MiniRoos (formerly known as Small Sided Football) are modified forms of 11-a-side football, designed to meet the needs of players under the age of 13, who have very different developmental characteristics and needs to adult players. The philosophy of MiniRoos focuses on enjoyment and freedom of expression with limited emphasis on coaching per se, particularly in the formative years of a player’s development.
Almost without exception, young players in the major footballing nations of the world are introduced to the game through MiniRoos. Brazil, France, England, Scotland, Ireland, The Netherlands, Germany, Japan, USA and Korea all introduce their young players to the game using this approach. Considerable research has been conducted into the benefits of MiniRoos in many of these countries. Overwhelmingly, the findings have shown that MiniRoos are enjoyed more by children and are a more effective method of improving their technical ability as footballers (compared to 11-a-side football).
Whilst there are exceptions, in most parts of Australia Rooball has been the widely-accepted format of the game for new players up until the age of eight or nine. The rules and regulations of Rooball vary in terms of field size and goal size as does the age at which players progress to 11-a-side football. At the age of 9 or 10, the general trend is for these players to then move to 11-a-side football on a full-size field where they compete against other clubs in the local area.
There has also been an inconsistent approach in terms of the philosophy of football at this age, with the emphasis or otherwise on competition, winning, points tables, finals and the like, with variations depending upon the particular state or territory and/or association. Whether players compete and/or play against other clubs or within their own club is generally decided on a local basis.
In 2009 Football Federation Australia (FFA) released the National Curriculum. The National Curriculum was a key initiative put forward in the FFA National Football Development Plan released in November 2007. The National Curriculum aims to provide national guidance and an integrated and consistent approach to the development of players and coaches throughout the country. As a result of a combination of the release of the National Curriculum and feedback from the football community, including Member Federations, Associations, Zones, Clubs, parents and players, the Optus Small Sided Football formats have been adjusted for implementation at the commencement of the 2010 season and beyond. The MinRroos Football Formats for the season commencing 2010 and beyond are summarised below;