Website Manager

American Youth Soccer Organization Providing world class youth soccer programs that enrich children's lives.


News Detail


Mar, 2017

US Soccer Player Development Initiative

Birth Year Registration - Register players according to a January 1 to December 31 time frame

Focus moves away from the team and onto the individual player

  • Development and winning do not have to happen independently from one another
  • Our misguided desire to win at all costs at the youth levels often comes at the expense of individual player development
  • This change will cause many parents and coaches to rethink how teams will be formed moving forward and this should take place with each individual player in mind based on his or her developmental needs

The focus moves away from bigger, faster, stronger

  • Changing to birth year registration doesn’t eliminate relative age effect (RAE) because whenever there is a defined age range, someone will be the oldest and someone will be the youngest
  • However, this change does help better understand and account for RAE
  • Parents and coaches should have an increased awareness of a player’s birth month relative to his or her peer group and level of performance
  • This should help combat focusing on kids that appear to be better simply because they are up to 364 days older than a teammate or opponent

Uniformity across the country and across membership

  • The current landscape is highly variable
  • Having uniformity doesn’t mean that all soccer will look the same in all places at all times
  • It does mean that the soccer community can be better aligned with U.S. Soccer’s player development objectives and we can collectively harness the advantage our nation’s diversity and populations has to offer
  • A uniform framework also allows U.S. Soccer, and the programs of our members, to provide consistent messaging and education for parents, players, coaches and referees

Aligns with international standards for youth development

  • This means aligning with the international standards used by the world’s leading soccer nations so that kids in the United States are developing in an environment similar to those playing in Germany, France, Spain, etc.

Small-Sided Games - Development philosophy and playing standards for players 12 and younger

  • Develop improved skills with the ball

  • Improve confidence and comfort

    Develop intelligence with and without the ball

  • Promote faster decisions and better awareness Develop partnerships within the team

    Provide an age appropriate environment

  • Standards align with physiological needs of players based on year of birth

    Uniformity across the country and across membership

  • Similar to the outcomes listed for birth year registration, having consistent standards allows U.S. Soccer, and the programs of our members, to provide more meaningful messaging and education for parents, players, coaches and referees



    All information about the Concussion Initiative is implemented with immediate effect.

    Birth year registration and the small sided standards will be mandated in August 2017

  • Some members have chosen to adopt earlier as a best practice and will begin implementing in August 2016
  • Please contact your local member for more information on implementation

The Player Development Philosophy information is provided as best practice standards

  • Although not currently mandated, U.S. Soccer believes members should adopt these principles to align with our values and objectives for player development


  • Have patience
  • Stick to the facts
  • Read the FAQ
  • Communicate with and get answers from your local member and leaders

Click here for the US Soccer PDF

National Partners

Contact Us


Borrego Springs, California  

Copyright © 2024 AYSO Region 1529  |  Privacy Statement |  Terms Of Use |  License Agreement |  Children's Privacy Policy  Login