J-League Grade 12 – 2024

J-League Grade 12 – 2024

Grade 12 Football 2024

The options for Grade 12 players in 2023 are:

  • Local Saturday competition (Open Grade or Grade 11+)
  • J-League Development Team (Away games every second week in Rotorua/Tauranga/Hamilton)

The following is information for those players interested in being involved in the J-League:

  • Pre Season is likely to start in March 2023
  • Season / Games likely to start end April/early May
  • Games are 9v9
  • Games will be on Saturdays (likely to be 10.15 or 11am kickoffs)
  • Likely to be 2 trainings a week
  • Every second game is an away game. Parents are responsible for travel.
  • Home games – Parents provide a light lunch for the travelling team in clubrooms afterwards
  • This is likely to be a mixed team (Girls and Boys)


More detail below….

J-League Locations

There are two options for J-league: Waikato and Bay of Plenty. Because of our geographical location, we can chose which league to be involved in. We are likely to go for BOP as the travel is slightly less with Rotorua games being some of the away games.

Waikato – Hamilton/Cambridge/Matamata
BOP – Rotorua/Tauranga

Parents are responsible for the travel to and from the games; and the squad carpooled when possible.


2024 Coaching

The WaiBOP requirement is that one of the coaching team has a Level 2 Coaching Certificate from Football New Zealand.

We are in discussions about coaching, but no appointments have been made, and we are still inviting expressions of interest for coaching (ideally 2 or even 3 people who can take this role on in a shared capacity). Having more than one coach really relived the pressure on one coach for trainings and travel, and we would like to see coaching partnerships continue. Having a manager for the team to take on the communication and organisation can also be really helpful.

The club has no paid coaching roles, but we do apply for funding grants (for example, to cover some petrol costs).


The expectation is that those players who are involved in this squad are taking their Football seriously. We expect players to attend two trainings a week, and may set additional tasks outside of training (eg fitness)


Squad Selection and Size

Squad size is likely to be 12/13 players. The coaches need to balance the desire to give as many players as possible a chance to play; and understanding that having too many subs in a squad can mean a lot of non playing time, which is a difficult ask for parents to travel 4hrs for every second weekend.

Squad selection will likely happen over a series of pre-season training sessions in March/April 2024.


“Would you rather win Grade 12, or be selected for the Under 17 National Squad?”

This was a question posed to the 2021 Grade 12 team by WaiBOP Development Officer Tracy Wrigley who came and lead some training sessions here in Taupo. All players said they would rather be selected for the Under 17 National Squad than win the Grade 12 league. This was a really important way to frame the season. If the goal is to win a game, or the season, you make different choices as a team and as a coach. You play your strongest players. You don’t take risks. You don’t play “out of position”.

If you are looking to be the best you can be in 5 years time, you be brave. You take risks. You play players in new, complementary positions. You make mistakes – and you get better individually, and as a team.

This mentality of development is something that as a club we strongly support and want to continue. As such, we will continue the philosophy of our Saturday teams, such as equal playing time, and playing in a range of positions, in this league.


Grade 12 Saturday Club Football

For the last two years, we haven’t had a large enough group of Grade 12 players to have a local Grade 12 competition. Players in Grade 12 who have not been in the Development League Team have played either Open Grade or Grade 11+.



Can we have 2 teams in the Development League?

Yes, if we had the numbers, we could, with WaiBOP approval. However, our indication currently is that we will only have the numbers for one team. If we had two, each team would need 2 coaches and each team would need a coach with a Level 2 Certificate.

Who is eligible?

Players (Boys and Girls) born in 2012.

We can also have Girls born in 2011, who require a WaiBOP dispensation to play down a grade.

Depending on numbers, there may be the possibility for 2012 born players to be involved. Please indicate interest, and depending on the numbers/makeup of the squad may be invited to join the pre season training.

What is the cost?

Fees for 2024 are yet to be set, however this year will include off field kit. Please keep in mind the cost of travel for away games. Keeping football affordable is something that Taupo AFC strives for.

When is all this happening?

Further information will be provided in February to those who have indicated their interest.

To register interest now, in playing and/or coaching, or if you have any questions, please email juniors@taupofootball.org.nz.


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