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To the parents of Fargo Soccer Club Competitive Players:

This is in regards to the US Soccer mandate which is the biggest change that youth soccer has ever had in player development initiatives. Click here for information on the US Soccer mandate and changes that will be occurring.

The mandate is scheduled to occur in two parts with the largest part coming in the fall of 2016.

1.  Age group changes with new birth year registration (August 1, 2016)

2.  U9-U12 organization changes (August 1, 2017)

Please note that this is not a North Dakota Soccer, Minnesota Soccer or Fargo Soccer Club program.  It is being driven by US Soccer. The changes affect every current competitive youth team in the country in terms of changing eligibility in each age group and, unfortunately, for some players this means missing out a year of youth soccer.  Those that will miss a year of youth soccer are those born between August 1 and December 31 who are currently U9-U18.  US Soccer has said the “plus side” is that we will be aligned with the rest of the world in terms of soccer age groups.  The “plus side” seems to driven entirely for national team consideration and not for the 99.999% of players who will never play on the national team.


The Effect on all of the USA

The current team formation rules are August 1 to July 31 for a team.  For example, a U12 player is one born between August 1, 2003 and July 31, 2004.  Naturally, a plyer born after July 31, 2004 could “play up” from their younger age group to the U12 age group.  Starting August 1, 2016, players on that same U12 team will either be U14 or younger.  The new rules on August 1 state that a U13 player is one born between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2004.  A U14 player is one born between January 1, 2003 and December 31, 2003.  While the current team formation rules revolve closely around school grade, the new rules will ignore school grade.  Teams could stay together but be at a disadvantage when playing in tournaments and in leagues against teams from other clubs which will almost assuredly have older players on their team, taking advantage of the new rules.

Can my team stay together?

Club President Matt Noah, team coaches and possibly team managers will meet to decide each team’s roster.  This is not different from what we have done in the past.  We welcome parental input.  We will have to make decisions based on all teams in the club and how each decision ripples through every team in the club.  We anticipate that the dissolution of teams, followed by the formation of new teams will not be an easy transition for players, parents or coaches.  We anticipate, through little or no fault of our own, that players will drop out of soccer.  The club’s position is clear.  We do not favor the US Soccer mandate but we have no choice but to follow the rules imposed nationwide.  The rules do not affect our recreational in-house program.  Naturally, as teams change, the assignment of coaches may change.

How can I help in the transition?

The biggest test to the age group change is change in itself. Players have gained comfort from playing with a certain coach or with certain teammates. These changes will test a lot of the players commitment to play for no other reason than for the love of the game.  Some players play, in part, due to the friendships they have with players on their current team. I believe that Fargo Soccer Club families will come through this and we can maintain  strength in both numbers and level of play!


It is also clear that we need to recruit players from all over the area to fill roster spots on newly-formed teams.  Those players may or may not be playing at other clubs.  Your positive impression with the Fargo Soccer Club is your best recruiting tool for new players from other clubs.  There are also plenty of great athletes who will want to start playing soccer, athletes that have little to no soccer experience.  You know them from school, church and other activities.  Invite them to try-outs!  Invite them to watch a practice!



Why would US Soccer increase the numbers at our U9-12 age level teams starting 2017 but yet still preach small sided games?

In our area of the country, competitive soccer for U9 and U10 is 6v6.  The new mandate is 7v7.  For U11 and U12 soccer, the new mandate is for 9v9, up from our current 8v8.  Some parts of the county play 11v11 much earlier than U13.  Those same regions play 8v8 or higher at younger ages.  This phase is in negotiation right now and may change but until then the purpose is once again to set a national standard and have all players play both the same age and on the same fields.

How is the Fargo Soccer Club preparing for this?

Organizationally here is a breakdown of things to come

  • Coaches Meeting – TBD – to discuss each and every team and the implications of the birthyear rules
  • Early Try-Outs to determine Fall 2016 teams and Summer 2017 teams
  • Q&A 24x7 for all parents
  • Secondary try-outs to fill out teams still needing players
  • Community outreach via various marketing techniques and open forums

In closing, we ask each family for patience in this new direction.  All clubs in the USA will be effected.  We are ahead of many of those clubs with our careful planning early in the process.  Up until 2 weeks ago, the August 2016 mandate was planned for August 2017.  Every club is scrambling but some are better prepared than others.  We will maintain our current beliefs in what our children should get from their soccer experience in terms of opportunity, playing environment and program standards but also in how they play. As always, we will be doing all we can to give them the best possible experience maintaining our strength in both numbers and levels of play.

The Fargo Soccer Club was formed in 2007 with the express purpose of (1) keeping costs low for families, (2) providing recreational opportunities for pre-school players, (2) providing competitive opportunities for U7, U8 and U9 players, (3) providing longer and better recreational and competitive seasons, (4) providing a la carte opportunities for multi-sport athletes, (5) providing a model or competitive respect and character-building at all levels,  and (6) providing clear, concise and accurate communication to all parents and players.

Many thanks,

Matt Noah

President, Coach, Parent,

Fargo Soccer Club