The following update posted on usclubsoccer.org on February 5th, 2016:
The Youth Council Technical Working Group unanimously agreed that there has been generally insufficient dialogue between the U.S. Soccer Federation technical staff and the technical leadership of the various youth membership organizations.
Substantial questions remain about the impact of the new calendar-year registration model, and the interpretation that a player’s eligible competition year is determined by his/her age in the year in which the competition ends. This change results in every player moving up one age group and may not align appropriately with the mandated age appropriate play guidelines.
There are broad concerns about the efficacy of those new guidelines, which should have been addressed prior to broad dissemination of the materials.
Not only does the Federation have a responsibility to discuss such broad issues with its membership, but a transparent and inclusive process will produce better outcomes for everyone.
The Youth Council Technical Working Group would like the Federation to agree to a formal, institutionalized communications process to ensure that an ongoing dialogue is established with the youth members. Federation technical and administrative leadership should schedule approximately three meetings annually with the Youth Council Technical Working Group and other meetings as needed with ad-hoc sub-committees of the Group.
Specific issues, which should be discussed include:
- Calendar-year birth date and implications;
- Age-appropriate play guidelines
- Field sizes
- Goal sizes
- Team sizes
- Build-out lines
- Concussion protocols and practical implications
- Modifications to the Laws to accommodate the above
- Broad player development philosophy
- Coaching education policies
- Licensing philosophy
It is the intention of the Youth Council Technical Working Group to cooperate closely with the Federation and support its efforts to raise the standard of development for all youth players. Through regular dialogue and a rigorous examination of these and other related issues, we believe that the best outcomes can be achieved for all interested parties.