West Michigan

Youth Soccer Assoc.

US Youth Soccer Levels / Divisions

Soccer Levels

Select Level:  

Select is the first level of competitive travel soccer in the state of Michigan.  Select begins at the U9 age group and continues through U19. All teams, regardless of club affiliation and location play at the select level during the early U9-U12 age levels. Select programs are focused on developing the core technical capabilities and tactical game awareness for success as the youth player advances.  Select level teams typically do minimum travel within boundaries of the league. WMYSA is a Select league typically playing 4 home and 4 away matches.  The travel is within the home locations of the WMYSA clubs.

A player registered on any team formed from a selection or try-out criteria, or a player on a team in a WMSYSA affiliated league that designates itself as a Select Club or a particular division as a Select Division. Select designation applies regardless of player age, selection/try-out criteria and team travel distances.

In WMYSA, the age group divisions range from U8 Academy through U19.  All of these age groups are gender specific except for U8 Academy which is Co-Ed.  In age divisions U9 through U19 boys can only play on boy teams.  Girls may play on either a girls or a boy’s team.

Elite Level:

WMYSA (Kalamazoo area) and GVSA (Grand Rapids area) leagues together have created an Elite level. Elite involves more travel to Grand Rapids to the GVSA League clubs home locations. Teams within the Elite level are more advanced and typically preparing to move into the MSPSP Level. These teams are chosen once they have won their top division in the Select Level. The Elite level of play begins at the U12 age group.

Director’s Academy:

The MSYSA Director’s Academy is a statewide program for the U11 and U12 teams who aspire to play at the highest levels of US Youth Soccer in the future (National League and /or Midwest Regional League).  The director’s Academy focuses on player and club development through coaching education.  By participating in the program, clubs commit to a higher standard of coaching education by attending events and submitting training session and training blocks for review.  Not all clubs have Director’s Academy teams in the SW Michigan region.


MSPSP (Michigan State Premier Soccer Program):

The MSPSP is for age groups U13 through U19.  All teams must be sponsored by a MSYSA member league.  WMYSA sponsors teams through our clubs.  Individual teams must be sponsored by their own club and WMSYA will review the applications for current teams wishing to play the following year. Teams are selected on merit and their club’s nomination indicating that they believe the team is ready for premier.

At the U13 age teams are placed into divisions, which are roughly equal.  After the fall season the team will be placed into divisions based on their performance.  The top two Divisions are called Premier 1 and Premier 2, followed by Classic 1, Classic 2, Classic 3, Classic 4 and Classic 5 (some older age groups may have fewer divisions.) WMYSA believes Elite level play is equivalent to Classic 3 and 4.Teams move between the Divisions based upon a promotion/relegation process.  Teams that do not start play at the U13 age typically are placed in the lowest division and must work their way up the divisions.


MRL Region 2:

The MRL is for age groups U13 through U18. The various state associations in the region nominate teams for play.  Michigan typically can nominate four teams at the U13 age group. The State Cup champion and runner-up receive an automatic invitation.  Usually the top four or five teams in Michigan in each age group participate.

MRL and the sister leagues in the other three regions, are the highest level youth leagues in the United States.

At the U14 age group, the MRL has five or six Divisions for both the boys and the girls.  These are based on geography.  MLR teams compete across the Midwest region which includes: MI, IL, OH, PA, WI, IA, KS, MO, KY, SD, and NE. The tops finishing teams will be placed in the Premier Division of MRL and the remainder will be placed in the Blue and Red Divisions, which are based on geography.  Teams then advance or are relegated based upon their performance.  The bottom finishers in the lower Divisions may not be invited back the following year.

U13 MRL teams are selected from top performing teams of the MSYSA Directors Academy.


Links for further information:

National League:

ODP (Olympic Development Program)