U.S. Soccer Changes Coming in 2016

Changes for birth year & U9-U12 small-sided formats

U.S. Soccer Changes Coming in 2016

Earlier this week U.S. Soccer announced it is standardizing U9-U12 playing formats and aligning birth-year registration to a calendar year format. The following is a statement from Spokane SC Shadow regarding the implementation of those changes via Washington Youth Soccer & the Shadow... 

* Age Group Changes to Birth Year in 2016

* U9-U12 will use Small-Sided Format for Development

As most of you are aware, US Soccer has been interested in moving from our current age group format based on the school year to one based on the calendar year. The Calendar Year model is used around the world, and for our state, regional and national teams. Earlier this year, US Soccer met to discuss this issue. Following that meeting we were informed that the age group change would be at least a couple of years out.

US Soccer met again at the beginning of July and made the decision that the change to calendar year would be mandatory beginning in 2017, and recommended that the state associations adopt this change for 2016. The state associations met two weeks ago to discuss this and other issues. During that meeting Washington Youth Soccer learned that 94% of the state associations and 100% of Region IV (our region) had made the decision to move to the calendar year model for 2016. As a result Washington Youth Soccer and the Regional Club League, of which SSC Shadow is a member, will be making the move to calendar year during the course of 2016. All of our RCL teams will be going to calendar year.   

It is important to note that this was not a club decision, but a decision made by the governing body at the highest level. This decision affects every club in our league, our state and the rest of the country. In short, everyone is dealing with the same set of circumstances. This change will take effect beginning with tryouts for the 2016/2017 seasons and will not impact our 2015/2016 rosters. The state is currently working on a plan for implementation. We will communicate the details of that plan as they become of available.

We are aware that this may cause some anxiety for players and parents as they look forward to the formation of new teams with different age parameters beginning with tryouts next year. We should all be mindful of the stress that this might place on our kids and continue to focus on making the current year, which is only just beginning, a great one. As a club we will have information coming forward about tryouts and coaches. With those tryout still months away, that information will be out closer to the dates of tryouts.

Questions also can and will arise about the U15 age group having a mix of players that will be in high school and some not yet in high school. SSC Shadow is doing a pilot program this spring to address that issue.

Another major change mandated by US Soccer has to do with the team sizes at the youngest age groups. Beginning next year, U9 and U10 will play 7-v-7 and U11 and U12 will play 9-v-9. The idea behind this is that fewer players will provide more touches for each player, creating a better developmental environment.

Finally, Washington Youth Soccer will announce further information on the rollout of changes from USSF and US Youth Soccer. 

Please check washingtonyouthsoccer.org and our website as more information continues to come out. Also, please feel free to visit this link to Washington Youth Soccer: http://www.washingtonyouthsoccer.org/statement_on_ussf_man…/

In the Spirit of the Game,

Abbas Faridnia
Technical Director
SSC Shadow

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