Soccer Age Groups

What does "U8" or "U12" (etc) mean?

"U8" is short for "My soccer age is Under 8".  Soccer age is determined once per year, and approximately follows the academic years. Your soccer age is the same for both Fall and Spring seasons, regardless of whether a birthday passes between them.

U8 players must be Under 8 years old on August 1 previous to the Fall season. The system is analogous for U6, U10, etc. U5-U6, U7-U8, U9-U10, U11-U12, all have special rules (smaller fields, smaller teams, etc), so sometimes you will here "U10" to mean U9-U10 because the same rules apply to both age groups. 

Age on July 31 before Age group for Most Common
the school year soccer year Grade
4 U5 pre-K
5 U6 K
6 U7 First
7 U8 Second
8 U9 Third
9 U10 Fourth
10 U11 Fifth
11 U12 Sixth
12 U13 Seventh
13 U14 Eighth
14-18 U15-U19 High School

Do I have to play in my age group or can I move up or down?

U5-U10 age groups

In the U5-U10 age groups, players are allowed by ISA rules (and thus our insurance) to play up. Thus, we generally allow kids that are young for their grade (e.g., have August or September birthdays) to play with their classmates, even though they qualify for the next group lower. If your son or daughter is unusually large or unusually skilled for his or her age, he or she is also able to "play up". Such decisions are  made with the approval of Gary Eyles.

Unlike the other age groups, there is a minimum age for U5. U5 players must be 4 years old on July 31 before the Fall season..

Playing "down" is also possible for U6-U10 teams in unusual cases, but requires paperwork to be filed by our registrar. Please contact Ralph Ackerman if you want your child to play in a younger age group than is normal.

U11 and older age groups

In these age groups, the rules are the same, but there is considerable flexibility in IPSL league play. The IPSL does not check the ages of players. We (and all the other clubs in Iowa) generally organize teams according to their ages, but players may play up or down in IPSL games. All that is required for IPSL games is a player card from our club.  For GDMJSL games, all players must be the correct age (or younger) and appear on the roster.  Most tournaments allow a fixed number of guest players, but all players must be the correct age or younger.