BRYC Age Groups Change for Fall Season

USSF/USYS/VYSA Mandate Takes Effect beginning with Fall 2016 Registration

After some 25 years of determining a child’s soccer age group to (more or less) coincide with his or her school grade, when Fall season registration opens on Saturday, April 30, a player’s new soccer age will be determined by the year of his or her birth.  Instead of the soccer birth year running from August 1 to the following July 31, as it has for all current players since they started playing, henceforth the actual January-December year of a player’s birth will determine his or her soccer age.

This change has been mandated by the US Soccer Federation (USSF), and adopted by US Youth Soccer (USYS) and the Virginia Youth Soccer Association (VYSA) as explained in a press release from USSF and USYS. As a member organization of the VYSA, BRYC must comply with the Age Group Mandate in order to participate in any inter-club play including Friendship Leagues, SFL, All Stars and ODSL. (Note that the press release also deals with a second mandate on small-sided play which will not be effective until the 2017-2018 season, but with which BRYC is already in substantial compliance.)

For much more detail on this very important notice press "Continue" below.

After some 25 years of determining a child’s soccer age group to (more or less) coincide with his or her school grade, when Fall season registration opens on Saturday, April 30, a player’s new soccer age will be determined by the year of his or her birth. Instead of the soccer birth year running from August 1 to the following July 31, as it has for all current players since they started playing, henceforth the actual January-December year of a player’s birth will determine his or her soccer age.

This change has been mandated by the US Soccer Federation (USSF), and adopted by US Youth Soccer (USYS) and the Virginia Youth Soccer Association (VYSA) as explained in a press release from USSF and USYS. As a member organization of the VYSA, BRYC must comply with the Age Group Mandate in order to participate in any inter-club play including Friendship Leagues, SFL, All Stars and ODSL. (Note that the press release also deals with a second mandate on small-sided play which will not be effective until the 2017-2018 season, but with which BRYC is already in substantial compliance.)

How to Determine Your Age Group

In order to determine what age group your child will play in during any given season, subtract their birth year from the spring season of the soccer year in question, e.g. for the Fall 2016-Spring 2017 soccer year, subtract the player's birth year from 2017. Thus, a child born any time in calendar year 2008, regardless of his or her school year, would be a U9 in both the fall and spring seasons. Children born early in the calendar year will be the oldest players on the team.  Those born late in the year will be the youngest. 

To make it easy, here’s a listing of the birth-year defined age groups for the Fall 2016-Spring 2017 seasons.

Mini Kickers

U4:   2013

U5:   2012

U6:   2011

U7:   2010

Junior Division

U8:   2009

U9:   2008

U10:  2007

U12: 2005-2006

Senior Division

U14: 2003-2004

U16: 2001-2002

U19/20: 8/1/1997   – 12/31/2000

 


Players born between January and July will be playing in the same age group they would have expected to play in for the coming season.  Those born between August and December will find themselves in an age group one year older than they would have played in under the old school-year age groupings.  (Please note that for the 2016-1017 soccer season only, the U19 age group is expanded to U19/20 so that those players do not age out of the program in December of 1997.) Here's the calendar year age group table for the next several years as provided by US Youth Soccer.

Effects of the Birth Year Change on Play-Up Requests and Player Development

This change in methodology will have at least two immediate effects.  Among our older and more established squads, playing in the ODSL and, to a lesser extent, within the Senior Division of our recreational program, children playing on existing or on a few well established teams based on school years will find they are split between two calendar year age groups. Play-up requests based on age alone (attempting to mimic the current school-year age groupings) would have the effect of creating single-year divisions with as much as a 17-month age (not to speak of size) difference between the youngest and oldest players.  (Multi-year divisions such as U11/12 or U13/14 would have as much as a 29 month age span.) Therefore, except at the Senior Division level where the limited number of teams BRYC fields have become well established, BRYC will henceforth consider play-up requests much more based on a player's size and skill level as determined by League Directors and Deputy Commissioners, rather than on the basis of coach requests, car pools, and school year age groupings.

Meanwhile, among our younger players in the Mini-Kickers and Junior Divisions, playing on teams that are now based primarily on neighborhood (I.e. school affinity), compliance with the new mandates will also mean that school year groupings must be broken up, with, for example, older first graders henceforth playing with younger second graders and older second graders playing with younger third graders, etc.  Neighborhood affinity will be maintained to the extent possible, as it always has, but pure school year groupings will not be possible to maintain. Play-up requests based on school age, carpools, or coach requests alone will not generally be honored as we attempt to follow the new mandate and take advantage of the developmental advantages it offers in the long run.

Playing up based solely on school grade would have the effect of placing children of far different size and ability levels on the same squad.  It would also have the immediate effect in the 2016-2017 season of seriously diminishing the time spent in developmental, small-sided play where a number of players will already find themselves moving directly from U7 to U9, for example.  We don’t want to exaggerate that problem by permitting play-ups for any reason other than demonstrated skill levels as determined by coaches and League Directors during a previous season.  Play-ups will be, by far, the exception to the rule.

Question and Concerns?

We realize that this mandated change could raise questions or be of concern to some players and parents but we believe that, in the long run, it is for the betterment of U.S. soccer, bringing us into alignment with the long-established age standards of the rest of the world. We are prepared to answer any questions or concerns either personally or in the form of an FAQ.  You may address them the Webmaster, Ralph Schuetz, brycstars@aol.com, (Answers to some questions we can anticipate are in this first FAQ iteration.) Questions may also be addressed to the four BRYC Deputy Commissioners as follows:

              Mini-Kickers                 Tim Eagle                      timeagle@gmail.com

              Junior Division              Peter Phipps                  petersphipps@gmail.com

              Senior Division             Doug Alcorn                   douglasalcorn@aol.com         

                  ODSL                      Anthony Pagano             bryc_all_stars@live.com

Note that not just players, but coaches as well, will be adjusting to the fact that some players and coaches will have missed a year of small-sided soccer as they move from being a U9 to U11, for example, over the course of the summer. We know this change could be of concern to some players and parents but we hope and believe that any short-term angst will quickly disappear. We will be well-prepared for, and are already looking forward to, the Fall 2016 season.  

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