The Birth Year Registration Mandate handed down by U.S. Soccer has sent shock waves through the Youth Soccer community. The mandate was handed down with no parent input, and issued in a dictatorial fashion that unfortunately is a defining characteristic of U.S. Soccer. It has left parents confused, bewildered, and most of all, angry. We as soccer parents will have to deal with some disruptions, and unintended consequences. However, all is not lost. Here are five reasons that we will survive Birth Year Registration.

1. The Birth Year Mandate Is Not Going Anywhere

Whether we like it or not, the Birth Year Registration mandate is here to stay.  U.S.S.F., the FIFA-affiliated governing body for soccer in the United States, is a notoriously top down, non- transparent organization.  There will probably be tweaks here or there, possibly a few implementation delays, and a lot of groaning and gnashing of teeth.  The Olympic Development Program, the Development Academies, etc., are all on-board.

I see a lot of anti-Birth Year Registration petitions circulating online, no amount of petitions are going to sway them. In addition, some of the Youth Soccer Leagues have already started implementing the birth-year registration mandates this spring. NorCal Soccer (Northern California Soccer Club) is one of the big hotbeds of youth soccer, and they've already started implementing the mandate.  Birth Year Registration will happen, and the sooner we accept it, the better we will be.

2. Clubs And Leagues Will Adjust

First of all, they're going to adjust because they absolutely have to in order to preserve their business model. If they're going to keep parents from club-hopping and losing players, they're going to have to adjust and adjust quickly. The better clubs will have a clear communication strategy with the parents.

Use that to your advantage. Research all available options (other clubs, leagues) for your soccer players. Demand that your club clearly communicate with you how they're going to implement these mandates. If your club does not give you confidence that they can implement this mandate fairly and effectively, be prepared to exercise those options.

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3. Disruption Will Be Temporary

Make no mistake about it, there will be disruption, most of it happening this year. However, this disruption will present opportunities. I know in my son’s soccer club, some of the top-level teams have been playing together since they were five and six years old, so there was no real opportunity for kids to advance to play at the top level because those spots were always full. Now that the teams will be shuffled, there will be opportunities for kids who maybe did not have the opportunity before to break in and start playing at the higher level.

4. Kids Are A Lot More Resilient Than Parents

Kids are resilient, and they're accustomed to disruption. Back when we were growing up, things moved a lot slower. Think about all the disruptions that have happened in the last five years. Uber is the largest taxi company in the world, although they own no taxis. Airbnb is the largest hotel company in the world, and they own no hotels. Facebook, Google, and Apple are the largest media companies in the world, although they produce no content. That's just three examples of disruption in our lives in the last 10 to 15 years. Some have had some negative effects, but these disruptions have also improved lives and created new opportunities as well. Our soccer players are growing up amidst these disruptions, and they'll be able to adjust.

Also, if your child is playing competitive soccer, teams are pretty much going to change year in and year out. In our state (North Carolina) at the top levels of youth soccer, we have relegation and promotion, so the teams change leagues. Players change from team to team, season to season. The kids will be fine.

5. The Best Prepared Will Fare The Best

The final reason not to dread birth-year registration is the parents and kids who are prepared will thrive in the new environment. If you know what you need to do to communicate with your club, what your soccer player needs to do for tryouts this year, and the steps that you need to take, Birth Year Registration will present a tremendous opportunity for your soccer player to reach his or her soccer goals.

Want To Know The Best Ways To Prepare Yourself And Your Soccer Player For Birth Year Registration?


Click here to learn how you can avoid the panic and stress that surrounds Birth Year Registration

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About the Author

Buford Mobley is passionate about educating soccer parents and helping to guide them through the bewildering and complicated maze of elite Youth Soccer. He focuses on practical strategies that parents can use to develop confident, successful, and happy soccer players. He is the Father of a daughter who played recreational soccer for eight years, and a son who currently plays competitive travel soccer. He holds a “F” license with USSF.

Brett Cooper - March 20, 2016

I’m working with U7, and soon U4 ages. We have a large club with multiple divisions within each age group. I know of three U7 kids at our local elementary school who want to play soccer, but only if they can play with their classmates. My worry is that we will lose too many in the youngest age groups to keep the sport growing. It would be nice if we could keep grade level grouping for recreational leagues and switch to birth year when the player decides to transition to competitive leagues…it would be part of the decision making process.

    Buford Mobley - March 21, 2016

    Brett,

    I agree, that probably would have been a great solution. However, U.S. Soccer didn’t bother to ask our opinion.

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