ASA and US Soccer’s Player Development Initiatives – Discussion

The US Soccer Federation (USSF) Board of Directors recently approved (August 2015) a “Small Sided Soccer” and “Birth Year” registration mandate (collectively, also known as the US Soccer Player Development Initiatives).  This mandate applies to all USSF members including AYSO, US Club, SAY and US Youth Soccer.  ASA is a US Youth Soccer member via our involvement with VYSA.

Going into next year we understand there is some anxiety as we go through changes. We understand many ASA families have questions. Currently US Youth Soccer, the state associations, leagues and those clubs/companies that produce tournaments are reviewing their rules and working on any needed changes in order to abide by the mandates. As these changes are announced we will be sharing that information here.

For more information, please see the initiatives below along with the FAQs.



New US Soccer Coaching Initiatives Target Improvement in Youth Development Standards (August 24, 2015)

U.S. Soccer’s presentation on the new player development initiatives (includes small sided game diagrams)


us youth soccer    US YOUTH SOCCER


US Youth Soccer – clarification of age group structure  (January 26, 2016)

US Youth Soccer Press release (August 24, 2015)

US Youth Soccer Board of Directors approves implementation of US Soccer mandates  (Sept 1, 2015)

Approved the change in calendar year registration to be in effect for the 2016-2017 soccer year and includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  •  US Youth Soccer National Championships Series — including national, regional and state competitions
  • US Youth Soccer Presidents Cup — including national, regional and state competitions
  • US Youth Soccer National League
  • US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues
  • US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program

Approved a two-year phase-in for the small-sides game mandate



VYSA new logo march 2015





Virginia Youth Soccer Association (VYSA) update on US Soccer Birth Year mandates (January 27, 2016)

Virginia Youth Soccer Association’s (VYSA) September 1 email regarding US Soccer Mandates (please disregard the US Youth Soccer New Age Chart Birth Year Matrix in this press release as it is outdated. The revised Birth Year Matrix can be found in the Resource section below).






ASA’s initial statement regarding the initiatives (August 2015)


ASA Statement Regarding Rec & HS Programs:

October 29, 2015 – After reviewing information available about the birth year mandate from U.S. Soccer, and after consulting with U.S. Soccer staff and others, ASA’s Recreational and High School soccer programs will both remain organized by school grade.  Organizing Recreational & High School age groups and teams by grade fosters the social construct that is key to Recreational soccer, and it provides a framework that is most readily understood by players and parents.  As ASA’s Recreational and High School programs are completely ASA-internal operations, organization by grade affects no one else, and it is allowed by U.S. Soccer.  ASA staff will develop some simple keys to help parents understand their options if they wish to transition from the Recreational or High School program into other ASA programs that will organize by birth year starting in Fall 2016.



new  Updated Birth Year Chart (January 2016)

  • Beginning Aug. 1, 2017, all youth soccer sanctioning organizations will form competitions based on birth-year age groups.
  • Beginning Aug. 1, 2016, US Youth Soccer will be using the following birth-year “labels” for competition, based upon the season in which competition ends. For example:
    • Players born from August 1, 1997 – December 31, 1998 will be labeled as Under-19/20s.
    • Players born from January 1, 1999 – December 31, 1999 will be labeled as Under-18s.
    • Players born from January 1, 2000 – December 31, 2000 will be labeled as Under-17s.
    • Players born from January 1, 2001 – December 31, 2001 will be labeled as Under-16s.
    • Players born from January 1, 2002 – December 31, 2002 will be labeled as Under-15s.
    • Players born from January 1, 2003 – December 31, 2003 will be labeled as Under-14s.
    • Players born from January 1, 2004 – December 31, 2004 will be labeled as Under-13s.
  • With the exception of the US Youth Soccer Under-19/20s, the age group “label” will be determined by subtracting the year in which the players participating in the competition were born from the year in which competition ends.

Birth Year Chart

The Birth Year Chart below provides an example on how to calculate age group and birth year. Year minus age group equals birth year. For the purposes of calculation, it is the second year of a split-year competitive season which determines what number should be used to calculate age group. Example: 2018 – U7 = 2011

** please note the definition for US Youth Soccer Under-19/20s competitions above.


US Soccer Standards Chart for Small-Sided Games (field size/# players/size of goals)


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