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The New Division Structure Explained. And Why It's Not As Bad As You Might Think!

We all know that, starting in 2017, the way AYSO calculates the age of your young player has changed. This change has resulted in players being promoted up to a division that their parents are, maybe, not particularly comfortable with.

One of the most common concerns we hear from parents is:

“My daughter played in U7 last year and now she has to play in U10. She is too young for U10 and needs to play in U8.”

Another example…

“My son played in U10 for the first time last year. He needs to play in U10 for one more year but he is now being pushed into U12. He is far too young to be competing against 12 year olds.”

These are valid concerns. But they can be easily addressed and put to rest with a clear explanation of how the new age and division structures work. We've not managed to find a clear explanation though. So we wrote our own.  Here it is…

I’m going to use U10 as an example (but the exact same rules apply to all divisions).

For the moment, let’s stick with the ‘old way’ of calculating a child's age (ie. by determining their age on 7/31 of the current year). The youngest possible player in U10 would turn 8 on 7/31 of the current year. The oldest possible player would turn 10 on 8/1 of the current year. When the first game of the Fall season arrives (around 9/1) you could, potentially, have a player who has just turned 8 going up against someone who has just turned 10. Think about that for a second. There is a 10 year old child playing the entire Fall season in U10 (Under-10).

That last sentence is important. It is worth reiterating. There is someone who is not under 10 playing in the Under-10 division. How much sense does that make?

Now let’s looks at the ‘new way’ (ie. by determining a child’s age on 12/31 of the year after the current year). But before we do that, let’s flip the name of the division and call it 10U instead of U10.

The youngest possible player in 10U will turn 8 on 12/31 of the current year. The oldest possible player will turn 9 on 1/1 of the current year. At the first game of the Fall season (around 9/1) the youngest possible player will be 7 years and 8 months of age. The oldest possible player will be someone aged 9 years and 8 months. That means the oldest possible player cannot turn 10 until after the Fall season is complete. Or, to put it another way, there will be no 10 years olds playing in the Fall season of 10U.

So, whilst it is true to say players will now compete in 10U at a younger age, the older players have been pushed up to 12U. The new division structures have simply moved 5 months to the left on the great timeline of life.

Pay no attention to the title of the division. 6U, 7U, 8U, 10U, etc. After all, it’s just a name.

So when you are informed that your 7 year old will play in 10U or your 11 year old will play in 14U, please do not be alarmed. Your child will not find themselves defending an attacker who is twice their size. They will not be pushed into the dirt by a midfielder that is three years their senior. Your child will be among their peers. Surrounded by friends of similar ability and maturity levels in an environment where they can thrive.

 Division
 Youngest DOBOldest DOB Youngest
(Fall Start)
Oldest
(Fall Start)
Youngest
(Fall End)
Oldest
(Fall End)
Age Difference
 U10 (old) 8 on 7/3110 on 8/1 8y 1m 10y 1m 8y 4m 10y 4m 2 years exactly
10U (new) 8 on 12/31 9 on 1/1 7y 8m 9y 8m 7y 11m 9y 11m 2 years exactly


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