.

Fingerling category: Let’s keep growing to talk about fingerlings. Following the pattern we have discussed, the age of these players would be 10 to 11 years. In this case, since the children already have greater physical capacity, they can now play on 11-a-side soccer fields, although most of the soccer leagues dedicated to this age usually play on 7-a-side soccer fields. superior age, 11 years, can play in infantile.

Children’s category: The children’s category is the one that welcomes players aged 12 and 13. These teams already play exclusively on 11-a-side football pitches and with conventional footballs, since the players already have both the physical background and the technical background to move adequately on larger pitches. All of them can play in cadets.

Cadet category: To play in cadet, the soccer player’s age must be 14 or 15 years old. We are talking about ages in which the game is already more conventional and where both experience and training are noticeable. The proof is that this is one of the most versatile divisions in terms of age categories in football, since these players can participate in youth and even senior matches, if they are older cadets, also called juniors. second year.

Youth category: This category is the last one before reaching adulthood, covering players aged 16 or 17. Needless to say, in it the players are practically trained and they only have to develop their skills and talent. Obviously, these players are authorized to play in senior without problems.

Senior category: This category is the one formed by the players once they turn 18, being the broadest of all the ones we have analyzed. These players are the ones who play the different football divisions that we know, such as regional, third, second B, etc. It has no upper age limit, so any player can join it once they are of legal age.

Veteran Category: This would be the last category, by age, used for specific tournaments for veteran players. However, to be a veteran it is enough to have turned 30, so let’s not think about very old players either. Obviously, all veterans can play in senior and, in fact, it is what usually happens in reality.

Final note: Although the possibility that a player from one category can play matches in the next category is widely accepted, it is worth knowing that it is the regulations of the different federations that authorize this option.

Women’s Football

All the divisions that we have discussed are valid for both female and male players. Therefore, if it is female soccer, there will be divisions such as female cadet, female child, female benjamin, etc. The problem is that, sometimes, the number of players is not so large as to create leagues or divisions as distributed as those of men’s soccer. 

In these cases, it is common for players from different categories to be mixed. In general, all the players from the youth category upwards form part of the senior category, while the one from youth downwards would form the base category. Something that can lead to youth playing with children, which does not generate the most balanced soccer classification, but at least allows those who want to play. In any case, these divisions by age and category are the responsibility of each federation, serving as a reference as to how a soccer classification by age is established in this segment.

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