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Cherry Hill Soccer Club (CHSC)

Birth Year Age Group Q/A

U.S. Soccer Mandate: Birth Year Change Q&A

What is the ‘U.S. Soccer mandate’ and ‘birth year change’ I keep hearing mentioned? 
 U.S. Soccer has mandated that a player's soccer team age group will now be determined by the player's birth year.  Previously, the player's team was determined by the player's age on July 31st prior to the fall season. So if a player was 9 years old on July 31, 2015, then that player was U10 (Under 10) age appropriate for the 2015/2016 Travel Soccer Year (8/1/2015 - 7/31/2016).
Beginning with the 2016-2017 soccer year, U8 teams will be made up of players born in 2009, U9 teams will be ‘08 birth years, U10 teams will be ‘07 birth years, U11 teams will be ‘06 birth years and so on. Please reference the birth year matrix below for guidance.

Why is U.S. Soccer making this change?
  In the words of U.S. Soccer, “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”.  

When is Cherry Hill Soccer Club incorporating this change?  CHSC will incorporate this change beginning with the Fall 2016 season.  Tryouts for travel teams will be held soon in April/May 2016 and the tryouts will be set up for birth year age groups.  Click the 2016/2017 Travel Tryouts tab at the top of the home page for tryout details. 

Can my child tryout for an older age group or ‘play-up’?
  Yes, 2008 birth year and older players currently playing on a 2015-2016 travel team are permitted to TRY OUT for one age group older to stay with their current team and friends if applicable.  It is our position that players should not be forced to play age appropriate, but instead should be evaluated and placed at the level that is appropriate for their development.  Starting with the 2009 birth year age group (U8 next year) and all future U8 teams, players must play birth year age appropriate, unless approved by the CHSC Board of Directors on a case-by-case basis. 

Are other clubs making the switch next season?  Yes, our state governing body NJYS as well as the Boys and Girls South Jersey Travel Leagues have adopted the Best Practice Recommendation of US Soccer to implement the birth year realignment in the fall of 2016, so all other clubs in the state are making this birth year age group adjustment.  However, the state and leagues have left it up to the clubs to determine whether they require players to play birth year only or allow players to play up.  

My child won’t be with her current teammates any more. Can’t they all stay together?  CHSC is a competitive club and holds open tryouts yearly. There is never a guarantee that all players on a current team will “stay together” from one year to the next. Our goal always has been, and will continue to be, to form teams of similar levels of ability to play against other teams of similar ability. This approach maximizes both player development and the overall player experience.  For that reason, we are not mandating that players tryout birth year appropriate as some other local clubs are doing.

How will tryouts work?  Players may tryout for the team they desire to play on, however, all players must attend at least one tryout in their birth year age group.  Any player born between the months of January and July who is interested in trying out to "play up" next year with their current team, may also attend the one year older age group tryout.  At CHSC, players have never been nor ever will be guaranteed a position on any team, so it will be very important for players to try to attend all tryout session so that they are evaluated appropriately. 

How do I know which age group corresponds with my child’s birth year?
  Please reference the chart below.

Season 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
Birth Year Age Group Age Group Age Group Age Group
2014 - - - U6
2013 - - U6 U7
2012 - U6 U7 U8
2011 U6 U7 U8 U9
2010 U7 U8 U9 U10
2009 U8 U9 U10 U11
2008 U9 U10 U11 U12
2007 U10 U11 U12 U13
2006 U11 U12 U13 U14
2005 U12 U13 U14 U15
2004 U13 U14 U15 U16
2003 U14 U15 U16 U17
2002 U15 U16 U17 U18
2001 U16 U17 U18 U19
2000 U17 U18 U19 -
1999 U18 U19 - -
1998 U19 - - -


It appears my child is being pushed up two age groups. Is that correct? Won’t he/she be at a disadvantage?  Although it looks like your son/daughter has “skipped” a soccer year, he/she will actually have an additional year at the end of the age group spectrum. The last age group currently is U18 but with the new changes, U19 will be the final age group most players will experience as high school seniors. Ultimately your child will play primarily with players born in the same calendar year. Depending on the month they were born, the new mandate may initially benefit players (one of the older players on their new team) or challenge them (one of the youngest players). But both effects are short term as it will all even out physically and mentally as players get to the high school age groups.

My child has been selected for a team that has a mix of 8th and 9th grade players. Will they play in a fall league? 
We fully understand that this could be an issue next year with current U14 teams due to the new birth year change. We will not know which teams can play in a fall league and which teams cannot until we finalize rosters during the tryout process. The make-up of the team will determine the team's path but we will work with all players that are affected by the decision and do our best to find a place for everyone who wants to play.  At a minimum, teams may play in fall tournaments and league play in the spring.   

Are there any other changes resulting from the U.S. Soccer mandates?
  For travel teams, field and goal sizes as well as roster size and the number of players on the field will be adjusted slightly for some of the youngest age groups per mandated requirements. Age groups U8, U9 & U10 will play 7v7; U11/U12 will be 9v9; and, U13-U19 will remain 11v11.  For our recreation program, US Soccer has mandated that all age groups U8 and younger play 4v4 with no goalies.  We will most likely follow the travel team age group guidelines for the U8 and older recreation teams and go with the 4v4 format for U7* and younger. 

So, in summary, what is our guidance on the Birth Year change?  For the 2016-2017 travel year and going forward, our teams will be determined by player's birth year and we hold open competitive tryouts for our teams every year.  There will undoubtedly be some player movement as some players choose to realign to play birth year appropriate. But, consistent with our mission to provide players with opportunity, CHSC will not mandate that players tryout birth year appropriate and will instead leave those decisions in the hands of our parents, players and coaches.  

Does this affect the CHSC Recreation Program players?  As previously mentioned, the recreation league age group game formats will change to a 4v4 format for U7 and younger, and similar to travel teams for U8 and older.   * - we may introduce a travel prep group for U7.  As far as determining age groups, the CHSC Board of Directors is reviewing the options for our recreation program for the Fall 2016 season and what we feel will be the best solution for player development as well as social interaction with friends and schoolmates.  We will broadcast the recreation age group definitions as soon as a decision has been made. 

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