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Dec, 2015

US Soccer Federation Announces Changes

Dear Rochester Soccer Club Lightning Parents and Players,

As many of you are aware, on Aug. 24, 2015, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced significant changes to the youth soccer competition environment to be implemented in the coming years. Over the course of the last few months we have been anticipating, reviewing and have received more information and clarity on the new changes from the various soccer organizations we are members of including MYSL, MSPSP, DA and MRL.  Based on the follow-up information we have received, we, like most clubs across the state, have developed a plan for our club that we will present below and in town meetings in December.

Fundamentally, U.S. Soccer Federation is  making these changes in the interests of long term player development and can be placed into two major categories: (1) player age group cut-off dates; and (2) small-sided game structures and sizes.

As a national member of U.S. Soccer, Rochester Soccer Club (RSC) along with all other soccer clubs in the nation and throughout Michigan must comply with the rules, regulations and policies of U.S. Soccer – including these new mandates.

As with you, we recognize and understand that the change is stressful, and often the anticipation of the change is worse than change itself.  Many of us on the RSC leadership team and coaching staff have, or have had players, in the club and understand the challenges this transition will present from both a soccer and personal standpoint.  Our players and families have developed trust in teammates, formed friendships, and found comfort in their current situations. We are confident that the same trust, friendships, and comfort will emerge in the new age group team structure under the direction and training of our qualified coaching staff.  So it is our intention with clear understanding, timely dissemination of information, and with the best interest of our players and their families in mind, to make this transition as easy as possible and positive for all involved with the approach we plan to take.

Player Age Group Cut-off Dates

RSC plans to embrace Birth Year changes effective with the start of the 2016-2017 season on August 1, 2016 for our Lightning/Travel program. Lightning teams at all age groups will be formed using a new calendar based age group cut-off date of January 1 through December 31.  In consideration of one of our planned improvements, Lightning coaching assignments will be released much earlier than in the past to aid smooth transitions and enhance the player coach relationships. There will inevitably be change but our goal is to try to keep coaches in like age groups as much as possible. Following the early coaching assignment release, we will look to have Birth Year specific training sessions with the coach assigned to that age group for the upcoming tryout and soccer season. This will further familiarize players with their potential new teammates as well as coaches.

In regards to our Recreation League and Development Program we are currently reviewing and evaluating Birth Year changes with other recreation soccer organizations. No decision has been made as it pertains to Birth Year changes for these programs.

Small-sided Game Structures and Sizes for Lightning Teams

Also starting with the 2016-2017 soccer season, effective August 1, 2016, RSC will embrace the small-sided games structure changes into our Lightning/Travel program. The new playing formats for players and teams will be as follows:

  • U8-10 (birth years ‘07, ‘08, and ’09) is 7v7 (Including a GK)

  • U11-12 (birth years ‘05 and ’06) is 9v9 (including a GK)

  • U13 (birth years ‘04 and above) is 11v11 (including a GK)

We are also reviewing and evaluating the small-sided game structure and size changes in regards to our Recreation League and Development Program with the Birth Year changes with other recreation soccer organizations and no decision has been made as it pertains to these programs.  We anticipate an update announcement for both these changes in regards to our Recreation League and Development Program to come out prior to the beginning of our Spring season.

To further explain the Lightning/Travel program changes, during the month of December, we will host age specific Lightning program meetings (see schedule below) to explain how these changes will impact the players.  As we look to the future, we ask that you attend the meeting based on your player's birth year.  It is important that you attend the birth year meeting since it will be tailored to that age group and league.  More details will be provided at these meetings. While we have made this decision, there are still many nuances and organizational roll out decisions to be made. The table below shows the age breakdown and new re-labelling of the "U" format from US Soccer that all clubs will comply with starting in June 2016.

























The meeting times and location are as follows:

  • Boys and Girls birth years ’07, ’08, and ’09 -  Tuesday, December 15th, 6:00pm-7:30pm

  • Boys and Girls birth years ’03, ’04, ‘05 and ’06 -  Tuesday, December 15th, 7:45pm- 9:15pm

      Location: 500 Old Perch, Rochester Hills, MI (West Middle School Cafeteria)

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  • Boys (ONLY) birth years ’98, ’99, ’00, ’01 and ’02 - Thursday, December 17th, 6:00pm-7:30pm  

  • Girls (ONLY) birth years ’98, ’99, ’00, ’01 and ’02 - Thursday, December 17th,7:45pm- 9:15pm

Location: 501 West University, Rochester, MI ( Rochester Community School Administration Building Harrison Room- located on the first floor)

We thank you for your continued support of Rochester Soccer Club and look forward to a great winter training and spring season.

Rochester Soccer Club