There has been a shake-up in US Youth Soccer with a change of the dividing date for age groups to January 1st. This puts the US in line with the rest of the world as opposed to our existing date of August 1st. The good news is that rather than trying to figure out which “U” group your child naturally fits in, divisions will go by the year of their birth.
The first place you will run into the new age guidelines is in the tryouts for our “D4” teams for what is still U10-U12 teams, but is more specifically the 2005-2007 birth-year kids. There is a subsequent announcement coming out for the details of the clinic and tryouts from May 15-25. Players will still be able to play-up to other age groups but we ask that they try-out within their natural birth year group.
The result for many kids will be that they seem to skip an age group between the Spring 2016 and Fall 2016 seasons. This will be the same for all PA-West kids and indeed all across the country, so don’t panic. NA schools also have a lot of parents that either hold their kids back or start them earlier, so worries about not being with kids in their specific class have also not necessarily been controlled in the past. The fact of the matter is that your kids will meet lots of different kids in our area through soccer and then run into them in future grades in school at levels where schools consolidate, like going into middle school in 6th grade or NAI in 9th. Getting to know new kids early in their experience helps with their adjustments in future years, not to mention broadening your own networking among the parents on the sidelines each season.
So there you have it, look for a slightly different registration experience where you’ll see more birth-year-based nomenclature and a bit less of the “which U group is my kid in” dilemmas. The nature of play at relative ages stays the same, but how this kids are grouped and the labels will appear different.