What is this age group change that everybody is talking about?
Starting with the fall 2016 season, all travel teams throughout the United States will be shifting the birthdates which determine what age group a player falls into. Previously, age group was determined by where your birthdate fell between August 1st and July 31st of a specific set of birth years. Now, age group will be determined solely by birth year.
What does this mean for my son/daughter?
If your son/daughter is born in January through July, they will go up an age group just as any other year. (If they are U13 now, they will be U14 in the fall 2016). If your son/daughter is born in August through December, they will go up 'two age groups'. (If they are U9 now, they will be in U11 in the fall 2016). This may seem challenging at first glance, but remember that every U9 player who was born in August through December in the entire country will be going through the same change. The technical staff will help ease the transitions for all players.
Is my son or daughter still going to be able to play with his or her friends and classmates?
The answer to this depends on a variety of factors. Playing on a team with all of your friends isn't always a reality in the current environment. This is similar to not having all of your friends in the same class or classes at school. Another factor is that the age cutoff used for school registration varies across the country. The placement of individual players on specific teams, as always has been the case in PSC, will be determined by the technical staff. The staff will work to determine the most appropriate placement for each player. Players will have the opportunity to 'play up' if the staff determines that it is appropriate.
Don't you realize that you're breaking up my existing team?
U.S. Soccer recognizes that making these changes can impact existing teams in the short-term. However, players joining and leaving teams is something that already happens regularly throughout country. There are a variety of factors that require teams to evolve and adapt including players maturity rates, moving away, focusing on new interests or their soccer abilities differentiating from their peers. Again, both small sided standards and birth year registration support the development of the individual player as a priority over a team success.
Are all clubs in the area doing this?
Yes. All travel leagues and clubs throughout the country will be implementing this. There are many challenges, and the national associations, state associations, leagues and each club are working to implement these changes.
My son is currently a U11 player. With the change, he will be a U13 player in the fall. Is he ready for this?
Yes, there will be a change because he will be playing on a larger, full-sided field, but the technical staff will be working with the players to help them through the adjustment period.
How is this going to affect PSC tryouts?
PSC tryouts will be based on birth year. Coaches will have the flexibility to assign players to play 'up' a birth year if they determine that it is appropriate for the player's development.