Danbury Youth Soccer Club is a non-profit organization. It operates under the general auspices of the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association (CJSA) but is governed locally through its own Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is charged with providing

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US Soccer has passed MANDATORY rule changes that effect every Youth Soccer Organization in the United States. Use these links to learn more.

US Soccer's Player Development Initiatives Click HERE.

Focus moves away from the team and onto the individual player

  • Development and winning do not have to happen independently from one another
  • Our misguided desire to win at all costs at the youth levels often comes at the expense of individual player development
  • This change will cause many parents and coaches to rethink how teams will be formed moving forward and this should take place with each individual player in mind based on his or her developmental needs

The focus moves away from bigger, faster, stronger

  • Changing to birth year registration doesn’t eliminate relative age effect (RAE) because whenever there is a defined age range, someone will be the oldest and someone will be the youngest
  • However, this change does help better understand and account for RAE
  • Parents and coaches should have an increased awareness of a player’s birth month relative to his or her peer group and level of performance
  • This should help combat focusing on kids that appear to be better simply because they are up to 364 days older than a teammate or opponent

Uniformity across the country and across membership

  • The current landscape is highly variable
  • Having uniformity doesn’t mean that all soccer will look the same in all places at all times
  • It does mean that the soccer community can be better aligned with U.S. Soccer’s player development objectives and we can collectively harness the advantage our nation’s diversity and populations has to offer
  • A uniform framework also allows U.S. Soccer, and the programs of our members, to provide consistent messaging and education for parents, players, coaches and referees

Aligns with international standards for youth development

  • This means aligning with the international standards used by the world’s leading soccer nations so that kids in the United States are developing in an environment similar to those playing in Germany, France, Spain, etc.
Small-Sided Games - Development philosophy and playing standards for players 12 and younger

Develop improved skills with the ball

  • Improve confidence and comfort

Develop intelligence with and without the ball

  • Promote faster decisions and better awareness Develop partnerships within the team

Provide an age appropriate environment

  • Standards align with physiological needs of players based on year of birth

Uniformity across the country and across membership

  • Similar to the outcomes listed for birth year registration, having consistent standards allows U.S. Soccer, and the programs of our members, to provide more meaningful messaging and education for parents, players, coaches and referees

New U.S. Soccer Coaching Initiatives Target Improvement in Youth Development Standards

CHICAGO (Aug. 24, 2015) – In another step towards its commitment to long-term player development, U.S. Soccer is phasing in new standards related to small-sided games and birth-year registration.

U.S. Soccer will standardize small-sided game participation and field size based on player age groups, while also aligning birth-year registration calendars with the start of the calendar year and run from January to December.

The coaching initiatives, which will be mandated by August of 2017, are focused on advancing youth players’ individual skill and intelligence, and providing players with the best opportunity to improve.

“Our number one goal is to improve our players down the road and these initiatives will help us do that,” said U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach and Youth Technical Director Tab Ramos. “With small-sided standards what we’re trying to do is to help players develop by putting them in an environment where they are constantly involved in the play and our changes in birth-year registration will make age groups easier to understand, while aligning our calendar with the international calendar.” 

SMALL-SIDED STANDARDS
The small-sided standards are focused at players from the U-6 to U-12 age groups. The field size is based on age groups, providing a more age appropriate environment that will allow players with a better opportunity to develop heightened soccer intelligence and on-the-ball skills.

The field dimensions and number of players on the pitch will increase 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.

In general we would like for players to be able to process information faster, and when they are in this environment they are going to learn to do that over a number of years," Ramos said. "When you have young players in an 11v11 game there are only so many involved in any one play at a time. By taking numbers away and playing 4v4, 7v7, and 9v9, you are multiplying their chances on the ball, increasing their touches and making it overall more for them by making them an active participant at all times. Fast forward 10 years and there are thousands of game situations added to a player’s development.”

BIRTH-YEAR REGISTRATION
Birth-year registration calendars will now align with the start of the calendar year and run from January to December, rather than August to July as it had previously. For example, a U-15 player (players 15 years old or younger) would have a birth year of 2000 (Jan. 1 through Dec. 31) for the 2015 registration year.  In 2016, U-15 players would be born in 2001 or earlier. Birth-year registration applies to all player age groups and not just players age 12 and younger.

The initiative will align registration with the international standard, while simultaneously providing clearer information on player birth dates to combat ‘relative age effect’.

Relative age effect refers to the selection bias related to players that are more physically mature than their peers due to being born earlier in the year. U.S. Soccer seeks a balance of players that are born throughout the year so that all players, those born in the earlier months, and those born later have equal opportunity to grow and develop as soccer players.

"It makes the process easier," Ramos said of the birth-year registration initiative. "Over the years you go through coaching youth soccer and you are constantly finding parents and players confused about what age group players belong in. The current August 1 cutoff meant that two players born in the same year could be in different age groups. To make it more confusing, different school systems have different cutoff months for going into the new grades. It was just very difficult for parents to take it all in. This new calendar year system makes soccer easier. If you’re born in a certain year you belong in that certain age group. Simple. It also puts our players on the same age-playing calendar as the rest of the world so they will be used to competing in the right age group.  That makes it much easier for us to scout for the National Teams and find players ready to compete internationally.” 

The birth-year registration initiative will not cause the dissolution of age-group based teams that already play together, but will rather give players the opportunity to ‘play up’ with older age-groups.