Big Changes In Youth Soccer – What’s the Reaction?
Announced August 24th, US Soccer introduced two vital changes that all clubs, regardless of affiliation, have been told they must follow:
INITIATIVE 1 – Small Sided Progression and Standards
The field dimensions and number of players on the pitch will change in size from 4v4 to 7v7 to 9v9 as players age, up until they reach the U-13 age group and begin to play full 11v11 matches.
INITIATIVE 2 – Calendar Birth Year Registration For All Teams
All teams must be formed on calendar birth year, aligning registration with the international standard.
Related Article: USSF CHANGES YOUTH SOCCER
So what do the influential people in soccer that will be responsible for implementing these changes think of the new mandates? Check out their responses here:
Noah Gins, Executive Director at Albion SC
“The changes set forth by USSF are ones that we have all been waiting for as they had been discussed for many years. Being that the entire nation is making this change makes it a real positive. It will put the entire country for the first time on the same page. The idea that all players will be birth year now matches what the rest of the world is doing and what National Teams are doing so this is only a positive. How it will impact soccer clubs that is a different story. Many great teams are put together and now clubs will have to be faced with the best way to manage these teams. In our preliminary evaluation at Albion SC we look forward to the changes as we see ourselves getting stronger in all age groups and allowing players to really benefit from playing within their birth year.”
“As far as the small sided games and different sizes of fields and numbers, this will take some getting used to by everyone as we are all very set in our ways and things will need to change here. How we manage our rosters, what events we do, what our staff looks like, all things that most clubs and Cal South are looking at now before we even get to the field. The onfield changes should be good and should be productive to player development.”
Brandon Quaranta, Director of Coaching at Baltimore Celtic SC
“I believe USSF is honestly trying to make changes beneficial to the development of soccer in this nation.”
“I certainly think the move to further emphasize small sided games with a progressive structure is sensible. Any format that provides for more touches on the ball should heighten technical ability and encourage the desire to pass and combine. That is always a positive in moving our game forward.”
“As for the change to a birth year format, like most people I am conflicted. I am certainly sympathetic to friends who will be separated and teams which will certainly be altered. Change is difficult, and that is most apparent initially. Saying that, American soccer will follow a more traditional world model, and benefits could potentially be seen for our youth national teams. I believe that clubs with good leadership, forward thinking staff, depth of talent, and open, honest communication will handle the transition appropriately. Parents should be educated on the changes, and most importantly how that will affect their child. I am hopeful the move to calendar year to align with the majority of the world will prove a good decision and Celtic will implement a comprehensive plan to adjust to the changes.”
Sam Snow, Coaching Director at U.S. Youth Soccer
“With the change in player registration from school year to calendar year taking place in compliance with a mandate from U. S. Soccer there may be older teens who find that part of their team is now gone. The question is what to do for the remaining players who still want to play soccer. I have suggested that they could play on an adult team if they so desire and if adult soccer leagues exist in their area. But not all older teens want to play on an adult team or perhaps adult amateur soccer doesn’t happen in their town. The youth soccer club could provide the solution by offering 6-a-side soccer. This option could be intramural or interclub participation. If there are other clubs in the area with the same situation then a 6 vs. 6 league could be set up. The bottom line is this – keep an open mind. Real soccer isn’t just 11 vs. 11 at any age. Play small-sided games for these teens in high school or middle school. Play futsal. Play beach soccer. Play indoor soccer. During this transition time think of the new opportunities that may present themselves.”
Eric Buchere – In December, 2015 MLS Earthquakes hired Bucchere as Head Coach of Premier Development League Affiliate Burlingame Dragons FC – he was formerly Men’s Soccer Head Coach at Menlo College
“I couldn’t be happier with the new initiatives from US Soccer. These changes reflect the opinions that most coaches who know the game have had for many years. Smaller numbers, more touches, and goal sizes that require finishing rather than just chipping a ball that’s too high for most kids, are all great adjustments. Also, having worked in the USSF Development Academy for years I see the benefit of standard birth year age groups from January to December. Just more simple for everyone involved! Overall, more steps in the right direction for US Soccer.”