If you’re a soccer parent you may have heard of the US soccer age pure mandate changes to the youth age group matrix. Current age group cut offs run somewhat in line with school months August 1st- July 31st.
This will change beginning fall 2016 and mandated for all US SOCCER affiliated leagues and programs by fall 2017. The new age group matrix will be age pure meaning January 1st – December 31 St.
This change is part of the U.S. Soccer federations new player initiative aimed at bettering player development. Some say the reason for such change is that most of the world uses the age pure category system and the federation hopes to streamline youth competition to host and participate in international competitions. Some believe it is a move that benefits less than 5% of youth players in the nation. The topic is up for much debate and has caused some controversy.
There are pros and cons to this change but the biggest change will be current teams may and will have to break into two teams unless the youngsters decide to play up which they may certainly do so.
Example: My son was born September 1st 2001. He currently plays with 2001/2002 age group. Come fall 2016 he will play 2001 age pure and he will be on the younger versus older side. Since he was born after July 31st on September 1st he has always been one of the oldest on the team.
Is this good for development? Time will tell. Is this bad for US Soccer? Possibly, since a lot of kids play soccer to be with friends and classmates. Will kids stop playing soccer? NO, soccer is now a part of a child’s upbringing in most of America.
Here are the age groups for this coming fall 2016 under US Soccer Federation age pure category system:
Can you play up? Yes your child can play up; however, this is at the discretion of your league or club rules.
Can you play down? No, however, this may be ok under certain conditions under your local league rules.
You can always visit the US Soccer website for more on this topic. Always ask your local league or club administrators on how they will implement the new initiatives.