4 Jul 2024


As part of the update regarding the relaunch of the Netball Super League (NSL), a new underpinning league was announced, designed to deliver extended opportunities for emerging talent, nurture and develop the next generation of world class players and provide a pipeline of talent for the domestic League.

Created off the back of an independent competition review and further consultation with key stakeholders, this brand-new league will support the development of emerging talent, preparing them to make the step up to the NSL and potentially beyond to the Vitality Roses. The league will be primarily but not exclusively for U23s. It will enable a number of players displaced by the upcoming changes to the NSL Club structure to continue to enjoy elite playing opportunities, provide a direct pathway to the NSL for aspiring athletes, whilst also offering a competitive platform for some players over the age of 23 who, for example, are returning to the NSL following long term injury or pregnancy.
Key features of the Under 23 League will include:

-  The league will feature nine teams in total. Eight teams will be aligned to the new NSL Clubs: Birmingham Panthers, Cardiff Dragons, Leeds Rhinos, London Mavericks, London Pulse, Loughborough Lightning, Manchester Thunder and Nottingham Forest Netball. In addition, an invitation to participate has been extended to Team Bath.
- The final Under 23 squads will be confirmed in late September/early October, with the season starting in February 2025.
- All teams will play each other twice (home and away) and fixtures will align to NSL matches where possible.
- Squads will have a minimum of 16 and a maximum of 20 players.
- Squads can include up to four players over the age of 23 years, to support and enhance the quality of the competition, whilst protecting opportunities for developing athletes. This will also enable the continuation of elite competition for some current NSL players who will not be competing in the relaunched League.
- Players competing in the Under 23 League can be called up to act as Temporary Replacement Players in the NSL where a match fee will be paid to them along with remuneration for any additional NSL requirements.

The signing window for the NSL is now open and closes towards the end of August. The deadline for Clubs to register players for the Under 23 competition will follow shortly after this NSL window, to enable players that might have missed out on an NSL contract to be considered for this new competition. Further details regarding trials will be published by Clubs shortly.

Separately, the NSL Clubs that will be part of the relaunched League have now had the necessary time to work with England Netball on the pathway delivery plans for their new areas. Underpinning the U23 league will continue to be a nationwide network of player pathways with Clubs providing training and support to athletes at Under 15, Under 17, Under 19 and now Under 23 level, enabling talented young players to compete in national competitions at each age level, and ensuring that all players, irrespective of location, have the opportunity to access high quality coaching, support and competitive experiences.

For the upcoming 2024/2025 season, national Player Pathway competitions will be contested by the following teams:

NSLUnder 23Under 19Under 17Under 15
Birmingham PanthersBirmingham PanthersBirmingham PanthersBirmingham PanthersBirmingham Panthers
Cardiff DragonsCardiff DragonsCardiff DragonsCardiff DragonsCardiff Dragons
London MavericksLondon MavericksLondon MavericksLondon MavericksLondon Mavericks
Loughborough LightningLoughborough LightningLoughborough LightningLoughborough LightningLoughborough Lightning
Manchester ThunderManchester ThunderManchester ThunderManchester ThunderManchester Thunder
Nottingham ForestNottingham ForestNottingham ForestNottingham ForestNottingham Forest
London PulseLondon PulseLondon Pulse (based in London)London Pulse (based in London)London Pulse (based in London)
London Pulse (based in South/South East)London Pulse (based in South/South East)London Pulse (based in South/South East)
Leeds RhinosLeeds RhinosLeeds Rhinos (based in Yorkshire)Leeds Rhinos (based in Yorkshire)Leeds Rhinos (based in Yorkshire)
Leeds Rhinos (based in North East)Leeds Rhinos (based in North East)Leeds Rhinos (based in North East)
Team BathTeam BathTeam BathTeam Bath

* Names of Leeds Rhinos and London Pulse parallel Pathways to be confirmed

In order to ensure there is a countrywide network of accessible pathway programmes we are delighted to confirm that Team Bath, who were unsuccessful in the NSL tender process, have agreed to operate the full Player Pathway from Under 15 up to Under 23 in the South West.
In the South East/South and North East regions, the territories of London Pulse and Leeds Rhinos will be expanded, and a parallel pathway consisting of additional Academies and competition squads at Under 15, 17 and 19 level will be provided. Under 23 athletes will be able to participate in the single London Pulse and Leeds Rhinos teams in the new NSL Feeder competition. This approach of aligning the pathway to Netball Super Leagues Clubs, wherever possible, ensures that athletes have a pathway into the professional game, supported by outstanding coaches and support systems.

Across the country the network of NSL Club Player Development Programmes that underpin the current Academy structures will be expanded and will include U21 programmes for the first time, whilst Counties will continue to offer player development opportunities to the most talented Under 13 and Under 15 athletes.

All Pathway programmes remain ‘open’ across the country meaning athletes retain the right to select the club and location that works best for them. Trials for Pathway programmes will be advertised by clubs shortly.

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