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Soccer Maine adopted the best practices of small sided games when it was first introduced over ten years ago. Other states are just catching up with what is best for our developing youth players. In 2016, new best practice mandates had Soccer Maine introducing a slight change in number of players on the field with a move to 7v7 for U9 and U10, and 9v9 for U11 and U12.
The new Calendar Year Change will move us to a January 1-December 31 soccer registration year for premier starting in the seasonal year of 2016-17. This has been confusing for many. Even at the national level, they have had to recently reissue the charts that they originally posted to better clarify the age groups. Soccer Maine will encourage its premier clubs to move to birth year as much as possible as these teams would participate in State Cup and Presidents Cup, which are part of the National Championship Series, along with other competitive regional tournaments that will be re-aligning their age groups.
For Fall Classic and Pine Tree League, there will be virtually no change for the seasonal year 2016-17 as Soccer Maine will keep our fall in-state classic league and teams, along with our spring in-state classic league and teams on the current school calendar basis of August 1 to July 31. Players will continue to be able to play up with their school-grade friends if they are young for their grade.
The US Youth Soccer board voted to implement the “calendar year” registration to begin in the 2016-2017 season, though it is not mandated until the 2017-18 season. All state associations and their members will be making this change for their teams that participate in premier level competition, including the National Championship Series. Players with birth dates between 8/1 and 12/31 will move up an age group and the 1/1-7/31 players will stay down. Players can still play up, just not down. These initiatives from US Soccer are to further the development of the players in the US at the National team level and to align the US with the international standard. US Soccer is the governing body for the sport of soccer in the United States. These initiatives apply to national youth soccer organizations which are members of US Soccer, which include US Youth Soccer, US Club Soccer, AYSO, and SAY to name a few of the more familiar organizations. Soccer Maine is a US Youth Soccer state association and as such, falls under the umbrella of US Soccer.