Play AFL in Canada

Play AFL in Canada



The figure below provides a visual representation of the long-term development of an Australian football athlete, coach, or umpire within Canada. Learning from our counterparts in other parts of the world, we have developed our framework to consider the particular nuances of Canadian culture and geography that may have less impact than in other parts of the world. Not all of these programs are available in all parts of Canada however there are opportunities in all areas of Canada to START, STAY, and SUCCEED in the sport of Australian football.



 LTAD in Canada Manual 



Activities and sports need to connect with participants, and potential participants can only try out activities and sports when they know about them, and about what local opportunities are available for them to give the activity a try.

First Involvement: 

The First Involvement stage is to ensure that individuals have a positive first experience of an activity and therefore will engaged with it.

Active Start (Ages 0-6, M/F): 

Focus on acquiring physical literacy in the form of proper movement skills such as running, jumping, wheeling, twisting, striking, kicking, catching. 

    • KangaKick: this fundamental movement skills program is designed by the AFL (Australia). It provides a specific lesson plan to assist and enhance the development needs of each participating child’s physical and social well-being.

FUNdamentals (Ages M 6-9, F 6-8): 

Developing FUNdamental movement skills – Agility, Balance, Coordination, Running, Speed, Kicking, Striking, Jumping – in a well-structured, positive and FUN environment!

    • AusKick U9: AusKick sessions are comprised of structured warm-up games, skill activities and modified games each session.

Learn to Train (Ages M 9-12, F 8-11):

  • Emphasis is the refinement and maintenance of players’ core sport skills, physical capabilities, fundamental movement skills and acquisition of sport specific skills in footy; An understanding and appreciation of the laws of the game as well as the elements of Fair Play (ethics) are developed.
    • AusKick U13: focuses on holistic athlete development and specific footy skills; Basic skills should continue to be developed during this phase. Sessions are fun, social and safe and include fun skill activities (not drills) and modified shortened games.
  • Matches: 6-12 a side


Train to Train (Ages M 12-16, F 11-15):

  • Emphasis is to optimise the development of players’ fitness levels, and their individual, positional and team skills.
    • AFL Junior: in either Club or School provide youth in this stage with fun, fast, and skillful programs supporting players’ ability to execute basic footy skills and contributing to a sense of fun and skill mastery. The pace of the game engages their attention, adrenalin is stimulated in close competition, and success is experienced in skillful play, fulfilling team goals and coaches’ instructions – all of which are shared with their peers. Footy provides a sense of belonging and acceptance.
  • Matches: 9-12 a side

Train to Compete (Ages M 16-19, F 15-18):

  • Optimize fitness preparation and sport-, individual-, and position-specific skills as well as performance; All the objectives of Training to Train must be achieved before the objectives of Training to Compete can begin.
    • AFL Youth programs either Club or School provide youth in this stage with fun, fast, and skillful programs supporting players’ ability to execute advanced footy skills and contributing to a sense of fun and skill mastery. Competitive opportunities increase in quality and quantity, contributing to players’ sense of accomplishment and increased skill mastery.

    • AFL Youth Development Team, the Wolfpack, is the national junior program for individuals seeking elite competitive opportunities and skill improvement at the high-performance level. This program is not consistently in place in Canada, as it relies on travelling youth teams from other countries to be supported.

  • Matches: 10 a side


Train to Win (Ages M19-23, F18-21):

  • Athletes train and compete as part of their Provincial Team; Opportunities for elite skill development and integrated sport team experts to support talent and athlete development; Opportunities for competitive recreational play so individuals can play to their desired level; This is a preparatory stage for the “Ultimate Performance” stage
    • Provincial Team Selection: Athletes are selected to train and compete as part of their Provincial Team leading up to and including the AFL Canada National Championships (held annually, with the exception of years in which the International Cup is held.)

    • National Development Teams (North Stars Men’s Development Team and Midnight Suns Women’s Development Team): National squads which provides coaching support as well as international and trans-border competition opportunities (as available) to up and coming athletes who have been identified as potential National level athletes. Development Team holds a maximum of 24 athlete positions for each gender.

  • Matches: 18 a side

Ultimate Performance (Ages M23+/-, F21+/-):

  • Maximizing fitness preparation; World class sport performance requires world-class equipment and coaching that is fine-tuned to the demands of the event and the requirements of the athletes
    • National High Performance Program: Athletes are selected to train, learn, develop and ultimately compete for a position on the Canadian teams that will attend the next International Cup (held in Melbourne, Australia on a triennial basis).

    • Northwind National Men’s Team and Northern Lights National Women’s Team: National high-performance teams that will attend the next International Cup, representing Canada at the pinnacle of amateur international competition in Australian football. Each National Team is limited to 30 athletes that may attend any IC including alternate players. Athletes are supported by a Head Coach, Team Manager, and 4-6 Assistant Coaches.

    • Professional AFL or AFLW League participation: Individuals have the opportunity to attend Training and Recruitment Camps in Australia which lead to selection for professional league participation as part of the Australia Football League or the Australia Football League Women. (For example: CrossCoders, a global program that provides top female athletes with a once in a lifetime opportunity to become a professional in Australia’s premier football league.)

  • Matches: 18 a side

Streaming Partner

Official Suppliers

International Partners