US Soccer's Player Development Initiative

April 2016 Update

A summary of the changes announced last August by US Soccer:

  • Adopting birth year (January 1st - December 31st) as the criterion for determining soccer age for registration.  This is a change from the historical use of August 1st - July 31st for determining soccer age.
  • Technical changes for U12 and below, including U6-U8 playing 4v4, U9-U10 playing 7v7, and U11-U12 playing 9v9.  There are related changes with regard to field size and goal size.  Furthermore, there are additional changes with regard to the addition of "build out" lines and eliminating punting at the younger ages.

Click HERE for additional info on the initiatives from US Soccer.  There's a presentation by Tab Ramos, along with a pdf version of it.  There's a FAQ document from US Soccer.  Plus, there's a clarifying document for birth year registration age ranges.

State Level Implementation (NJYSA):

NJYSA has been hard at work on developing an implementation strategy.  Click HERE for a FAQ document from NJYSA addressing the changes which are being adopted for the 2016-17 season.  The last page of this document is a summary chart for age specific policies for the 2016-17 season.  Highlights from what is being implemented follow:

  • Full adoption of the January 1st - December 31st birth year calendar for registrations for leagues and state cup starting with August 2016 registrations for the 2016-17 season.
  • Adoption of US Soccer's new technical specifications with some flexibility for a transition period, particularly where infrastructure is involved such as existing goals.
  • Full adoption of US Soccer's Goalkeeper and Ball Size standards chart for leagues and state cup starting with fall 2016.
  • NJYSA has established new guidelines for "playing up" (players playing on a team above their soccer age as determined by birth year) and the "majority rule," which limited the number of players on a roster that could be playing up, is no longer being used.
  • There are also changes to roster size and policies regarding the movement of players between teams within a club.
  • "Build out" lines have been adopted for 7v7 play (U9-U10) with no punting allowed for the 2016-17 year.  Players will need to learn how to build play out of the back.
  • 9v9 punting is being allowed for 2016-17 by NJYS; but the recommendation is that the ball cannot be put into the opposing team's penalty area.  There will be additional discussion on this topic this year at the state level, with the expectation that leagues will be required to fully comply with US Soccer's mandate for the 2017-18 season (no punting and using "build out" lines for 9v9 also).

League Level Implementation (MCYSA):

The guidance from MCYSA is that clubs should expect league level changes for 2016-17 in line with NJYSA's implementation plan.

Club Level Implementation (RSC):

Randolph Soccer Club leadership has reviewed the club's Operating Guidelines, policies, and procedures with an eye to making adjustments relating to the changes coming for the 2016-17 season.  Click here to view the updated Operating Guidelines that will be in effect for the 2016-17 season.