Youth Competition Working Group Statement: 2017 Youth Club Guidelines

Posted: December 8, 2016 10:09 AM

The Youth Competition Working Group, including the four Regional Youth Directors and the Manager of Competition and Athlete Programs (Youth), Connor Maloney, met to discuss the current status of the Youth Club Guidelines at the National Competition Working Group conference in Aurora, Colo., December 3-4, 2016.

This statement is an effort to increase transparency and communication between the USA Ultimate (USAU) Youth Competition Working Group and USA Ultimate members. We hope to clarify the intentions behind recent changes to the Youth Club guidelines, appropriately incorporate community feedback and further outline the intricacies of the new requirements and exceptions.


The intention of the new guidelines is to encourage an increase in interscholastic play at the state level, as well as general support of youth development programs. The goals for our State Championships include:

  • Increasing the number of states that host tournaments.
  • Incentivizing growth and the creation of underrepresented divisions (girls, mixed, middle school).
  • Increasing the number of participants (teams and players).
  • Improving participant experience and quality of play.

We recognize that more robust State Championships require growth in youth memberships. Incentivizing local organizations and teams to participate in USAU programs, which require USAU memberships, allows USAU to financially sustain and advance youth development nationwide. Programs that youth memberships help support include:



We understand that the recently released YCC guidelines need to be clarified.

Much of the feedback we received about the guidelines highlighted concerns regarding exclusions that disproportionately affected communities with underdeveloped school-based programming. In response to this feedback, the Youth Competition Working Group updated guidelines to reflect a clearer balance between community needs and USAU’s long-term vision to advance youth competition and growth. In addition, we hope to better communicate the Play It Forward program, which provides complimentary USAU memberships to youth ultimate players with demonstrated financial need. 

The updated guidelines include substantive and clarifying adjustments. A Player Eligibility Exception Application form is required for certain individuals and has been created with simplicity in mind.

The exception form will serve multiple purposes that are not specifically noted in the guideline language. Firstly, players are encouraged to apply for exceptions; many will be granted. Additionally, compiled data from the exemption form will directly shape youth outreach and policy moving forward. This data will help identify specific needs in individual youth communities where USAU can direct financial resources and provide support.



Players who are automatically eligible for YCC:

  • All players who participate at a USAU State Championship or approved Qualifying Event.


Players who will be automatically eligible for YCC upon completion and approval of an exception form:

  • All players who attend a high school that sends their top team to participate in a USAU State Championship or approved Qualifying Event (players are not required to play for the team).
  • All players who do not yet attend high school.
  • All players who participated at YCC in 2016, have graduated from high school, and do not turn 19 before June 1, 2017.


Players who may be eligible for YCC upon the completion and approval of an exception form:

  • Players who reside in a community that does not yet host a USAU State Championship or approved Qualifying Event.
  • Players (in high school OR college) who reside in geographic areas that are struggling to reach roster minimums, especially in the girls’ and mixed divisions.
  • Players who are currently enrolled in non-traditional school settings.
  • Players who are enrolled in a school that does not yet have a school-based team and are actively working towards a school-based program.


The youth competition working group is committed to continue working toward increased transparency, incorporating community feedback and balancing immediate desires with long-term goals. We hope players, coaches and organizers will continue to communicate their expectations and visions. Additionally, we want to encourage members to connect with their local and state-level USAU volunteers in order to strengthen and enhance an efficient and accurate chain of communication. In locations where a USAU volunteer is not present, please consider applying to be a competition state youth coordinator, girls’ state outreach coordinator or state outreach coordinator.  We look forward to continuing to serve the community in 2017 as youth ultimate continues to grow.


Connor Maloney - Manager, Competition & Athlete Programs (Youth)
Fran Kelley - Regional Youth Director (Central)
Christie Lawry -  Regional Youth Director (Northeast)
Jon Nethercutt - Regional Youth Director (South)
Ben Snell - Regional Youth Director (West) 

Have any questions or comments? We welcome community feedback and discussion made in a respectful manner. Please refrain from profanity or personal attacks, as such public comments negatively reflect on our sport and community.