East of Scotland Soccer Development Association

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25th February 2024

ESSDA Fixtures

Fixtures for weeks 1, 2 and 3 are now live on the fixtures page.
Fixtures for the remaining weeks will go live in a couple of days. This is to allow mistakes to be highlighted before all fixtures are live.
This is not to allow teams to switch division at this time. All the fixtures have been scheduled.

Please note that at the ESSDA AGM it was decided that
1)  No fixtures would be scheduled for the Easter Weekend.
2)  Only one month's fixtures will go live. Remaining fixtures will only list whether teams are home or away.

As usual, I apologise to any team with a SPARE fixture. This is because I have an odd number of teams.
The team selected to have the SPARE fixture is 100% random. I let my scheduling routine pick the team.

21st February 2024

ESSDA Season 2024 First Half

Fixtures will be published on the ESSDA website on the evening of Sunday 25th February 2024 with games scheduled from Sunday 3rd March 2024. See Fixture Page.
The season will run until Sunday 9th June 2024 with a break for the Easter weekend.
No games will be scheduled for Sunday 31st March 2024, as agreed at the ESSDA AGM last year.

The schedule has been compiled for the full ESSDA First Half up until Sunday  9th June 2024, but fixtures will only be released on a rolling monthly schedule.
On the website, you will see fixtures for weeks 1, 2 and 3, but the remaining fixtures will not be displayed one week at a time.  The following week, you will see fixtures for weeks 2, 3 and 4, and a week later fixtures for weeks 3, 4 and 5.
Although fixtures for subsequent weeks won't be displayed, you will still see whether you are home or away, so hopefully this will still allow clubs to plan and book pitches.

Please note: This is not done to allow teams to freely swap between divisions. All the fixtures have been scheduled, and moving between divisions will still only be possible if there is another team looking to swap the other way. You may have to wait before switching divisions.  All teams will be able to move freely at the end of the First Half, in the summer, before the start of the Second Half of the season.

21st February 2024

SFA News

Our playing rules are not local to ESSDA, everyone should be following the national rules as described in the SFA/SYFA Player Pathway. This is available to view in the attached summary picture - SFA Child Strategic Pathways. (JPG - 2.2MB). All Clubs should be following these national rules, not playing their own preferred modifications.

You can also download and read the Scottish FA Grassroots Football (PDF - 3.0MB) update here.

Coaches should all have booked into the Player Pathway Zoom workshops via SFA Live. You book courses through your SFA Live Learner Account Coach Education account.
Player Pathway - Introduction to Small Sided Games - South East - Player Pathway"

16th February 2024



Season 2024 (continued)

The closing date for ESSDA application is 15th February 2024. Please apply at Application Menu.

Applications received so far -

Year Groups :saturday :sunday Pele Iniesta Maradona Zidane Beckham Grand Total
2012     16 21 26 27 14 104
2013     17 26 25 25 20 113
2014     14 25 26 27 18 110
2015     16 16 24 20 21 97
2016 55 49           104
2017 58 52           110
Grand Total 113 101 63 88 101 99 73 638

All teams playing friendly games must apply for permission at Permission Page. Permission will only be given to SYFA registered teams for friendlies before the season start date.

12th January 2024

Social Media & Club Websites

The SYFA small sided games rules on the SYFA website (see https://www.scottishyouthfa.co.uk) prohibit the publication of results on websites and social media.

      It is unacceptable for a league and/or club to post results from development matches on to any website or publish in any newsletter or newspaper

Please ensure nobody connected to your club publishes the results of any of your development football games.
All small sided football games are development football. All ESSDA games are development football.

12th January 2024

Player Protection

All clubs are reminded that all coaches and helpers must be properly registered on SFA Live. No official should be involved in any club activity until their status on SFA Live is "Approved". This include all team helpers, including everyone who sets up goals and picks up cones.
It is not acceptable for an Approved coach to oversee an un-Approved coach until their PVG is sorted out.

12th January 2024

Match Results

It is unacceptable for a league and/or club to post results from development (small sided) matches on to any website or publish in any newsletter or newspaper.

Any club found to be publishing results will be in trouble with SYFA at Hampden.  This includes phrases like "we beat...", "we won", "... scored the winner" or similar phrases.

When reporting on matches, please say "... played well", "..had a great game", and "...enjoyed a good game of football"

16th December 2023

Registration for 2024

SYFA registration, and many team have submitted their registration request. You can check the progress of your registration on SFA Live or the ESSDA Registration Status Page. Teams will not be given permission to play friendlies or take part in ESSDA matches until they are completely registered on SFA Live.

ESSDA Registration will open on 1st January 2024, and applications must be submitted by 15th February 2024.  Fixtures will be published on the ESSDA website on PublishDate and fixtures will start on SeasonStart. All teams, even age 12 (2012) must reapply to ESSDA.

Please remember to register all coaches, first aiders and helpers on SFA Live. A number of clubs were fined last year for using unregistered officials. Please help to keep players safe.

All players must be registered on SFA Live too, even players playing 4v4 and 5v5. Players may only play in the year group to which they are registered, even underage players.
eg If a child born in 2014 is playing in the 2013 matches, they must be registered on SFA Live to the 2013 SYFA ID, and thereafter they cannot play in the 2014 matches.
A club can only register a maximum of 5 underage players against any SYFA ID, regardless of how many teams they may have. This is an SYFA rule.

YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO ENTER A TEAM OF UNDERAGE PLAYERS TO PLAY IN ESSDA MATCHES. This will obviously break the maximum 5 underage player rule. Clubs found to be breaking this rule will have their teams ejected from ESSDA.

29th November 2023

SYFA Registration 2024

Registration for teams is now open on SFA Live see http://scottishfalive.co.uk/syfa. Clubs must register (free) before your teams may register.

All club officials must be properly PVG Checked, have their SFA coaching badges and First Aid qualification up to date before you can register. On SFA Live the CW, PVG and DEC must all be green,
Your Child Welfare & Protection Officer will have to complete their Managing Children's Wellbeing qualification and all officials must complete the Children's Wellbeing in Football e-learning course.

Please remember to add all coaches, and helpers to SFA Live.

The 2012 year group is in their transition season before moving to 11v11 after summer. Any existing 2012 group do need to renew their membership at this time, their membership will automatically renew in January.

31st October 2023

ESSDA Winter Shutdown

The SYFA Supplementary & Playing Rules detail the playing season and the winter shutdown.

Children’s Football Season : League / Association fixtures shall only be listed and played between 1 March and 30 November inclusive each year and no matches, friendly matches included, shall be played between the second weekend in December and the second weekend in January inclusive each year without the consent of the SYFA. Clubs will be permitted to play friendly matches indoor or participate in Futsal Festivals during this period.

As such, the ESSDA season will end on weekend of 24th/25th November 2023.  No outdoor games will be permitted from 9th/10th December 2023 to 13th/14th January 2024 without permission from SYFA.

To play friendly matches after 1st January 2024, clubs must seek permission in the normal way - see Permission Page. Permission will not be given to any team until they have properly registered for the 2024 season with SYFA via SFA Live.

22nd April 2023

Player Registration

All players must be registered on SFA Live and can only play for a team in that year group.  Spot checks will be made at ESSDA matches to ensure all players are registered.

The SYFA Supplementary and Playing Rules and the SFA /SYFA Player Pathway must be followed by all Clubs.

For example:

  • A player playing for Club X at year group 2014 must be registered on SFA Live to year group 2014, even if they were born in 2015.
  • A player registered to Club X at year group 2014, can not play at another year group, even if they were born in 2015
  • A Club may only register FIVE underage players at any year group, no matter how many teams they have.
    If Club X has three teams at year group 2014, they can only have FIVE players born in 2015 playing across all three teams.

A Club may not play a team in a different year group.  Playing a team of 2015 players in the 2014 leagues would be against almost all of the above rules.  Playing unregistered players or playing registered players in the wrong year groups may have implications on your Club insurance.

Overage players and underage players by more than one year, may be allowed by concession, but all dispensations must be approved annually by SYFA.  ESSDA has no authority to vary age group definitions.
eg A player born in 2013 cannot normally play in a 2014 year group team.
eg A player born in 2016 cannot normally play in a 2014 year group team.

Playing a team at the wrong age group makes your game an unauthorised fixture and you may not be properly insured. This will be a serious offence and you will be reported to SYFA.

5th March 2023

Five Key Rules

In an effort to make our games as child centred as possible, please follow these five key rules-

  • All parents, carers and other spectators must stay 2m back from the pitch and if possible, this should be done via a marked off area/zone.

  • No parent or carer should attempt to enter the field of play.

  • All parents and carers must ensure that they are following their own club’s Code of Conduct

  • There should be no shouting from the side lines, spectators should always encourage all participants.

  • Let the children play the game, making sure we encourage before/after the game - during the game let the grassroots volunteers deal with the game.

You can find a summary table of the National Player Pathway formats and rules here: Children's Player Pathway | Football Development| Scottish FA or you can see the SFA Grassroots Document (PDF 1.1MB)

Good luck to all teams playing today, especially teams playing for the first time.

3rd January 2023

SYFA Registered Officials

This is a reminder that only registered team officials can be in charge of teams playing in ESSDA.  Anybody coaching, helping or obviously in charge must be registered on SFA Live correctly.

To be a registered Team Official, you must be
>  On SFA Live as a Team official for the team you are with - as a Team Coach, Team Coach Assistant, Team Helper or First Aider.
>   If you help with more than one team, you must be entered against all relevant teams on SFA Live
>   It is not good enough to be listed on SFA Live as just a Club Official.
>   All Team Officials must be Full members of SYFA and not just Applicants.  This means they must have PVG Scheme Membership with SYFA.
>   It is not good enough to just have a PVG Scheme certificate.  You must have that PVG Scheme membership recorded on SFA Live to be a Full member.

Failure to follow these rules means you are an unregistered official and your team will be reported to SYFA.

6th November 2022

SFA Live

All clubs are reminded that their clubs must be properly registered on SFA Live before they will be able to register with ESSDA for the 2023 season.

1)  All SYFA Officials must be registered on SFA Live - if they have not been on SFA Live recently, they will need to login and accept the new declarations.
2)  Any SYFA Officials whose Child Wellbeing in Football qualification has expired, must log in and complete the online course
3)  Any Club Child Wellbeing and Protection Officer must complete the Managing Child Wellbeing in Football course.  There are waiting lists for this course, so apply now.

In addition to the above, every team playing ESSDA football must have a qualified First Aider and two registered team officials - Team Coach / Team Coach Assistant and Team Helpers.  It takes time to become registered on SFA Live, especially as the above require officials to be members of the PVG Scheme.

If teams do not have the requisite officials on SFA Live, they won't be able to play ESSDA football.  Please ensure you have the necessary registered officials by adding them now.

Top register and attain the above qualifications takes time. Please do not wait until the last moment to apply and find you are short of officials.  Start the registration/qualification process now.

NOTE:   Each team must have their own First Aider and at least two registered officials - which must be unique to these ESSDA teams.
eg A club with 6 teams playing over 4 age groups will require at least 6 First Aiders, and at least 12 registered team officials.

11th April 2022

SFA / SYFA Player Pathway

All ESSDA games should follow the SFA / SYFA Player Pathway as held on the SYFA website https://www.scottishyouthfa.co.uk/index.php/information-downloads/football-games-and-tournaments

Please note Rule #3 on team squad size:
    Soccer 7s - the maximum squad size is 10 players
    Nines 9s - the maximum squad size is 16 players

Where possible, all players should receive equal playing time. 
Please ensure that players get more game time than just the last few minutes, and then only if the team is winning.


26th January 2022

Formal Complaints

Anyone who wants to make a formal complaint about any aspect of ESSDA or ESSDA matches must follow the SYFA Complaint Management System. This can be viewed at http://www.scottishyouthfa.co.uk/index.php/members-corner/complaints-management-system

Complaints must be made in writing to Hampden using the forms available on SYFA website.

The Complaint Process consists of several steps:

Stage 1) Discussion with the party the complaint is about
Stage 2) Telephone or email enquiry to SYFA
Stage 3)  Lodging a formal complaint with SYFA
Final Stage) Complaint referred to a senior person within SYFA

Feedback on ESSDA Matches can be made using the ESSDA Monitoring Form.


6th November 2019


Following Dr Willie Stewart’s recent study into dementia risks in former professional footballers, the SYFA has now updated our guidance accordingly.

We would recommend, with immediate effect, that any drills which involve heading the ball are removed from all training sessions for age groups up to, and including, under 11s (7 v 7 teams).  As far as possible, heading the ball during games at these age groups should also be avoided.

The SYFA would also take this opportunity to remind all of our coaches and officials that if any player, at any age group, is suspected of having a concussion they must immediately cease playing in the game and should not re-join the match. Coaches and officials are also reminded of NHS advice on concussion and head injury, and should seek immediate medical advice if symptoms continue or worsen, or if a player is suspected of having lost consciousness.

For more details, please read the Sport Scotland's Concussion Guidance.

The SYFA is committed to ensuring the safest environment possible for children and young people to play football. Although there is not yet a definitive link between heading the ball and brain injury, it is essential that we take the relevant precautions to best protect our players.


1st January 2018 Social Media
Have you tried Facebook to keep in touch with ESSDA?
I am not very good at Twitter, but I try to add news items to keep the world up to date with ESSDA news.



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Last modified on: 02/12/2022