Youth Soccer Organization Announces Significant Changes for Fall

On June 1 of this year, United States Soccer mandated a number of changes which the New Hampshire Soccer League is adopting for the forthcoming fall season. Hence, the Londonderry Youth Soccer Association (LYSA) – the local organization which  belongs to the NHSL – is instituting the changes, and local folks with kids who play soccer in the local league will definitely want to know just what’s up.

“The changes are intended to foster stronger development at the earlier ages with a focus on touches on the ball and subsequently developing ball control skills for players to bring forward as game play advances,” said LYSA chairperson and U-8 and U-10 coordinator Kerri Stanley.

One of the changes which may affect players pretty significantly is an alteration in the cut-off dates used to determine a player’s divisional placement.

“While the birthday cut-off date has previously been July 31st, the new mandate changes the cut-off date to Jan. 1,” said Stanley.

LYSA has U-4, U-6, U-8, U-10, U-12, U-15, and U-18 divisions, and the new cut-off dates for those divisions will have youngsters born in 2013 playing at the U-4 level, those born in 2011 playing U-6, kids born in 2009 playing U-8 soccer, youngsters born in 2007 playing at the U-10 level, kids born in 2005 playing U-12, athletes born in 2002 playing on the U-15 level, and those born in 1999 playing U-18 ball.

“Another change being mandated is to the format of game play within each division,” said Stanley. “The changes will most noticeably affect our U-8, U-10 and U-12 divisions. Players in all divisions up to and including U-12 will experience changes to field and goal sizes. The division which will most notice the game play format change will be our U-8 division as they will be shifting from a 6v6 format to a 4v4 format with no goalkeeper.”

When looking at what the changes will mean for LYSA players beginning this fall, Stanley stated, “LYSA’s goal is to ensure that all of our players benefit from an optimal soccer experience while still ensuring a fun experience. While we anticipate initial response to the changes may be met with concern, we hope you will take the time to review the initiatives and consider the long-term player development benefits that the new mandate is striving to achieve.”

Concerned parties are invited to visit for further information, or to contact any LYSA board member with their questions.

Because the changes require LYSA to create more teams with less players on rosters, the organization sees itself needing more parents to volunteer to coach.

“We are excited to be collaborating with Londonderry United, the town’s competitive soccer club, to offer our coaches training at various times throughout the season so they can feel confident about coaching,” said Stanley.

Additionally, as part of its ongoing commitment to developing a strong training program for its players, the soccer organization has also announced that it will be working with professional trainer Mark Ruest, who will be offering training to U-8 division players during their weekly practices.

Stanley also touched upon the question of players’ divisional placements based on the changes.

“Upon registration, players will automatically be placed in the appropriate division based on the new birth year matrix, which has been implemented within the registration system,” she said. “Players will  need to be initially placed in their assigned divisions. Players wishing to play up will need to be wait-listed until all actual age appropriate players are placed within their divisions. Should there be remaining space available within a division, only then will individual requests be considered. Wait-listed players requesting to play up will need to complete an evaluation and receive approval before they will be placed in a higher division, and only then if there is a space available.”

LYSA’s registration is currently open, and since it’s a time-consuming process to finalize rosters, parents are encouraged to register players as soon as possible. The deadline before being wait-listed and incurring late fees is Aug. 6. LYSA’s opening day is Sept. 10, with practices beginning the week prior as the youngsters gear up for fun and competition.

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