US Soccer Birth Year Mandate FAQs

2016 Mandates from Indiana Soccer Association and U.S. Soccer



What is happening to the Cutters travel teams?
Travel team placement for Cutters will be modified to align with US Soccer requirements “birth year” Jan.1-Dec. 31 instead of the the current system of August 1-July 1. All players born in the same calendar year will be considered the same age group, without worrying about which month they were born.


US Soccer deemed it important to align with the rest of the global youth soccer community. Scouting for national teams will be easier for them. Additionally, they believe it will be easier for parents to understand.


Who decided this?
US Soccer announced the decision late in 2015.


Who else is changing to Birth Year divisions?
Indiana Youth Soccer and the neighboring states are transitioning at the same time, so we can compete in leagues and tournaments together. Other states and regions have the option to transition until 2017, but reports suggest that most states are transitioning now.


When do the new Birth Year age divisions go into effect?
Cutters Soccer (together with all Indiana leagues and neighboring states) will use birth year age divisions beginning with tryouts in June 2016.


My child plays on the in-house Community program, will those teams be affected?
No, our Community program will continue to follow the Aug 1- July 31 calendar to allow and encourage school mates to play together while making new friends and developing their soccer skills.


My player with special needs plays with Cutters TOPsoccer, will that group be affected?
No, the TOPs Soccer program will continue to develop in the same inclusive way.


My child is on a travel team for this spring, will that team be affected this season?
No, team assignments will not change until tryouts June 2016.


Will my child’s current Travel team be affected after this spring season is over?
Yes, all Travel teams will follow birth year team placements, starting with June 2016 tryouts. Our Director of Coaching, in conjunction with best practices and team coaches, will carefully place every player on every team with best fit and best potential development in mind.


My child was born in the fall, will they have to change teams?
All the travel teams will need to be rebuilt, completely new teams will have to be formed. Your child will effectively skip an age group. For example, if your (fall birthdate) child is playing on a U11 team this spring under the old age grouping, they will be assigned to a 13U team in June. Until now, your child has been among the oldest on the team, in the new age groups your player will be among the youngest.


My child was born in the first half of the year, will they have to change teams?
Again, all the travel teams will be rebuilt. Your child has typically been among the younger children on the travel team. Under the new age groupings, your child will be among the older players.


My child plays “up” an age group. Will they have to change teams?
At the risk of sounding repetitive, all travel teams will be rebuilt, based on birth year and competitive ability. If your player was born in the fall, he/she may not need to play “up” with the birth year plan in effect. Still, there is always the potential for players to play “up” an age group. This decision is made by our coaches and director of coaches based on what they deem the best developmental environment for each individual player.


My child is a “trapped” player, how will the birth year affect my player?
Trapped players are players who are old for their grade in school. Thus, in 8th grade your player’s age group traditionally does not host a fall team, b/c most of the players at that age group are playing for their high school teams. Under the new birth year divisions, your player will be aligned with their grade in school and will not be trapped.


My child will be 15U in the fall but in the 8th grade.  Will there be a travel team for their participation?

The Indiana soccer association is providing 15U 8v8 leagues and 15U full-sided leagues for players in this situation.  Cutters intends to provide full-sided teams for both 15U boys and girls.  It is likely the fall 15U team for these players will be different than their spring team as half of the other players (in the same birth year) will be in high school during the fall.  The high school players will rejoin their birth year team for winter training and the spring season.  Cutters will most likely need to move players to the appropriate spring team after the fall season.  The fall team and spring team assignment will be communicated as clearly as possible during player invitations following our summer player placements.  Players 14U may also be affected and participate on two different teams from the fall and spring as well.  The new birth year age groups create this challenge but Cutters believes it is manageable.  We appreciate our members being flexible this first year as we navigate the new soccer birth year landscape.


My spring born child skipped a grade in school, does this mean he/she will be playing with kids 2 grades below?
This might be one of those tricky placements that our director of coaching, in conjunction with best practices and team coaches will need to find the right team to develop your player in the best possible way.


My child has been playing with his/her best friend. Will they be separated if they are in different birth years?
Yes, regrettably some strong friend groupings will be affected. The transition will be difficult at times, especially for some players. The birth year placements will create new teams, open up new opportunities for friendship, and also new leadership opportunities. Your sensitivity and patience in the transition will be invaluable for your player. He/she will look to you for leadership. Please consider stressing the benefits over the consequences that are beyond your player’s control. More often than not, your child will reflect your attitude.


Going forward, what is the end game regarding this transition?
We believe that for the love of the game and in order to develop our players in the best possible ways, we need to support the change. It will require patience and flexibility. It will require a positive attitude at every level. But most importantly, it will continue to develop high level players in the beautiful game for the region and for the world class stage.


What can I do to help with the transition?
Change can be hard. Listen to your player’s concerns and understand what they may experience in the transition. But you can help them a great deal if you identify the benefits and spell those out clearly, and often, for your player.


What can Cutters do to help with the transition?
During the spring, we will informally have cross age groups practice together on occasion to get to know players in the merging age groups. We may use player passes, when called for, to introduce a fall birthday player to the next group up. We want to create smooth transitions.


How do I explain this to my player or other parents?
Every team will be new, and every team will have opportunities for leadership and great players. Every team will have a cohort of current players staying together. Every team in the state will be adjusting. The sooner your team jells, the more competitive it will be. As you go further in the sport, you will change teams and coaches more often than you will stay with the same. Learning to play with a variety of teammates and a variety of coaches will make you a stronger, more focused, and more well rounded player. You will develop faster and have more fun if you focus on giving your team and your coach your ALL: every minute of every practice, every second of every game, no matter what.


Where can I get more information?
You can also speak with your club team manager, any board member, any staff member, and certainly feel free to discuss your personal issues with Mike Grubb our Executive Director, or Tommy Berry our Director of Coaching.


Is there further reading at the national level?


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