Based on the nature of the FIRST programs, and my understanding of "comprised of team members no older than the age limit" from the FLL Coaches’ Promise (see below), I recommend that parents and coaches make an individual assessment for each child (under 9) to determine if they are ready for all things FLL. FLL is a big step and requires kids to "build, program, research, choose a problem and innovative solution, and present at a tournament." Keep in mind that the overall goal is to inspire kids to get excited about science, technology, engineering and math. We want them to get a hands-on perspective of STEM - and have fun without being overwhelmed.
That being said, I have had the pleasure of meeting several kids under 9 that are beyond Jr. FLL and indeed ready for FLL. In those cases, I've been recommending that we treat the issue FIRST is having with their STIMS as a software "bug." This is a new system for FIRST LEGO League and I'm sure that they haven't had the time to fix all the "bugs" and will eventually allow FLL teams to register kids without the lower age restriction.
VADFLL.org does allow registration without the lower age restriction so in my mind it's just a matter of time before the larger FIRST program fixes their logic flaw. Until then we've registered several 8 year olds as being nine until the issue is resolved. So bring on the youngsters and please make sure they have fun!