By Victoria Esquivel
For many high school students, a main priority is to gain college attention. This is also the case for student athletes, especially soccer players, who attend college showcases with the goal of potentially receiving an invitation to a college summer camp or a scholarship. Recently, United States Youth Soccer (USYS) along with several youth soccer organizations have changed the age categories beginning Aug. 1, 2016 having players born in the same year play in the same age group.
In the past, players born between Aug. and Dec. in the same year would play a year below those who were born between Jan. and July. This issue was constantly brought up by parents and organizations throughout the country. According to an article written on Soccer Wire, where recent soccer events and news are covered, many parents were always confused under what age bracket their child belonged to. Although I do not believe the recent change was what parents were expecting.
The new cut off age affects all high school athletes that play club sports, giving them a year less of club soccer exploiting the way they advertise themselves to recruiting coaches. Students born in 1999 must play together along with all other age brackets. This is not the only rule being implemented, as of Aug. younger players face more rules than before, changing the way they play soccer.
On the USYS website thousands of comments have been posted from parents complaining about the new implementation of the age groups. Several young adults now have to jump two years ahead because they were born in a specific year. Although these implementations were created to help any confusion from the past years, it has done more bad than good.
According to Tom Farrey, member of the ASPEN project play initiative, these new rules will help properly develop the players. The United States Soccer Federation states that by changing the age brackets by year it would help scout for the soccer national team and players ready to compete internationally. What they failed to acknowledge was the year that many athletic students will be missing because of this new change.
According to USYS, they are working diligently alongside different organizations to put into effect the new rules. It is to be an efficient and smooth transition, although the entire country filled with soccer athletic students and parents would care to disagree deeply to that.