Skills Acquisition Program (SAP)

What is SAP?

Our governing body, Football Federation Australia, use our own National Curriculum to implement the Skill Acquisition Program (SAP) to perfect and accelerate the skill development of identified players at the critical ages of 10 to 13. This is the age group universally acknowledged to be the ideal mental and physical stage in development which children are able to acquire motor skills.

The program is conducted from November to September with a Gala Day held monthly from February through to August. Breaks will be taken for school holidays (unless stipulated by Northern NSW Football). Training will take place twice a week and takes priority over club training.

Download the 2018 NCF SAP Player and Parent Handbook v0.2


To provide the necessary technical ‘tools’ to players in order to help them be able to play the game at the highest possible level with a focus on functional game skills.


The Skill Acquisition Program focuses on the development of the four core skills:

  • Striking the ball
  • First Touch
  • 1v1
  • Running with the ball

An absolute requirement is placed on an immediate skills transfer into positioning and small-sided games. It is based on world’s best practice and has been developed by internationally acclaimed technical coaches and the FFA technical department.

Appropriately qualified coaches will focus on a specific core skill in training, with Gala Days providing players the opportunity to test these skills in a competitive environment. It is important to recognise that the match in isolation should not be the focus of the coach or parent.

FAQ’S – SAP trialist information

What is the selection criteria?
Will unsuccessful trialists be provided feedback?
How many trials will there be before squads are finalised?
Where are the training venues and when is training?
When will the program start and finish?
Will the squads play competitive games?
How many players per squad?
Who will I trial with?
Is the program open to goalkeepers?
Is the program open to females?