We follow the US Soccer Guidelines for youth soccer and have adjusted our programs accordingly in recent years. Click on the file below to identify what age group your player is in for the current soccer season.
One of the rule changes that had the biggest impact was the age change rule, which requires that all players will now be registered and compete by birth year rather than by school year or grade, as was typical in the past. As a result, there are some players (particularly those born October-December) that may be unable to play on teams with their classmates, since league rules prohibit playing "down" to a younger age group. While players may play "up" to an older age group, that practice is generally discouraged except in unusual circumstances.
As a real-life example, a 5th grader born on December 28, 2007 was classified for the 2018/19 soccer season (see matrix below) as a "U12" player, and was playing with other players born in 2007 (which was mostly 6th graders). That player COULD NOT play with the 2008 U11 team, due to the January 1 cutoff. However, a 5th grader born on January 1 is eligible to play on the U11 team, and, in theory, could also have played "up" to the U12 team (although playing "up" requires club approval and is generally discouraged).
This change had disrupted existing (and particularly older) travel soccer teams nationally, and the PWSC implemented procedures to try to mitigage the impact on the players in the club. For younger players just starting out, the primary impact is possibly playing with players from a different grade -- as a result, though, it gives boys and girls an opportunity to make friends with players they may not have otherwise played a sport with. However, younger players that adhere to the birth year age grouping will be accustomed to playing with players from other grades at the outset.
The PWSC suggests that all players, including those in our younger intramural programs, register for the appropriate birth year age group based on the US Soccer guidelines. That being said, for the youngest groups, since they are not playing in any outside league sanctioned by US Soccer (and subject to age restrictions), we are able to provide a bit more flexibility for players that wish to start out with players in the same grade. Of course, once those players "graduate" to a travel-style program, we can no longer offer that flexibility (due to league rules), so those players will experience disruption with the players they are grouped with at some point down the road.
For a more complete explanation, and for the latest US Soccer "Age Matrix" chart detailing what age group ("U_") a player would currently be classified in, please see below: