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Statement on USSF mandated rule changes

August 26, 2015 04:56 PM

Updated 11-3-15 

*U.S. Soccer has released several conflicting documents in regards to the new age group classifications.  See FAQ's below for the latest communication.

Over the past year, Washington Youth Soccer has been involved in discussions with our parent organizations, the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) and US Youth Soccer, regarding potential mandated rule changes to the youth soccer structure.  At the USSF Board Meeting held July 5th, the USSF Board of Directors approved the Player Development Initiatives developed and proposed by the National Coaching Staff.  These two initiatives mandate small-sided games at Under-12 and a move from school year (Aug. 1-July 31) to calendar year (Jan. 1-Dec. 31) age groups.

U.S. Soccer Official Announcement

USSF's schedule for the rule changes will be to adopt as best practices beginning August of 2016, and mandate as of August of 2017.  

US Youth Soccer will implement calendar year age grouping for player registration beginning with the 2016-2017 soccer year for all US Youth Soccer programs and competitions.  To align with regional and national competitions, Washington Youth Soccer will also adopt the calendar year age grouping for State-run programs beginning August of 2016.  All Washington Youth Soccer State Cups and the Regional Club League (RCL) will be run on calendar year age groups starting with the 2016-2017 season.  There will be no change to Elite Player Development (EPD), as the program already operates by calendar year, or TOPSoccer, which operates by skill level.

US Youth Soccer Official Announcement

For questions regarding the new coaching initiatives, contact your club or association leadership or Washington Youth Soccer Director of Communications, Mike Anderson, at or 253-944-1606.


How will the change to calendar year affect players and their teams? Updated 11-3-15

The U.S. Soccer Federation has issued several conflicting documents in regards to the new age group classifications.  Click here for the latest communication.

Will the calendar year rule be grandfathered in?

No.  However, depending on your association or club rules, players can still “play-up” to stay with their current team.  A player may not “play down” with a younger age group.

At U-15, some players will be in high school, while others will not.  Likewise, at U-18 some players will have graduated while some are still in high school.  Will those players have a club team to play on?

Initiatives are being discussed at both the national and state levels to address these issues.  More information will be forthcoming.

When will small-sided games be implemented?

Initiatives are being discussed at both the national and state level to address these issues.  More information will be forthcoming.



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