Birth Year and Small-Sided Changes for the 2016-17 Season

New Mandates from U.S. Soccer

The United States Soccer Federation (U.S. Soccer), US Youth Soccer and Kentucky Youth Soccer Association (KYSA) have announced mandated changes which will affect CSC and all Kentucky teams, beginning with the 2016-17 soccer season.

Birth Year Age Groups

Beginning with the 2016-17 soccer year, player registration and age groupings will be done by calendar/birth year (January 1st through December 31st), rather than the school year grouping that is currently used (August 1st through July 31st). The main purpose of this change is so the U.S. uses the same age group classifications as all other countries that play organized soccer.

To calculate the proper year for a player, take the ending year of the seasonal year (2016-2017) and subtract the player’s birth year.

  • Example #1:
    2017 – 2002 = 15; the player is a U15 for the 2016-17 season.
  • Example #2:
    2017 – 2005 = 12; the player is a U12 for the 2016-17 season.



New Small-Sided Changes

Another change mandated by U.S. Soccer will be the number of players on the field and field sizes for some age groups. KYSA has announced that starting in 2016-17, teams will play at these numbers:

  • U9 Academy:
    Academy will begin playing 7v7 in Spring 2016 on the same fields they played on this fall instead of 6v6 games as they played in Fall 2015, then starting in Fall 2016 will transition to 7v7 on a smaller field (47 yds x 30 yds).
  • U10:
    Will play 7v7 on a smaller field (47 yds x 30 yds), beginning in Fall 2016.
  • U11 and U12:
    Will play 9v9 on a smaller field (75 yds x 47 yds), beginning in Fall 2016.
  • U13 and older will play full-sided on full-sized regulation fields, playing 11v11.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why are these changes being made?
    U.S. Soccer states that the current landscape is inconsistent and not as successful as it could be when it comes to player development. Through these initiatives, U.S. Soccer aims to develop players with more individual skill, intelligence, creativity and confidence. These changes also provide a consistent approach across the country while challenging the status quo of our soccer landscape by focusing on the development of the individual versus the success of a team. Parents can also have a better understanding of exactly what they should expect from a soccer program for their children.

    *NEW* It is my understanding that the club could have elected to delay this change a year, allowing the players to adjust to the idea. I would have preferred if the club had elected that option and would like to know the rationale for not choosing the route.
    CSC has no choice in this. All member organizations of the U.S. Soccer Federation and US Youth Soccer across the country, as well as KYSA will be required to comply with the birth year age group and small-sided games mandates in Fall 2016.

  • Why is birth year registration going into effect for all levels of play and all age groups?
    Having players train and play according to their age and developmental stage supports the objectives of the small-sided standards by focusing on the physiological and developmental needs of the player. U.S. Soccer’s change is meant to better safeguard the development of youth players at all ages and levels.

    Is my son or daughter still going to be able to play with his or her friends and classmates?
    Your player will be able to play with players born in their birth year. If players “play up” a birth year then they could remain with their classmates. This will be addressed on a case-by-case basis and requires approval of the Director of Coaching, as is current policy. Inevitably, players will be separated through this process in order to maintain a cohesive developmental program.

    Don’t you realize that you’re breaking up my existing team?
    U.S. Soccer recognizes that making these changes can impact existing teams in the short-term. However, players joining and leaving teams is something that already happens regularly throughout the country. There are a variety of factors that require teams to evolve and adapt including players maturity rates, moving away, focusing on new interests or their soccer abilities differentiating from their peers. Again, both small-sided standards and birth year registration support the development of the individual player as a priority over a team success.

    Can players play up in an older age group?
    Yes. For example, a player born in 2000 can go up and play in the 1999 Birth Year Age Group. This will be addressed on a case-by-case basis and requires approval of the Director of Coaching, as is current policy. Inevitably, players will be separated through this process in order to maintain a cohesive developmental program.

    Can players play down on a younger age group?
    No. Players CANNOT play down with younger players. For example, a player born in 1999 CANNOT go down and play with the 2000 Birth Year Age Group.

    At U15, some players will be in high school, while others will not. Likewise, at U18 some players will have graduated while some are still in high school. Will those players have a club team to play on?
    There have always been “trapped” players. A “trapped” player is a player that is in the 8th grade, but is a U15 player. The U15 team does not play in the Fall due to High School conflicts and therefore these players were trapped without a team. KYSA has a specific bylaw that allows these players to play on a U14 team for the Fall season only. The club administration will work to ensure this feature is used to maintain training and play for our players.

    At the oldest ages, for U18 and U19, our club already rosters teams as U19 rather than U18, as “trapped” players are now too old to compete at U18 during their senior season. This policy will continue and these teams will compete at the U19 level for State competitions as well as in their league play.

    How do I determine the birth year used for a competition?
    Birth year registration should be based on the year in which the season ends. For example, if a season begins in the fall of 2016 and ends in the summer of 2017 (ex: 2016-17 season), the players would be registered based on their age in the year 2017. To simplify determining the age group, just subtract the birth year from the year the season ends.

    Year Season Ends – Birth Year = Age Group:

    — 2016-17 – 2000 = U17
    — 2016-17 – 2004 = U13
    — 2016-17 – 2007 = U10

    Please refer to the KYSA Birth Year and Season Matrix for more detailed information.

  • Why are teams moving to these numbers and field sizes when we already play small-sided?
    A smaller space will help develop these skills while also providing more interaction with the ball, teammates and opponents. U9 and U10 players need to develop speed of play and agility. For this reason, 7v7 play happens on a field where there is space to control the ball and encounter 1v1 situations. The small-sided field for 9v9 allows U11 and U12 year olds to develop coordination, balance and visual awareness. Increasing the number of players requires faster decision making so players can develop partnerships and game intelligence.

    Are the goal and field sizes the exact sizes required?
    No. The goal and field sizes listed are the maximum sizes for each age group. U.S. Soccer understands that facilities don’t change overnight so members should to their best to adhere to the sizes provided, acknowledging that it may take time to fully comply.

    When does offside come into effect?
    Playing with offside is expected to begin at the U9 age group in Fall 2016, along with the 7v7 smaller sized fields.