Coming Soon: U.S. Soccer’s New Girls’ Development Academy!

us-soccerKeep an eye out next fall (2017) for the launch of U.S. Soccer’s new Girls’ Development Academy Program!

U.S. Soccer created the Development Academy for boys in 2007 and has since grown the program to include 152 soccer clubs. U.S. Soccer refers to the Program as, “the elite player development model for the country and has significantly improved the everyday environment for players, coaches and clubs.”

The Girls’ Development Academy will mimic many of the existing principles starting in Fall 2017.

  • Clubs in the Girls’ Development Academy will play exclusively within the Academy program and will not play against any outside competition, including high school. These clubs will participate in local and regional matches, as well as regional and national events that follow international standards.
  • The Girls’ Development Academy will increase training requirements. Clubs will be expected to train a minimum of four times per week.
  • The program will include the following combined age groups: U-14/15, U-16/17, and U-18/19. Clubs will be required to form more balanced rosters of players from two distinct birth years.
  • Games will be scouted by U.S. Soccer and will serve as a pathway to U.S. Soccer’s Youth National Teams.

The launch of the new program has U.S. Soccer and NWSL working together to support player development and the long-term growth of professional soccer.

“In support of U.S. Soccer’s long-term plan for player and coach development, launching a Girls’ Development Academy is part of an unprecedented commitment to elevating the women’s game,” said April Heinrichs, U.S. Soccer Women’s Technical Director.

As details were released in regards to the Girls’ Development Academy, many wondered if U.S. Soccer would be collaborating with the Elite Clubs National League on the project. After a meeting between USSF officials and ECNL leaders, it has been announced that the Federation has decided to move forward without any outside assistance. reported that U.S. Soccer officials believe that they can do a “better and faster” job of developing female players alone. In an interview with ECNL’s Christian Lavers, Lavers stated that, “[U.S. Soccer’s] position was that they previously discussed collaborating with us, and had determined that they could improve the game and raise standards in the game faster and better without us.”

“This discussion shouldn’t be framed as an ECNL vs U.S. Soccer issue,” Lavers said. “That perspective doesn’t solve any challenges or improve the game. The ECNL’s desire was, and still is, to find a way to bring together unique resources from each organization to make an even better platform. If that is not a possibility or a shared desire at this time, then the ECNL will continue to fulfill its mission and keep working to improve development in female youth club soccer.”

The ECNL will continue to support youth national teams and the Women’s National Team going forward.

Similar to the the Boys’ Development Academy, the Girls’ seasons will be structured over a 10-month period and will be organized by divisions and conferences.

More information will be available in the coming months.

Track By Birth Year To Comply With U.S. Soccer’s New Requirements

us-soccerNeed to update your registration system to comply with U.S. Soccer’s new birth year standards?

You are not alone! The majority of youth soccer organizations need to update their registration methods recently to meet U.S. Soccer’s new birth-year registration initiative.

With Demosphere’s RosterPro® Registration System, it’s easy to track registrants by birth-year and place them into the correct age group.

Option 1: Set Eligibility Settings

The first option available to organizations is to set the date of birth range in the Season Structure for each seasonal grouping. Adding the Birthdate Range will auto-place players into their appropriate group.

In the example below we’ve edited the U10 Age Group to add the Birthdate Range 01/01/2005 through 12/31/2005 in the Grouping Eligibility area. All registrants born within this range will automatically be placed in the U10 grouping.


Option 2: Custom Data Field

If your organization would like to specifically track a separate field for “Year of Birth,” follow the steps listed below to create a custom data field:

1. Custom Data Field Creation

Create a custom data field for registration participants called “Birth Year” in the Data Reporting & Management tab.

During this step, select the Dropdown Input Type to ensure uniform responses across all registrants. Include all options that pertain to your organization in the Selection Options section.

The field should be set to Required.


2. Set Eligibility

When setting up the Season Structure, custom eligibility settings can be created to ensure players are placed into the proper grouping. Edit any seasonal grouping and click the Custom Data checkbox on the eligibility tab.

Select the Birth Year custom data field and select the acceptable value for the grouping you are working on.


The required birth year data field will be filled out during public registration and players will be automatically placed into the proper birth year, based on the eligibility that was created.

Need a little help setting up your system? Contact Demosphere Support at support @ with any questions regarding either of the above methods.


New U.S. Soccer Initiatives Affect All Youth Teams

U.S. Soccer introduced two major initiatives in youth development in an attempt to advance youth players’ individual skill and provide them with the best opportunity to improve.

The changes involve adjusting birth-year registration calendars to provide more clarity and mandating new field size standards based on age groups.

These new initiatives will be fully mandated by August, 2017.

Birth-Year Registration

With the current birth-year calendars in place, registrants are easily confused about what age group they belong to. Are they placed in U-15 rather than U-14 because they were born in a specific year, even if they were born in June?

The new initiative involving birth-year registration calendars adds clarification to the placement process. Players born in a certain year now belong in that certain age group.

Birth-year registration calendars currently run from August to July, with the summer date correlated to the academic calendar.

The new initiative will align the registration calendar with the international regulations, putting the US in line with the rest of the world, by switching the cutoff dates from January to December.

For example, a U-15 player would have the birth year of 2000 (January 1 – December 31) for the 2015 registration year.

The new rule will apply to all age groups, not just age 12 and younger. However, the change will not force dissolution of age-group based teams that already play together.

Age Groups

Field Size Regulations

U.S. soccer created new small-sided initiatives to provide players with a more age appropriate environment as they develop. The standards are focused on players from the U-6 to U-12 age groups.

Field size and number of players on the field per team will increase as teams age, eventually resulting in a full 11v11 match starting with the U-13 age group. The field dimensions will increase from 4v4 to 7v7 to 9v9.

By limiting the numbers and playing on a smaller field size, the players will have the chance to multiply their contact with the ball and become an active player in the game at all times.

Field Size

For further details on these two new initiatives, reference the U.S. Soccer website.