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Changes Coming to Youth Soccer in 2016

In an effort to provide as much transparency as possible to our club members we are providing a link to the US Soccer mandated changes here.


There are 2 major changes being pushed through US Youth Soccer and US Club Soccer affiliates and they are Birth Year Registration and an emphasis on Small-Sided games. 


We'll tackle Birth Year Registration first as this is required to be in effect by Fall of 2016. Essentially this means a change from grouping age brackets from August to July (commonly referred to as grade or school year registration) to true calendar year brackets. This is a big change as the emphasis since the mid 1980's has been on keeping a grade or class together from initial introduction to soccer through to high school/college soccer playing experiences. What some may recall, the whole world used one method, the birth year registration method, up until the 80's and then FIFA decided to try school year registration. It didn't work out globally and a few years later they decided to switch back. Everyone in the world did, except the US and Canada who decided it was such a pain to switch they'd live with the school year age brackets. There are pros and cons to either system but ALL US soccer will be making the switch to birth year registration, with some leagues and clubs planning on doing so as early as January 2016. The elephant in the room everyone is nervous to discuss is "how will this affect my kid's team"? The Cavaliers have not made any decisions yet on how this will be handled. The only thing you can be 100% sure of is that no child will be able to play down an age group, but children may be allowed to play up an age group. 

As decisions are made on how best to handle this transition for our club you can be sure that the process will be transparent and clearly explained. 


The 2nd major change is an emphasis on small sided games. What this means is that ALL U8 players and younger will be playing in a very small format, 4v4 games without goalies. The logic behind this move is more touches on the ball for every young player. With 4v4 games the role of our current parent coaches would need to change. Logistically this is a real challenge as the volume of 4'x6' goals and lined fields for 30x20 play in the volume necessary to handle our group of U8 players is something we'll have to figure out. Scheduled games for U8 against other towns are likely a thing of the past. The transition at U9 is rather large, as they will now be playing 7v7 format (increased from current 6v6) with goalies and with offsides. Today offsides is introduced at U11. At U11 the changes dictate moving from 8v8 to 9v9 before the final 11V11 transition which will still occur at U13. There are a bunch of field dimension changes at the sub U13 age levels but the gist is to play on much smaller fields. For example, U9 and U10 would play on exactly 1/4 of a regulation 11v11 field, U11 and 12 would play on exactly 1/2 of an 11v11 field. 


Luckily we have Dave Hartsock who will figure out how exactly to make these changes happen with our limited space!

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