Classics Eagles

USSF Player Development Initiatives

updated:  May 1, 2016

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The FAQ document will be updated on May 11th and May 18th.   New questions can be submitted HERE and should completed by May 8th and 15th respectively.

Classics Eagles Statement on Adoption of US Soccer Federation Youth Development Initiative: Click HERE for PDF version of Classics Eagles Statement on Adoption of US Soccer Federation Youth Development Initiative:

Classics Eagles to Adopt US Soccer Federation’s Player Development Initiative for 2016-17


Hello Classics Eagles Families,


The CE Leadership Team is taking this opportunity to share updates on the U.S. Soccer Federation’s Player Development Initiative and its mandates on Birth Year/Age Group Changes and Small Sided Game Standards, as well as our plans in response to these directives.  We wanted to be proactive and early in sharing that CE will comply with the USSF Birth Year/Age Group requirements and Small Sided Game Standards by implementing these changes starting with tryouts for the 2016-2017 club soccer seasonal year. Please be assured that the CE Leadership Team is monitoring all developments and is aware of the unique impacts to each player, coach, team, age group, and competitive level. Very soon, we will be providing multiple channels for families to both inquire and be informed, including an online inquiry form and open meetings. In the meantime, you can find US Soccer’s FAQ sheet HERE.


Following is a brief overview of the two key initiatives, Birth Year Change and Small Sided Game Standards:


Birth Year Change
Starting with seasonal year 2016-17, the new age group cut off will be January 1– December 31.  Currently, youth soccer uses the traditional school year cut off of August 1 – July 31.  Beginning no later than Fall 2017, but recommended for Fall 2016, players must play in their own birth year.  This is a decision of U.S Soccer, not of Classics Eagles. We are required to follow the policies and rules of our governing body when such changes are mandated. Following is a graphic of the Birth Year Age Chart starting with the 2016-17 seasonal year.

Small Sided Game Standards

Classics Eagles has long been a supporter of the benefits of the small sided playing format.  Currently the format is 6v6 and 8v8 at the younger age groups, and 11v11 at U13 and above. Small Sided Game Standards are designed to allow players to have more touches on the ball, build their confidence and level of comfort in age appropriate environments, ultimately developing more individual skill.   The table below shows the age breakdown and small sided game standards we will follow starting with 2016-17 tryouts:

Age Group

Birth Year

Playing Format

Under 6s


4v4 (no GK)

Under 7s


4v4 (no GK)

Under 8s


4v4 (no GK)

Under 9s



Under 10s



Under 11s



Under 12s



Under 13s



Under 14s



Under 15s



Under 16s



Under 17s



Under 18s



Under 19s



We are patiently awaiting final decisions from local, state, regional and national level league competition plans, so we may complete our 2016-17 programming decisions. The CE leadership team remains actively involved in discussions at all of these levels.


Every year as a result of tryouts and many other factors there are changes with players, teams, age groups and coaches, but what remains consistent is Classics Eagles’ commitment to evaluate players carefully and deliver the best opportunities to develop their soccer skills, receive quality coaching, and enjoy their soccer experience with both old and new friends each year. These mandates introduce another set of changes to the process, but it will not change our approach to maximizing the experience for your player. It will require us to carefully evaluate the unique impacts that will occur, and make sure that decisions align with the best interests of the player first.


Our goal is to share final 2016-17 programming plans by April 30, 2016, assuming the governing organizations and leagues clarify their plans before that date.  In the meantime, we have posted the general tryout timeline on the Classics Eagles website HERE, with final dates, times and locations to follow soon.

Additional Background Information

August 24, 2015 -- US Soccer Announces Youth Development Standards Initiatives

On August 24, 2015 the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) released its Youth Development Initiative. Through these initiatives U.S. Soccer believes players will develop more individual skill, intelligence, creativity and confidence. The goal is to create a consistent player development approach across the country focusing on the individual player versus the success of the team. These changes will take effect starting with tryouts for the 2016-2017 club year. These changes will have no effect on spring 2016.  The USSF Youth Development Standards Initiatives focused on 2 specific areas:


(1)    Birth Year Change:  A shift from school-year to calendar year age grouping of teams

(2)    Small Sided Game Standards:

a.       Game Format (# of players on the field)

b.      Field size and goal size


September 2015 through January 2016 -- USSF Affiliate Organizations Release Statements

In early September 2015, the USSF national, regional and state affiliate organizations responded to the August 24 announcement by the US Soccer Federation.  In nutshell, they agreed to implement the US Soccer Youth Standard Initiatives through their national, regional and state offices beginning with the 2016-17 season.  Classics Eagles teams participate under two of the USSF national affiliate organizations:  US Youth Soccer and US Club Soccer.   The US Soccer Organization hierarchy is shown on page 2.  To read announcements from these national, regional and state organizations, click on the links below.

US Youth Soccer Association (September 2, 2015) – click HERE

- US Club Soccer (September 15, 2015) – click HERE

- Ohio South Youth Soccer (September 4, 2015) – click HERE

- Mid-West Regional League (January 26, 2016) – click HERE


Soccer Landscape/ Hierarchy in the United States 

The youth soccer landscape is governed my many different organizations.  While there is overlap in their membership, the organizations have different missions, purposes and offer different levels of programming to their membership.  At the top of the decision making chain is the US Soccer Federation.  In the case of the Youth Development Standards Initiative, USSF made the decisions and then directed the national organizations to implement them at the national, regional, state and local levels.  This chart illustrates how many groups are involved in the implementation process and how many decisions have to be made before the CE Leadership team can finalize our club programming and communicate with our membership.

US Soccer Federation


National Youth Soccer Organizations (4 primary, US Youth, US Club, AYSO, SAY)

Regional Organizations (each National Organization divides the country into small regional groups)

State Organization (US Youth Soccer - Ohio South Youth Soccer Association)

State-wide Leagues (OSSL, Buckeye Premier, TPL)

Local Leagues (OPDP, OCL, MOSSL)

Local Organizations (clubs, recreational programs)

US Soccer Federation News
     *   Click HERE for the FAQ from the US Soccer Federation on Birth Year/Age Group Change and Small Sided Game Standards mandates.

Ohio South Youth Soccer Association News
     *   Click HERE for the September 2015 news release
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