Based on club feedback, Illinois Youth Soccer changed the format of the 12U Illinois MWC Qualifier from a Spring only event to a soccer-year-long (August - June ) competition. The results of this competitions will determine which teams get placed in the Fall 2024 US Youth Soccer Midwest Conference Premier Qualifying Division.
Games will be played 11v11 and this competition is designed for the most competitive 12U teams that want to play in the top levels of the US Youth Soccer Midwest Conference.
There will be a webinar for participating teams on Monday, August 7 at 11am. Click here to access the webinar.
Here are some details about the competition.
WHY WAS IT CHANGED IT TO A YEAR-LONG COMPETITION
Ultimately we are making this changed based on feedback from clubs that have previously participated in the competition. Here are the main reasons for the change.
1. To allow teams to play ALL teams in their gender. Historically we have seen 13-22 teams per gender participate and with holding the competition only in the Spring, there is not enough time to complete a schedule of 13-19 games. To allow for enough times to play a complete Spring only schedule, teams have been split into division and teams do not play all teams in their age group. For example this Spring, there are 20 boys teams that are split into 2 divisions of 10. Teams play a feasible 9 game division Spring schedule and 1 crossover playoff match - from which we get our 1-20 ranking. This leaves 9 teams that a team has not played, but is ranked against. By having each team play all the teams, it will eliminate the potential for a "group of death" and gives all teams an equal chance to earn a proper ranking.
2. Scheduling Flexibility. By expanding the season we allow teams more time to play their games as well as the chance to schedule matches long-term to eliminate conflicts for other teams they coach. Coaches can set their schedules for Spring 2024 in August of 2023 and teams would be allowed to play indoor in the winter on full size fields. By giving the teams their full year-round schedule in August, they can appropriately plan for other competitions they want to play in including tournaments and other LEAGUE divisions. With more time to play their Qualifier games some teams may choose to ALSO compete in league division at 9v9 to optimize playing opportunities for all players while maintaining a deep player pool from within their club. The yearlong format would also allow coaches to work on the transition of 11v11 early in the Fall and then schedule games later in the Fall season into the Spring . As opposed to now, where teams may play 9v9 in the Fall and then jump right into 11v11 in the Spring with minimal preparation.
3. Proper Tryout Planning. With the competition starting in the Fall 2023. Clubs can properly plan for larger rosters during their Spring tryouts instead of selecting a 12U teams based on 9v9 play in the Fall and then having to adjust for 11v11 in the Spring.
CAN I PLAY IN A 9v9 LEAGUE DIVISION ALSO
Yes - By giving the teams their full year-round schedule in August, they can appropriately plan for other competitions they want to play in including tournaments such as the Illinois Youth Soccer Junior Cup and other IYSA member competitive league divisions. With more time to play their Qualifier games some teams may choose to ALSO compete in member competitive league division at 9v9 to optimize playing opportunities for all players while maintaining a deep player pool from within their club.
Teams can look at the 12U Illinois MWC Qualifier as a year-long tournament they are competing in that can be played in conjunction with other competitions and leagues.
HOW MANY GAMES WILL BE PLAYED
The final amount of games to be played will be determined by how many teams register. Each team will play all the teams in the division. If there are 23 teams in a gender, then a team would play 22 total teams.
The registration deadline for the Illinois 12U MWC Qualifier is a July 1 so that should there be minimal teams that apply and low amount of games, teams would still have time to register to also play in a member competitive league as well.
WHEN DO I PLAY MY GAMES
Most matches will be self-schedule home team host, meaning teams work with their opponent to schedule their games and build around other competitions they chose to play in. Teams will have their complete schedule by August 1, 2023 and have until June 18,2024 to play all the matches.
NEW IN 23/24: There will be group play weekends
Team that mutually agree can move the matches scheduled at a host site to a home team host match. Agreement to move these matches MUST be done by October 1, 2023
WHAT IS THE COST
HOW MANY TEAMS GET INTO THE MIDWEST CONFERENCE PREMIER QUALIFYING DIVISION IN FALL 2024
Illinois gets 8 spots in the Fall 13U Midwest Conference Premier Qualifying Division but has historically gotten more, which makes the need for a comprehensive ranking event more important.
IF I DO NOT PLAY IN THIS DOES IT MEAN MY TEAM CAN NEVER PLAY IN MIDWEST CONFERENCE?
No - 2012 birth-year teams that do not compete in the competition may still apply for the Midwest Conference in Fall 2024, but they will only be considered for placement in the Qualifying Division and only be placed after all the teams that did compete in the 12U Illinois MWC Qualifier are accepted.
Beyond Fall 2024, MWC application is open to any IYSA member team but spots are filled based on promotion and relegation within the Midwest Conference and most new teams start in the Qualifying Division.
CAN I REGISTER TO PLAY IN THE SPRING 2024 SEASON ONLY?
No - for consideration for the Fall 2024 13U Midwest Conference Premier Qualifying Division, teams must be registered by the July 1, 2023 deadline and complete the full schedule of games by June 18,2024.
WHAT SIZE BALL AND GOAL WILL BE USED?
Because games will be played 11v11, games will be played with a size 5 ball and a standard 8ft x 24ft 11v11 goal.
CAN WE PLAY GAMES DURING THE WINTER INDOORS?
Yes - team can play indoor matches during the winter at facilities that can properly allow for an 11v11 match. Illinois Youth Soccer would also help coordinate matches in Rockford for teams interested in playing on the indoor field. This is would be based on availability and teams would have to pay field rental fees.
WHAT IS THE ROSTER SIZE
To prepare teams for Midwest Conference play, teams can have a roster of up to 30 players for each of the seasons, Spring and Fall. Teams can use any IYSA registered player from within their club but a player can only play on 1 team per season within a gender. Guest players from another club are not allowed.
18 players are allowed to dress on gameday.