US Soccer Mandates Birth Year Registrations
What you need to know for Fall 2016

As you may have heard, US Soccer has mandated that by Fall 2017 all youth age groups in the United States must be formed by Birth Year calendar instead of School Year calendar (explanation below). Since this change is inevitable, most regions, including ours (ENYYSA Region 1), have decided to implement it for Fall 2016. We feel that this is a positive change, but it will affect nearly every existing youth team in the United States, including those at SC Gjøa. 

(The mandate also makes important changes to rules related to small sided games, but the timing of implementation is less clear, and the topic itself is of less immediate concern to most families, so we will address it at a later date.)

Team changes understandably bring concerns, so we’d like to take this opportunity to explain what’s happening and when, and the ramifications for our families.

What's changing?

Previously, youth soccer team rosters in the US have been formed through what is known as a School Year calendar: August 1 to July 31. Starting next year rosters must be formed with players of the same Birth Year: January 1 to December 31.

Why the change?

US Soccer wants to conform to the method used by the rest of the world.

Does this mean that team rosters will change?

Yes, in Fall 2016, but generally speaking groups of players that play together now will join other players that they are probably already familiar with. Every team will have players that know each other.

How will rosters be formed now?

All players born between January - July will join players born between August - December of the same birth year. For example, current “U10” players with a birthdate between January and July 2006 will join current U9’s born between August - December 2006 to form a “2006/U10” team in Fall 2016. Correction: "2006/U11" team. (US Soccer has now clarified that all current ages will move up, not repeat.)

Players born between August - December will join players born between January - July of the same birth year. For example, current “U10” players with a birthdate between August and December 2005 will join current U11’s born between January - July 2005 to form a “2005/U11” team in Fall 2016. Correction: "2005/U12" team. 

Do current Travel players need to tryout again for the new rosters?

No. The Directors of Youth Soccer and Coaching, as well as the staff coaches, will continue to evaluate all existing players throughout the Fall, Winter and Spring seasons.

Can't we just keep the current teams together?

Unfortunately, no. Keeping current teams together would mean that they would play at a serious competitive disadvantage because the teams they'd be competing against, due to this change, will be significantly older. Socially, it would be nice to keep things as they are, but in terms of player development it is imperative that our teams be age compatible to their peers on other club teams.

Can there be exceptions to the rule for some players?

Yes, but rarely. As you probably know, there are always a small number of players within the club who sometimes "play up" with the age group above. This will continue to be the case, but with the birthdate changes those that might be playing up now may be in a group more closely aligned with their ability come Fall 2016. The coaching staff will reassess which few players might benefit from some playing time with an older group in Fall 2016.

There’s more than one team in most age groups. How will SC Gjøa determine which player is on which roster?

The Director of Youth Soccer, the Director of Coaching, and the staff coaches will start forming rosters in Spring 2016. We expect that the vast majority of players will continue to play at the same league levels that they are playing at now in Fall 2016, but some changes are possible.

When will team rosters for Fall 2016 be announced?

Rosters for Fall 2016 will be announced in late Spring 2016.

I've got questions! Who do I ask?

We’re here to help! Send your questions and concerns to Director of Youth Soccer Lee Kellett (, Director of Coaching Callum Mackay (, or Parent Volunteer John Tucker (

SC Gjøa is ready to meet this challenge. With multiple teams in each age group we are very well positioned to form new teams and make this transition as smooth as possible for our families. (Smaller clubs with fewer teams will face the greatest hardships.)

As a youth organization, we want to be out in front of this issue for the benefit of our kids and our families, and we need your help. Addressing this change now gives all of us, kids and adults alike, plenty of time to acclimate to the idea of roster changes, and help bring about a smooth implementation in Fall 2016. Change can be hard, but change brings growth. Thank you in advance for your assistance in helping make this change a positive one!


US Soccer Mandates Birth Year Registrations

What you need to know for Fall 2016

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