On August 24, 2015, as part of the U.S. Soccer Coaching Initiatives, USYSA announced that the registration of youth soccer players, nationwide, will shift to calendar/birth-year age grouping, as opposed to the current school-year age grouping.
The US Youth Soccer programs and competitions that will introduce the birth-year registration in the 2016-17 soccer year include, but are not limited to, the following:
US Youth Soccer National Championships Series
US Youth Soccer Presidents Cup
US Youth Soccer National League
US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues
Region I, PA West and WV Soccer Association, the organizations in which WASA regularly competes, have required that these new rules be implemented and followed beginning in August 2016. In compliance with the rules, WASA and by extension FC Wheeling United, the travel club of WASA are working on implementing new rules and regulations regarding the registration of players and the selections of teams.
What does Calendar/Birth Year mean?
Calendar/Birth Year means that players will play in the age group based on the year of their birth. The Birth Year calendar dates run from January 1st to December 31st of each year. (For example if you are born between January 1 and December 31, 2001, you will play in the 2001 Birth Year age group. If you are born between Jan 1 and December 21, 2005 you will play in the 2005 age group.) Currently rosters are made of players born both in the fall, winter and spring of the time from between August 1 of one year and July 31 of the next year. Players on a team will now generally all be born in the same calendar year.
Why are WASA and FCWU moving to Calendar/Birth Year teams?
US Soccer, the governing body for all youth soccer in the United States, is mandating the use of Birth Year teams for all sanctioned leagues under U.S. Soccer. Also, the US Youth Soccer Association, Region I and WV Soccer Association, our immediate governing bodies are implementing these changes effective August 2016. Since we are a member of these organizations, we must follow suit.
Why is US Soccer going to Calendar/Birth Year teams?
US Soccer is going to the Calendar/Birth Year system to align youth soccer in the Unites Stated with the rest of the world. Every country follows the Birth Year system and all international youth soccer competitions are divided by Birth Year, including all Youth National Team competitions and the Youth World Cup competitions. ODP in West Virginia and all other stated have followed the Birth Year system for decades. US Soccer believes that the change will help players develop at a more consistent rate. The hope is that by producing better players in the short term and producing players who can compete on the world stage in the long term, the US will be better positioned to compete in international competition including the World Cup.
Why can’t we phase in the Calendar/Birth Year change?
We feel it is important to make the change as quickly as possible to eliminate confusion moving forward. Additionally, as a registered team in WV and with teams that compete in Region I leagues and tournaments, we are mandated by our governing bodies to implement this change in the fall of 2016.
Will my 2015-2016 team stay the same for the 2016-2017 season?
Regardless of the change to Birth Year teams, there is no guarantee that the teams will remain the same from season to season. For FCWU, try-outs occur each summer to determine the make-up of each team. For WASA, teams are divided based on the number of players and coaches available each season. WASA and FCWU are working to determine how the change to Birth Year teams will affect the various teams. Additional information will be published in the upcoming season.
Will other clubs be making these same changes?
Yes. West Virginia Soccer, PA West and Region I as well as all clubs affiliated with US Youth Soccer are mandated to make these changes.
Are there any additional changes on the horizon from US Youth Soccer?
Currently, US Youth soccer has proposed a change to the small sided games system. This will affect players in the U12 and under age groups. The number of players on the field, field dimensions, goal sizes and rosters sizes may be affected. Currently the use of the new small sided games system is a recommendation to clubs but has not been formally adopted by any league or system in which WASA/FCWU teams compete.