Birth Year Registration is also part of U.S. Soccer’s new player development initiatives. Birth Year Registration applies to all players regardless of age and this change will align with the international standard.
The practice of using the school calendar for age groups is practiced only in the United States and Canada; as all other FIFA members go by the calendar year. Previously, age groups were determined based on players born between Aug. 1 and July 31. The change to calendar year age groups will reflect the calendar year, or Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. Players are still allowed to “play up” or play in an older age group.
Why has the decision been made to switch from grouping teams by the school year to the calendar year? 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.
How do I know in which age group a player will participate? The Birth Year Chart above provides an example on how to calculate age group and birth year. Year minus age group equals birth year. For the purposes of calculation, it is the second year of a split-year competitive season which determines what number should be used to calculate age group. Example: 2018 – U7 = 2011
What if a player wants to play with his or her school friends, but is in a different age group? Depending on local rules for playing up age groups, a player will be able to play up with an older age group, which has been true for decades. As always, a player may not play down with a younger age group.
How will this change impact clubs? Clubs will need to adjust the players on team rosters once the club makes the change. Most clubs will accomplish that task by simply adjusting the try-out age groups or how they distribute players to teams in the club.
How are age groups determined in other FIFA nations? By the year in which a player is born; i.e., calendar year.
Which US Youth Soccer programs will be affected? The Olympic Development Program will not change since it has grouped players by birth year since its inception in 1977. TOPSoccer will be unaffected since players are grouped by ability and less so by age. All other player programs will be directly affected by the change to calendar year player registration.
When will the change to calendar year age groups take effect? US Youth Soccer programs will change to Calendar Year beginning with the 2016-2017 season. U.S. Soccer has mandated that all play move to the Calendar Year by August 2017.