So what do they mean when they Talk about U6 and U17 – Age Groups Explained

Soccer Age groups have always used the “Ux” naming convention.   “U” really stands for Under and the number is the age.    Therefore, a U10 Group is for players under 10 years old.    Age Groups are grouped into 2-year increments, so you end up with either even (U6/U8/U10) or Odd (U5/U7/U9) age groups.     At High River we look at the age of the player as of December 31 the previous year.    You could have some kids slightly younger or older depending on the season and their actual birthday.

In the Spring of 2018, Alberta Soccer, following the suit of Canada Soccer, changed the standard age groups from the even numbering back to the odd numbering.     The changes were announced too late to make the switch for the Spring season, but staring with our Fall indoor season, we are also moving to Odd age Groups as well.

What does this mean for our Program?     High River is one of the few clubs that offered a U4 (players 2 to 4 years old).  Feedback from our parents and coaches did indicate that this was pushing the boundaries of too young in some cases.   Switching to odd numbers will push this group older by one year.    U5 is for 3-4 year old’s.      The real benefit comes at the higher end of our program.    High River has traditionally not had a program after players turn 16.      Now with our older age group being U17.   Players who are 16 years old as of Dec 31 the previous year can play one more year of soccer.

In all leagues in High River, Players can request to play one age group up from their official age group.      You may see a player on the field that looks noticeably smaller or younger than their team.      Similarly, in special cases, a player can request to play down an age group but only in our House League.    Our Travel Teams must comply to a different set of bylaws that do not allow older kids to play at younger levels.

Lastly, in some seasons and years, we have had to combine age groups into larger age ranges in order to facilitate the age groups running.      As an example, you may occasionally see a U11/U13 combined group.  This is to ensure that we have enough players to actually run a program at that age level.

If you ever have any questions about age groups or soccer in High River, please reach out to info@highriversoccer.ca