US Soccer New Mandates – Age Groups and Sides

The United States Soccer Federation (US Soccer) released an announcement late last summer concerning coach initiative mandates for the 2017-18 season in two areas.   

Mandate 1 was the small-sided game at younger age groups.  U9-U10 would play 7v7 instead of 6v6, and  U11-U12 would play 9v9 instead of 8v8.   

Mandate 2 changing the age groups from school year (8/1 – 7/31) to calendar year (1/1 – 12/31) releasing a new age group matrix. 

US Soccer stated, “With small-sided standards what we’re trying to do is to help players develop by putting them in an environment where they are constantly involved in the play and our changes in birth-year registration will make age groups easier to understand, while aligning our calendar with the international calendar.”  All FIFA members (except the US and Canada) currently use Calendar Year for age groups. These US Soccer mandates will have an impact on almost every facet of youth competition in this country.  CLICK HERE for more information about these US Soccer initiatives.

After US Soccer’s announcement, US Youth Soccer announced they would roll out the age group mandates for the 2016-17 season, and released their own age group matrix.  Unfortunately their matrix differed from US Soccer’s matrix and mass confusion and debate followed.   In late 2015 both organizations aligned their age matrix, but did not yet clarify when and how this would take affect.   FYSA (Florida Youth Soccer Association) waited until after the annual NSCAA Coaches convention and announced confirmation that both the small sided mandate, and birth year mandates will take effect in the coming 2016-17 season.

Officially now we have clarification of what mandates are going into effect for next season

CLICK HERE for the new Age Group Matrix. 

CLICK HERE for the new Small Sided Standards Chart. 

CLICK HERE for Frequently Asked Questions document put out by US Soccer.

Fear of the unknown is human nature.  We are aware and working on how to prepare and implement the changes that will be required for our teams and players for the coming season.    It’s not just us that will go through this transition, but every other club is in the same scenario.   The ball is still round and it is still soccer.

The coaches and directors are reviewing each roster and every player’s birth year to make sure team and players are placed appropriately.     Player development, player safety, and level of competition will be closely evaluated to determine what’s best for teams and players.

We realize change and uncertainty can cause uneasiness.  We will work with you all to provide good accurate information to help alleviate any anxiety you or your child may feel.

FCSC Director and Board