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About: Age Groups


Please scroll down for further information on the current Age Matrix, cut off dates, and "play up" form for some children.
If you have further questions about which age group your child belongs to, please contact one of our Age Group Coordinators or other board member - emails are on 'Contacts' Page.
Phone: 415.459-4410

Why not full sided teams?

Coaches ask us every year, "Why don't we play full sides of 11 v 11 soccer like when I was growing up?"

US Youth Soccer has thought long and hard about the answer, which SRS supports:

What does "Small-Sided Games" mean? These are soccer games with fewer players competing on a smaller sized field, allowing fun games that involve the players more because fewer players are sharing one ball.

All ages can play "Small Sided Games", but it has a definite developmental impact on our younger soccer players. US Youth Soccer recommendations for "number of players" at the various age groups are as follows:

K | 3 v 3 no goal keepers
1st | 4 v 4 no goal keepers
2nd | 5 v 5 no goal keepers
3rd/4th | 7 v 7 with goal keepers
5th/ 6th | 9 v 9 with goal keepers
7th - HS | 11 v 11 with goal keepers

  1. Because we want our young soccer players to touch the soccer ball more often and become more skillful with it! (Individual technical development)
  2. Because we want our young soccer players to make more, less-complicated decisions during the game! (Tactical development)
  3. Because we want our young soccer players to be more physically efficient in the field space they are playing in! (Reduced field size)
  4. Because we want our young soccer players to have more individual teaching time with the coach! Less players on the field and less players on the team will guarantee this! (Need to feel worthy and need to feel important)
  5. Because we want our young soccer players to have more involved playing time in the game! (More opportunity to solve problems that only the game presents)
  6. Because we want our young soccer players to have more opportunity to play on both sides of the ball! (More exposure to attacking and defending situations)
  7. Because we want our young soccer players to have more opportunities to score goals! (Pure excitement)
  8. Because we want to include children of all temperaments, assertive to shy, to have more opportunities to interact with others and the game! (Socialization)

These are the reasons why we adults must foster "Small-Sided Games" in our youth soccer programs. This FUN environment is developmentally appropriate for our young soccer players.

It just makes sense doesn't it?

"Playing Up" Policy

SRS Recreational league (in alliance with US Club suggestions) does not endorse playing up in the recreational league. This is also in line with other Marin clubs that do not allow 'play ups.'

San Rafael Soccer encourages players and parents to select the age group most appropriate for their child to play in. We recognize that young children have the desire to play and compete "with their friends". It can make the game more fun for them and s a recreational opportunity enjoyment of the game is a goal.

However is our understanding that playing at an "age" appropriate level - places the child in a group which more typically is at their level of mental and physical maturity, and thus provides the player with a greater opportunity to have success on the playing field with his or her age peers. A player who is "young for their grade" and chooses to "play up", will find themselves competing against players who are one to two years in age, grade, mental maturity and/or physical size beyond their years. A player may find themselves playing with or against a player who is much larger, faster, more aggressive and more mentally mature. This can place the player at a disadvantage in achieving their potential and having success on the field. Having success, "playing to their potential" is also a primary goal for the SRS. This feeling of success also factors into a players enjoyment of the game.

San Rafael Soccer, strongly encourages parents to remain in their age age group based on the age cut offs as directed by US Club. We feel that this is the most advantageous and most safe. However, we will allow a player's parents to make that final judgment as to what is best for their child / player. We encourage parents to look honestly at their child's ability and physical and mental maturity and if you have any doubt as to their ability to have success on the field, then do not allow your player to "play up". Please discuss this with an SRS Board Member who will discuss this issue with you openly.

In the past we have required a Board member to authorize a "play up" by signing a form. We are now requiring that a parent sign a PLAY UP FORM, to be provided by SRS, acknowledging that they understand the decision of having their player play up above his or her formal US Club age group.

Remember, the goal for SRS is to help our children learn, appreciate and find enjoyment in playing the game of soccer.

Play Up forms need to be mailed to the Registrar at 345 Paloma Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94901