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Iowa Rush Soccer Club - South

U.S. Soccer Initiatives - Fall 2016

U.S. Soccer Player Development Initiatives / Mandates

The world of youth soccer will continue its evolution as all members of U.S. Soccer will begin to transition on two key factors to encourage further youth development. The first change will be the nationwide adoption of Small-Sided Games and the second will be a shift from school-year to calendar year for the age grouping of teams.  Up until now, U.S. Soccer made small-sided recommendations by age group, but each state soccer association was choosing how to play the game.  For example, some states currently play 8v8 at 12U, similar to Iowa, while other states play 9v9, and some even play full field 11v11 which means 11 year olds are playing on the same field size as grown adults.  Across every state in the Fall 2016, the same ages will play with the same number of players and on the same size fields.  Pella Soccer Club is already in line with most of the changes because clubs within Iowa Soccer Association have already adopted small-sided games up through 12U, but the 9U-10U and 11U-12U age groups will have slight modifications for the purpose of further improving youth development in soccer. 

Why is U.S. Soccer making these changes?
  • Small-sided games - standardizing numbers of players on the fields, and field sizes
  • ENHANCE SKILL - better technical development - tighter spaces forcing players to make better touches.
  • STRATEGY - smaller field takes away long ball / athleticism taking over games and forces players to play more in pairs / groups to move the ball in numbers to build the game more often.

Birth Year Registration

Age Group Changes By Birth Year - Age groups will be decided by a players birth year starting with the Fall 2016 - Spring 2017 seasons which includes the Premier team tryouts in June.  Previously, age groups were determined based on players born between August 1 and July 31.  Starting with the 2016-17 soccer year, the age group will be determined simply by the players birth year.  This means, all players who are born in the same birth year, will all fall into the same age group.  Example, for the soccer year 2016-17, which is Fall 2016 and Spring 2017, a player born in 2007 would be 10U, which stands for 10 and Under.  You can either look up your player's age group by birth year on the below chart, or use this simple logic - subtract the birth year from the year that the soccer year ends.  A soccer year will continue to align with a school year and be from August through July, so looking at this coming Fall, it would mean Fall 2016 through Spring 2017 so registering for Fall 2016 would be ending season of 2017 minus birth year 2007 = 10.  The 10U will now mean 10 and Under.

Click here for the Birth Year and Season Matrix.

  • Teams will now go up to 19U so a team in the Fall would be a 19U team, not 18U.
  • Birth year creates more 15U players in 8th grade.  15U will be offered in the Spring season so there will still be playing opportunities for 8th grade players in both seasons, whether they be 14U or 15U.
  • Players born August - December will move up two age groups, instead of moving up just one as usual.  In Pella, you are used to teams on the even year, like 8U, 10U, 12U, etc.. but there are both even and odd age groups, it is just we tend to have to have the odd years play up with the even years, like 9U and 10U, 11U and 12U.  So two age groups means an odd and even, or even and odd age group, not two team age groups.  They will not lose a year of soccer because a year has been added to the age groups, but they will move up to the next age group one year earlier for those players not already playing up.  For example, if a player were born in September, 2010, s/he would be a 7U playing on a U8 team this Spring 2016 and instead of moving up to U8 and having one more year on 8U, that player would move up to 9U and play on a 10U team because 2010's will be 9U.  All of our 8U teams either stay 8U in the Fall or all of the players move up together as 9U and 10U players, which means they can continue together on a 10U team for the next soccer year.
  • Players can still request to play up, but a player can not play down in Level 2 or 3 Recreational soccer.  For PSC, if a player is wanting to play up because s/he is  younger and wants to stay with older team or wants more challenge, then when registering, select "Prefer to Play Up" or "Willing to Play Up".  Prefer to play up is looked at first if players are needed on an older age team and the younger teams have enough players already.  Registering with the request to play up does not guarantee that the opportunity will be there.
  • PSC tends to have teams that span two age groups, like 9U and 10U on a 10U team, and new players were added to teams in the recent season keeping birth year in mind so most teams will be able to stay together in the Fall, in fact, a couple of teams will not have to split now because of birth year changes. 

Fall 2016 - Spring 2017

Click here for a Standards Chart
Note - the above link was updated by U.S. Soccer June 10, 2016 with modifications to their new mandates.

7U-8U  ( Birth Years 2010 and  2009)

  • Play 4v4 with no goalkeeper - no change for PSC
  • Smaller field with a 4'x6' goal - a smaller space will help develop the basic motor skills such as walking, running, and changing direction, with and with out a ball, while also providing more interaction with the ball, teammates, and opponents.
  • PSC transitioned to the smaller 8U field size and 4'x6' goals with our Spring 2016 season and then in June, U.S. Soccer adjusted the field sizes again, increasing the maximum sizes on them so we adjusted our field sizes for Fall and our 8U fields will be at the maximum size of 35 yards x 25 yards.
  • Playing time will change from 4x12 to 3x15. This  means that instead of four periods (quarters) of 12 minutes each, U8 will have three periods of 15 minutes each.  This helps to prepare U8 players for when they change to two periods (halves) in U9-U10.
  • June 10, 2016 - U.S. Soccer changed the standard playing time for games to 4x8

9U-10U  (Birth Years 2008 and 2007)

  • Changes to 7v7 which includes the goalkeeper starting Fall 2016.  This is a change for PSC from 6v6.
  • 9U and 10Us need to develop speed and agility.  For this reason, 7v7 on a larger field where there is more space to control the ball and encounter 1v1 situations.
  • Max roster increases from 10 to 12
  • Offside in effect at 9U-10U.  Before Fall 2016, offside took effect in 11U-12U for the first time.
  • Build Out Line for 9U and 10U   
    • The build out line is space created to allow players and teams at younger ages, a chance to build the game out of the back instead of relying on punting and long ball to get behind opponent or solve the opponent pressure. 
    • When the goalkeeper has the ball from a goal kick, the opposing team must move behind the build out line, which is the half line.
    • Once the opposing team is behind the build out line, the goalkeeper can pass, throw, or roll the ball to a teammate (no punting).
    • Punting the ball is discouraged as this would defeat the purpose of the build out line and reduces the opportunity to play out the back in an un-pressured setting.
    • After the ball is put into play by the goalkeeper, the opposing team can cross the build out line and play resumes as normal.
    • The below is from Iowa Soccer

      Goalkeeper distribution

      Goalkeepers are allowed to punt or drop-kick, and are encouraged to be taught to throw and use their feet with the ball on the ground to transition play to the attack.              

       Punting violation

      The goalkeeper is not allowed to punt or drop-kick directly to the opponent’s penalty area.  In the event a goalkeeper punts or drop-kicks the ball into the opponent’s penalty area, the Referee will award an indirect free kick to the opponent from the spot inside the center circle.

      Build-out line, Goal kicks

      Iowa Soccer and Eastside Coalition League requires that the opponent “drops off” to the half line on all goal kicks to what is referred to as the “build-out line”.  The defending team may not release from the half line until the goal kick has been played.  Referees will be instructed to strictly enforce this rule.  This rule is designed encourage the development of building play out of the back.

      Note - U.S. Soccer has designated an ambiguously-placed build-out line on its field dimensions document.  Ignore it.  Iowa Soccer and Eastside Coalition League are using the half line.

11U-12U  (Birth Years 2006 and 2005)

  • Changes to 9v9 which includes the goalkeeper starting Fall 2016.  This is a change for PSC from 8v8.
  • The small sided field for 9v9 allows 11U and 12Us to develop coordination, balance, and visual awareness.
  • Increasing the number of players requires faster decision making so players can develop partnerships and game intelligence and also evolves them to moving to 11v11 when they move up to 13U-14U.
  • Max roster increases from 14 to 16.

13U-14U  (Birth Years 2004 and 2003)

  • Max roster increases from 18 to 22, with limit of 18 on the sidelines for each game.  This will now be the same as the older teams and what it allows for is to roster higher to allow more players to participate in soccer, or to have enough with game conflicts.  At games, the 18 that are checked in by the referee at the beginning of the game, are the same 18 who must play the entire game, cannot switch out players at half, but can change which 18 from game to game.

As reference, the visuals below show the numbers of players on a team, and formations that can be utilized to promote development.  The formations shown are recommended, but not mandated.  For the 7v7 game model, the recommended formations are 1-2-3-1 or 1-3-2-1. For the 9v9 game model, the recommended
formations are 1-3-2-3 or 1-3-3-2.