Helping Teams & Tournaments Handle The USSF age change

Last August, US Soccer announced it would be aligning birth-year registration with the start of the calendar year and run from January to December.  

Presently birth-year registration calendars run from August to July. For example, for last season’s 2015/2016 registration a U15-player (players 15-years-old or younger) had to be born between August 2000 through to July 2001. However, from August 1 all registrations for the 2016/2017 registration will run from January to December, meaning U-15 players for the 2016/2017 season will have to be born between January to December in 2002.

The age change might not seem like a big deal at first glance, but it has caused a bit of confusion, as all players born between August and December will all age up 2 years next season. For example, a player born between August and December in 2000 was a U15 player last season, but for the upcoming 2016/2017 season they will be a U17 player, joining the players born between January and July in 2000, who were U16 Players last season.

Understanding The New Age Format

The easiest way to think of registrations now is not to think that you are registering for the season, e.g., 2016/2017, rather you are registering for the year, e.g., 2017. Therefore, if a team or player are registering in 2017 their U-year will now correspond with the age they will be in 2017, so if a player will be 17-years-old in 2017 they will be a U17 player, if they will be 10-years-old in 2017 they will be a U10 player, and so on.

USSF New Age Group Matrix.
USSF New Age Group Matrix.

The confusion has been caused because registrations will actually begin in 2016, as the season is still split between years – starting in August and finishing in July – so many players born between August and December will start each season two years younger than their U-year and will never be the same age as their U-year. For example, a U17 player next season will have to be born in 2000, however, players born between August and December will actually start the season as 15-years-old, because the season starts in August 2016.

The new birth-year registration format does not come into place until August 1,  2016. However, GotSoccer realizes that many summer events that take place prior to August want to implement the new birth-year registration format, and therefore we have implemented some updates to help everyone through this transition.

Updates to help Teams

On June 1 we aged all teams up to correspond with the oldest assigned player, e.g., if last season a team was a U15 (2000/2001) team and had a player born in 2000, the team’s age was set to 2000 – making them a U17 team.

If no players were assigned to the team, the age of the oldest birth year for that age group was taken,  e.g., a 01/02 team became a 2001 Team.

This update means all teams can effectively stay as they are. For example, a team that was U15 last season -made up of players born in August 2000 to July 2001 – competing in a Tournament this summer that is using the new birth-year registration format won’t have to change anything, they can simply play soccer and not have to worry and be confused about what age group they need to choose – Technically some members of their team, players born between January and July, will be playing up, but all their players are still eligible to play. Conversely, if we had chosen to assign teams to their youngest year, e.g., if we took a team that was  U15 (2000/2001) last season and set their team age to 2001, then some players would be ineligible to play.

However, we do understand that some clubs and teams may wish to split their teams according to age, so we will be releasing a tool soon that will make that process quick and easy for everyone.

New Tournament Tool

As mentioned earlier, we at GotSoccer know many Tournaments out there wish to implement the new age format this summer before August 1st, and that is why we have created a new birth-year tool. The new tool gives Tournaments the ability to use the new calender-year registration format in conjunction with the U-year.

The tool also allows Tournaments to set which season the U-year is affiliated to. For example, if Tournaments prior to August want their registrations to fall under the new calendar year format, but also wants to use next season’s 2016/2017  U-years, they can easily do this at a click of a button – GotSoccer’s dynamic software gives Tournaments the flexibility to control these settings based on how they want to run their event.

Instructions

1.) Under Event Setup→Basic Setup select Calendar Year.
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That will add the birth year when existing GotSoccer accounts register for your event, or if a new team is created.

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2.) You can set the U-year based on what seasonal year you want to run on. If your event start date is 8/1 or later, the system will automatically use next season’s U-year.  If your event start date is 7/31 or earlier, and you want to use the next seasonal year you can do that by going to event setup→format and using the age group override tool (set it to 8/1/2016).

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