Last week, US Youth Soccer announced the introduction of the Club Pass to the National Championship Series rules as well as the introduction of other rules regarding roster size and uniforms. The release from US Youth Soccer provides background on the developmental goals of implementing a club pass and links to a few documents that provide more information on the new policy. I’ve highlighted them below:
- You can access the fully updated policy on the US Youth Soccer website here:
2011-2012 US Youth Soccer National Championship Series Policy
- This handy Frequently Asked Questions document gives more specific guidance on what the changes mean to players, coaches, and club administrators:
Club Pass and Uniforms: National Championships Policy Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”): Rules 101, 221, 224, and 241
- For those of you who prefer a visual of how a player/club can use the pass, here is a PDF presentation that illustrates the pathway of club pass use:
US Youth Soccer National Championship Series – Club Pass Pathway
After reading all of the documents, I had a few remaining questions for US Youth Soccer and I emailed their office to follow-up. Jim Cosgrove, US Youth Soccer‘s Executive Director, answered my questions clearly and quickly (thanks again Jim!!). Based on the above documents and conversations with US Youth Soccer and Region IV, here is a summary of the new policy changes:
US Youth Soccer’s new National Championship Series (NCS) Club Pass policy enables players to play on another team from their club that is participating in the NCS once the players’ original team has been eliminated from NCS competition. As always, a player must be properly registered and rostered with US Youth Soccer through WA Youth Soccer and the local Club/Association in order to participate in the NCS or any of our State Cup tournaments.
An Example of How the Club Pass is Used
Let’s say I’m a player on a team from the WA Soccer Club – I’m on the GU16 Apples team and my club has another GU16 team called the Oranges. My GU16 Apples team competes in the US Youth Soccer Washington State Championships but gets eliminated before the finals and my team does not advance to the Region IV Championships – my team is done with competition for this year’s NCS. At the same time, my club’s GU16 Oranges team wins the GU16 state title and moves on to the Region IV Championships. As both teams are part of the WA Soccer Club and I’m eligible to be on a GU16 team because of my age, I am now eligible to use the “club pass” to be added to the GU16 Oranges’ roster for Regional and National competition within the NCS. The important pieces are that 1) the team that I am rostered to for the US Youth Soccer Washington State Championships has been eliminated from further competition in the NCS, and 2) any team that I use a club pass to play with must be from the same club as my State Cup team.
Roster Size Expanded to 22 Players for U14-U15
The second major rule change is the expansion of NCS roster sizes for U14 through U19 teams to 22 rostered players. Previously, only the U16-U19 age groups in the NCS were allowed to have a maximum roster of 22 players while U14-15 teams had a maximum roster of 18 players. US Youth Soccer’s rules regarding roster size will be updated at the August US Youth Soccer board meeting to be consistent with the NCS rule change.
WA Youth Soccer continues to have a maximum roster size of 18 players during the seasonal year, with the exception of U16 and up teams in the Challenge Cup and US Youth Soccer Washington State Championships, which are allowed up to 22 rostered players for State Cup play.
Uniforms and Membership Passes
Two other notable changes have been made to the NCS rules:
- Rules 241, Section 3 (a) was updated in regards to uniform requirements. All players and team officials participating at the NCS may only have US Youth Soccer, WA Youth Soccer, or your local Club/Association name, logo, or other identifying mark of a youth soccer organization. Any other youth soccer organization’s name, logo, or other identifying mark must be removed, replaced, or covered up. For example, if your team jerseys or warm-up gear carries AYSO, US Club Soccer, or SAY logos, they must be removed, replaced, or covered up during WA Youth Soccer State Cup, Region IV, and National competitions. If these steps aren’t taken, the player or team official will be removed from the game site.
- The US Youth Soccer Membership Pass cardstock will be going through a review and editing process at the national level, in order to clearly show Club information on the passes. The goal is to enable players to use their original membership passes from each seasonal year with any team from their club that they play with in the NCS. The cardstock distributed by WA Youth Soccer this summer will still be used for membership passes; once US Youth Soccer releases the new cardstock, we will be in contact with Clubs/Associations that are sending teams to Regionals and Nationals to ensure all teams are able to comply with the new NCS rules.
Note: these policy changes for the National Championship Series do not apply to the Regional or National President’s Cup tournament series.
The NCS policy updates and how they affect Washington Youth Soccer’s State Cup Rules will be a topic at the August 20th Soccer Operations Committee meeting, so if you have comments or questions on how this policy affects your organization’s teams, feel free to email your District Commissioner and they can bring forward your comments at the meeting.
Take a look at the documents linked above and let us know what remaining questions you have in the comments section.