Teams are placed in flights based on the age of the players, the player gender, and the competitive level of the team. For example a team for 5th grade girls has the 6 character flight number 411G06.
The 1st digit in a flight number is the division. The divisions, based on age, have different game formats. For example, the 4 above means division IV where games are 60 minutes long and a size 4 ball is used.
The 2nd and 3rd characters are the age group. For example, the 11 above means the players are all under 11 on January 1, and is often referred to as U11. The following table correlates the soccer age brackets with the corresponding school grades, divisions, and game differences.
|Divisions, Age Groups, and Game Differences|
With the switch to the January 1st age cutoff in 2016, the soccer age brackets no longer align with school grades. Younger players are permitted to play on older teams (play up), but older players are forbidden from playing on younger teams. New Jersey Youth soccer has additional constraints concerning playing up for U8-U10 players.
The 4th character, is either a "G" for girls or "B" for boys. Girls are permitted to play on boys teams, but boys are not permitted to play on girls teams. If a team contains a mixture of boys and girls they must play in one of the "B" flights.
The 5th and 6th characters (last 2) are the flight. A flight is a group of 6, 10, or 11 teams that are at a similar competitive level. The flights are numbered from 01 up. The lower the flight number the more competitive the teams. Flights are rebalanced each season. Teams that win most of their games in a flight get moved to a more competitive level (lower numbered flight) for the next season, while teams that lose most of their games get moved to a less competitive level (higher numbered flights). In the 6 team flights each team plays all the other teams twice during the season, one game home and the other away. The 6 team flights are more common in the lower numbered flights. In the 11 team flights opponents are played once. In the 10 team flights all opponents are played once and for the last game you play the team that is closest to yours in the flight standings a second time.