2016 US Soccer Changes



Overview of US Soccer age-group changes:

The current—and often confusing—August 1 to July 31 “soccer age” will be discontinued, beginning with the 2016-17 cycle. Instead, teams will be organized by player year of birth: 2004, 2005, 2006, etc.  


The primary reason behind this is that the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) decided to move the United States to the global age-group standard and EPYSA has to follow suit. The US already does this at the ODP level, and will now expand this to fully include all of youth travel soccer. This is a 'mandate', meaning that ALL youth soccer clubs MUST comply, without exception.


US Soccer will still categorize age groups with the “Under” designation (example: U9, U10, U11, etc). However, the definition of these categories will change, beginning with the 2016-17 season. This is being done in order to align the definition to the birth year changes.



  • U10 Current Definition: Player must be aged 10 or younger.
  • U10 New Definition: Player must be born in 2007.

Langhorne Neshaminy United Soccer Club (LNUSC) implementation of mandated age-group changes:

Because the age group changes go into effect for the 2016-17 season, when LNUSC travel team tryouts are held in March-April 2016, U9 thru U11 players will be assigned to age groups by birth year to align with the new standard.


LNUSC recognizes that one of the primary reasons that kids play soccer—at all levels—is the fun and camaraderie of playing with their friends. To that end, LNUSC has designed the implementation of age appropriate play for the 2016-17 season with the following considerations:

  • Adhere to the developmental intent of the new standards.
  • Move closer to be in-line with the surrounding clubs in regards to age-appropriate play.
  • Allow older, long-established teams to remain together, if desired.

LNUSC’s implementation plan was carefully and thoughtfully constructed starting when US Soccer announced the mandated changes earlier in 2015. Our Travel Soccer Committee consulting with the club's leadership, EPYSA, travel leagues (ICSL & PAGS), many local soccer clubs, and our travel team coaches.



The table below summarizes LNUSC’s implementation of the USSF birth-year changes:




2016-17 Player Age

2016-17 Transition Policy

U11 and below players

  • All players must play age appropriately
  • Exception: Per the EPYSA roster size, a team may have a maximum of 20% of exceptional players play up at these age groups - will be reviewed by the team coach & travel/trainer committee approval
    • Those playing up must attend tryouts for both age groups
    • Must evaluate as a starter for the first team (scenario where there are 2 teams in the age group the player must make the 1st team - if not they play age pure)
    • Players playing up are encouraged to play age appropriate and or secondary for an age appropriate team


U12 and above players                       

  • Established teams are allowed to remain together with their U12+ players
  • Players below this age group may play up but the team is held to the 20%  exceptional player rules per the LNUSC “Exception” policy
  • Players U12+ may play up without travel/trainer committee approval,  but:
    •   Must declare intention before tryouts
    •   Attend tryouts only for their declared age group
    •  Players playing up are encouraged to play age appropriate and or secondary for an age appropriate team 

New teams U9 and above                       

  • New teams forming or joining LNUSC will not be accepted if the target age group currently consists of 2 or more teams

New teams   U12-U19     

  • New teams forming or any existing teams joining the club must be 80% age pure based off the EPYSA roster size for that age group
  • New teams forming or joining will not be accepted if the target age group currently consists of 2 or more teams.
  • Existing LNUSC teams that move down an age group or do not at least move up in their normal seasonal age progression will be considered a new team and are subject to the 80% age pure rule and also will not be accepted if the target age group currently consists of 2 or more teams.


NOTE: Teams that are not following EPYSA State Cup roster guidance may not be CUP eligible next season.  Example: Fielded +1 is the baseline, meaning 12 players on a 2016-17 U13 11 v 11 team must be birth-age pure (born in 2004).




2016-17 Tryouts:

  • During March and April of 2016, coaches along with the help from travel & training committee will run tryouts for the 2016-17 playing cycle, and will rate prospective travel players within their age groups. Total Soccer maybe an option if requested by the coach to assist will evaluations.
  • U9 – U11 players will need to try out for their age group and the age group they wish to play up for (primary / secondary)
  • No coaches, assistant coaches, or team managers will be permitted to force any player to play up out of their proper birth year. A player/parent must make the decision to play up.
  • Secondary/guest passes can be issued to fill empty rosters spaces as requested.