U.S. Soccer Player Development Initiatives

In an effort to further the development of youth soccer players in the US, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) will be instituting important changes to youth soccer in 2016 and 2017. These mandates will apply 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 will be standardizing small-sided game participation and field size based on player age groups and will also be moving to calendar birth-year age groupings.  

Small Sided Games:

Specific changes will 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 will allow players to learn different positions, learn tactics quicker, increase fitness and allow players to be more emotionally and socially involved — creating a more fun and enjoyable game.

The new Small-Sided Game standards will be 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 will change nationwide with U.S. Soccer moving to calendar year age groups to better align with international standards and Youth National Team programs.

Players will now be 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 has 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

We recognize that change is never easy, but BJSA will do its best to make the transition as seamless as possible.

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.