Ruben Loftus-Cheek on the ball for England U21s

Under 21s

Opportunities for players from U16 - U21

From boys to men.

The U16 to U21 age range is an important time for many young players.

It's the final opportunity for many to enjoy the benefits and opportunities associated with youth football before taking the next step of their footballing journey and (for some) transitioning into adult football.

Middlesex FA are committed to supporting young players during this time, providing opportunities in a range of formats for players aged 16-21 to continue to play the game they love and pursue new and exciting opportunities.


Combine football with education 

A number of clubs and colleges in Middlesex run programmes for students aged 16+ that combine education with football development.

The schemes focus on helping players achieve their sporting potential and gain a recognised qualification simultaneously, and many will include a range of additional benefits such as access to elite training facilities and opportunities to complete coaching qualifications.

Middlesex and harrow youth leagues

Play competitive football with players of a similar age

Both the Middlesex and Harrow Youth Leagues run divisions suitable for players aged 21 and below. This allows players aged 16-21 the chance to continue to play against opposition of at a similar stage in their development before they transition into adult leagues.

Both leagues support the FA's Respect Programme and appoint FA qualified and registered referees to every league and cup game.

Please contact the league directly for more details on how to get involved.

Youth to adult football

jumping the gap

It has long been acknowledged that moving young people from a youth environment to an adult competition is a challenge for all sport.

In football the need for transitional support is underlined by the fact that young people’s participation in football halves from 52% of the population in the 13–15 age range to 26% when they are 17–18.

The challenge for us is to retain these young players in the game to put adult football in a healthier position.


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