Essex County Youth Soccer Association

US Soccer Player Development Guidelines

U.S. Soccer's Player Development Initiatives (PDIs) rolled out on August 1, 2017. 

What are Player Development Initiatives?

The PDIs aim to create an environment for youth players to grow and develop their soccer abilities. The most notable PDI includes small-sided game standards. Small-sided standards are regulations for youth games played with less than eleven players on each team that include field and ball size, game length and special rules. Fewer players on the field will allow players to be more involved and provide more opportunity for development.

Why are Player Development Initiatives being implemented?

The PDIs are designed to shift the focus of youth soccer from results based to individual player development. Tasked with advancing the sport at all levels, these initiatives are being implemented to create uniform standards with the primary consideration extended to the individual player at each age level based on their developmental needs.

Currently, standards of play for youth games vary greatly across the country. Standardizing rules and regulations allows all youth players to develop on a level playing field. It also allows U.S. Soccer to better serve and educate players, parents, coaches and referees.

Below are some documents that provide more information on the specifics of Player Development Initiatives:

Keeping Your Players Healthy

Here is a link to a FIFA document that presents a comprehensive warm-up program aimed at keeping your players healthy and ready to play:

The 11+, A Complete Warm-Up Program

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