US Youth Soccer will implement the best practice of calendar year age grouping for player registration beginning with the 2016-2017 soccer year for US Youth Soccer programs and competitions.
Using the school calendar for age groups is practiced only in the United States and Canada; as all other FIFA members go by the calendar year.
Previously, age groups were determined based on players born between Aug. 1 and July 31. The change to calendar year age groups will reflect the calendar year, or Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. Players are still allowed to “play up” or play in an older age group.
US Youth Soccer, a respected leader in player development for more than 40 years, has seen the evolution of the game and various changes. The US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program has used the birth year for the grouping of players since it was established in 1977. In fact, the James P. McGuire Cup, the oldest trophy in youth sport, awarded at the annual US Youth Soccer National Championships also shows the history of teams named for their calendar year age group.
“Overall, the two things this accomplishes is it makes things easier and it gets us on the same calendar with the rest of the world," Ramos said. "So now it becomes easier to identify for U.S. National Teams and everything else when it comes to international soccer.”
Fall 2016 to Spring 2017 Player Age Divisions
Why has the decision been made to switch from grouping teams by the school year to the calendar year?
To be in line with the other 208 countries that register youth players by their year of birth. The change will also make it easier for American club teams to play internationally.
How do I know in which age group a player will participate?
Please see the age table above!
What if a player wants to play with his or her school friends, but is in a different age group?
A player will be able to play up one year with an older age group. As always, a player may not play down with a younger age group. If you would like your child to play up please send an email with the name of your child to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to starting registration so an admin can put your child in the higher age bracket.
How are age groups determined in other FIFA nations?
By the year in which a player is born; i.e., calendar year.
When will the change to calendar year age groups take effect?
GCAA will change to Calendar Year beginning Fall 2016 season.
GCAA Soccer 2017 Sponsorship Form