Policies and Systems
Birth Year Agre Groups
On August 24, 2015, as part of the U.S. Soccer Coaching Initiatives, USYSA announced that the registration of youth soccer players, nationwide, will shift to calendar/birth-year age grouping, as opposed to the current school-year age grouping.
The US Youth Soccer programs and competitions that will introduce the birth-year registration in the 2016-17 soccer year include, but are not limited to, the following:
US Youth Soccer National Championships Series
US Youth Soccer Presidents Cup
US Youth Soccer National League
US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues
Region I, PA West and WV Soccer Association, the organizations in which WASA regularly competes, have required that these new rules be implemented and followed beginning in August 2016. In compliance with the rules, WASA and by extension FC Wheeling United, the travel club of WASA is working on implementing new rules and regulations regarding the registration of players and the selections of teams.
What does Calendar/Birth Year mean?
Calendar/Birth Year means that players will play in the age group based on the year of their birth. The Birth Year calendar dates run from January 1st to December 31st of each year. (For example, if you are born between January 1 and December 31, 2001, you will play in the 2001 Birth Year age group. If you are born between Jan 1 and December 21, 2005, you will play in the 2005 age group.) Currently, rosters are made of players born both in the fall, winter and spring of the time from between August 1 of one year and July 31 of the next year. Players on a team will now generally all be born in the same calendar year.
Why are WASA and FCWU moving to Calendar/Birth Year teams?
US Soccer, the governing body for all youth soccer in the United States, is mandating the use of Birth Year teams for all sanctioned leagues under U.S. Soccer. Also, the US Youth Soccer Association, Region I and WV Soccer Association, our immediate governing bodies are implementing these changes effective August 2016. Since we are a member of these organizations, we must follow suit.
Why is US Soccer going to Calendar/Birth Year teams?
US Soccer is going to the Calendar/Birth Year system to align youth soccer in the United States with the rest of the world. Every country follows the Birth Year system and all international youth soccer competitions are divided by Birth Year, including all Youth National Team competitions and the Youth World Cup competitions. ODP in West Virginia and all other stated have followed the Birth Year system for decades. US Soccer believes that the change will help players develop at a more consistent rate. The hope is that by producing better players in the short term and producing players who can compete on the world stage in the long term, the US will be better positioned to compete in international competition including the World Cup.
Why can’t we phase in the Calendar/Birth Year change?
We feel it is important to make the change as quickly as possible to eliminate confusion moving forward. Additionally, as a registered team in WV and with teams that compete in Region I leagues and tournaments, we are mandated by our governing bodies to implement this change in the fall of 2016.
Will my 2015-2016 team stay the same for the 2016-2017 season?
Regardless of the change to Birth Year teams, there is no guarantee that the teams will remain the same from season to season. For FCWU, try-outs occur each summer to determine the make-up of each team. For WASA, teams are divided based on the number of players and coaches available each season. WASA and FCWU are working to determine how the change to Birth Year teams will affect the various teams. Additional information will be published in the upcoming season.
Will other clubs be making these same changes?
Yes. West Virginia Soccer, PA West and Region I as well as all clubs affiliated with US Youth Soccer are mandated to make these changes.
Are there any additional changes on the horizon from US Youth Soccer?
Currently, US Youth soccer has proposed a change to the small sided games system. This will affect players in the U12 and under age groups. The number of players on the field, field dimensions, goal sizes, and rosters sizes may be affected. Currently, the use of the new small sided games system is a recommendation to clubs but has not been formally adopted by any league or system in which WASA/FCWU teams compete.
NO REFUNDS ON ANY REGISTRATIONS ONCE PAID.
Due to the increase in concussions in youth sports in the past several years, WV Soccer Association and WASA are moving to increase concussion awareness and education.
- All volunteers that are required to undergo background checks must complete an online Concussion Management Course offered free by US Youth Soccer/CDC or NFHS when they are completing the background check. (This includes all head coaches, assistant coaches, team managers, team parent or other team officials, age group commissioners, referees, and club members)
- WV Soccer Association has placed links on the WVSA Website for the online courses. (www.wvsoccer.net)
- The required individuals must complete the course and turn in their proof of compliance to their club.
- WASA will make the US Youth Soccer Concussion Protocol and Notification form available to all members.
- WASA must send a copy of the notification form to the player's parents and to WVSA RM Coordinator.
One Up Policy
WASA will consider special requests for players to play up in an older age group. Parents who feel a younger sibling is physically capable may request a younger sibling to play up ONE (not 2 or more) age divisions. Additionally, general requests to play up ONE age division will be considered on a case by case basis. Please (1) indicate it on the registration form and (2) email John Aderholt (firstname.lastname@example.org), VP WASA, and Jason Pockl (email@example.com), President WASA/FCWU, notifying them of the request with a brief explanation. John and Jason will make a determination on whether this request can be accommodated based on the nature of the request and the number of final registrants in the various age groups.
SPECIAL REQUESTS FOR PLAYERS TO PLAY IN YOUNGER AGE GROUPS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED UNLESS THERE IS A SPECIAL MEDICAL REASON FOR THIS REQUEST.
Child Abuse & Neglect
In 2012, West Virginia revised the law with regard to mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect. Specifically, the Legislature added the following language:
“Persons mandated to report suspected abuse and neglect. (a) Any … coach or volunteer of an entity that provides organized activities for children … who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is neglected or abused or observes the child being subjected to conditions that are likely to result in abuse or neglect shall immediately, and not more than forty-eight hours after suspecting this abuse or neglect, report the circumstances or cause a report to be made to the Department of Health and Human Resources: Provided, That in any case where the reporter believes that the child suffered serious physical abuse or sexual abuse or sexual assault, the reporter shall also immediately report, or cause a report to be made, to the State Police and any law-enforcement agency having jurisdiction to investigate the complaint: Provided, however, That any person required to report under this article who is a member of the staff or volunteer of a[n] … entity that provides organized activities for children, … shall also immediately notify the person in charge of the … entity that provides organized activities for children, … or a designated agent thereof, who may supplement the report or cause an additional report to be made.”
What this means for WASA/FCWU – if a coach or volunteer reasonably believes that a child is being abused or neglected THAT COACH OR VOLUNTEER MUST REPORT THE SUSPECTED ABUSE OR NEGLECT. This is a very real responsibility. As leaders and volunteers of youth soccer in the local area, we have a duty and responsibility to ensure the safety of the children in our program. A failure to report can result in significant consequences for the individual. See this story for a real life example.
For additional information please feel free to contact WASA/FCWU President Jason Pockl.