Now that we’re through our first week of the Topeka Soccer Club season, you may be noticing some big differences on fields. Or, more specifically, some smaller differences. All of Sunflower’s fields now follow the U.S. Soccer recommended dimensions, which are smaller than previously provided.
Why the change?
A U.S. Soccer Player Development Initiative, released in October of 2017, focused on improving the coaching and playing experience for 6- to 12-year-olds. The initiative’s main objectives are to provide an age-appropriate environment based upon birth year and to provide uniformity across the country by providing consistent standards for small-sided games.
The reasons for the recommendations are two-fold. First of all, it increases the engagement for all players, as the ball is never too far away. Second, it increases the technical requirement of each player, allowing them to develop foots skills and ball control. When players reach peak height velocity—typically age 12-14 for girls and 14-16 for boys—a larger field size becomes more manageable for all players. By this time, U.S. Soccer’s initiative will ensure players have the technical skills they need to succeed.
In other words, smaller field sizes promote true player development as it requires each player to rely on skill versus speed or strength. Then, when players are playing in a full-sided 11v11 game, they will have the skill, speed, and strength to compete successfully.
As recommended by U.S. Soccer, Sunflower Soccer Association and Topeka Soccer Club are dedicated to giving players the chance improve their skills in the long-term and develop faster decisions and ball and game-play awareness. This initiative will lead to more skillful players in the long-term, which we will promote as a U.S. Soccer organization.
For more details about the U.S. Soccer Player Development Initiative, download the PDF here.