USSF Makes Major changes to Youth Soccer

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USSF Makes Major changes to Youth Soccer

There are major changes coming to youth soccer which will impact every youth player, team, club, organization and league.  For many years the US Socce

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There are major changes coming to youth soccer which will impact every youth player, team, club, organization and league.  For many years the US Soccer Federation (USSF) has been developing and planning a strategy to address the Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) process within soccer in our country.  They have identified two areas that they are changing which they believe is for the best opportunities for players in the US.  These are 1. Age Group cutoff dates and 2.  Small-Sided Games and field/goal sizes for competition.  These changes will align USSF youth with the standards and practices seen within FIFA and around the world in the majority of major soccer countries.  It is the hope of USSF that these changes will create an environment where players will rise to the world class standard of soccer and thus result in a better opportunity for the US to win a World Cup.  USSF has implemented these changes also so that the LTAD can be a major focus in considering primary issues such as “Peak Height Velocity” (PHV) in developing athletes.  In order to read more about these changes please follow this link.  US Soccer has provided a video presentation on the changes to come:  USSF INITIATIVES
*Please note that there is still discussion on some of the changes and when they will be implemented.
USSF has initiated the process of mandating these changes for any soccer organization that is a member of an affiliated league or state association.  This includes AC Brea as we are members of both Calsouth, the official state governing body of soccer as sanctioned by USSF which allows us to run our own recreational leagues, and the Coast Soccer League which is a league also sanctioned by Calsouth in which our AC Brea Club teams play.
Here is what we know now for sure:
  • Age groups will change in 2016 for all players.
  • USSF & Calsouth have not decided yet when small-sided game changes will be made.
  • AC Brea Rec League will implement ALL changes for the 2016 Fall season…both age groups and small sided games format
The first change that will take place in 2016 will be the change in age groups.  Currently the age cutoff for all players is August 1.  This will be changed to January 1.
What this means for CLUB:  For example, a club B00 team is a U15 team made up of players born from Aug 1, 2000 to July 31 2001.  Next year the B00 team will be made up of players born born from Jan 1, 2000 to December 31, 2000 and will be U16 in Fall 2015.  What this means is that some players from the B99 team who were born in 2000 could potentially play U16 again if they move to the B00 team and players born in 2001 could replay U15 again if they move to the B01 team.  The first time teams/players will compete using this new age date will be the Fall 2016 season.  State Cup for Spring 2016 will still use the Aug 1 date so all existing teams this Fall 2015 season can compete in their same teams.
What this means for REC:  Players will be registered within their year of birth for the 2016 Fall season.  See attached chart to see what age group players will compete in for the 2016 Fall season.  Also, see US Youth Soccer FAQ attached for further info on why these changes have been made.
The other changes that are coming but are unclear as to when they will change are competition guidelines.  Calsouth still has yet to determine when these changes will take place.  They are an adjustment from U6, U8, U10, & U12 to small-sided games.
  • U8 will change from 8v8 to 4v4
  • U9/10 will change from 8v8 to 7v7
  • U11/12 will change from 11v11 to 9v9
  • U13 and up will remain 11v11
*Again, please note that these changes will for sure come by 2017, possibly in 2016, it is still yet to be determined.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR AC BREA Club teams and players…AND what our plan is going forward:
The AC Brea Board of directors, Technical Director and Club coaching staff are in the process of laying out a timeline and plan to move us through these changes.  Our first steps have already taken place, as Technical Director, I have been researching these coming changes for the past 2 years.
  • In order for all of our teams, coaches, players and families to remain focused on their current CSL Fall season we will not be making any changes or discussing any movement of players, teams or coaches until after the season has come to an end
  • All of our club teams have all already received notification to hold off on registering your team for the Calsouth State/National Cups so we can layout a plan first.  Some teams will compete in these tournaments, however, we must determine if it is right on a team by team basis.
  • Other soccer organizations may already be holding tryouts for the new age groups…We believe this is a major distraction and recommend you make your first priority this season and keep your focus on doing your best now.
  • There will be ample time to go through this process and AC Brea is well organized and staffed to make a smooth transition.


  1. I have presented this research and initial plans to the board and will be meeting with the Club Coaching Staff next week to establish plans to move forward.
  2. We will communicate by early November which coaches will be “Age Group Coordinators” (AGC).  These coaches will oversee specific age groups along with the Technical Director.
  3. Once our club teams finish with their seasons in mid December (League Cup) we will set up our development and team formation process.
  4. We will determine in our meetings if any teams will remain intact and which specific players we recommend to play up an age group.
  5. January and February will be spent working with all players from 6-14 years old (not yet in high school) within their age groups and sometimes in a higher age group.  This will be determined by the Technical Directors and Age Group Coordinators.
  6. Teams may be competing in State Cup and we will work within that environment as well.
  7. When High School season is over we will repeat this process with those coaches, teams and players.
  • “Does this mean our club team will be disbanded to form a new team?”  Not necessarily, TD & staff will determine what is the best situation for every team from a competitive and balanced standpoint.
  • “Will we retain our bracket status; gold, silver elite, etc”  CSL has not released a statement yet as to how they will determine the bracketing.  When we receive more information we will release it.
  • “Will we retain our CSL Team ID#?”  This is another question that CSL has not yet addressed.
  • “Does this mean that we will have a new coach?”  Not necessarily, every year we hire new coaches and consider what the best fit for each coach is from year to year.
  • “Does this mean that once we are placed on a team we stay there?”  No, as a club we have the ability to play players up/down within age groups and between levels throughout the Winter/Spring season.  Even in Fall 2016 we can still move players
  • “Will we stay in the Coast Soccer League?”  AC Brea staff are considering all options as to what will be the best fit for our club, team and players moving forward.
  • “Do I, as a parent/guardian have a say in where my child will play?”  Yes, of course.  Ultimately the Technical Director, Age Group Coordinators and Coaches will offer roster spots on specific teams just like we do every year.  It is your decision as a parent/guardian to accept or reject the offer.
  • “What will happen to our team budget if players are moved to different teams?”  We know this will be a question and we will answer this question as part of our timeline and plan.
AC Brea’s goal is to place each player appropriate to their age and ability so they are in the best environment to develop both as individuals and within their team environment
We will release a more detailed plan and bring everyone in to the procedure as we move forward.  If you have any questions, comments or suggestions feel free to contact Matt Morse,[email protected].