U.S. Soccer Mandates
US Soccer has recently announced that its board of directors approved mandates concerning small-sided game guidelines and changing from the current “school year age” matrix (IE. Aug. 1 – July 31) to a “calendar year” age matrix (IE. Jan. 1 – Dec. 31). US Soccer is the governing body for the sport of soccer in the United States. The mandates apply to national youth soccer organizations which are members of US Soccer, which include US Youth Soccer, US Club Soccer, AYSO, and SAY to name a few of the more familiar organizations. Eastern Pennsylvania State Youth Soccer Association (EPYSA) is a US Youth Soccer state association and as such, falls under the umbrella of these US Soccer mandates and HMMS as a club and affiliated with EPYSA, falls under that same umbrella. In fact, all soccer clubs within Pennsylvania and CPYSL must follow and adapt to these mandates.
The US Youth Soccer board voted to implement the “calendar year” registration to begin in the 2016-2017 season. All state associations and their members are required to make the change. The remaining US Soccer mandate regarding small sided games will be enacted in 2017-2018. At the US Youth Soccer AGM in late July, a straw poll vote was taken for implementing the birth year registration in 2016-17 and the result was 91% in favor.
This change means the 8/1 – 12/31 age players on teams move up and the 1/1 – 7/31 players will stay down. The mandate does not mean players may not play up. Playing up allows the clubs and leagues to make decisions in their local environments that are necessary for success. As noted, you can play players up, but you may not play players down. HMMS has reviewed its Eagle FC and Travel tryout policies and Tryout process and made the necessary adjustments to accommodate the new mandates. These adjustments will be communicated at registration, tryouts and within future HMMS communications.
The US Youth Soccer Board also approved a two-year phase in for the Small-Sided Games mandate. The 2016-17 soccer year will serve as a transition year to the U.S. Soccer specifications for the US Youth Soccer programs listed below (u-9 through u-12), and the Small-Sided Games requirements will be fully implemented for the 2017-18 soccer year (u-6 through u-8).
The US Youth Soccer programs and competitions that will introduce the birth-year registration and small sided games mandates in the 2016-17 soccer year include, but are 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
Please note, these mandates and the impacts are not a decision over which you or HMMS have control, it was decided by US Soccer and it is the rule for all of youth soccer in the US. The implementation and impacts of these changes is a process and effort that HMMS will be continually evaluate from now until its completion in 2017-2018. US Soccer mandated the initiatives to further the development of the players in the US, as well as, to align birth year with the rest of the world. In fact, with the small sided mandate, it will be the first time in 102 years of US Soccer that one method of teaching and developing players has ever been attempted. We are looking forward to addressing your questions and providing assistance and guidance in helping you and HMMS work towards a successful transition. Please see the “Related Links” section to gain more insight into the rationale behind the mandates and to view the FAQ link, which provides answers to commonly asked questions.
We are here to assist you:
Questions regarding the move to “calendar year” age matrix or questions regarding “small sided games” soccer mandates should be directed to:
HMMS Soccer Mandates Transition Team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sam Snow US Soccer Coaching Director – Video Answering US Soccer Mandate Questions
- Group and Small Sided Game Mandate (8/24/15)
- US Youth Soccer Press Release changes coming in 2016 (8/24/15)US Soccer Board of
- Directors Approves Implementation of new mandates (9/1/15)
- US Youth Soccer FAQ
- US Soccer Player Development Initiative
- Calendar Age Group Chart
- Small Sided Games Mandate Chart
- Small Sided Games – NSCAA provided Coaching Education