Age Guidelines

Determining your "Soccer Age"

Soccer ages are determined by your birth year and hold for the soccer season

The soccer season corresponds to the academic year, so your "soccer age" is the same for the fall and the following spring (i.e., not the calendar year). Your "soccer age" for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 seasons is the age they were between Jan 1, 2020 and Dec 31, 2020.

Note:Based on the number of registered participants and their ages, our teams may be built with kids from two age groups. For this reason, we sometimes use "U6" as a shorthand for "U5 and U6" or U8 for "U7 and U8" and so on.

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

In the U6-U10 age groups, players are allowed by Iowa Soccer Association (ISA) rules to play up. Thus, we generally allow kids that are young for their grade to play with their classmates, even though they qualify for the next group lower. Thus, young 1st graders usually play U8 and young 3rd graders usually play U10. 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".

Unlike the other age groups, there is a minimum age for U6. U6 players must have soccer ages of at least 4.

In the U12-U18 age groups, the Greater Des Moines Junior Soccer League (GDMJSL) forms their league brackets by U12, U14, U16 and U18 breakdowns. So for example, U11 and U12 teams both play in their "U12 league". 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.

When the Earlham Soccer Board builds teams in the fall and in the spring, if there is a need to have a participant "play up", we will contact parents for approval before placing them on an older team. Parents can also submit a request that your child "play up" to The board will take it into consideration when building the teams. As a board, we try our best to meet requests, but it is not always feasible. We want to provide opportunities for as many kids as possible to play and field as many teams as possible.