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Various considerations about women’s football

Various considerations…

Is football a men’s exclusive sport ? No it isn’t, it is a sport for all people. Also FIFA states that “Football Is For All”.

On Japan Football Association’s website are published informations for men and women, boys and girls. But maybe, information about women may have difficulties to reach people, specialized information for girls may not appear clearly in this site. In order to compensate this lack of information, we have created this webpage of women’s football “Nadeshiko vision, becoming the world’s Nadeshiko”. And in “Various considerations about women’s football”, we are going to explain differences and similarities between men and women, exclusive characteristic of women etc. and we are going to support the activities of women’s teams and players.

Maybe we are explaining also obvious things. But we are doing this because there is a possibility that people who don’t have knowledge about women’s football, people who are not interested in football may join us in “women’s football”. Also people who are not interested in women’s football, who are sceptical about it at present, one year later may start play football, or female players may join their team, their daughter may wish to play football, who knows? We would like also these people to read this page and to know more about women’s football.

自分がなでしこジャパンの監督になる前は、女子サッカーなんて・・・って誰よりも思っていたかもしれません。それが彼女たちのひたむきに取り組む姿を見て、その気持ち・姿勢に真剣に応えたい、いっしょに世界を目指そうと思うようになりました。(アテネオリンピック なでしこジャパン監督/現女子委員長 上田栄治 談)

Can female players join men’s football teams?

Of course they can. Japan Football Association classifies teams in 6 class as below, and female players are allowed to join all these teams.

Class 1 Teams composed of players of all ages
Class 2 Teams composed of players under 18
Class 3 Teams composed of players under 15
Class 4 Teams composed of players under 12
Women Teams composed of women players
Seniors Teams composed of players over 40

※ Excerpt from the Japan Football Association’s official regulation

Look at the number of registered teams and players of each class, listed below. In each class are registered female players. But you may have the impression that most of female players are registered with “Women’s teams” and that female players registered in men’s teams are unusual.

 Number of teamsNumber of playersNumber of male playersNumber of female players
Class 1 7,206 172,700 172,679 21
Class 2 4,178 154,559 154,538 21
Class 3 7,154 237,964 236,629 1,335
Class 4 8,367 280,380 270,344 10,036
Women 1,224 25,268 0 25,268
Seniors 689 18,045 18,043 2
Total 28,818 888,916 852,233 36,683

Age of 2009

Now look at the number of female players for each age group. Focusing on the elementary school age group, we can see that there are more female players registered with boys’ teams than female players registered with girls’ teams. Since the olden days, there are many girls that have started kicking a ball while playing with their brothers, or that have entered boys’ football teams thinking “I don’t want to lose to boys in my class”.
In junior high school age, 20% of female players are registered with boys’ teams, but there are many more female players registered in girls’ teams that are also playing in their junior high school’s football club and its number is increasing year by year.

 Number of female playersregistered with men’s teamsregistered with women’s teams
General 7,005 90 1% 6,915 99%
High school 8,388 21 1% 8,367 99%
Junior High school 6,585 1,328 20% 5,257 80%
Elementary school 14,705 9,976 68% 4,729 32%
Total 36,683 11,415 31% 25,268 69%

Age of 2009

When they become adults and difference in build with men become bigger, more female players start playing in women’s teams. If you decide to play football, when you wish to enter in a football team, not only 1200 women’s team all over the country, but 29,000 teams near your home, school, workplace provide you the occasion to play. Don’t you think that it is not so difficult for girls and women to start playing football?

Girls can play in official matches with both junior high school’s team ( men’s team) and women’s team!

There are many female players registered with girls’ teams that are playing also in the football club of their junior high school. They are doing their best in both teams and they may wish to play matches with their team mates.

It is possible to participate to tournaments as member of junior high school’s football club [ Men’s teams registered with class 3] without withdrawing from their women’s team ( without changing their team).

In March 2006, the Japan Football Association’s executive committee has revised the qualifications for the participation to tournaments of female players. Tournaments which female players can participate are as follows. ( regional/ prefectural tournaments (qualifiers) are included).

* All Japan Junior High School Sports Festival (Football)
* JFA Premier Cup Japan
* Prince Takamado Trophy All Japan Youth (U-15) Football Championship

Since now, female players training at “women’s team” and “junior high school’s football club”, in order to be able to play in matches with their teams, have had to do the transfer procedure before each tournament. And in many cases they had to give up the participation to tournaments with one of their team. “There is a women’s team where I can train in the weekends”, “I wish I could challenge to keen football with boys”…girls who want to continue playing football making the best use of the merits of “women’s teams” and “junior high school’s football teams”, may participate to tournaments of both teams, by registering with women’s teams. Girls that are going to become junior high school students, may take into account this fact while choosing their team. Japan Football Association hopes that, with this revision, girls can participate more to matches and that women’s football become more active.

To Coaches

For the development of female players, the merit of playing in two teams with different characteristic is big, but excessive work may become an unbearable burden for individual players. The coaches of the two teams should communicate each other and should create the appropriate environment for the player.

Women’s Football
The JFA Ideal

Through football, we realise the full benefits that sports can bring to our lives
the soundness of our bodies, the expansion of our minds,
and the enrichment of our societies.

The JFA Ideal, Vision, Values