Playing Up Age Group Policy at Huntingdon Valley AA

As a general rule, travel players must play within their birth year at HVAA. This policy has served the club well since it was implemented in 2018. However, there have been instances where special permission has been granted, allowing players to play up one age group. It is essential to understand that HVAA will only consider requests on a case-by-case basis. Traditionally most playing-up requests are denied, but we are always willing to listen. We do not grant this permission lightly, and the director must approve ALL breaks from this policy. Here are examples of previously approved exceptions:

  • U8 Age Group - In the past, there have been some situations where HVAA needed more players to form a new team. In this case, we've allowed a few U7 players to play up with the current U8 team for only one year. Come next season, U7 players, granted this exception, must try out for a different team because we require players to compete within their age group. Any U7 player will be trying out and playing for HVAA's new U8 team.
  • Player Development - This is the most challenging to define. HVAA can support high-level players competing in their appropriate age group by identifying whether their development is being hampered by playing on a team within their age group. If this arises, and the player can physically, emotionally, and developmentally compete successfully with an older age group, HVAA may allow the player to compete on an older team. In these rare cases, the older team must also be considered a substantially more competitive team within their age group and not considered simply more competitive by virtue of being older.
  • High School Aged Teams - Exceptions are also made within the U15-U18 age groups. It's common for high-school-aged players to migrate and combine with teammates from their schools who compete at the same level. 
  • Combo Age Groups - A team with players from a combined age group is common among our club's second or "B" teams. If HVAA needs more players to form a new team and we need more players to fill a roster, we will allow players from a younger age group to try out for the team. If players can compete playing up, HVAA will allow the two age groups to merge and form one HVAA team.
  • HVAA Club Pass/Guest Player - HVAA players may be asked to play up for another HVAA team as a club pass player on an older age group come game day or as a guest player for a tournament if it does not interfere with their current team's schedule. HVAA will allow a younger player to help an older team fill out a game-day or tournament roster. In addition, there are cases where we allow an opportunity for a higher level player to get higher level experience. There is no additional charge for HVAA club pass players/guest players, as they are already part of the HVAA organization.

Playing up is not a "right," but an exception only used under the above-mentioned criteria. Before requesting your child play up, please consider your child's maturity, size, coordination, overall physical development, and social development compared to the older team members. Sometimes children bloom as athletes when they are younger. A highly skilled player playing in their age group will likely have more touches and further leadership opportunities in their current age group. If they move to an older-aged team and have been in the spotlight in their current age group, moving to an older group changes that experience. Maintaining a player's self-confidence is vital to feeding their passion for soccer.

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