Changes: What Everyone Needs To Know

Recent U.S. Soccer Coaching Initiatives are focused on improving youth players’ skills and intelligence, and providing them with the best opportunity to develop as soccer players.

Florida Youth Soccer Association held recently its Annual General Meeting. Some of the most expected workshops dealt with the upcoming changes to birth-year registration, the impact of heading for children that are 10 years old or younger, and the use of casts and other hard yielding devices with a doctor’s authorization and game official.

Even though, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the new changes, it is worth stating and stressing that these new standards and game formats impact players, coaches, and parents and all are expected to follow.

The subsequent information outlines the standards for U9-U12
U9 and U10

• 7 v 7
• 50% playing time for all
• No Heading
• Uses a Build out Line for development of play out of the back
• No Keeper Punting
• 12 players on the game roster
• No results or standings
• Events and tournaments have fixed number of games, no placement or champions

U11 and U12

• 9 v 9
• 50% playing time for all
• No Heading in U11
• No Heading in U12 before Jan 1, 2017 for all 2015 U12 players
• If U11 and U12 are combined on a team, they must play in a No-Heading Division
• No U11 may play up to a U12 in a Heading division until they turn 11 years old and only at the discretion of FYSA
• 16 players on the game roster
• No results or standings (2017) [SFU will not have results for U11 in 2016]
• Events and tournaments have fixed number of games, no advancement, placement or champions (2017)

Juan Carlos Michia
Director of Boys Program of Weston FC
For 19 years, he worked with the US Soccer Federation; his task consisted of scouting, within minority groups, as Hispanics. He also worked with all the US national teams from U14 to senior teams. Additionally, he has instructed coaching courses for 18 years and participated in seminars in different regions of Europe and America.

At first, it was not easy, says Michia, because the system was designed for a determined group. But with the Hispanic press support, all over the country, we were able to let minority kids know that they could play for the US national teams.
How much has it changed since you were involved?
It’s changed a lot. Now, we have a national league with crucial age groups like U12. As well as, we are focusing more on technique and how to use it.

What do you think about the new game formats for U12?
I think we are 15 years behind, but not because we’re doing things badly but the rest of the world has 80 years of experience on us. We need to be careful about what we’re looking for. Everything has already been invented in soccer.

What will be the benefits for player’s development and soccer business?
More players, more money, more sponsors, more clubs investing in soccer from other places in the world. This country is still in its infancy regarding soccer, especially South Florida.

What is your opinion regarding no heading rules?
We need to be careful about this rule, I understand it but at the same time we have to develop the player and implement it little by little.

According to the US soccer federation, within 2 years, there will be no standings or champions in tournaments for U12 and under. What will be the impact for small clubs and parents?
I’ve always said it and I will say it until the day I die. If we want to be at world level, we must follow FIFA rules.

How do you see the future of soccer in Florida?
If we help our kids, I see a brilliant future. Where can we find a team with 8-10 players from different countries?