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Why am I being asked if my child wants to “Play up”?

play-upEvery season LNYSA division directors and coach administration get hundreds of questions about whether a child should play up.  Playing up is when a player is assigned to an age group division with older players than their birthdate allows.  Please read this summary and answers to some frequently asked questions if you think you want your child to play in an older age group.

What age group is my child assigned?  Each player is assigned to a division or age group based on the birthdate.  You can use the LNYSA Age Group calculator to determine which division your child will be assigned.

When should I ask to play up? The last date that LNYSA can consider requests to play up is six weeks before the season starts (usually late July for Fall Soccer and late January for Spring Soccer).

  • School age peers – With the new US Soccer Developmental Guidelines, some children will not be playing with their school age peers.  LNYSA routinely approves requests to keep kids with school age peers –but you must request to play up each season.
  • “My child is an exceptional athlete” – If you believe your child is developed beyond normal age group standards and should play with older peers, you can request to play up.  LNYSA will evaluate the request based on coaches’ evaluation, discussions with  parents and occasionally approve these requests.  LNYSA considers all elements of development – physical, cognitive and emotional development before approving these requests.
  • “I need both of my kids to be on the same team”  LNYSA will not approve requests to keep siblings together if the request does not meet evaluation guidelines.  It is not fair to the child playing up, other children on the same team and the coach of the team.  We understand that parents are busy and that getting to and from practice can be time consuming, but first and foremost we put the development of the child and player above convenience.
  • “My child doesn’t like the jamboree format of Mini-kickers and is ready to move up”  Again, we will rarely approve these requests.  More often, this request is not the child, but the parent’s perception of what soccer should be – set teams, standings, trophies, etc.  Mini-kicker activities and games are structured specifically around the physical and cognitive stages of development for 3-4 year old children – it is rare that a child at this age has already mastered the age group specific needs.

How do I request to play up? After you register for a season, you will receive a parent feedback form.  The only way to request to play up is to provide the information on our web-based form after you register.  LNYSA’s volunteers register over 2,000 kids each season. Due to the number of requests, LNYSA can’t honor requests made by email to anybody.

My child played up last season – will he/she automatically play up the next season?  You must make the request for each season. Our registration system and age group assignment ‘starts fresh’ every season, so we must evaluate each child on a season by season basis.

If you have questions about the play up process, please send an email to your division director or LNYSA Coach Administration at

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