Zia Youth Soccer League's top priorities are the fun, safety, and development of every player, and we seek to structure our age divisions to foster these priorities, while keeping with the recommendations of our national affiliate organizations, being the Soccer Association for Youth and US Youth Soccer. Therefore, our age divisions, which are all co-ed, have been carefully developed in order to keep the age span within each division as small as possible, and to keep players at similar stages of growth and development grouped together.  

Our soccer years run fall-to-spring, with our age divisions utilizing the same standard school-year system used by Albuquerque Public Schools to determine a child's grade level, in order to allow players to join teams along with their same-age peers and classmates.  Although registration for each individual season takes place separately, each player's divisional placement for the entire soccer year, including both the fall and spring seasons, is determined by the child's age at the beginning of the fall season.  For example, a player who is five years of age at the start of the fall season will be in the 6U (6 & under, as these children will be turning 6 during the soccer year) age division for the entire soccer year, which includes both the fall and spring soccer seasons.*

If you have any questions about the structure of our age divisions, or how "U" divisions are designed and operate, please feel free to contact us at [email protected] and we will be happy to discuss it with you. 

Zia Youth Soccer League offers programs for children starting at three years of age, all the way through their senior year of high school.

Following is the 
structure used within each age division for the Spring 2020 Soccer Season,
from youngest to oldest:

4U/5U Combined (Preschoolers, starting at the age of three) & 6U (Kindergarten) Age Divisions:

5v5 with no goalkeeper – 
Players have enough room to create a natural emphasis on dribbling. These youngest players should simply be encouraged to “Enjoy the ball, and be exciting!”  As they advance, they can begin to learn a basic formation with one “lead” on the ball and the others without the ball supporting.  And as they approach the 6U division, teams can gradually begin to develop more of a support structure, approximating a diamond shape with one floater, beginning to emulate the defense, midfield, and forward structure.
7U (1st grade) & 8U (2nd grade) Age Divisions:

5v5 plus goalkeeper– In this division players can continue their development of the diamond-shaped team support structure, further emphasizing the defense, midfield, and forward positions, while adding the opportunity to experience the exciting new position of goalkeeper.

9U/10U Combined (3rd & 4th grade) Age Division:

6v6 plus goalkeeper – Six players on the field becomes a defense, midfield, and forward structure with more flexibility in terms of the number of defenders, midfielders, and forwards, depending on where the ball is on the field. Players can begin to learn about zone and man-to-man defense.  

11U/12U Combined (5th & 6th grade) and Older Age Divisions :

7v7 plus goalkeeper – 
Seven players on the field approximates a full-sized game in terms of technical and tactical development, while still emphasizing the reasons we play small-sided games.

In order to ensure that all players receive ample playing time, instruction, and coaching, 

team rosters will be capped as follows:

4U/5U, and 6U age divisions:  10 players maximum
7U and 8U age divisons:  12 players maximum
9U/10U age division:  14 players maximum
11U/12U age division and older:  16 players maximum

Note:  Zia Youth Soccer League reserves the right to combine and/or divide age divisions as deemed necessary by the number of registered participants in any given age division, and as determined to be in the best interest of the children the league serves.

*Although our age divisions utilize the same standard system used by the local public schools to determine grade level, please be aware that divisional placements are determined by age, not school grade level.   Therefore, we do not guarantee that a child will be placed in the same age division as his or her classmates if the child is not attending school at the standard grade level determined by his or her date of birth.


Zia Youth Soccer League

2505 Graceland Dr NE #36476 
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87176

Email Us: [email protected]
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