2016 US Youth Soccer Changes

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below are frequently asked questions pertaining to the implementation of the 2016 US Soccer mandates by Hunter Soccer Club (HSC). 

My child is currently playing on a Hunter travel team. What team will they play for during the Winter and Spring of 2016? Do the teams change on January 1, 2016?


As will remain the case, travel teams remain intact until tryouts in the Spring (March-April). All players currently on a HSC travel team will still play with their same team through the Winter/Indoor season and through the 2016 State Cups and Spring league season.

Are all youth soccer clubs complying with the new calendar year registration?


Yes. US Youth Soccer has adopted the new standards nation-wide beginning with the 2016-17 season. All state associations, clubs, and travel leagues are required to comply with the new standards.

Why is Hunter Soccer relaxing its strong stance on age appropriate play?


HSC has maintained and strictly enforced that players should play within their age groups at the currently defined U9 to U12 age levels. Under exceptional circumstances, the club has allowed playing up for players beginning at U13 and above. The mandated changes to age groups certainly qualify as such. HSC's transitional policy on age appropriate play for 2016-17 is an attempt to strike a balance between the developmental intent of the new US Soccer standards and the desire to keep the older kids playing with their long-established teammates and coaches.

My child is a new player joining Hunter Soccer from another club. Do the transitional "playing up" rules apply to my child?


Yes. A key objective of the Transition Year policy is to allow older, long-established HSC teams to remain together for their final years of club soccer. All new players falling under the new age group definition of U14, U15, U16, U17, and U18 - whether joining HSC from another club or graduating from HSC's intramural program - will be eligible to play up.

If I want my child to play up next year, do I need to notify the club that they are trying out for the older age group? Does my child still need to try out for their proper birth-age group?


Yes. For planning purposes (tryouts, coaches, training staff, etc.), HSC needs to know what age groups our older players will select when registering for tryouts. At that time, the parents of players who are qualified to play up as noted in our Transition Year policy will be asked to select whether their child wishes to play age appropriate or play up an age group. Players that meet HSC's Transition Year Qualified Exception criteria to play up must attend their birth-age tryout as well as their play up tryout.

Regarding "keeping teams together." Will there be tryouts for U14 and older teams next year or will the teams stay the same?


Per existing club policy, there will be annual competitive tryouts for all age groups in the Spring. There should be no expectation that older teams will be exempt from roster changes simply because of the Transition Year policy.

Who decides if my U14 child "plays up" next year? Can the coach force everyone to play up?


Only PARENTS will decide whether or not they want their child to play up with the same group as last season. That is an individual decision for each family and no coach or administrator will make that decision for you.
That being said, Hunter Soccer encourages all players to play age-appropriate, even under the Transition Year policy.

What if there are too many or too few players at the older age groups to form full teams?


In the event that the total number of players in an age group is not sufficient to forming two or more teams, Hunter Soccer reserves the right to limit the number of players that may play up into that age group. Conversely, HSC may invite additional players to play up in order ensure that there are enough rostered players to maintain a team in an age group. HSC's goal is to place all players on a team and avoid cutting any players.

If my child plays up in 2016-17, can I move them to their age-appropriate team in 2017-18?


Yes. Players can always play in their age-appropriate groups and Hunter Soccer encourages this.

How will these changes impact team coach assignments?


With the implementation of the new age groups, HSC's volunteer coaching staff may also require realignment. In some cases, there will be a match between current coaches and the new age group teams. However, HSC also anticipates that volunteer coach vacancies will arise and these will be addressed by the club. Prospective coaches will be interviewed as is presently the case and such vacancies will be filled by the time the new age group teams assemble.

My child is not qualified to play up under Hunter's Transition Year policy, but I still want them to. Can I appeal this?


No. Only qualified players as defined in the club's Transition Year policy will be permitted to play up.  There will be no appeal process for unqualified players, as this would be inconsistent with the mandates.  Ultimately, if a parent of an unqualified player strongly feels that their child should play up, then there may be opportunities to play up at another club.  However, based on our many discussions with other clubs, these opportunities will be highly limited.  In fact, HSC's Transition Year policy is more progressive compared to how most other clubs are implementing the US Soccer mandates.

How do these changes affect Hunter's U8 PDP program?


The U8 Player Development Program is expected to also move to birth year. This means that the incoming crop of players who become part of U8 PDP will have a birth year of 2009.

How do these changes affect Hunter's Intramural program?


At this time, no decisions have been made regarding changes to HSC's Fall Intramural program. To date, US Soccer has not issued any mandates for recreational and intramural leagues. Over the winter, the club will evaluate whether it makes sense to adopt the changes mandated for travel soccer. Should HSC decide to implement changes, the club will inform parents in advance of 2016 Fall Intramural player registration.

Will Hunter be holding a parents Town Hall to review the mandate implementation plan?


No. Hunter Soccer will not be holding any Town Hall events with parents. The club will provide further updates via HSC's website and email. Additionally, for those parents who have a child on a current HSC travel team, you are encouraged to discuss the mandates with your child's head coach.



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