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Age Group Shift from 2016-17 to 2017-18 Outlined for US Youth Soccer

3 Oct, 2016


US Youth Soccer is clarifying the necessary age group adjustments brought upon its competitive programs by the U.S. Soccer birth-year registration mandate and how the change affects competitions in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasonal years.

With US Youth Soccer competitive programs (US Youth Soccer National Championships Series, US Youth Soccer Presidents Cup, US Youth Soccer National League, US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues, US Youth Soccer ODP) adopting the birth-year registration change for the 2016-17 season, there is a necessary shift in age group ranges for several club competitions.

RELATED: Change in age group terminology being implemented

Below is an explanation of the age group adjustments for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasonal years for three of the competitions.

US Youth Soccer National Championship Series

The US Youth Soccer National Championships will continue to feature teams in the 13U through 19/20U age groups. US Youth Soccer Regional Championships and US Youth Soccer State Cups will also continue with those age groups, with potential additional age groups available in certain regions and states.

The 19/20U age group features players born on Aug. 1, 1997 or later.

With the adjustments made to the National League in 2016-17 (see section below), the 2017 National Championships will feature only the four Regional Champions in each of the 13U and 14U gender age groups. Meanwhile, in the 15U-19/20U gender age groups, the four National League qualifiers will join the four Regional Championship representatives to complete the field of eight teams. That adjustment means that the 19/20U Boys James P. McGuire Cup competition will feature eight teams rather than the traditional four.

When the National League shifts back to 14U-18U age groups in the 2017-18 season, the National Championships will revert back to having four teams (Regional Champions) in the 13U and 19U gender age groups, while the 14U-18U gender age groups will each feature eight teams (Regional Champions and National League qualifiers).

US Youth Soccer National League

The US Youth Soccer National League is fielding teams in the 15U through 19/20U age groups in 2016-17, which is a change from the league’s previous age group range (14U-18U). The shift was made to accommodate qualifying teams from the 2015-16 season and because the 14U age group in 2016-17 consists of teams that competed in the 12U age group in 2015-16, where no consistent qualifying parameters exist.

The 19/20U age group features players born on Aug. 1, 1997 or later.

In the 2017-18 season, the National League will shift back to its traditional 14U-18U age group range, as teams qualify based on their performance in 13U-17U age groups in 2016-17. The 14U age group will be able to qualify teams based on their performance as 13U sides in their respective Regional Leagues in 2016-17.

US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues are also implementing birth year registration for the 2016-17 season, with age groups available in each varying from league to league.

US Youth Soccer Presidents Cup: For the 2016-17 seasonal year, the oldest age group in the US Youth Soccer National and Regionals Presidents Cup events will be 17/18U, with competition also featuring the 13U through 16U age groups. Eligible players in the 17/18U age group must be born on or after Aug. 1, 1999. This one-year change is in place to allow players to participate in their final year of Presidents Cup eligibility that they would have otherwise missed due to the implementation of birth year registration.

In the 2017-18 seasonal year, the National and Regional Presidents Cup events will continue to include 13U through 17U teams, with the oldest age group (17U) reverting back to a normal birth-year registration range (Jan. 1, 2001 to Dec. 31, 2001).

About the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series: The US Youth Soccer National Championship Series provides more than 10,000 teams from US Youth Soccer's 55 State Associations the opportunity to showcase their abilities against the best in the nation while emphasizing teamwork, discipline and fair play. The yearlong competition begins with over 185,000 players in the US Youth Soccer State Championships. These champions and selected wildcard teams, through US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues, advance to compete in one of four US Youth Soccer Regional Championships. Champions (U-13 through U-19) from each regional event advance to the US Youth Soccer National Championships. The Under-14 through Under-18 Boys and Girls age groups have four teams representing the US Youth Soccer National League, in which the top two teams in each gender age group division earn a direct path to the National Championships. Overall, the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series provides the nation's top collegiate coaches with the premier stage to identify and scout the most coveted players in the country. For more information, visit http://championships.usyouthsoccer.org

About US Youth Soccer National League - Formed in 2007, the US Youth Soccer National League was developed as a path of advancement for the top teams from the US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues. In addition to meaningful matches, development and identification, the league created a direct path to the annual US Youth Soccer National Championships.  League play features the Under-14 through Under-18 age groups for boys and girls who are seeking to advance their college, professional and U.S. National Team aspirations.  Learn more at USYouthSoccer.org/National_League/.

About the US Youth Soccer Presidents Cup - The US Youth Soccer Presidents Cup is designed for those teams seeking additional challenges to play against teams of similar abilities for a national title.  The cup provides a progressive, competitive experience to teams that might not otherwise get the opportunity to participate in a series of unique experiences highlighting competition, camaraderie and community from the state to regional to national levels of US Youth Soccer.

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