West Australia's famed ECU Joondalup has become the first NPL club from the state to abolish junior fees entirely.
Juniors playing at the club's academy will now only have to pay for their football kits, with the club abolishing registration fees to attract a broader talent pool into the state's football pathways.
The cost of registration fees at NPL clubs across Australia have become a notorious issue among the football community, with some parents forced to pay thousands of dollars each year for their child to play football.
Football's ground-up funding model, which relies heavily on registration fees at the junior level to fund the organised, upper levels of the game has been under heavy scrutiny since FFA's new CEO, James Johnson, came into the role.
FFA's XI Principles for football's future document seeks to establish a different model that involves fewer expenses for football juniors, in the hopes of continuing to build football participation across the country.
ECU Joondalup has long been one of Australia's most prolific talent identifiers and was the starting ground of many current and former Socceroos.
Former Perth Glory coach, turned ECU's football director, Kenny Lowe says it's a milestone.
“Our philosophy is that entering ECU’s development programs should be based on ability, skill, desire and passion for the game, not on whether a young player’s family can afford the fees,”
“This is an important milestone in the club’s history and one that we believe will contribute to the strong and united culture we are building at ECU to help all young players chase their dreams.”
“We want to work in with local schools and use football to motivate and inspire students to maintain good academic standards,” he said.
“There’s also an opportunity to tap into the wealth of expertise at ECU with everything from sports science to game analysis.”