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The focus of this week’s episode is on the upcoming US Soccer rule changes that are affecting youth soccer teams throughout the country. As I mentioned at the end of last week’s, I wanted to put together a group of Club Directors, Coach, League Administrators and State Association Officials to talk about the changes that have been either mandated or suggested by US Soccer and how to transition to these rules as smoothly as possible.
I was fortunate to be able to assemble an extremely knowledgeable and experienced group to address these issue:
Nick Garcia – Executive Director of Brookside Soccer Club
Chris Duke – Executive Director of Kansas State Youth Soccer
Shane Hackett – Executive Director of Heartland Soccer Association
Jon Parry – Director of Coaching – Boys of Sporting Blue Valley & Sporting Kansas City Academy Director
US Soccer has mandated a number of changes that will be occurring over the next two years.
First is a change from organizing teams based on birth dates from August through July to calendar year age groups.
Second, US Soccer will be requiring all U12 teams and below to play small-sided soccer. While many States have been doing this for years, there has been no set standard for roster sizes and playing formats.
Lastly, US Soccer has created Concussion Initiative Guidelines. Chief among them is a recommendation that heading be eliminated for players U11 and below with limited heading in practice for U12 to U13 players. This change took effect January 1, 2016 for the US Development Academies but as I understand it is up to each league and club to decide when and if the change will be implemented.
The discussion covered each of these areas and how the different entities are dealing with the challenges of making such important changes with as little disruption as possible.
Everyone agreed that clear communication to parents, players, coaches and administrators is vital to a successful transition.
A complete transcript of the discussion will be available in the printable show notes by Monday, February 29 so check back then if you’d like to download a copy.
I sincerely thank everyone involved for making this an interesting and helpful conversation.
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In Future Episodes
On next week’s podcast I’ll have a discussion with Sporting Kansas City Assistant Coaching and Goalkeeper Coach John Pascarella about how we can do a better job of training our goalkeepers in a team environment.
Thanks Tom I always enjoy your coaching podcasts. I have coached club soccer in West Texas for 20 years, and we have a unique concern about small sided games coming from US Soccer. At U11 when we form a new team, we try to create a new team with 18 players – maximum roster size, This is because as kids get older, get other interests, and decide the demands of travel to the Dallas metroplex are not for them – they drop out.This same team 4 or 5 years later when the kids are in high school, will typically contains 14 players. Now at U11 with 9v9 and roster sizes of 14, our numbers seldom allow multiple teams at an age group. Thus at U11 and U12 we actually exclude kids, we have to make cuts, then at U13 with a full 11v11 team we must find more players. Thus we have to go back and find new players that havent been playing soccer, some of which we actually cut 2 years previously. I am all for small sided games for player development. But this roster size numbers and issues are not a concern for big cities with huge clubs that can easily combine multiple teams at the U13 age group. Is this just a small town issue or do you have any thought on this isssue from Kansas City.
I can see your problem. We typically have five or more teams in the U11 age group just within our club so we don’t have the same issue you do.
If I were you I would try to form two teams of 10 or 11 rather than one team of 18. That may be more players than you can pull together but that would provide a larger pool of players to train and give you a better chance of having the numbers you need when you get to 11v11.
Having two smaller teams rather than one large one may be easier said than done but that’s what I would try to do if I were in your position.
During the show you mentioned that goalies will no longer be allowed to punt the ball and will need to roll the ball out instead. I must have missed that in the various announcements from USYS and Heartland. Would you please point out the source of that change?
That was one of the recommendations from US Soccer but I don’t think we’ll see it adapted here.
Here’s a link to a PDF that includes the ‘Buildout Line’ and the ‘No Punting’ recommendation:
any show notes?? look forward to reading it. Thanks Tom
I’ll have them up today (3/3/15).
Will Heartland still support a U8 premier league still after these changes?
Good question Jason!
I should have asked. My guess is that if they do they’ll have to call it U9.