By Jason Stockmann -
As most US-based coaches should be aware of by now, the USYS has released some major changes that will be mandated as of the Fall 2017 season*. These changes are US-based, but it’s important for soccer in general because it is meant to further align the US with how the rest of the world plays the beautiful game. And whether you agree with them or not…the changes will happen.
One subtle but key change is the idea of build-out lines for the U9/U10 (7v7) age group (there are no keepers below U9 with these changes). This line is set a bit outside of the penalty box and restricts the opposing team from crossing it until the keeper has put the ball into play, by passing or throwing the ball to their team. Because of this idea, punting will not be allowed at this level.
This can be a major – and possibly painful – change for youth US teams…but the benefits a team can gain both at the youth level and far beyond could be great. Too often youth goalies get the ball and immediately punt the ball. And why do they rely on punting? Because if the ball is closer to the goal, it must be easier to