INFORMATION REGARDING USYS MANDATED AGE BRACKET CHANGE
As many of you are now aware, US Soccer has unveiled their initiative to make a change from school-year to calendar year for the age grouping of teams, effective August 2016. US Youth Soccer has explained this shift as an opportunity to "make age groups easier to understand, while aligning our calendar with the international calendar". Using the academic calendar for age groups (Aug 1 - July 31 birth dates) is only utilized in the United States and Canada. The change to calendar year age groups (Jan 1st - Dec 31st birth dates) reflects an evolution of the 'beautiful game' in the U.S. and will be adopted nationwide.
When determining the age group for a season, the year the season ends should be used for determining the birth year. Also note that the format “U followed by age” really means that age and younger. For example, U8 should be read as 8 and younger. For more age-group information please reference U.S. Soccer’s Player Development Initiatives.
Understanding that following this new protocol may, in some cases, change the dynamic of teams in certain age groups, it is important to understand a couple of key points. First, the most important point to be made as we forge forward in implementing this new initiative is this: ANY AND ALL CHANGES WILL BE MADE IN THE BEST INTEREST OF INDIVIDUAL PLAYERS. Please know that from the Club director, to age group directors, to coaches...everyone is on top of reviewing and discussing all possibilities now available to each team based on this new protocol. Second, keep in mind that, as in the past, players are still allowed to "play up" in an older age group. Some teams will gain additional players who are now age eligible, some teams will not notice a change at all. In other instances, select players at the U18 age group may now be designated as U19. Directors and coaches will reach out directly to individuals who will be affected with the option that will best serve their overall player development.
US Soccer has mandated this initiative to further the development of players in the U.S. We look forward to addressing questions and providing guidance to work towards a successful transition. To that end, a meeting regarding this topic will be held in April (date TBA). Please plan on raising any concerns you may have at that time. In the meanwhile, there is additional information available at USyouthsoccer.org.