Youth leaders react to change to soccer's registration cutoff date

By Mike Woitalla

On Monday, U.S. Soccer announced to two initiatives that will be mandated by August 2017. One was the standardization of small-sided games through age U-12. Fewer players on age-appropriate fields -- that has been the trend in American youth soccer for quite a while now.

It is the second initiative that greatly alters the way in which youth soccer has been administered in the USA: changing the birth-year registration from an August-July format to January-December. That is, changing the cutoff date from Aug. 1 to Jan. 1.

The main reason for making the change, U.S. Soccer stated, is to “align registration with the international standard.”

While detractors of the change say that international standards are irrelevant to the majority of Americans soccer-playing children -- only a small percentage end up in the national team program – the leaders of the U.S. Youth Soccer, U.S. Club Soccer and AYSO support the move.

“We’ve been in a favor of it for quite a while,” says Sam Snow, U.S. Youth Soccer’s Coaching Director. “It’s a matter of aligning with what the rest of the world does. It makes it easier for the teams that travel overseas. Also, for teams from other countries that come here to play in America, it makes it more straightforward what age group you’re in.

“Perhaps it’s a little more administrative in that regard, but however we chunk a 12-month year, whether it’s the actual calendar year or the school year, it’s still a 12-month chunk.”

Kevin Payne is U.S. Club Soccer’s Executive Director/CEO.

“This is a good thing,” Payne says. “It’s pretty silly to be out of sync with the national team program and to be out of sync with the rest of the world.”

AYSO may be known for recreational soccer, but it’s also famous for providing the first soccer experiences for future stars, such as Landon Donovan, Alex Morgan, Julie Johnston, to name just a few. So AYSO Deputy Executive Director Mike Hoyer says it makes sense for AYSO to be on the same calendar with other organizations.

“We have some time between now and the mandate,” says Hoyer. “We are reviewing it for how to implement it. We have nearly half a million kids. We have all the regions across the United States. We’re looking at it from, ‘Here’s the mandate. How do we make this work? What’s our timing on education, on updating our processes and procedures? Overall, there will be some impact, but I don’t think it will be that big.”

One of the areas of impact AYSO must deal with is at the U-19 age group.

“We run fall and spring programs,” Hoyer says. “So you can have a kid who’s 18 in the fall but turns 19 in January, so that person won’t be able to participate in the spring.

“It doesn’t affect a huge part of our player population but we have several kids who come back. They call it their last AYSO hurrah in that spring season before they graduate from high school, before they move on.”

(One would doubt that U.S. Soccer would object to AYSO creating a U-19 1/2 or U-20 age group.)

The other area in which a difference will be felt is when children first sign up -- and have traditionally expected to play with classmates. However, the date change doesn’t separate all kids in the same grade. Playing up is an option. And even now it’s not uncommon for teams to be comprised of kids from different grades, not to mention different schools.

There will also be the splitting of squads by August 2017 when all teams must comply.

“The change is temporarily difficult for everyone,” says Snow. “I liken it to ripping the bandage off. It hurts, but hopefully momentary. I think it’s pretty rare out there that teams have 100 percent of the players coming back year after year. People move. Change schools. If they’re your friends, they’re going to stay your friends.”

Payne says people who complain that the change is being made to make the system more convenient for Development Academy clubs and the national team program “should recognize they’re part of something bigger than themselves.”

Says Snow, "The calendar year will become the norm and in a couple years everybody will just settle into that."

Tab Ramos: 'We need more players who can make important plays'

In the wake of announcing its new Player Development Initiatives, U.S. Soccer released the statements from U.S. Youth Technical Director Tab Ramos.

Youth National Team Roundup

U.S. U-17s finish Czech tourney with win over Ukraine

U.S. Roster: Younger group gathers for U-20 women's camp

U.S. U-15 boys tie England twice


44 comments about "Youth leaders react to change to soccer's registration cutoff date".
  1. Ben Loney, August 26, 2015 at 8:14 a.m.

    If the national team mattered so much then we wouldn't neglect our own league (MLS).

    So when does US Soccer plan to force the MLS to change from August - May?

  2. Eric Shinn, August 26, 2015 at 8:24 a.m.

    They are screwing over every kid with an August through December birthday, and telling us that we should be happy about it! My daughter will play this spring with her club team (that she's been with since age 9) as a U15 high school freshman. Almost all the players on the team are freshmen, and almost all the teams they play will be made up of freshmen. NEXT season, after this change, rather than playing with and against her fellow high school sophomores, she'll be forces to play up against high school juniors in her "2000" age group. She's basically forced to SKIP her sophomore season of club soccer, and will be without a team at all her senior season. That means that she'll lose the recruiting opportunities that go along with that extra year, as well as a year of playing soccer at all. Not grandfathering in the older teams is a STUPID move.

  3. Ben Loney, August 26, 2015 at 9:24 a.m.

    The sad thing is, age really shouldn't matter too much after 16. If you're good enough, you're good enough. If 16 year old is stronger than his peers, he plays U18/19 If a U18 is strong enough, he plays with U21/23's. If a 20 year is good enough they play for the full team.

    Kids in ODP are already doing it, so their parents get it.

  4. Tony Swanchara replied, September 7, 2015 at 10:03 p.m.

    So true!

  5. Michael Helfand, August 26, 2015 at 10:36 a.m.

    This should only be a rule for Academy level teams at u15 and above who don't play high school ball. 85% of registered players are u14 and most don't play to be part of "something bigger than themselves." That's the height of arrogance and ignores the customer base. See for more.

  6. Soccer Madness replied, August 26, 2015 at 1:13 p.m.

    Height of arrogance is ignoring what the rest of the world does and thinking we are doing better. Dont we have a bunch of foreign players on sport scholarships in the USA?? Thats right, foreign clubs like Barcelona also have baketball teams and do age cutoff same as soccer. Brazilians same. Can anyone tell us what the numbers are for foreign soccer college players?

  7. cisco martinez, August 26, 2015 at 2:30 p.m.

    What is ruining soccer in American are the following, lack of technical players, profits from the youth system, and American's taking advice from English coaches. American's need to look at the actual statistics of soccer, the top players in the EPL are from latin based countries, the top coaches are latin based, 7 out of 10 World Cup Winners are from Latin based countries, the best players that ever played the game had technical, tactical awareness, Maradona, Pele,etc.

  8. Santiago 1314 replied, August 28, 2015 at 10:14 p.m.

    Correcta Mundo.!!!!

  9. Michael Cornelison, August 26, 2015 at 8:02 p.m.

    Here's an idea:

    Explain this to the kids. Explain the rationale. Ask them what they think of it.

    Its funny that when we debate about the best way for kids to play organized sports, the opinions of the actual participants are conspicuously absent.

    If the majority of ALL youth players agree that sacrificing the opportunity to play with their favorite schoolmates is worth it for the sake of improving our country's FIFA ranking or producing more top-caliber professionals, then I'll also agree that this is the right approach.

  10. david sinclair, August 27, 2015 at 8:37 a.m.

    The new age group rule will adversely affect hundreds of thousands of boys and girls to benefit a few 100! This is not why USA mens soccer is struggling! Older 8th graders will not have a classic team to play on the year the rest of their team is playing high school soccer and this will affect college recruiting, just like Eric stated above. Grandfathering it in would lessen the effect, but the rule is flawed for the common soccer play, which makes up 99.5% of the players in this country.

  11. aaron dutch, August 27, 2015 at 3:57 p.m.

    We have become used to poor practices and awful organization and structure the last 30 years. We are fixing each weird & fragmented rule that is not designed to be aligned with the global best practices in football.

    Why will this be adverse to "100's of thousands of kids" the rest of the world seems just fine and they go to school with friends too.

    MLS is a weird league that doesnt want to work with our federation model. That will come to head soon enough. NASL/NPSL will align 100% with the federation in the next 5 years i predict. Just like the DFB & DFL in germany. When that happens only MLS/USL will be outside of normal global football.

  12. aaron dutch, August 27, 2015 at 4:11 p.m.

    soccer madness: you asked for NCAA & Juco numbers here is another lame rule we passed a few years ago.

    We are crazy good at basketball if our kids went to europe to play and make their players better by competition or protectionism which would they pick? If our coaches went there to teach what we have done the last 50 years would they fight us? We are the Brazil of basketball and the whole world knows it. So they listen, if you go see a US coached run basketball camp in euope they are sitting quite, taking notes, recording everything like they are at the foot of the basketball jedi council.

    Why dont we take a lesson from everyone else on football.

  13. Soccer Madness replied, August 29, 2015 at 8:30 a.m.

    Exactly. We should have way more Brazilian and Argentinian coaches and trainers and that is the philosophy we should be looking at but we dont. There seems to be a greater effort that starts at the top of us soccer to not even look at them and focus on Europe. Why? Europe gets their best from South America!!

  14. david sinclair, August 27, 2015 at 5:29 p.m.

    I do not believe what we do here in the USA is perfect for development, but if the BEST American male athletes played soccer, like they do in a lot of other countries we would be the best. The best American female athletes play soccer and we are the top women's program. The best American male athletes play the football, basketball, baseball and now hockey and lacrosse. This is the main reason the men's program struggles, questionable coaching is also a factor.

  15. Soccer Madness replied, August 29, 2015 at 8:41 a.m.

    David, thats a weak argument, Unless you believe that 13 million of our people (most in the world) are all the worst athletes in USA. Argentina, SPain Germany and even Brazil have very competitive basketball teams (best in the world other than USA) even though they also dominate in soccer. If these countries have their best playing soccer, tennis, etc. how do they also come up with great athletes for basketball? USA brings back most of the gold at Olympics as well as we should since we have the most population. Fact is that the people that choose to play soccer in each country are being developed differently than in USA. Not magically. In USA we are not developing soccer players. We are developing our pockets. Brazil sells the most pros of any country. How many Brazilian coaches you see in USA??

  16. aaron dutch, August 27, 2015 at 10:01 p.m.

    This is the heart of the issue, Its not about the best athletes playing soccer its about skills, technical & tactical, its about the understanding of the game. Football IQ, reading the game. Messi is 5'4 145 lbs there are 100's of other great players who are not the large big athletes we think would be the best. We need to let our kids play street soccer, beach soccer, futsal, small sided indoor & outdoor, etc.. if we did that just 45 min a day our kids would be amazing by 10-12 and then they could learn how to play within systems as they would have the skills to handle the game in a larger setting.

  17. K Michael, August 28, 2015 at 11:24 a.m.

    david sinclair,
    Every sport has certain body types/physical attributes conducive to success in a particular sport. The most perfect 6'8" NBA specimen may very well struggle on a pro soccer pitch, after all, the ball is played at ground level. Lebron would be one heckuva keeper, center back, or 9, but I just think he would lack the speed of play and technical ability to thrive in most positions. Also, other countries' best athletes don't play footie either, they compete in "athletics" or track and field, as we call it. The day we stop hearing the tired refrain of "if our best athletes played soccer..." is the day US soccer will have arrived. It could be argued that the US HAS already fielded the most athletic teams the past two/three WC cycles, but that counted for naught against superior technical/tactical skill.

  18. K Michael, August 28, 2015 at 11:33 a.m.

    As for the advantages/disadvantages of the calendar year RAE; there IS a correlation between elite soccer players and the early birth months (Jan-Mar);Neymar, Suarez, CRonaldo, Xavi, Donovan, Dempsey, silva, Hazard, Giovinco, amongst many others all born the first quarter; but there are elite soccers all over the calendar(Messi-June; Iniesta- October, I think; Pele, October; Maradona,October). The key is to get kids barefoot on balls in the house, in the yard, at the park by age 4-5 and instill the love of the game. After that, its just a number's game for the US.

  19. K Michael, August 28, 2015 at 12:14 p.m.

    Kid on my kid's travel team is 11. Can juggle 100+ times alternating feet. Rainbow; 6-7 different pickups; watching him dribble, you cannot tell which is his strong foot; threads thru balls like a pro. Asked his dad how he got so skillful and tactically aware; told me he put soccer balls around the house and told his kid when he was three or four that it was OK to move the ball with his feet, never use his hands, and avoid hitting walls and furniture. Then, set up a mini futsal court in basement, where kid spent hours barefoot kicking and dribbling size 3 slightly deflated ball with EPL/MLS games on in the background. Food for thought.

  20. Santiago 1314, August 28, 2015 at 5:04 p.m.

    READ THE ARTICLE ON TRANSFER COMPENSATION TO YOUTH CLUBS...Now you see why the Age Group Change is IRRELEVANT...and not needed...Pure Youth Clubs will finally get Compensated, When the Developmental Academies come in and Raid their best players...And it Behooves the "Local" club to push players UP to the DAs,, with the chance that they can get some Dinero Back once the player signs a Tranfer...Leave the rest of the players to play for Fun, with their School Friends

  21. Soccer Madness replied, August 29, 2015 at 8:43 a.m.

    Thats a good point and should be the only argument. Player development. But most here are worried about kids playing with their freiends from school?? Thats weak. Proof that too many clubs run day cares instead of soccer programs

  22. Santiago 1314, August 28, 2015 at 6:06 p.m.

    Please read the "Must Read" article on Tranfer Compensation to Youth Clubs...You want to see us Develop Players.???.. Forget about Age Group Changes..Good old American CAPITALISM(Greed) Is what will give us our "Messi" within 6 years or less..5% of $240 MILLION Tranfer (Neymar, if it ever happens)

  23. Santiago 1314, August 28, 2015 at 10:20 p.m.

    Yup... That's $12 million dollars, Spilt Up and Down the Chain, with every Team that Neymar played on Between the ages of 12 and 21... humm...I wonder what MLS did with the $500, 000 they got for Jozy.??? Inquiring Minds want to Know.!!!

  24. schultz rockne replied, August 29, 2015 at 9:36 p.m.

    Spent every penny of that 500K contracting out for 'creative' input to have their (MLS) logo updated. Lots of empty WHITE space on that shield, too...I believe it represents, i.e. with fervent passion, the (several) pocket-filling, but ultimately empty-headed input of Anglo-Saxon input in Usonian (to borrow the term of a regular commentator) soccer development. Three cheers--and a full half-shield--for doing virtually NOTHING for U.S. soccer player development over the past thirty years! Should already have four Landons, three Reynas, a couple O'briens...but I digress!

  25. aaron dutch, August 29, 2015 at 10:21 a.m.

    if the federation helped primary schools with a national Futsal program (equipement, PE teacher training, online support, etc.) with 65,000 primary schools in the US. If the federation helped 10% a year, 6500 of those schools get up and running with "futsal fun" at a cost of $1000 a school in 10 years we could have kids playing futsal 1-3x a week as part of PE and recess, afterschool etc. which would build a great cheap culture sponsored by the federation

  26. Santiago 1314 replied, August 29, 2015 at 12:53 p.m.

    Good idea Aaron, But have you read the article on Monetary Compensation to u12-u21 clubs...if schools and Colleges "Get Smart" and get "Federated" they can make claim to part of the 5% "Solidarity" Payments Included In the Transfer Fee that is Stipulated by FIFA... Not sure the Clubs and DAs are gonna like that...

  27. aaron dutch, August 29, 2015 at 4:55 p.m.

    Santiago, great point. The key is this focus would be U11 and lower, getting kids and PE teachers (ex or active rec soccer) to KISS with kids and let them have fun thru futsal free equipment not just for soccer but many sports. I dont worry about the Comp rules in the US for a while as most kids by U12 if they dont have strong technical & tactical skills would be tough in 3-4 years to get all those skills by U16 to be worth much in the real transfer market

  28. Aaron Apruzzese, August 29, 2015 at 8:24 p.m.

    This rule is good for less than 0.04% of all American soccer players that will play on the National team or professionally. The rest of more than 99% might be fortunate to aspire to an academic based playing system at the high school and collegiate level. That is the reason for the current age breakdown based on an academic year, so players play with their classmates.

    The issue for player development has nothing to do with age or funding or organizational differences with the rest of the world. Ask nearly any coach in this country who is from another nation and they will tell you distraction is the biggest issue in the US. Soccer just recently edged out tennis for the fifth most popular sport in the country, behind football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. American youth can also choose golf, lacrosse, and track as competition for their time. Few countries have as diverse a sports offering as this country. At the end of the day, the sport has steadily grown and become more interesting in the last three decades. for US youth. Telling kids they will have to play on teams comprised of players the grade ahead or behind them as the norm makes the game less attractive to them. After all, most are doing it for fun, not to play internationally.

  29. david sinclair, September 1, 2015 at 12:23 p.m.

    First, this is a great debate. Second, well said, Aaron Apruzzese, while there are differing opinions about this rule, we all seem to agree that we need to develop better and at an earlier age. But if our system is "BROKEN" and "we have to get on board with the rest of the soccer world" can someone tell me how the American Women are the best in the world when the men struggle under the SAME system? Bottom line is this rule advesly affects the players who cannot or do not play on ODP teams, but want to play in college.

  30. Tim Huna replied, September 23, 2015 at 4:08 p.m.

    Wonderful comment. Spot on.

  31. aaron dutch, September 1, 2015 at 8:03 p.m.

    The US women have a 10 year head start at a national and 20 year head start at a youth level, this is closing and europe is coming. the same lack of technical/tactical issues our men have the US women have. We are still the top team on average year to year but UEFA teams are spending more and prioritizing womens football.
    The real issue in Womens football is Europe was anti womens football until the 1980's and then only northern europe, by the 1990's the german/french/netherlands became supportive of womens football and in the 2000's the UK/Canada/Japan came on board. Within 10 years they all have become competitive. They have real leagues that are all part of clubs with known brands and a pyramid to play in across europe. There is a champions league.

    the real question is how does Brazil with no support, or year round play for women. Until 9 months ago they had their first camp that wasnt 4-8 weeks before the world cup. The US women and NWSL are basically a year round football camp for the US women national team. I dont like the model at all. The women in Europe are developing like crazy and playing technical/tactical football. Latin America is a mess, they are still anti women (Italy, Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, Argentina, Chile ) hate the concept of Women's football. Spain who has a coach that was in charge for the last 28 years that is the worst coach in the world with a top team in men or women's sports.

  32. Richard Buck, September 2, 2015 at 11:39 p.m.

    I find the differences between the comments from Kevin Payne (US Club Soccer) and Mike Hoyer (AYSO) very enlightening.

    “This is a good thing,” Payne says.

    Director Mike Hoyer says it makes sense for AYSO to be on the same calendar with other organizations.

    Mike Hoyer: We’re looking at it from, ‘Here’s the mandate. How do we make this work?

    Did anyone notice that Mike Hoyer did not say that this change is good for the AYSO membership, only that conformity makes sense and how do we go about complying while Kevin Payne, whose membership have to most to gain from this change is all in favor of the changes.

    Essentially the myriad of non-elite are being told “so what if this provides you with no benefit whatsoever with significant drawbacks, what really matters is that we develop the professional players of the future.”

    What ever happened to the “It’s for the players” concept.

  33. Tim Huna replied, September 23, 2015 at 4:14 p.m.

    Exactly. This is not about the players. It is about elitism and the career goals and personal philosophy of those in charge.

  34. Kimberly Woods, September 6, 2015 at 5:37 p.m.

    Okay. Let's talk about the US Women's National Team... aren't they fabulous? Why didn't we need a change to birth year registration to recruit THAT awesome team? The USSF reasons for the change to birth year are weak. I think the pay-to-play model in the US is what really needs to be fixed. How much talent don't we see because their families can't afford several thousand dollars a year for club soccer? This mandate is up-ending established teams, does nothing to reconcile RAE as USSF will like you to believe and gives Jan-July birth dates the advantages at BOTH club and ODP... Petition against this mandate at

  35. Greg Morris, September 10, 2015 at 6:39 p.m.

    "We run fall and spring programs,” Hoyer says. “So you can have a kid who’s 18 in the fall but turns 19 in January, so that person won’t be able to participate in the spring."

    That doesn't just impact the kid who ages out in the middle of the season. What about the others? 4 or 5 drop off in the spring and what happens to the rest of team?

    Also not mentioned is that every Aug-Dec kid already in the system, just lost 1 year of soccer. We may think every kid worth anything is "discovered" at a young age in our system, but it isn't so. I know a player that popped up on the radar at U16, making the state pool 1st team as a fill in. He is a Dec 98 so next season he loses half his U17 team that are 99's. He is a HS junior so he then has to hope he can find a strong U18 team that doesn't have its top players, many of whom will have graduated already, playing college ball. This will be during his senior year in HS.

  36. Rob Kalal, September 21, 2015 at 3:31 p.m.

    I keep reading these complaints from parents stating 'if my kid can't play with their classmates/friends, they will probably quit and go play football, baseball, etc'.
    This is a really silly argument - if not being able to play with their classmates/friends is reason enough for them to quit playing soccer they obviously aren't that in love with the sport. Besides what guarantee do they currently have that they will get on a team with their classmates/friends after tryouts. Most clubs use skill level as a criteria for placing players on a team, not which players are friends with whom.
    From what I have seen at the club my kids play at - the players that are most concerned about playing on teams with their friends from school are usually on B and C level teams. The top players are most concerned about getting on the top team for their age group and if they happen to have some of their friends or classmates on their team that is just an added bonus.

  37. charles crawford, November 11, 2015 at 1:29 a.m.

    Every child that enters the 8th grade that is born in the fall will potentially not have a team to play with. The kids born before September will be in 9th grade playing high school ball. The age change takes 2/3 of the kids out.

    Interesting side bar...little league baseball/ softball is switching their age cut of from 1 January to 1 September. The reason given...let the kids play with their classmates. They are also an international organization.

  38. Will Ayers, November 15, 2015 at 12:01 p.m.

    US Soccer has only two arguments for it, the International Standard and Combatting Relative Age Affect. The latter is a completely empty argument.

    I think perhaps we should follow the model of almost all of Central and South America, that area of the world that has developed Pele, Maradona, Ronadldiho, Messi, etc. There, they have their school year grouping and soccer age groupings aligned, it's just that their school years start towards the beginning of the year.

  39. Peter Barc, January 25, 2016 at 1:35 p.m.

    IF YOU CHOOSE NOT TO RECIND YOUR DECISION: Thank for destroying my 12 y/o sons love for competitive soccer. He plays five+ days a week 365/days a year. He attends Red Bulls RDS twice a week - because he loves the sport! He will lose one full year – being forced to skip U13 and go directly to U14. More importantly - he will not be playing with his team who play's competitively at the MOSA Premier level. Oh yes - and thank you for having my 10 y/o decide he will QUIT soccer rather than play without his friends. Nice job boys …. I guess it’s not really about the kids, is it? There must be another reason …..
    Let me introduce you boys to a term you may not be familiar with: "Grandfather Clause"
    A grandfather clause (or grandfather policy) is a provision in which an old rule continues to apply to some existing situations while a new rule will apply to all future cases. Those exempt from the new rule are said to have grandfather rights or acquired rights. Frequently, the exemption is limited; it may extend for a set time, or it may be lost under certain circumstances. For example, a "grandfathered power plant" might be exempt from new, more restrictive pollution laws, but the exception may be revoked and the new rules would apply if the plant were expanded. Often, such a provision is used as a compromise or out of practicality, to effect new rules without upsetting a well-established logistical or political situation. This extends the idea of a rule not being retroactively applied.
    This should start at U7 and move forward, what is the rush?

  40. Keith Synan, March 14, 2016 at 5:50 p.m.

    Did you really consider the impact to some of the kids and the existing teams... many of which have been playing together for years? I am not following the logic why the change is being made. Aligning with the rest of the world? Well the rest of the world is on the metric system and I don't see the US migrating over anytime soon? Who cares if it makes it easier for teams that play overseas? What percentage of teams play overseas when compared to the entire youth population impacted by this change? Speaking for my girls U11 champion league team... They are all upset that 1/4 of the team will be gone in the fall. All you did was upset thousands of kids and pissed off the parents. Good job

  41. Will Ayers, April 5, 2016 at 2:12 a.m.

    There really is no logic in it, except to convenience the top 0.5% at the inconvenience of the bottom 99.5%. As to the "international standard", almost all of Latin America has their soccer age groups and school years lined up like us, it's just that they start their school years in February or March. Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and many other countries are the same. If we're trying to find the next American Messi or Ronaldinho, maybe we should stick to the approach of Brazil and Argentina and avoid school kids getting split up all the way down to kindergarten.

  42. David Lewis, August 17, 2016 at midnight

    So explain to my 9 year old that he is u12 this year because he turns 10 in December. He don't even want to play this year now, and he absolutely loves soccer.

  43. barry politi, September 22, 2016 at 10:47 a.m.

    Sunil G. and USA Soccer/USSF are a disgusting group of self-serving goons that could care less about their membership and the kids. Disturbing that a group of adults would do this, and that the public has not fought back.

  44. K Hill, February 17, 2017 at 8:50 a.m.

    This rule change has ruined soccer for my kid. He's a December 30th birthday and it completely removed his u11 season all together. It fragmented him from almost all of his closest buddies so that there are two left that he could potentially play with. He's played with these kids since he was FOUR. THAT is why he played. So he could play a sport with his friends and teammates that he loved, respected and played REALLY well with-they went undefeated last summer. Now they are all scattered and my son came home in tears from his tryout last night because he's convinced he won't know a soul on his team and he'll have to start all over again. He wants to quit now. Explain this to a ten year old in ways that he can understand. It's all about policy???? Development???? When will it be about the children??? You took a sport he loved to play and was pretty good at and sucked the joy right out of it for him. I'm all for change and embracing new situations but that is a VERY hard lesson for kids to swallow and why? Because a bunch of adults think it should be so. I'm sad to say my son will likely quit after this year because he doesn't want to have to compete against kids that have a whole extra year of development on him. And you know what? I don't blame him one bit. It's one thing if he WANTS to play up...but you all are forcing him to because he wasn't born two days later. And sadly, with all the time and effort he has put into this sport over the years, you just lost a pretty solid athlete out of the deal. These are KIDS. Let them play and get the heck out of the way.

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