EXCLUSIVE: Junior Football League plans are underway for district

Member clubs of the Sevenoaks & District Football League (SDFL) have taken steps to ask their governing body to consider starting a Junior Football League in the district.

SDFL Secretary, Kevin Turner, along with Committee Member, Keith McGinn, has responded to the requests and has spoken to several clubs with the response being extremely positive, as clubs look to reduce their travelling commitments.

Junior teams in the Sevenoaks District currently have a number of options for their sides to compete in each season. The two major leagues local clubs play in are the Tandridge Youth Football League (TYFL) and the Crowborough & District Junior Football League (CDJFL). However, teams from the district also play in the Maidstone Invicta Primary League, the South East London & Kent Youth Football League (SELKENT) and the Kent Youth League .

With players well-being at the forefront of all local clubs, the distance some of them have to travel is far beyond that of their senior counterparts and this can be detrimental to the players and the coaching staff.

Last season the TYFL hosted teams from Chipstead, Otford, Sevenoaks, Sundridge and Westerham, with away matches being played as far away as Barnes in West London.

Whilst the CDJFL includes teams from Chipstead, Edenbridge, Ide Hill, Otford, Riverhead, Sevenoaks, Sundridge, Weald and Westerham, the furthest away matches being on the south-coast in Hastings and Bexhill.

Although the two leagues have been going for several years and are very well organised, the need for local competition couldn’t be more important than it is today. The proposition of Sevenoaks District teams playing each other week in week out and travelling a maximum distance of around 12 miles, surely must be good for the sport and the senior sides too.

In fact, many local sides are starting to reconnect with their junior counterparts to ensure football has a long lifespan in the district, with player pathways in place to give youngsters the opportunity to make the transition from junior to senior football.

Kevin and Keith are planning to hold club meetings with the first in July, followed by another in October. If clubs back the project, then the SDFL will approach the Kent FA to formerly apply for a new league to be setup. They will then hope to hold their first AGM in December before the season can start properly in September 2020.

Obviously, a new league will come with some initial headaches, and the SDFL will be looking for volunteers to become committee members to make the project a success from the start.

We are fully backing the initiative as we would greatly welcome the opportunity to report on junior football in the district.

We will of course report on future SDFL meetings in due course but in the meantime, please get in touch with us if you have any thoughts or would like to get involved with the project, please email us at newsdesk@sevenoakssports.co.uk.