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U.S. Soccer introduces coaching initiatives to target improvement in youth development standards

By US Club Soccer, 08/25/15, 3:15PM EDT


UPDATE (Oct. 30, 2015): On Sept. 15, US Club Soccer communicated how our organization would be implementing the new birth year registration and small-sided game mandates from the U.S. Soccer Federation. This communication was made to help our members plan for the future with significant time to prepare. It is accurate with respect to US Club Soccer competition structures until Aug. 1, 2016.

In the past weeks, there have been some interpretative changes in how competition age groups are labeled, and potentially the effect these changes will have once birth-year registration is introduced on Aug. 1, 2016. We understand that there are significant questions being raised in many areas – from parents, coaches and clubs – about intent, implementation and intended or unintended effect of various positions and changes.

US Club Soccer is in extensive dialogue with other youth organizations and with the U.S. Soccer Federation regarding these changes. We hope to have clear and concise responses to these questions in the coming weeks. We will communicate exactly what the appropriate age group labels will be and the implementation plan to most efficiently adjust to these Federation mandates, as soon as we are able.

Thank you for your patience as we work through this issue.


(Aug. 25, 2015): In another step towards improving long-term player development in the United States, the U.S. Soccer Federation is phasing in new mandatory standards related to small-sided games and birth-year registration, according to a statement released Monday night.

These coaching initiatives, which will be mandated to apply to all U.S. Soccer members by August 2017, include age groups based on birth-year registration (from January 1 to December 31) consistent with international standards. Simultaneously, U.S. Soccer will also mandate new small-sided and field size standards for U-6 through U-12 age groups.

  • Click here for the official U.S. Soccer Federation announcement and presentation.

The mandate for birth-year registration represents a shift away from the current practice of teams being organized based on player birth dates from August to July. The change means that teams will in future be organized based on birth years. In most cases, player passcards will continue to be issued on an Aug. 1-July 31 competition season.

US Club Soccer is coordinating implementation with US Youth Soccer and other youth soccer organizations to ensure the smoothest and most efficient transition. US Club Soccer will update members on the timetable for implementation within the next few weeks.


A National Association member of the U.S. Soccer Federation, US Club Soccer fosters the growth and development of soccer clubs in order to create the best possible environment for players of all ages.

Anchored by Players First and its five pillars of Club Development, Coaching Development, Player Development, Parent Engagement & Education and Player Health & Safety, US Club Soccer offers registration, league- and cup-based competition platforms, player identification and a variety of other programming, resources and services.

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