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AYSO Changes

Changes to AYSO

The following changes have been mandated by US Soccer and will be applicable to AYSO and Club Teams. The purpose of these changes is to provide a greater focus on fundamentals (first touch, footwork, vision, passing) and get away from a game that disproportionately rewarded size and speed.  Below is further clarification from US Soccer on these changes.

Why are these changes being made?
The current landscape is inconsistent and not as successful as it could be when it comes to player
development. Through these initiatives, U.S. Soccer aims to develop players with more individual skill,
intelligence, creativity and confidence. These changes also provide a consistent approach across the
country while challenging the status quo of our soccer landscape by focusing on the development of the
individual versus the success of a team. Parents can also have a better understanding of exactly what
they should expect from a soccer program for their children.

Are these changes aligned with the U.S. Soccer Development Academy?
Yes. These initiatives align the entire youth player development environment with the proven approach
and success of the Development Academy program. Clubs, coaches and parents who are in programs
external to the Development Academy are encouraged to incorporate these philosophies of player
development. These initiatives fully support the existing technical framework of the Development
Academy, which serves as the model for development across the country.

How do these changes affect the current soccer landscape?
U.S. Soccer recommends putting these initiatives into place as a best practice beginning in August of
2016, as they will be mandated in August of 2017. This provides organizations two full years from the
announcement in August 2015 to plan on how to best implement the initiatives in the future. Please
contact your local soccer leaders for more information on how they plan on implementing these changes.

Who is required to follow these initiatives?
All of U.S. Soccer’s membership is required to put these initiatives into place no later than August of
2017. This includes, but is not limited to, all youth members and their respective competitions: State
Associations, US Youth Soccer, US Club Soccer, AYSO, SAY, etc.

Division Name Changes

The labels (names) for divisions will change from one in which the letter "U" preceded an age to one in which the "U" follows the age.  An example would be the U8 division changing to 8U.  The reason for this change is due to the manner in which the labeling is being interpreted. Previously the label U8 division could be translated to mean "under 8 years old".  The new labeling will read as "8 and under" and will include 8 year old players.  

Birth Year Changes

The cutoff date used for allocating players into divisions has changed from July 31st to December 31st.  The manner in which to calculate what division a players falls into is done as follows:

A)  Determine the child's date of birth year.
B)  Determine what the latter year in a season will be.  
C)  Subtract the players birth date from the latter year of the season.
D)  Apply resulting number to appropriate division.

Player A was born in 2011 and will be playing in the 2019/2020 season.  Take the latter year in the season (2020) and subtract the year of birth (2011) and get an answer of 9.  Because the number 9 is greater than "8 and under" (8U) but less than "10 and under" (10U), Player A would participate in the 10U division for the 2019/2020 season.  For further information on placement of players visit...
Birth Year and Season Matrix.

Small-Sides Games

Another change being made to improve the fundamentals of soccer players in the United States and allow for more touches is that of small-sides games.  Field and goal sizes will be decreasing for the 12U, 10U, 8U, 6U divisions.  In addition, the number of players on the field will decrease for the 8U division.  Conversely the 6U division will have a slightly increased field size and an increase of one additional player on the field. Below is further clarification from US Soccer on these changes.

US Youth Soccer has thought long and hard about the answer to the question: 
"Why Small-Sided Games?"

What does "Small-Sided Games" mean? These are soccer games with fewer players competing on a smaller sized field. These are fun games that involve the players more because fewer players are sharing one ball.

All ages can play "Small Sided Games", but it has a definite developmental impact on our younger soccer players. AYSO Hilo will be playing the divisions as follows:

6U | 3 against 3 no goalkeepers / Pugg goals/ Practice once a week about 45 minutes/games on Saturdays
8U | 4 against 4 no goalkeepers/ 3'x4' Bow Net goals/ Practice once or twice a week 45 minutes each/games on Saturdays
10U | 7 against 7 with goalkeepers/ 5'x10' goals/ Practice twice a week about 75 minutes each/games on Saturdays
12U | 9 against 9 with goalkeepers /7x20/ Practice twice a week about 90 minutes each/games on Saturdays
15U+ * This division will practice twice a week about 90 minutes each/ Will play games depending on size of group. May play other teams around the island if available. 
5U or School Yard/Playground group- This age group meets once a week for about an hour. Players will be introduced to the game of soccer by playing FUN skills games that will help them develop their skills. They do order uniforms and may have a weekend at the end of the season to join in on some real soccer games. 

1. Because we want our young soccer players to touch the soccer ball more often and become more skillful with it! (Individual technical development)

2. Because we want our young soccer players to make more, less-complicated decisions during the game! (Tactical development)

3. Because we want our young soccer players to be more physically efficient in the field space they are playing in! (Reduced field size)

4. Because we want our young soccer players to have more individual teaching time with the coach! Less players on the field and less players on the team will guarantee this! (Need to feel worthy and need to feel important)

5. Because we want our young soccer players to have more, involved playing time in the game! (More opportunity to solve problems that only the game presents)

6. Because we want our young soccer players to have more opportunity to play on both sides of the ball! (More exposure to attacking and defending situations)

7. Because we want our young soccer players to have more opportunities to score goals! (Pure excitement)

These are the reasons why we adults must foster "Small-Sided Games" in our youth soccer programs. The "Small-Sided" environment is a developmentally appropriate environment for our young soccer players. It's a FUN environment that focuses on the young soccer player.

Rule Changes

One of the more significant rules changes for the 2019/20 season will be the removal of the punt and drop kick from the 10U division. Goal keepers in the 10U  division will no longer be able to punt or drop kick the ball from within their penalty box.  Once the ball is possessed in the goal keepers hands they must choose to drop the ball and take control with their feet, or roll/throw the ball to a fellow teammate. At the 10U division a "build-out" line will be put in place to reduce the immediate pressure of a defense.  On a punt and goal kick defensive players will be required to stand behind a "build-out line" and not cross the line until the ball is put into "play".  The build out line is used to promote playing the ball out of the back. 

Another rule for all divisions will be the goal kick is in play at the moment the ball is played. It no longer needs to leave the Penalty Area before an offender can come in to play the ball. Consequently, the defense can make a pass into the penalty area to their own player and the play is on. 

Heading the ball is not encouraged at all in practice or games from Division 12u and down. Consequently, a player purposefully heading the ball will be penalized with an indirect kick for the opposing team. Coaches are encourage to protect players at the younger age by developing other methods of controlling the ball.


Where can I get more information on all these changes?

To get a more detailed and comprehensive look at all the above changes taking place in this 2019/20 season select either of the following links below. 

US Soccer Presentation on Player Development

Full US Soccer Player Development Initiatives



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Hilo AYSO Region 274

Bayfront Soccer Fields 
Hilo, Hawaii 96720

Email Us: [email protected]
Phone : 808-959-1972
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