Parents Guide To Birth Year Registration Changes In Youth Soccer
The New Year is ringing in big changes in Youth Soccer - and it’s happening fast.
No longer will players be grouped together according to the school-year; now they will be allocated teams depending purely on their dates of birth.
Since the switch to Birth Year Registration was first mandated by U.S. Soccer last August, parents and players alike have been fretting over the number of teams that will effectively be torn apart by the ruling.
They worried that friends from the same year at school would no longer be able to play together, a factor that may carry little weight for the game’s overseers but will undoubtedly derail carpools and many carefully-laid plans by parents to get their kids to games and practices.
Some classmates will suddenly find they are playing a whole age group down from their pals. These are no small concerns for busy parents trying their best to juggle hectic work lives and keep their kids happy.
The sport's rulers argue that the new guidelines will bring all of youth soccer into alignment with the Development Academy program - and with international calendars. The idea is that it will help fast track player development and provide a fairer match of abilities.
But the time for talk is over. The changes are coming whether we like it or not - and they’re happening now.
The Changes You Need to Know
Under the original U.S. Soccer mandate, teams were told they must move from an August 1 through July 31 registration calendar to a January 1 through December 31 calendar by the year 2017.
But now U.S. Youth Soccer and most regions - including Cal South - have decided to push the changes through ahead of schedule for the 2016-17 season.
So the most important thing now is for everyone in Youth Soccer, from the administrators to the managers, coaches, players, and especially the parents to be clear on the new age matrix as we move forward.
The New Age Matrix
One of the key questions many parents have been asking is how their child’s birth date will determine the age group in competitions they will be playing in from this coming season.
The answer is that birth year registration will be based on the year in which the season ends.
For example, if a season begins in the fall of 2017 and ends in the summer of 2018 (for example, the 2017-18 season), the players would be registered based on their age in the year 2018.
Competitions that take place in a single year (for example, the fall of 2018 only) should use that year to determine the birth year. To simplify determining the age group, just subtract the birth year from the year the season ends.
Year Season Ends – Birth Year = Age Group:
· 2017-18 – 2003 = U15
· 2022-23 – 2016 = U7
· 2018 – 2012 = U6
Cal South has issued a notification detailing the programs and competitions that will be affected by the Birth Year Registration rules during the 2016/17 season.
They will include the:
• Cal South National Cup, including State, Regional, and National competitions
• Cal South State Cup – including Presidents Cup; Governors Cup; and Mayors Cup
• Cal South PRO+ and ODP programs and events
• California Regional League
• Cal South Recreational All-Star Tournament of Champions
Players will still be allowed to “play up” - meaning the more advanced players will be able to compete in an older age group. But it doesn’t work both ways - older players won’t be able to play in the younger leagues.
Smaller-Sided Games Mandate
In a less controversial move, US Soccer is also mandating smaller-sided games for players aged U12 and younger. The result will be less 11 vs 11 games in lieu of more 9 vs 9, 7 vs 7 and 4 vs 4 games, with corresponding alterations in the field size, goals and rules.
The benefits of Small-Sided Games for players include more fun, more touches on the ball and more tactical decisions.
The style of play will allow players to learn different positions, learn tactics quicker, increase fitness and allow players to be more emotionally and socially involved — creating a more fun and enjoyable game.
Here are some FAQs answered by US Youth Soccer:
And a chart detailing the changes: