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Sam's Blog is a bi-weekly addition to the US Youth Soccer Blog. Sam Snow is the Coaching Director for US Youth Soccer.

 

To travel or not to travel

Sam Snow

This question was posted on the US Youth Soccer Facebook account.

"Sorry to bother you with what might be a silly question. I was unable to find this on your website. We were told by our local organization (not the State) that a child cannot play on a travel soccer team at the U9 level unless the child is at least a U8. My son is a U7. We were told this was a USYS rule? Any help you can provide would be great. Thank you."
 
To be clear, the restriction noted in the question is not a US Youth Soccer policy because it would be the local state association policy.
 
Here are some portions of the Position Statements from the State Association Technical Directors that pertain to this question.
 
AGE OF COMPETITIVE PLAY # 4
 
While it is acknowledged and recognized that preteen players should be allowed to pursue playing opportunities that meet both their interest and ability level, we strongly discourage environments where players below the age of twelve are forced to meet the same "competitive" demands as their older counterparts therefore we recommend the following:
 
1. 50% playing time
2. No league or match results
3. 8 vs. 8 at U12
 
FESTIVALS FOR PLAYERS UNDER-10 # 9
 
We believe that Soccer Festivals should replace soccer tournaments for all players under the age of ten. Festivals feature a set number of minutes per event (e.g., 10 games X 10 minutes) with no elimination and no ultimate winner. We also endorse and support the movement to prohibit U10 teams from traveling to events that promote winning and losing and the awarding of trophies.