The United States Soccer Federation (U.S. Soccer) has announced major changes for youth soccer which will affect Warrington Soccer Club and all other teams, leagues, and state associations throughout the United States, beginning in August, 2016.
The two mandated standards from the U.S. Soccer Player Development Initiative are for small-sided games (Small Sided Standards) and a change in registration from a seasonal year to the calendar year (Birth Year Registration).
Small Sided Standards -- U.S. Soccer mandated several changes to the number of players and reduced the field sizes for all players 12 and younger. Currently in Eastern PA teams from 8 to 12 years old are played 8v8 while games for 13 and older are played 11v11. Beginning in the 2016/2017 season,
- Games for 6 and under through 8 and under will be played 4 vs. 4 with no goalie or offside rule
- Games for 9 and under and 10 and under will be played 7 vs. 7 and played on slightly smaller fields with a “build-out line”
- Games for 11 and under and 12 and under age groups will be played 9 vs. 9
- Games for 13 and under and older will play full sided 11 vs. 11.
Birth Year Registration --The biggest modification and impact on the club will be the change to Birth Year Registration. For the past 25 years, age groups were defined with an August 1st cutoff. For example, current Under 12 age group teams are comprised of players born between August 1, 2003 and July 31, 2004. Starting next season, the age group cutoff will switch to January 1st for all age groups.
Your age group is determined based upon when your season ends minus your birth year. So, for next year, if you wish to play for a travel team whose season runs from August 1, 2016 to July 31, 2017 and you were born in calendar year 2005 ; Subtract the season end year 2017 from your birth year 2005 (2017-2005 = 12) and you will be in the 12 and under age group. If you plan to play in the intramural program, a fall program which ends in November, subtract the season end year 2016 from your birth year 2005 (2016-2005 = 11) and you will be in the 11 and under age group playing in the 12 and under age group. See chart on club website for breakdown based upon birth year for all programs.
The main purpose of this change as mandated by US Soccer is so that our country uses the same age group classifications as all other countries that play organized soccer. These change will take place throughout the United States.
Remember, this mandate begins in August 2016. Therefore, our tryouts for next year’s travel teams that take place in the spring for the 2016/2017 playing season will use these new Birth Year classifications. The changes to the club’s registration for the intramural program will be for the 2016 fall season.
The club’s Board and staff have been working on an implementation plan of the U.S. Soccer changes for the past two months. Our primary goal has been to develop and offer programs for players at all ages and all levels of ability to maximize their potential and develop a passion for the game, while also making Warrington Soccer Club one of the most attractive places for soccer families in Bucks and Montgomery counties.
A brief overview of our 2016/2017 program offerings are below. Further details will be provided in future communications.
- FC Warrington Premier Teams – Our goal for the 2016/2017 season is to have one premier team at each age group starting at 11 and under (2006 birth year) and above. The final criteria for player ability and the coach requirements are still under development and will be released in Early 2016. The FC Warrington Premier teams will have a separate tryout process from the Travel Competitive Teams.
- Travel Competitive Teams – For the 2016/2017 season, the club’s travel competitive teams will start at 11 and under (2006 birth year) and be available up to 19 and under (1998 birth year). Much like our travel program now, the number of teams and player selection will be based on the number of players in each age group and each player’s abilities and potential. After the open tryout, the A team coach will pick his/her perceived top group of age appropriate players, the B team coach will then select the next group of players, and so forth. Players will be required to try-out for the age group based on their birth year.
- Travel Academy Teams – For the 2016/2017 season, the club’s travel academy teams will start at 9 and under (2008 birth year) and include 10 and under (2007 birth year). Much like our current academy program now, the number of teams and player selection will be based on the number of players in each age group and each player’s abilities and potential. The age group will be coached by a paid coach and be responsible for player development.
- Intramural and Joint Intramural League Teams – Starting in the fall of 2016, these programs will be offered with the implemented changes to Birth Year registration and the small sided standard rule changes. These programs are offered starting at 6 and under up to 19 and under. For the 4 and under and 5 and under age groups, the club will continue its partnership with Smart Soccer to offer these age groups a great introduction to the game utilizing the "one with one" style of activities.
- Intramural Select Teams – Our Intramural Select teams are formed each season during the Fall. Teams are formed by age group through player selection and identification by the individual Head Intramural coaches. Teams typically compete in 1-2 tournaments. Starting in 2016/2017, we are looking to expand this program by offering additional winter season training sessions and spring tournaments.
- Winter Academy Program – Our pre-travel Academy program is designed for the 7 and under and 8 and under age groups to provide a fun learning environment where players are introduced to technical skills to teach ball control, individual possession, and a joy for the game. This program takes place indoors once a week during the winter. January to March time frame