Updated: November 1, 2015

WCSC FAQ on US Soccer changes

What are the new US Soccer Player Development initiatives and how do they affect players in WCSC?

USSF is the governing body for soccer in the United States and they have recently mandated two new initiatives that will have an impact on soccer clubs throughout the US.  Both initiatives will be implemented within our Competitive, House and Winter Select programs.

The first initiative involves moving team formation from school year to birth year calendars.  What does this mean for WCSC?  We have always formed our teams based upon school year calendars; players born between August 1st and July 31st were grouped together.   This will now be changed, and teams will be formed, based upon birth year calendars- players born between Jan 1st and December 31st will be grouped together.

The second initiative involves the move towards small-sided games.   Currently, throughout the US, clubs and leagues play anywhere from 3v3 to 11v11 within their youth organizations.  USSF will be mandating a specific progression from small sided (4v4) to full sided (11v11) soccer, where the progression will be the same for everyone throughout the country.

WCSC will implement these new player development initiatives in accordance with the implementation plans of all the leagues in which our teams compete.


When will WCSC institute the new birth year registration?

This is a national initiative which WCSC and all other clubs must comply. WCSC will follow the birth year registration method starting January 2016 beginning with tryouts for the younger years. Older age groups will transition in the later part of 2016. Norcal implementation plan states: 

NorCal Premier competitions will transition from scholastic year based (Aug. 1 – July 31) age groups to calendar year (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31) based age groups in 2016.  Birth year 2002 and younger age groups will transition prior to spring 2016 competitions, while birth year 2001 and older age groups will transition by Aug. 1, 2016

When will WCSC transition to the small-sided match play for younger years

WCSC will follow Norcal Premier league implementation guidelines

NorCal Premier competitions will begin transitioning to the U.S. Soccer small-sided mandates in our spring 2016 competitions, and be fully compliant with the small-sided mandates by fall 2016.


What do the new age groups and match format look like for 2016?

See the Norcal Premier league implementation plan for the latest age matrix and match format

Questions about “playing up” in the Competitive Program are answered below:

  • What are the WCSC guidelines for playing up in an age group in the Competitive Program?
  • Will players who will be repeating an age group under the new birth year registration be allowed to play up?
  • Is there going to be a limit on the number of players that can play up?
  • What guidance will WCSC be offering to families as to whether or not their child should attempt to play up?
  • Would WCSC consider grandfathering players in the older U15 and above age groups to play up?

Please see our Competitive Program Rules and Guidelines document All players in an age group will try out together, regardless of the level of team for which they have played. Players must try out in their age group. In order to be considered to play up, the following guidelines have been established:

  • Player/Parent must get permission from the DOC prior to tryouts
  • Player must be one of the top 3 players at tryouts in their own age group
  • Player must be a dominant player in their age group, when considered against all players in the district and playing league
  • Player must attend two tryouts in their own age group
  • Player must be considered one of the top 7 players on the upper age team
  • Both age group coaches will be consulted in regards to these criteria
  • The consideration will take into account what is best for the player, and the effect on both teams
  • No player will be allowed to play up on a 2nd, 3rd or 4th team unless it is deemed beneficial to the club for team formation.

What are the benefits of birth year registration?

Birth Year Registration is part of U.S. Soccer’s new player development initiatives. It applies to all age groups of players. Not only will this change align players with the international standard, but it will allow organizers to be better informed to combat relative age effect when making teams for youth players. (source US Soccer)


What are the benefits of small-side match standards?

The core objectives behind the small sided standards are as follows:

  • Fewer players on the field means more touches on the ball and increased touches translates to more individual skill development.
  • Players who are more skilled will become more confident and comfortable when in possession of the ball.
  • The ratio of players to field size is designed to assist players with making the right kind of decisions and improving awareness.
  • This approach builds on itself as players get older and start playing with more players on bigger fields.
  • And as players get older, the building block approach also allows them to better integrate into a team model where they develop partnerships with the other players that make up the team.

Overall, the standards provide for an age-appropriate environment for players to achieve the objectives listed above. (source US Soccer)


When will the coaching assignments for 2016 be published

WCSC has over 50 competitive teams coached by 30+ coaches.  Our Director’s will evaluate the current coaching staff and also candidates interested in joining WCSC throughout the Winter of 2015 and into the Spring of 2016.  Our younger age group (U8-U14) coaching assignments will be set prior to the Pre-Tryout Clinics starting in January, 2016.  Our Older age groups (U15-U19) will be set prior to tryouts in April, 2016.    


Which age group will a coach stay with (especially if it has been <3 years)?

Our Directors treat each season as new.  While it is recommended that a coach be with a team no longer than three seasons, there is no minimum number of seasons a coach will be assigned a team, and in some cases a coach could be assigned to work with a team for a fourth season.  Coaching assignments are made based upon the needs of the club as seen by our Coaching Directors.

Will WCSC form new teams with new names to avoid conflicts about which age group gets to keep the legacy name?

This question is still being decided. WCSC may create one ‘club’ name or may continue with the current practice of having teams choose a nickname.  Curren team names have been following the birth year of the oldest players on the team. If we decide to continue with current team names then the name will move up with the team into the next age group.  

How will birth year registration affect the team size of age groups moving to smaller sided matches?

US Soccer has put maximums on the number of players allowed on a roster.  WCSC will work within these constraints and create roster sizes that best fit the needs of WCSC.


What if I still have questions?

Please start by asking your question to your respective team trainer or emailing doc@wcsc.org
Alternatively you can submit your question by completing this form which is viewed by the Competitive Committee and Director of Coaching.