Soccer ages are determined once per year (in the Fall) and hold for the following Spring season. Playing age is calculated by subtracting the season year (the year for the Spring season) from the player's birth year.
For example, for this coming season, the year will be 2020. If your player was born in 2010, their playing age will be (2020 - 2010) = U10.
See the Birth Year Matrix below to help you determine the age group.
U6-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 may qualify for the next group lower. If your player is unusually large or unusually skilled for his or her age, they may also "play up".
Unlike the other age groups, there is a minimum age for U6. U6 players must have soccer ages of at least 4.
Playing "down" is also possible for U6-U10 teams in unusual cases, but requires paperwork to be filed by our registrar. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you want your child to play in a younger age group than is normal.
U11 and older age groups
The Greater Des Moines Junior Soccer League forms their league brackets by U12, U14, U16 and U18 breakdowns. So for example, U11 and U12 teams both play in their "U12 league". Each season GDMJSL carefully divisions out teams based on previous season results to make games as fair and competitive as possible. GDMJSL does follow strict roster guidelines regarding numbers of players on team rosters and does allow players to play up an age group, but not down in age group. Player cards are also strictly enforced and checked for each player before every game.
Iowa Soccer has a web site set up to help clubs, parents and players understand the new changes for all US Soccer clubs, teams and players.