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Laguna Niguel Youth Soccer - AYSO Region 41 - Serving the Laguna Niguel Community Since 1973

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Region 41 assigns players to divisions based on their date of birth. In extraordinary circumstances, the Region may allow a player to Play Up a division. Requests for a player to Play Up to the next division will be considered on an individual basis. Play Up requests will NOT be considered after June 30th.

General Guidelines:
  • Requests to Play Up must be approved in writing by the Regional Commissioner.
  • Region 41 will not automatically recognize Play Ups granted by other AYSO Regions.
  • Play Up requests will only be considered if space is available in the higher division.
  • A Player must demonstrate the skills necessary and the ability to safely play in the higher division. (a skills test may be required – e.g. evaluated at the Region 41 EXTRA Tryouts)
  • A Player may not switch age divisions between the Fall and Spring Seasons.
  • Player MUST have already completed one season of play in Region 41.
  • Play Up requests will not be granted for 4U, 5U or 6U players. (e.g. play up to 6U or 8U)
  • Play Down requests will NOT be considered at any age level.
7U-14U Play Up Requests must meet the following criteria:
  • Player’s parent MUST Coach the team. (Parent must complete the necessary coaching requirements prior to July 31st. – e.g. Volunteer Application Form, Safe Haven, Concussion Awareness training and age appropriate AYSO Coach Certification/Training)
  • Player misses the cutoff date for the next age division by no more than 2 months.
16U-19U Play Up Requests must meet the following criteria:
  • Player’s parent must Coach the team or the player’s Upper Division Coach must approve Play Up request. (Parent and Coach must sign request form)
  • Player misses the cutoff date for the next age division by no more than 2 months or 14U player will be enrolled in High School during the Fall Season.
Our Region does not honor the following reasons for playing-up:
1 Player wants to play with friends in his/her class or grade level.
2. Player wants to play with players in his/her neighborhood.
3. Player is too big or too tall to play at his/her current level.
4. Request is made after the registration cutoff date, for the season in which the request is made.
5 Request will not be granted for first time Jamboree or 6U players.


We apologize, but AYSO National Guidelines DO NOT permit players to 'Play Down' into a younger division. Players are assigned to divisions based on their date of birth.

Play Up Requests

Question:   "I see many parents of children as young as 5, 6 or 7 wanting them to play U-9 or even U-10. Is this OK? Can you advise on this?"

Answer:    As an organization, we discourage children from playing out of their age group. It has also been my experience that the idea of playing up is one that is usually advocated by the parents – not a reflection of what the children want to do.

The desire to have their children play with older kids usually comes from the perception that advanced players are better off playing alongside players of a higher skill level. But it is a misconception that they won’t improve if their teammates aren’t as advanced.

Instead of worrying that a talented player's development is being impeded by playing with less advanced players, consider that the stronger player is being given the opportunity to take on a leadership role. A standout 7-year-old among same-age peers takes on a greater responsibility on the field than he or she would while playing with older players.

Move those more advanced players with older players, and they become role players instead of playmakers. While playing with their age peers, they help minimize the weaknesses of their teammates while maximizing their own strengths.

Coaches can also play a role in ensuring that the more advanced players are challenged in practices. In small-sided games, the best player faces off with the second best player. Or in a 2-v-2 the most skilled player is paired with the least skilled player, forcing him or her to support that player – which challenges the more advanced player physically and encourages him or her to read the game and anticipate the play more than if the teammate was equally strong.

Even at the highest levels of soccer, teams are comprised of players with varying strengths and weaknesses. So it's perfectly natural for that to be the case at the early ages.

John Ouellette

AYSO National Coach Administrator

Source: See post for April 6, 2010  (accessed July 25, 2012)

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Laguna Niguel Youth Soccer - AYSO Region 41

30251 Golden Lantern, Suite E - #268
Laguna Niguel, California 92677

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