US Youth Soccer changes implemented with the 2016-17 season will now be mandatory as of August 2017. This includes small-sided games specifically in regard to alterations to the field size, goals and rules. The result will be a decrease in 11-vs-11 competitions in lieu of more 9-vs-9 and 7-vs-7 competitions. U.S. Soccer will encourage the adoption of Small-Sided Games best practices in August of 2016. US Youth Soccer has been encouraging Small-Sided Games for more than 20 years and most of the 55 member State Associations have adopted the philosophy during that time. The benefits of small-sided games for players include more fun, more touches on the ball and more tactical decisions. In addition, mandatory as of August, U.S. Soccer will go back to calendar birth years to align with international standards and Youth National Team programs.