US Soccer Player Development Initiatives

In an effort to further the development of youth soccer players in the US, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) instituted important changes to youth soccer in 2016 and 2017. These mandates applied to all USSF member organizations including the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association (CJSA) and, in turn, BJSA.

Already approved by the US Youth Soccer Board of Directors, U.S. Soccer has standardized small-sided game participation and field size based on player age groups and has also be moved to calendar birth-year age groupings.

Small Sided Games:

Specific changes include alterations to field size, goal sizes and number of players. The result will be a decrease in 11v11 competitions in lieu of more 9v9 and 7v7 competitions. U.S. Youth Soccer has been encouraging Small-Sided Games for more than 20 years and most of the 55 member State Associations have adopted the philosophy during that time.

The benefits of Small-Sided Games for players include more fun, more touches on the ball and more tactical decisions. The style of play allows players to learn different positions, learn tactics quicker, increase fitness and allows players to be more emotionally and socially involved — creating a more fun and enjoyable game.

The new Small-Sided Game standards were adopted by CJSA beginning with the Fall 2017 soccer season.

Small-Sided Games FAQ: Click HERE
Small-Sided Games USSF Standards Chart: Click HERE
Small-Sided Games USSF Resource: Click HERE
Small-Sided Rule Changes - U9 & U10: Click HERE
Small-Sided Rule Changes - U11 & U12: Click HERE
7v7 Standards of Play - Build Out Line: Click HERE

Calendar Year Age Groupings:

Player age groupings were changed nationwide with U.S. Soccer moving to calendar year age groups to better align with international standards and Youth National Team programs.

Players are now registered according to birth year (January 1 - December 31). Previously, age groups were determined based on school-year age (August 1 - July 31).

U.S. Soccer and CJSA mandated adoption of the new Calendar Year Age Groupings beginning with the Fall 2016 soccer season.

Calendar Year Age Groupings FAQ: Click HERE
Calendar Year Age Matrix 2016-2025: Click HERE

For more Information:

US Soccer Federation official press release
US Soccer Federation power point presentation
US Soccer Federation player development initiatives FAQ
US Youth Soccer official press release
US Youth Soccer statement (1/26/16)
Soccer America: Birth-year registration - The transition is upon us.