2024

Youth Guidelines

Table of Contents

Youth Guidelines Purpose

This document is designed to layout player requirements for a variety of youth playing opportunities, including, but not limited to, high school and middle school state championship events for school-based play and youth club regional events and the Youth Club Championships (YCC) for age-based youth club play.

Updates for 2024

  • The YCC Bid Order of Priority Chart switched the second- and third-tiered priorities, effectively giving more priority to organizations running sanctioned youth club leagues and youth club events (now called Youth Club Regionals) over the priority of being an Affiliate/SBO organization (see re-ordered bid priority chart in the YCC section of the guidelines).
  • Youth club player eligibility rules have been further clarified for 2024. Players must meet the following eligibility requirements to compete in YCC:
    • Current student enrolled in grade 12 or below or be a recent high school graduate
    • No college playing experience
    • Meets age requirements
  • To ensure consistent and fair competition, players cannot request exceptions to these rules (see follow-up point below).
    • YCC Player Eligibility Exception Requests must come from the organization and are related to needs to appropriately fill their roster(s). Girls’ teams and female-matching players in mixed are more likely to receive consideration.
  • YCC will have a shorter application window for Phase 1 (approximately one versus two months) to help those organizations that are ready and hoping to hear back about their team’s acceptance as soon as possible. Depending on when teams apply as well as which and how many teams apply during Phase 1, there is potential for rolling acceptances for top priority teams during the application window.
  • The Middle School Coach Certification requirement was removed for middle school state championships this year. Coaches are only required to be a Foundational Coach, but are strongly encouraged to become MS coach certified.

Youth League Sanctioning

League Sanctioning Requirements

  1. Submit all player materials (rosters and USAU waivers) to USAU within the first week of the league beginning (rolling rosters are accepted – the first must be submitted with the first week of league).
  2. Submit all chaperone names BEFORE the event occurs. All chaperones must have all requirements met before the youth event occurs. If more chaperones are added throughout the event, please make sure you are submitting their names to USAU, along with any additional player rosters.
  3. All players must have verified USAU waivers.
  4. All players must have a current player membership.
  5. All materials must be finalized and received by USAU within 5 business days of the conclusion of the league (including payment of missing memberships).

If organizations have outstanding events open from the previous year (events that have never been closed out with USAU), they will not be considered during Phase 1 for YCC.

USAU Youth Rules Recommendations

With the adoption of the 2024-25 Rules, USA Ultimate has introduced recommendations for different ages of youth play. These recommendations can be found here under “Appendix D: Youth Rules Adaptations”.

Youth programs are not required to follow these recommendations, but we would like to know what rules and format our youth programs are following. If you are NOT using the new recommendations, please fill out this form and let us know what rules and/or format you are using and why.

If you are using the new recommendations, please fill out the same form to give us your feedback on these new rules.

2024 USA Ultimate Middle School Guidelines

Requirements for USAU Middle School State Championships

A bid document must be submitted to the State Youth Coordinator (SYC), who will submit it to the Regional Youth Director (RYD) and the Youth Competition Manager. If your state does not have an SYC, it should be submitted to the RYD. Contact information for SYCs and RYDs can be found here.

The State Championship must be publicly announced to local organizers and via USA Ultimate web properties at least six (6) weeks prior to the event. Announcement must include:

  1. Date(s) of event
  2. Location of event
  3. Contact information for event
  4. Registration requirements

Team Info

All teams must submit an official 2024 State Championship roster by the deadlines outlined in the guidelines. USAU memberships and all individual waivers must also be completed prior to participation at the State Championships.

Membership options for players participating in a HS State Championship event include:

  • A full Youth membership
  • Players that are members of a USAU Affiliate may participate in the MS State Championships with their Affiliate membership, rather than a full Youth membership
  • New players who are participating in a MS State Championship for the first time can purchase a Youth Intro membership rather than the full Youth membership
  • Players can also participate with a one-time event fee

1. Event/Team Registration Deadline

  1. All teams competing in a State Championship or Qualifying Event must be registered in the USAU online system (EMS) for the appropriate event two weeks prior to the event.
    • Teams without this information registered in the online system by this deadline will be ineligible to compete.
    • Teams that miss the deadline may contact the State Youth Coordinator. Late admittance may be granted pending completion of registration steps (USAU qualified chaperone and Foundational Coach with MS certification* (*see exception for this described below)).
    • Registering your team in EMS requires having a Chaperone and a coach on the roster. Players can be rostered until one week before the event.
  2. Each team must have a registered and rostered Chaperone who has:
    • met the age requirement (21 years or older)
    • created a USAU account and purchased a membership
    • passed a USAU background check
    • completed SafeSport training
    • signed all waivers

    Each team must have a chaperone listed on the event roster (please see the Team Organizers page for details on team creation and event registration) by the team registration deadline. In order to meet the event deadlines, teams must have Chaperones begin the background check process no later than two (2) weeks prior to the team registration deadline (i.e. four weeks prior to the event).

  3. Every coach on the roster must be a Foundational Coach who has:
    • met the age requirement (18 years or older)
    • an active USAU membership
    • passed a USAU background check
    • completed SafeSport training
    • completed CDC Concussion training
    • completed USAU Coach training and passed the Foundational Coach test
    • signed all waivers

For the 2024 Middle School State Championships, team rosters will only require one Foundational Coach (described above) by the team registration deadline and will not be required to have a MS certified coach. (Please see the Team Organizers page for details on team creation and event registration if you have questions around adding a coach to a team roster.) However, teams are highly encouraged to have a MS certified coach on their roster. Information on where to obtain a Middle School coach certification can be found here. In order to meet the event deadlines, teams must have coaches begin the background check process no later than two weeks prior to the team registration deadline (i.e. four weeks prior to the event).

Note: There may be additional registration information required by your State Youth Coordinator. Contact your State Youth Coordinator in advance of the registration deadline for more details.

2. Rostering Deadline: One week before the State Championships

  1. Online rostering must be completed one week prior to a team’s State Championship (for example, if a team’s State Championship is May 11-12, rostering must be completed by May 4).
  2. State Youth Coordinators may set an earlier deadline for rostering in coordination with their Regional Youth Director.

3. On-site Player Additions

  1. State Youth Coordinators will not accept on-site rosters or player additions. If you expect to need an exception, please discuss this with your SYC prior to the player registration deadline.

4. Player Eligibility

  1. USA Ultimate Middle School State Championship events are competitions for school-based teams. All players on teams participating in the event must meet the following guidelines for “Middle School Players.”
  2. To be considered a Middle School Player, students must meet the following requirements:
    • Students must be regular members of the school they represent in order to participate in an interscholastic athletic activity.
      1. Students are a “regular member” of a school if they are enrolled half time or more, exclusive of interscholastic athletic activities.
      2. If a student is enrolled in multiple schools such that no single school represents greater than 50% of their schooling, then that student’s playing options will be guided by the homeschool player eligibility framework below.
      3. In cases where schools can provide supporting documentation, USA Ultimate allows two or more schools meeting certain requirements to compete as a consortium (single-team from multiple schools) in the USA Ultimate Middle School division. More details can be found here. The State Youth Coordinator, in conjunction with the Regional Youth Director, may determine that schools without a prior history of collaboration can function as a consortium at the Middle School level.
    • Students must be enrolled in middle school.
    • Students in fourth or fifth grade in states where there is no elementary school playing opportunity available for their division may play with their associated middle school based on approval from the middle school coach, the player’s parents/guardians, and the middle school administration.
  3. Students who are homeschooled will be considered eligible to participate on a team at a USA Ultimate Championship event as follows:
    • If the student is part of a USAU-recognized homeschool cooperative, they may participate as part of that cooperative’s ultimate team, provided that team meets the state tournament participation requirements. This homeschool cooperative must be renewed every two years and may be reviewed by USA Ultimate at earlier intervals if needed.
    • If the student is not part of a USAU-recognized homeschool cooperative, they may participate as part of the ultimate team at the public middle school that they would normally attend, provided that team meets the state tournament participation requirements.
    • If a student is a regular member of a school they may not play with any other school, regardless of any homeschool designation.
  4. Players under the age of 18 must have a completed Medical Authorization Form onsite at the event with their coach or chaperone.

5. State Eligibility Exceptions

The USAU Youth Guidelines provide a framework for school-based play across the country. However, State Youth Coordinators can create modifications to eligibility rules for their entire state up to one month before the event date with Regional Youth Director and USA Ultimate approval.

6. Violations

Violations of these rules may result in disqualification of a team or individual from the State Championships and possible repercussions through the USAU Conduct Policy.

7. Clarifications and Exceptions

These rules are designed to be as fair as possible for the wide range of players participating in the State Championships. Experience has shown that there can be cases where these rules do not absolutely determine the eligibility of a particular player. The following procedure is available for players/teams for whom the rules are not clear:

  1. The coach, team representative, or the player in question should consult with the State Youth Coordinator.
  2. The State Youth Coordinator will consult the Regional Youth Director and USAU Manager of Competition and National Team Programs – Youth for how to proceed.
  3. In the event that the coach, team representative, or the player feels that the decision is biased, or all aspects have not been considered, they may submit an appeal. To do this, please email Youth Competition Manager.
  4. The inquiry form must be filled out completely, and submitted between January 1 and April 5. Late requests will be considered at the discretion of the Committee.
  5. The inquiry will be reviewed by the Committee, and responses sent by email.
  6. Email youth_elig_chair@usaultimate.org if the form is not available or for any other questions.
  7. The Eligibility Committee will rule on a player’s case based on the published Youth Competition Guidelines; this is not the mechanism for requesting changes to the guidelines. Please contact the Youth Manager of Competition and National Team Programs on the process for proposing changes.

Click here for USAU Staff contact info.

Click here for detailed instructions on how to complete your roster and for links to the needed forms.

Click here for the Medical Authorization Form (required for minors). This is NOT the same as the USAU liability waiver.

Application and compliance of the above guidelines will be subject to the discretion of the USA Ultimate Manager of Competition and National Team Programs – Youth.

2024 USA Ultimate High School Guidelines

The USAU State High School State Championship program is expanding. Organizations are chosen to host a USAU HS State Championship at the discretion of the State Youth Coordinator, Regional Youth Director, and Manager of Youth Competition and National Team Programs, with priority given to State-Based Organizations and Affiliates.

The criteria weighed in granting USAU sponsorship to a new HS State Championship are:

  1. Reliable organizers to host the event.
  2. Keeping the growth at a level where high quality training can be provided to new organizers.

A “state tournament” can be an independent event, run by a local organization or organizer, but it must be sanctioned by USA Ultimate. State tournaments are most often used to prepare for running a State Championship in upcoming seasons.

A State Championship is a specific state tournament, owned by USA Ultimate and run by the USA Ultimate Competition State Youth Coordinator (SYC).

In 2023, the states hosting USA Ultimate High School State Championships were the following: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Requirements for USAU High School State Tournaments & Championships

A bid document must be submitted to the State Youth Coordinator (SYC), who will submit it to the Regional Youth Director (RYD) and Youth Competition Manager. If your state does not have an SYC, it should be submitted to the RYD. Contact information for SYCs and RYDs can be found here.

  1. The state tournament or championship must be publicly announced to local organizers and via USA Ultimate web properties at least six weeks prior to the event. Announcement must include:
    1. Date(s) of event
    2. Location of event
    3. Contact information for event
    4. Registration requirements
  2. The state tournament must include every HS team in the state that meets the State Youth Coordinator’s deadlines.
    1. In the event that there are too many in-state teams to accommodate at a state tournament, there must be a USAU qualifying event(s)* for the state tournament.
    2. If there is a qualification process or qualifying event for one team within the state, then all teams must participate in the qualification process or appropriate qualifying events. Example: If North Carolina were running Qualifying Events in Raleigh and Wilmington, then Charlotte teams must also compete in a Qualifying Event in order to be eligible for the state championship tournament.
    3. The State Championship can include teams from outside of the state as long as it does not prohibit in-state teams that have met the registration requirements from participating. Additionally, both the SYC and the RYD should be made aware of this arrangement.
    4. Teams cannot be directed to participate in a secondary event (such as a Division II or developmental division) without a Qualifying Event, unless they choose to do so.
  3. *Qualifying Events: To be considered a qualifying event, the qualifying USAU-sanctioned structure for states must be accessible for everyone to participate in it. Any questions around what is considered a qualifying event, please contact your RYD.

Application and compliance of the above guidelines will be subject to the discretion of the State Youth Coordinator, Regional Youth Director, and USA Ultimate Manager of Competition and National Team Programs – Youth.

Team Info

All teams must submit an official 2024 State Championship roster by the deadlines outlined below. All participants must be full USAU members in good standing. USAU membership dues and individual waivers must also be submitted prior to participation at the State Championships. Players may NOT pay one-time event fees or Affiliate Membership fees for championship events.

Membership options for players participating in a HS State Championship event include:

  • A full Youth membership
  • Players who have never had a USA Ultimate membership may be eligible for an Intro Rate membership at the discretion of the Youth Competition Manager. Team managers with new players should contact the Youth Competition Manager about these players prior to having new players purchase their memberships.

1. Event/Team Registration Deadline

  1. All teams competing in a State Championship or Qualifying Event must be registered in the USAU online system (EMS) for the appropriate event two weeks prior to the event.
    • Teams without this information registered in the online system by this deadline will be ineligible to compete.
    • Teams that miss the deadline may contact the Competition State Youth Coordinator to request late acceptance and are subject to a $75 late fee. Late admittance may be granted pending completion of registration steps (USAU qualified chaperone and Foundational Coach), but the SYC is not obligated to allow late teams to participate.
    • Registering your team in EMS requires having a chaperone and coach on the roster. Players can be rostered until one week before the event.
  2. Each team must have a registered Chaperone who has:
    • met the age requirement (21 years or older)
    • created a USAU account and purchased a membership
    • passed a USAU background check
    • completed SafeSport training
    • signed all waivers

    Each team must have a chaperone listed on the event roster (please see the Team Organizers page for details on team creation and event registration) by the team registration deadline. In order to meet the event deadlines, teams must have chaperones begin the background check process no later than two weeks prior to the team registration deadline (i.e. four weeks before the event).

    *If your team is competing in the State Championships for the first time, or if you need assistance with coach certification requirements, please contact the Youth Competition Manager.

  3. Every coach on the roster must be a Foundational Coach who has:
    • met the age requirement (18 years or older)
    • an active USAU membership
    • passed a USAU background check
    • completed SafeSport training
    • completed CDC Concussion training
    • completed USAU Coach training and passed the Foundational Coach test
    • signed all waivers

Each team must have a USAU HS certified coach listed on the event roster* (please see the Team Organizers page for details on team creation and event registration) by the team registration deadline. Information on where to obtain certification can be found here. In order to meet the event deadlines, teams must have any coaches begin the background check process no later than two weeks prior to the team registration deadline (i.e. four weeks prior to the event).

*If this is the first year that a team is playing in a High School State Championship, they are exempt from this requirement. However, it is strongly encouraged that they have a coach get the high school coach certification as they will be expected to meet this requirement in the subsequent years.

  • No player, coach, or chaperone may be listed on two or more rosters at the same event (including across multiple gender or age divisions).
  • A coach who meets chaperone requirements (over 21 years of age) can fulfill both roles on one team roster.
  • It is recommended that all player membership dues and waivers should be submitted prior to the team registration deadline.

Note: A chaperone or coach’s background check may expire prior to the end of the State Championship, in which case they must renew their background check prior to its expiration.

There may be additional registration information required by your State Youth Coordinator. Contact your State Youth Coordinator in advance of the registration deadline for more details.

2. Rostering Deadline: One week before the State Championships

  1. Online rostering must be completed one week prior to a team’s State Championship (For example, if a team’s State Championship is May 11-12, rostering must be completed by May 4).
  2. State Youth Coordinators may set an earlier deadline for rostering in coordination with their Regional Youth Director.

3. On-site Player Additions

  1. State Youth Coordinators will not accept on-site rosters or player additions. If you expect to need an exception, please discuss this with your SYC prior to the player registration deadline.

4. Player Eligibility

  1. USA Ultimate High School Championship events are competitions for school-based teams. All players on teams participating in the event must meet the following guidelines for “High School Players.”
  2. To be considered a High School Player, students must meet the following requirements:
    • Students must be regular members of the school they represent in order to participate in an interscholastic athletic activity.
      1. Students at public and private schools must be regular members of the school they represent, during the entire term during which the event is held, in order to participate in an interscholastic athletic activity.
        1. Students are a “regular member” of a school if they are enrolled half time or more, exclusive of interscholastic athletic activities.
        2. If a student is enrolled in multiple schools such that no single school represents greater than 50% of their schooling, then that student’s playing options will be guided by the homeschool player eligibility framework below.
        3. In cases where schools can provide supporting documentation, USA Ultimate allows two or more schools meeting certain requirements to compete as a consortium (single-team from multiple schools) in the USA Ultimate High School division. More details can be found here.
    • Students must be enrolled in 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade.
    • Students in 7th or 8th grade in states where there is no middle school playing opportunity available for their division may play with their associated high school based on approval from the high school coach, the player’s parents/guardians, and the high school administration.
  3. Students ineligible under the above requirements and any of their state’s eligibility exceptions may apply for an eligibility exception. Please contact your State Youth Coordinator for an application.
  4. Students must not turn 20 years old prior to June 1 of the current school year.
  5. Students who are homeschooled will be considered eligible to participate on a team at a USA Ultimate Championship event as follows:
    • If the student is part of a USAU-recognized homeschool cooperative, they may participate as part of that cooperative’s ultimate team, provided that team meets the state tournament participation requirements. This homeschool cooperative must be renewed every two years and may be reviewed by USA Ultimate at earlier intervals if needed.
    • If the student is not part of a USAU-recognized homeschool cooperative, they may participate as part of the ultimate team at the public middle school that they would normally attend, provided that team meets the state tournament participation requirements.
    • If a student is a regular member of a school they may not play with any other school, regardless of any homeschool designation.
  6. Players under the age of 18 must have a completed Medical Authorization Form onsite at the event with their coach or chaperone.

5. State Eligibility Exceptions

The USAU Youth Guidelines provide a framework for school-based play across the country. However, State Youth Coordinators can create modifications to eligibility rules for their entire state up to one month before the event date with Regional Youth Director and USA Ultimate approval.

If approved, these modifications will supersede the USAU eligibility guidelines for that state and must be applied consistently and to all teams within that state. These exceptions can be found here and will be updated after April 1.

6. Coach Requirements

All teams are required to have a minimum of ONE USAU HS certified coach present and listed on the official event roster for all State Championships and Qualifying Events, unless it is a team’s first year competing at their state championship event. Then they are granted an exception to this requirement. Coaches for High School State Championships must be over 18, and they cannot be a student at the school for which they coach. Information on where to obtain certification can be found here.

7. Violations

Violations of these rules may result in disqualification of a team or individual from the State Championships and possible repercussions through the USAU Conduct Policy.

8. Clarifications and Exceptions

These rules are designed to be as fair as possible for the wide range of players participating in the State Championships. Experience has shown that there can be cases where these rules do not absolutely determine the eligibility of a particular player. The following procedure is available for players/teams for whom the rules are not clear:

  1. The coach, team representative, or the player in question should consult with the State Youth Coordinator and the State Eligibility Exceptions, which are linked here and will be updated after April 1.
  2. If the case is not clarified by the State Exceptions, the player can submit an exception request to the State Youth Coordinator, who will consult the Regional Youth Director and USAU Manager of Competition National Team Programs – Youth for how to proceed.
  3. In the event that the coach, team representative, or the player feels that the decision is biased, or all aspects have not been considered, they may submit an appeal. To do this, please email youth_elig_chair@usaultimate.org.
  4. An email to appeal must be sent to the Youth Eligibility Committee at least two weeks before the rostering deadline for the event. Late requests will be considered at the discretion of the Committee.
  5. The inquiry will be reviewed by the Committee and responses sent by email.
  6. Email youth_elig_chair@usaultimate.org if the form is not available or for any other questions.
  7. The Eligibility Committee will rule on a player’s case based on the published Youth Competition Guidelines; this is not the mechanism for requesting changes to the guidelines. Please contact the Youth Manager of Competition and National Team Programs on the process for proposing changes.

Click here for State Youth Coordinator contact info.

Click here for detailed instructions on how to complete your roster and for links to the needed forms.

Click for the Medical Authorization Form (required for minors). This is NOT the same as the USAU liability waiver.

Application and compliance of the above guidelines will be subject to the discretion of the USA Ultimate Manager of Competition and National Team Programs (Youth).

2024 Youth Club Regional Events (YCR)

Overview

USA Ultimate is looking for organizations to help us expand the regional youth club competition structure. These events bring together teams from within their region to compete against one another. These regional events would typically be more accessible than Youth Club Championships (YCC) and allow for inclusion of younger age divisions. These tournaments will serve three major functions by providing:

  1. Warm-up opportunities for teams preparing to go to YCC in August.
  2. An access point for teams hoping to attend YCC in future years.
  3. A season culminating event for teams unable to attend YCC.

Bid Application

Any organization that wants to run a Youth Club Regional event should email the Youth Competition Manager in order to get an application.

Application and Team Selection

Application deadlines will be set by the tournament organizer. Teams must be eligible by the USAU YCC and Youth Club Regional guidelines to participate in these events:

  • Teams should be given bid priority based on YCC/YCR guidelines.
  • Events must offer equal playing opportunities for boys and girls.

Youth Regions

  • Central: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin
  • Northeast: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia
  • South: Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia
  • West: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah

Team Requirements

  1. On-time receipt of application
  2. Adequate adult support structure
    1. At least two USAU-qualified chaperones 25 years of age or older with a USAU membership, signed waivers, a current NCSI background check, and current SafeSport training.
    2. At least one rostered coach with USAU coaching certification (this is in addition to being a Foundational Coach). Information on where to obtain certification can be found here.
      • Coaches must be High School or Middle School level certified.
    3. No coach or chaperone may be listed on two or more rosters at the same event (including across multiple gender or age divisions).
  3. Must be made up of players residing in the same (USAU youth) region, with residency defined as:
    • the location where the person is living for the majority of August, AND
    • the location where the person is living for the majority of the 3 months prior to August.
    • If the above definition means that a player does not have a region as their “residence”, then the player is considered to be an out-of-region player.
    • Teams are allowed a maximum of 4 out-of-region players. If you have out-of-region players, you will need to provide the reasons that these players are on your roster in this form.

Event Registration

Information on paperwork requirements and deadlines will be sent to selected teams along with the invitation to the event.

YCR Player Eligibility Goal

To include as many players as possible who are in 12th grade and below, while maintaining consistent cutoffs that allow for fair competition. During the summer, we extend this invite to players who have just graduated High School in the past few months and have not yet started competing with college teams. We do not want student athletes to feel obligated to make disadvantageous academic decisions to play youth ultimate. We recognize that school/educational options are increasing, including homeschooling, non-traditional schools, small private schools, and dual HS/college enrollment. (commonly HS Seniors turn 18 during their academic year).

Player Requirements

  1. Players must be students currently enrolled in high school, middle school, or junior high. Recent high school graduates are permitted if they have graduated (or received a GED) within the last 9 months prior to August 3, 2024
  2. No player can currently or previously have played college ultimate; rostered as practicing with team or competed at a sanctioned event
  3. Each player on the roster must be a USA Ultimate member in good standing at all times during the event. Players may not use Affiliate Membership or pay one-time event fees, or Affiliate Membership fees, for YCR.
  4. No player may be listed on two or more rosters at the same event (including across multiple gender or age divisions).
  5. Players under the age of 18 must have a completed Medical Authorization Form onsite at the event with their coach or chaperone.
  6. To be eligible for the U20 Division, players must not turn 20 prior to January 1, 2025 and be at least 14 years old at the time of the event.
  7. To be eligible for the U17 Division, players must not turned 17 prior to January 1, 2025 and be at least 12 years old at the time of the event.
  8. Younger divisions can be offered at the discretion of the Local Organizer and Tournament Director.
  9. Organizations can apply for player eligibility exceptions based on special needs to fill their team roster(s). All divisions are eligible for this process. Girls’ teams and female-matching players in mixed are more likely to receive consideration. Organizations will submit their eligibility requests through the Regionals Organization Request for Player Eligibility Exception Form.

2024 USA Ultimate Youth Club Championships (August 3-5, Aurora, CO)

Overview

The goal of this event is to provide national-level competition for youth ultimate players and encourage local playing opportunities for youth within the USAU structure. In 2024, USA Ultimate will be accepting bids for two separate age divisions – U20 and U17. The guidelines that follow are USAU’s requirements for qualification and criteria for acceptance for the USAU Youth Club Championships. As this is a growing division, these guidelines and the bid allocation process are subject to change.

Organizations that have outstanding events open from the previous year (tournaments and/or leagues that have never been closed out with USAU) will not be considered for Phase 1.

Application Process and Dates

Date Description
Week of January 8, 2024 Applications open (potential rolling acceptances for top priority teams)
February 5, 2024 Phase 1 – First application deadline

USA Ultimate will begin assigning bids based on complete applications according to the priorities described below, although we will continue to accept applications, which will be added to a waitlist (Phase 2).
February 16, 2024 Phase 1 Bids awarded according to bid priorities from completed applications
February 29, 2024 Phase 1 – Deadline for applicants to accept and pay for bids
April 21, 2024 Phase 2 – Application deadline
April 30, 2024 Phase 2 – Bids awarded to applicants from the waitlist to fill out divisions
May 17, 2024 Phase 2 – Deadline for applicants to accept and pay for bids
June 14, 2024 Final bids assigned (if available)

Second teams* within a single division from a specific organization, and international teams, may apply at any time, but their applications will not be considered until after Phase 1.

The purpose of multiple bid deadlines is to accommodate organizations and teams that want to know early in the year how many bids they will receive and in which division(s). In recognizing that not all organizations are ready to bid early, Phase 2 was created to fill any vacant bids after Phase 1 and to give a second opportunity for new organizations/teams to apply.

*Note: If your organization is applying to send two boys’ teams to YCC, it must also be applying to send either a girls’ or a mixed team. Acceptance of a second boys’ team may likely be contingent on your organization accepting the bid and fielding that girls’ or mixed team.

As a part of the application process, applicants that do not meet a given criterion will be required to have a current youth club development proposal that outlines how the applicant will contribute to the development of youth ultimate in their area, and work with USAU to promote youth ultimate, over the next two years.

Applicants who successfully receive a bid based on their youth club development proposal may apply for such a conditional bid for two consecutive years.

IF you have not attended YCC previously, please complete the proposal and email it to the Youth Competition Manager.

After the two years from the time the proposal is accepted, if no viable USAU-sanctioned State Championship, youth club program, and/or high school league has been developed, it will be at the discretion of the Manager of Youth Competition and National Team Programs to determine whether the team can continue to apply for bids to the Youth Club Championships.

Team Selection Process

This process is designed to encourage communities to develop both youth club playing opportunities outside of the school structure and school-based opportunities that support the USAU High School State Championship series.

YCC Bid Order Chart

*At these levels, you must be running the events/leagues for the corresponding genders. For example, to receive priority in the mixed division, you must be running girls’ or mixed events/leagues. Details below.

**If you run a USAU sanctioned regional youth club event (see 2024 Youth Guidelines for details) instead of or in addition to a USAU sanctioned Youth Club League, this will count the same as a USAU sanctioned Youth Club League.

In the event that two teams have equal priority status on the above diagram, the bid priority will be given to the team that has the larger number of participants in their club and high school leagues, combined.

For each of the priority levels, you must meet the given criteria in a division that provides playing opportunities for players on the team requesting the bid.

  • Priority bid in the boys’ division is dependent upon meeting these criteria in the boys’ or mixed divisions in 2023 or in 2024*.
  • Priority bid in the girls’ division is dependent upon meeting these criteria in the girls’ or mixed division in 2023 or in 2024*.
  • Priority bid in the mixed division is dependent upon meeting these criteria in the girls’ or mixed division in 2023 or in 2024*.

*For 2024 events to count, the appropriate application documentation must be submitted for them before you can be awarded a bid to YCC.

International Teams

International teams will be placed according to the discretion of the USA Ultimate staff.

Some things that may be considered include:

  • The number of bids available in the division
  • Prior attendance at YCC
  • Association with their home country’s governing body for ultimate

Bid Allocation Limits

Organizations can only receive one bid per division during the Phase 1 allocations. A second bid within a division will only be considered in Phase 2 and if the division isn’t full. It will also be evaluated if the organization is adhering to the expectation about fulfilling teams across gender divisions noted above.

League Requirements

For the purposes of Team Selection for YCC, leagues will be defined as follows:

  1. USAU Youth Club or High School League – must be run within the preceding 12 months at the time of the application deadline.
    1. USAU sanctioned
    2. Provides playing opportunities for youth in a youth-focused environment
    3. For youth club, competition and team makeup is not based on school affiliation
    4. Minimum of 4 league meetings (scheduled game days per team) over a minimum of 4 weeks
  2. USA Ultimate reserves the right to determine whether leagues applying for bids to YCC meet the above criteria

Team Requirements

  1. On-time receipt of application
  2. Adequate adult support
    1. At least two USAU-qualified chaperones 25 years of age or older with a USAU membership, signed waivers, a current NCSI background check, and current SafeSport training.
    2. At least one rostered coach with USAU coaching certification (this is in addition to being a Foundational Coach). Information on where to obtain certification can be found here.
      • Coaches must be High School or Middle School level certified.
    3. No coach or chaperone may be listed on two or more rosters at the same event (including across multiple gender or age divisions). Those fulfilling the required roles of certified coaches and chaperones CANNOT compete in ICC (the adult U.S. Open) during YCC.
    4. A coach who meets the chaperone requirements may fulfill both roles on one team roster.
  3. Must be made up of players residing in the same USAU youth region (see Youth Regions defined under Youth Club Regionals), with residency defined as::
    1. the location where the person is living for the majority of August, AND
    2. the location where the person is living for the majority of the 3 months prior to August.
    3. If the above definition means that a player does not have a region as their “residence”, then the player is considered to be an out-of-region player.
    4. Teams are allowed a maximum of 4 out-of-region players. If you have out-of-region players, you will need to provide the reasons that these players are on your roster in this form.
  4. Each team must provide a volunteer scorekeeper for each of their games at YCC.

Event Registration

Information on paperwork requirements and deadlines will be sent to selected teams along with the invitation to the event.

YCC Player Eligibility Goal

To include as many players as possible who are in 12th grade and below, while maintaining consistent cutoffs that allow for fair competition. During the summer, we extend this invite to players who have just graduated High School in the past few months and have not yet started competing with college teams. We do not want student athletes to feel obligated to make disadvantageous academic decisions to play youth ultimate. We recognize that school/educational options are increasing, including homeschooling, non-traditional schools, small private schools, and dual HS/college enrollment. (commonly HS Seniors turn 18 during their academic year).

Player Requirements

  1. Players must be students currently enrolled in high school, middle school, or junior high. Recent high school graduates are permitted if they have graduated (or received a GED) within the last 9 months prior to August 3, 2024.
  2. No player can currently or previously have played college ultimate; rostered as practicing with team or competed at a sanctioned event
  3. Each player on the roster must be a USA Ultimate member in good standing at all times during the event. Players may not use Affiliate Membership or pay one-time event fees for YCC.
  4. No player may be listed on two or more rosters at the same event (including across multiple gender or age divisions).
  5. Players under the age of 18 must have a completed Medical Authorization Form onsite at the event with their coach or chaperone.
  6. To be eligible for the U20 Division, players must not turn 20 prior to January 1, 2025 and be at least 14 years old at the time of the event.
  7. To be eligible for the U17 Division, players must not turn 17 prior to January 1, 2025 and be at least 12 years old at the time of the event.
  8. Organizations can apply for player eligibility exceptions based on special needs to fill their team roster(s). All divisions are eligible for this process. Girls’ teams and female-matching players in mixed are more likely to receive consideration. Organizations will submit their eligibility requests through the YCC Organization Request for Player Eligibility Exception Form.

Application and compliance of the above guidelines will be subject to the discretion of the USA Ultimate Manager of Competition and National Team Programs (Youth).

Competition Guidelines

Minor (Under 18) Player Info

Minors participating in the State Championships or Qualifying Events, Youth Club Regional Events , or YCC must have a Medical Authorization Form completed prior to participation. A team with minors on it must have one or more approved, background-checked Chaperones listed on the team’s official roster.

The medical release form is the responsibility of the chaperone; it must be brought to each USAU event and kept on hand by the chaperone. This form will allow medical personnel to treat an injured minor without a parent/guardian having to be present. Without this form, a doctor might not be able to treat an injured minor.

Note: A Medical Authorization is not the same as the USAU liability waiver or infectious disease waiver.

Spirit of the Game

Spirit of the Game is a set of principles which places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules or the basic joy of play.

All players are responsible for knowing, administering and adhering to the rules. The integrity of ultimate depends on each player’s responsibility to uphold the Spirit of the Game, and this responsibility should remain paramount. Teams are expected to have a spirit captain, a player that has been designated by their team to address, discuss and resolve spirit-related issues at any point throughout the competition with opponents, teammates, coaches and event officials. Spirit captains should do spirit scoring with their teams after each game and are responsible for the timely submission of spirit scores.

It is assumed that no player will intentionally violate the rules; thus there are no harsh penalties for inadvertent infractions, but rather a method for resuming play in a manner that simulates what most likely would have occurred absent the infraction. An intentional infraction is cheating and considered a gross offense against the Spirit of the Game. Players are morally bound to abide by the rules and not gain advantage by knowingly committing an infraction, or calling one where none exists.

Read more about Spirit of the Game, spirit captains, spirit scoring. To read more about the work USA Ultimate is doing to limit implicit bias within the SOTG structure, click here./p>

School-Based vs. Youth Club

For school-based events, i.e. High School and Middle School State Championships, it is expected that all students are competing with their primary full-time school where they are seeking a diploma or equivalent. If all students do not attend the same school, they must request exceptions in advance according to the guidelines of that event.

For youth club events, i.e. YCC and Youth Regionals, teams may consist of any youth players within their youth region. Overall, the youth division is designed for players who are high-school aged or younger.

Gender Division Eligibility

In their USA Ultimate membership account, every athlete should select the gender identity option that best aligns with their gender identity. When registering for a USA Ultimate sanctioned or championship series event, athletes should select to participate in the division in which they feel most comfortable and safe based on their indicated gender identity.

  1. Players who select Man (cis or trans) as their gender identity option are eligible to compete in men’s/boys’ divisions or as a man-matching player in mixed divisions.
  2. 2. Players who select Woman (cis or trans) as their gender identity option are eligible to compete in men’s/boys’ or women’s/girls’ divisions, or as a woman-matching player in mixed divisions.
  3. Players who select the Non-Binary or Prefer to Self-Report gender identity option are eligible to compete in the division in which they feel most comfortable and safe, as per USA Ultimate’s Gender Inclusion Policy (approved 11.2020).

    Note: For those who select Prefer to Self-Report, there will be a fill-in option to provide any additional information regarding your gender identity. This is for internal educational purposes only and will not be shared.
  4. On-field personnel ratio rules for the mixed division are described in the On-field Personnel Ratio for Mixed Division section of the Competition Guidelines.

Coaching Certification Requirements

The following describes coach requirements for High School State Championships:

  • Every team must have one High School certified coach present and on the roster.*
    • *Unless they are a first-year team, then this certification requirement is waived. However, their coaches are still encouraged to become high school coach certified, since they will be required to be certified in subsequent years.
  • All coaches must be rostered and have completed the Foundational Coach requirements.

The following describes coach requirements for Middle School State Championships:

  • Every team must have one Foundational Coach present on the roster.
    • While they’re not required to be a Middle School certified coach in 2024, they are highly encouraged to become MS coach certified.
  • All coaches must be rostered and have completed the Foundational Coach requirements.

The following describes coach requirements for YCC at the USOCC:

Information on upcoming certification clinics can be found here. If there is not a clinic in your area, contact your local organization to request getting a clinic set up near you.

Name/Logo/Uniform Guidelines

USAU reserves the right to alter, or require a team to alter, a team name, player nickname, team logo, jersey graphic, or uniform and/or suggest alternatives at or in conjunction with a USAU program or event should USAU personnel determine that the existing name, logo, graphic, or uniform might hinder the mission of the organization or the goals of a specific USAU program or event. Alterations must meet with the approval of USAU personnel.

Player Uniform Requirements

  • All players participating in the USAU Warm-Up events and the USAU Youth Club Championship tournaments for a given team must wear jerseys of identical color and design.
  • Teams must have two jerseys of distinctly different colors.
  • Jerseys must have numbers on the back. The numbers must be at least 6 inches high and be one or two digit Arabic numerals. No two players on a given team may use the same number or numbers with the same value (e.g. 00 and 0, 01 and 1, etc.).
  • Uniform bottoms (shorts, pants, skirts) worn by players on the field must be the same color.
  • It is recommended that uniform accessories including tights, undershirts, hats, and socks be of identical or coordinated style and color.
  • USAU reserves the right to disqualify and/or fine players who fail to meet the uniform requirements.
  • The uniform requirements for USAU State HS Championships are to be determined by the State Youth Coordinator.

Coach Uniform Requirements

  • All coaches participating in the USAU Warm-Up events or Youth Club Championships must wear either a uniform of identical color and design as the team, or professional coaching attire as defined below.
  • Professional coaching attire is defined as any combination of the following:
    • The team jersey, or a sleeved shirt/polo matching the team uniform colors (and/or high school, if the team uses the school colors for their uniforms)
    • Team shorts/skirt or hemmed slacks/shorts/skirt of an appropriate solid color
    • Business casual attire
    • Closed toe shoes such as cleats, flats, or athletic shoes. Flip flops, open toed sandals, and bare feet are not considered professional coaching attire.
  • Coach jerseys and shorts are not subject to the number requirements for players.
  • Names, logos, and graphics on jerseys must comply with the Name/Logo/Uniform Guidelines above.
  • It is recommended that uniform accessories including weather related gear, tights, undershirts, hats, and socks be of identical or coordinated style and color.
  • USA Ultimate reserves the right to remove from the sideline/field and/or fine coaches who fail to meet the uniform requirements.
  • These requirements do not apply to State Championships.

Formats

State Championship tournament formats will be determined by coordinators using USAU guidelines for the Championship Series. Contact your Competition State Youth Coordinator for information. Formats for HS State Championships and Youth Club Regionals will be determined by the local organizer/Tournament Director. Formats for regional youth events and YCC will depend on the number of teams and fields, showcasing the division at its best, and providing a great playing experience for all the teams.

Note that formats in the current USA Ultimate Formats Manual are being updated to meet the following guidelines. State Youth Coordinators must contact their Regional Youth Director to have a format approved.

Youth Event Competition Schedule Standards

  1. Only eligible players can compete in sanctioned youth events.
  2. Maximum amount of time that players are at the fields is 9 hours per day.
  3. Maximum amount of actual game time is 6 hours per day.
  4. For standard 2 hour rounds (games to 15), there is a max of 3 games a day (6 per weekend).
  5. Minimum of 30 minutes from hard cap to beginning of the next round.
  6. If teams have more than 2 games per day, a 1-hour break between games is recommended.

Seeding

Seeding for the HS State Championships will be done by the SYC using the following information: input solicited from all the coaches/captains of participating teams; results of head-to-head match-ups prior to the Championships; results of previous years’ Championships; and other applicable information such as team composition during or prior to the Championships.

  • The coordinator has the authority to adjust rankings according to the best information available.

Seeding for the USAU Youth Club Championships will be done by the USAU Championship series staff using the following information: input solicited from all the coaches of participating teams; results of head-to-head match-ups prior to the Championships; results of last year’s Championships; and other applicable information such as team composition during or prior to the Championships and geographic location.

Forfeit Rule

  1. A team must play all of its games at a tournament.
    1. Any team that declines to finish a scheduled game or games or attempts to decide a match by any manner other than playing ultimate on the field will forfeit those games. Should both teams in a match choose not to play, then it will be considered a double forfeit.
    2. At the discretion of the event’s USAU coordinator, consideration may be given to situations that might warrant an exception being made, provided it does not affect the fairness or integrity of the competition.
    3. Consideration should be given if a team misses the first game of the first day because of travel problems.
  2. If one team is not ready to play at game-time, points may be assessed in accordance with the current edition of the USAU Official Rules of Ultimate. Under these conditions, if the score of the game reaches 8-0, the team that has failed to signal readiness will technically forfeit the game (see rule above).
  3. A team will be considered to have forfeited any game where the number of players that can safely participate falls below the minimum requirement set by the Event Organizer for that specific event (see “Player Minimums” below).

Rules

2024 USAU Youth and High School Championship events will be played using the current edition of the USAU Official Rules of Ultimate. Any changes to these rules must be pre-approved by the USAU Championship Series headquarters staff.

Observers

Only USAU Certified Observers or Instructional Observers are permitted to officiate at USAU Championship or Championship Series Events.

If officials are used during USAU Youth or High School Championship events, their duties must be in line with those described in the USAU Observer Manual. Any changes to these duties must be pre-approved by the Championship Series Manager.

If captains want observers to be present at a tournament, they must notify the event coordinator at least 4 weeks prior to the tournament. This will facilitate recruitment prior to the event. The use of observers is subject to the availability of observer staff.

On-Field Personnel Ratio for Mixed Division

  1. Youth Club Championships
    1. The personnel ratio for the mixed division of the Youth Club Championships will be 4/3 (4 man-matching players and 3 woman-matching players, or 4 woman-matching players and 3 man-matching players), adhering to WFDF Rule A:
      • Games played at the Youth Club Championship for the U20 Mixed Division will also have an additional disc flip after the initial flip, where the winner will decide the personnel ratio for the first point. For the second and third points the ratio must be the reverse of the first point. For the fourth and fifth points the ratio must be the same as the first point. This pattern of alternating the ratio every two points repeats until the end of the game (half time has no impact on the pattern). This is in line with WFDF’s Rule A, also known as the “prescribed ratio” rule described in the official WFDF Rules of Ultimate 2021-2024 – APPENDIX v1.0.
      • In addition to Rule A, whichever gender-matching players have the majority on the starting line, a player of that gender-matching group will need to pull. For example, if there are 4 woman-matching players and 3 man-matching players on the line that is pulling, one of their woman-matching players must pull the disc to start the point and vice versa.
    2. If the pulling team cannot match the on-field personnel ratio of all 7 players, then it must play with fewer than 7 players, matching the personnel ratio with as many players as possible.
    3. Injury timeouts
      • In the event of an injury time-out where a player leaves the field, the replacing player must maintain the same personnel ratio as was with the injured player.
      • If a team replaces players, the opposing team has the option of substituting a like number of, or fewer players.
      • The replacing player(s) must maintain the same personnel ratio as was with the player(s) they replace.
      • If a team calls an injury time-out but does not have a replacement player to maintain the same personnelusatio as was with the injured player, it may not replace that player and must play with fewer than 7 players.
  2. HS State Championships
    1. At USAU HS State Championships that include a mixed division, the on-field personnel ratio for that division will be determined by the USAU State Youth Coordinator after consulting with the affected teams’ captains and coaches.
    2. Please note that for teams to be eligible to apply for participation at the mixed division of a State Championship, Youth Club Warm-Ups, YCC, or regional youth events must have an on-field personnel ratio of 4/3 (4 man-matching players and 3 woman-matching players, or 4 woman-matching players and 3 man-matching players).

Player Minimums

  1. USAU Youth and High School Championship events set specific player minimum requirements for both registration and competition.
  2. Registration Minimums: Set to determine whether a team can officially register for an event.
    1. For Sanctioned/Championship Tournament play: 10 total players minimum, and for mixed divisions, at least 4 man-matching and 4 woman-matching players.
    2. For League Match play: 10 total players minimum, and for mixed divisions, at least 4 man-matching and 4 woman-matching players.
    3. For Youth Club Warm-Ups: 14 total players minimum registered and attending the event, and for mixed divisions, at least 6 man-matching and 6 woman-matching players.
    4. For Youth Club Regionals 14 total players minimum registered and attending the event, and for mixed divisions, at least 6 man-matching and 6 woman-matching players.
    5. For Youth Club Championships: 14 total players minimum registered and attending the event, and for mixed divisions, at least 6 man-matching and 6 woman-matching players.
  3. Competition Minimums: Set to determine whether a team can continue to compete safely at an event.
    1. For Sanctioned/Championship Tournament play: 7 players to start, 5 to continue playing. Fewer than 5 is a forfeit. For mixed: 8 players to start, 4 man-matching and 4 woman-matching players to start. 5 to continue playing.
    2. For League Match play: 7 players to start, 5 to continue playing. Fewer than 5 is a forfeit. For mixed: 8 players to start, 4 man-matching and 4 woman-matching players. 5 to continue playing.
    3. For Regional Events/Youth Club Championships: 7 players to start, 5 to continue playing. Fewer than 5 is a forfeit. For mixed: 8 players to start, 4 man-matching and 4 woman-matching players. 5 to continue playing.

Contact the event organizer or USAU headquarters to determine any requirements beyond these minimums.

Violations and Sanctions

Failure to abide by any of the Competition Guidelines may result in sanctions through the USA Ultimate conduct process. Such sanctions may be imposed on a team or individuals associated with a team deemed to be in violation of the guidelines, and may include, but are not limited to, suspension or disqualification from USA Ultimate competition.

In order to help teams follow the Competition Guidelines and avoid violations, USA Ultimate will continue to work to improve registration procedures and communication of information pertaining to youth competition. As these improvements are made by the organization, teams will continue to be held more fully responsible for following procedures and understanding information. Because consistency in holding all participants to the same administrative and competitive standards is vital to the integrity of the competition, because many violations lead to unfair advantages in competition, and because it is often difficult to determine intent, guideline violations will result in serious repercussions. Such repercussions will provide an incentive for players and teams to understand the guidelines fully, follow the guidelines carefully, and avoid intended or unintended violations in the future.

Application and compliance of the above guidelines will be subject to the discretion of the USA Ultimate Manager of Competition and National Team Programs – Youth.