Parents and Players,

There have been a lot of questions about fall age group alignment changes that I will try to answer.

As everyone may have heard by now there will be big changes starting this fall 2016.  US Soccer has mandated a significant alteration in how American soccer will be organized – changing the birth-year registration from an August – July format to January – December.  The current cutoff date for American youth soccer is August 1. The summer date has been common in U.S. Youth sports, inspired by its correlation to the academic calendar.  The international cutoff date, however, is January 1.

US Soccer believes the age-group rule change will provide clearer information on player birthdates to combat relative age effect – the selection bias that favors players who are more physically mature than their peers because they were born earlier in the year.  US Soccer says the birth-year registration initiative will not cause the dissolution of age-group based teams that already play together, but will rather give players the opportunity to ‘play up’ with older age-groups.

Soccer has also mandated field size changes for small-sided games.  Michigan and WMYSA have already been following the small-sided game rules so you should not see much of a difference.  The fields for U9 – U12 may get a little smaller.

While we will be mandated to follow the new field sizes and age group changes in the fall, we will have a few decisions we need to make as a club.  As these rules will affect all of our BC Fire teams, we as a club will need to make some tough decisions on how teams are formed to try to limit trapped/orphaned players.

I attended WMYSA’s age group meetings and can answer most of your questions.  If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to ask.  Again, this does not affect spring soccer but it will affect fall tryouts.

Change is never easy, but with everyone’s help I believe we can efficiently more forward.

Links and PDFs you may want to reference

Official Press Release from US. Soccer

Small-Sided Games FAQ

Small-Sides Games USSF Standards Chart

Calendar Year FAQ

Calendar Year Age Matrix 2016-2025

Age Group Changes for Fall 2016