Mixed football extended to under-15s

FA rule change will allows boys and girls in England to play football together at under-15s level next season

Boys and girls as old as 15 will be able to play football in the same team in England next season following a change in regulations by the Football Association.

FA shareholders unanimously voted to raise the age limit for mixed football from under-14s to under-15s in a bid to increase the number the number of girls playing football.

The FA says that the change, which will come into effect for the start of the 2013-14 season, will enable them to “conduct further research into mixed football at this older age group”.

It will be third time in three seasons that the age limit for mixed football has been raised, having moved from under-11s to under-13s for the 2011/12 season and then up to under-14s at the start of this season.

The FA has received positive feedback to the previous changes and has been encouraged to continue offering more opportunities for young girls to play football. The rule change aims to support the development of female players by providing greater flexibility for any girl who wants to play football.

The resolution to increase the age limit was approved by FA shareholders at their Annual General Meeting last week, having first been passed by the FA Board, FA Executive and FA Council.

“This is really great news,” said Kelly Simmons, Director of the National Game and Women’s Football at the FA.

“We are delighted that the FA Shareholders fully supported the rule change to enable boys and girls to play in the same teams if they wish to do so up to the under-15 age limit.

“The most important thing is to give girls who want to play football the choice.”

Image courtesy of TheFA.com

Have your say on the age limit for mixed football

Do you agree with the FA’s decision to raise the age limit for mixed football to under-15s?

Let us know what you think of the decision in the comments field below and cast your vote in our online poll on the subject – vote now on your club or league website, or via our demo site.

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Dan Pope
Writer at Teamer
Freelance writer, editor and copywriter, with a passion for grassroots sport. A right back turned football writer, Dan is the former editor of Club Website and has been lucky enough to work in the field of grassroots and community sport for the last 10 years.

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  1. Barry Wilson on May 24, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Barry Wilson St Edmunds I think it is a great idea as a lot of girls might not be up to playing for the national squad. This will help as a lot will keep going but I think they missed a chance might as well make all lower level football mixed or all football mixed some of the ladies are as good as the men so I do not see a problem. Thanks Barry Wilson St Edmunds.

  2. kelly riggans on May 24, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    my daughter is 8 nearly 9 she plays football for eastherts reds youth and she really enjoys football she is football mad and is improving all the time she is enthusiastic and loves playing football . she has played with a mixed team since she was 7 and really enjoys it she is as good as the boys and hopefully now she will progress in the coming years as she is comfortable in her team and is treated as an equal by her team mates . my daughter was worrying she would have to leave her team when she was 11 but now it has changed she will be very happy .

  3. Alli Brown on May 24, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    This is great news. Any ideas whether the Welsh FA have any plans to adopt the same ruling? At the moment mixed teams only allowed to U11’s.

    We are about to lose a player from our club as due to the current ruling she is ineligible to play as an under 12 and has to find a girls/womens team to play for.

  4. Tim Parsons on May 24, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Will the FA be providing Toilets and changing Facilities?

  5. gino esposito on May 24, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    What a disasterous decision. It will have the exact opposite effect on the number of girls playing football. They’ll be intimidated playing against boys at U15 level & stop altogether. Girls only league is the way forward. Getting young girls to play in an environment that they’re comfortable in is the only way to boost numbers.

  6. Darren Fisher on May 24, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    I think its a great move by the FA ( for a change ) we would love to have a girls team within our club billingham synthonia juniors but we dont have the space or coaches to do it so the longer the girls can play in mixed football the better

  7. joseph warburton on May 24, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    not before time a very good idea should have ben sorted a few years ago when i had to lose a few girls from one of my teams.girls are just as good as boys.

  8. Steve Daniels on May 25, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    I think the FA have made a mistake as a coach and committee member for Hoddesdon Owls Girls and Ladies FC this change doesn’t encourage girls football at all. At present we have teams playing football from U11 through to adult at times it is a struggle to keep players with competition from other sports and activities. it also defeats the pyramid system that the FA introduced with players progressing from county league clubs up through the regional leagues then on to the likes of Watford and Arsenal and on to represent the national teams. At our club we encourage the girls to play and have fun I can’t see this happening in a mixed team given the competitive nature of some clubs can only see the girl players sitting on the bench week in and out at the upper age level making up the numbers.

  9. Edward Wyatt on May 29, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Hi,could you please tell me,when the new 9v9 format starts next season,will there be offsides.I have asked this question and no one seems to know the answer.Many thanks Ted Wyatt

  10. John Young on June 14, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    What a disaster for girls football in England. I only hope the Welsh FA do not go down this route !….This will only reduce the incentive for clubs to operate girls only teams. The number of girls who will get game time at older age level in mixed teams will be few and far between. To those who say ‘good idea as we will lose X player otherwise’ , and ‘ good idea as we do not have enough players or coaches to operate a girls only team’ or ‘good idea as X player will have to find a girls only team otherwise’…I say…the problem you have is not that girls cannot play with mixed teams after a certain age…rather that your club scouting / infrstructure / recruitment (player and coaches) need to be improved at the girls level to be able to run girls only teams. Yes it is always a struggle to keep girls in football. but the only way is to develop the girls game , not paper over cracks by letting a VERY SMALL minority of girls play in mixed teams.

  11. John Young on June 14, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    To Ali Brown…Firstly why doesnt your club have a girls only set up…this would be a good time to see if parents are interested in starting one. Otherwise, there are excellent girls only teams within the SWFA, e.g my club is a member of the SWWGL league…(search for SWWGL on club website to see what teams are available if you are from SWales. Support girls football, don’t give up on it 🙂

  12. Jackie Walton on June 21, 2013 at 7:41 am

    What a disatarous idea! this will not do any thing for the development of girls/womens football, who voted for this? I have not seen anywhere to vote on this and I have been involved with girls an womens football a very long time. I agre with previous comments regarding the fact that girls playing in mixed teams are very few and far between. Instead of promoting girls playing in mixed teams till they are 15 why havent the FA looked into lowering the age of girls being able to play in women’s teams down to 15?? as a few years ago they were allowed to play in adults teams at the age 0f 14! and this worked extremly well for the ladies teams. Shouldnt the FA be concentrating their efforts in developing the female side of the game and encourage clubs to have girls only teams as well as mixed teams? this will give girls even more choice of where they want to play and keep them at the club the love..What about changing facilities and toilet facilities? are the FA going to pay out for the clubs to provide adequate facilities?

  13. Tracey Barnfield on June 24, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    My daughter wishes to play for Undy Ladies. She is 14 on Sunday (30.06) but your website gives the impression that you are not running your ladies team at present. Also, we have attended on Mondays at 6.30 and no one has been around. Perhaps you could let us know what is happening vis a vis ladies football please?

  14. John McCormack on September 10, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Is nobody looking at this from the other angle, this allows boys to register in girls leagues which is surely not right, how is that helping girls football?

  15. nathaniel on September 25, 2013 at 10:40 am

    i love football

  16. RICHARD on February 24, 2014 at 1:00 am

    great shout from some of the ppl regards mixed football, certain girls are better players than boys including and up to the upper age group now allowed, some girls like my daughter have no choice at present until they do reach 16+ as even the professional girls academies the standard is still not as good for certain girls, so mixing it and out performing the lads on sunday morning is their only option, most ppl who watch football at youth level appreciate good footballers whether they are male or female, if you can play you can play, the uneasy scenario here is that some girls can play’ and at a higher standard than their male players around them, and that sits uneasy with some dads/coaches……

  17. Becky Rowe on April 10, 2014 at 7:42 am

    I currently play football in a mixed team for my local club. I have played with them since under 8s and I am now an under 13. I think it is great the the age limit is higher because I have done some training sessions with a girls team and it’s nothing like playing with the boys. I strongly agree with the current age limit

  18. KEVIN PHILLIPS on April 24, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    hi my daughter has played in mixed football since she was seven years old,she is now 13 and still in mixed football,and loves it,i run my own team and i have four girls including my daughter,who play in the mixed team,the other three came from girls football.because the standard was poor and are have had there first season with me and have loved it,so i think it is a great idea.

  19. Darrall Scott on May 23, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Does anyone know if this rule applies to Northern Ireland as we have a girl playing for us and she would love to play for us next season

  20. Kevin on June 21, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    My daughter plays for 2 girls teams inc an older team and a boys team. The boys football is a far higher standard and involves very little travelling. Any girl who wants to improve should play boys football for as long as she is able to. If a girl can play competitively in a boys team she will walk into any girls side.

  21. Charlotte P on September 21, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Hi, I am 13 and have been playing football for 7-8 Years and play for a girls team. My brothers tea have lost a lot of players to academies (We are at the same Club but he is 11 and plays for the Boys part of the Club.) He used to be top of the League but after the loss of players (And acquired worst ones as replacements)Can I play for him on Sundays and my Girls team on Saturdays. We have had many boys play in our League who are the same age or Older and I really want to help his team. I consider myself a decent player and quite short so I would not be bigger than the boys or out strength them. I really need this clarified. Thanks.

  22. Disgruntled on November 2, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    I just saw my daughter’s team lose 2-0 to another useless side.She got opposition player as usual and had 3 girls marking her all game. She is 9 playing under 11s. Within her team she and another girl are Centre of Excellence standard and have played boys football since they were 5. The rest vary from poor to the standard of 5 year old boys who have never played. She came off in bits at how useless some of her team mates were.There are not enough girls to produce teams where they can all play.If your daughter is any good PLAY BOYS FOOTBALL.

  23. John Harrison on November 3, 2014 at 8:58 am

    I think a lot of people are getting it wrong, my concern is BOYS playing GIRLS football where generally BOYS ARE of a higher standard to GIRLS,also they are stronger than GIRLS.At 16 this could cause problems with injuries to GIRLS and if your team plays in a GIRLS league and only has GIRLS in the side I think it is unsporting to play BOYS who have a lot more leagues to play there football.
    It is also stopping GIRLS from securing places in team when GIRLS are left on the bench whilst the win at all costs team play BOYS.The FA are supposed to be promoting GIRLS football but it is putting them off by not having a safe environment for them to play in ,with the age limit going up to 16 there could be a problem with holding ,I am sure the FA would back any GIRL who made a complaint.
    So all I say is whilst there is still time rethink BOYS being able to play in A GIRLS LEAGUE FOR A GIRLS TEAM at 16 ,and let the GIRLS play in a safe environment.

  24. Disgruntled on November 3, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    John Harrison is totally right. Boys should not play in a girls league. I have never seen it happen and could not understand why any boy would want to. There would be no point.We have 8 boys clubs with over 20 squads in each year within 5 miles of us. There is one girls team with a 2 year intake.They struggle to field a team and would tell any boy to get lost.

  25. Codey Scott on November 27, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    I am 16 and I have a sister who has played in a mixed team since the age of 6, she has become a better and stronger player and because the best player out of. Her team in which included boys, she now plays for Sheffield United academy and recently picked up for England camp to progress in her football at the age of 13, me being a very non sexual individual I enjoying playing football with boys because they’re rougher and make me a better player I don’t see what the issue is of this

  26. IAN MEEK on November 29, 2014 at 1:29 am


  27. Kate Hughes on January 30, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    I coach an under 14s all girls. I have mixed feelings. My girls want to and do as friendlies play with and against the boys. They feel it’s sexist that they can’t join the boys in league games… Their words.

    My view, there are a handful that could play on an even playing field with the boys. I have a few that I struggle to play in a girls only league. However… There are many many boys of this standard who have been turned off/away by football /football coaches/clubs. Yet as girls coaches we keep them all regardless of ability.
    If all children were encouraged to play the surely the equality would shine. There would be equal ability mixed teams and more scope in leagues.

  28. Kevin on February 28, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    My daughter is playing in a boys’ team and up a year in the local girls Div 1 u12s and .She got through the first round of trials at 2 Centres of Excellence. Rather than training with the girls team she attends a PDC which shuts at the end of this season. She is so sick of the standard of some of the girls that she will just play boys’ football next season if she does not get into a Regional Talent Club.

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