AYSO Area 4U
U-8 Short-side Rules
Soccer, by any measure, is the most popular game in the world. One reason is
it's easy to play. It can be played just about anywhere and requires very little
equipment - perhaps markers of some sort for the two goals and the four corners
of the field, and, of course, a ball.
Soccer is non-stop action, played in two halves with far fewer interruptions
than other team sports. For sheer exercise, it is hard to beat. In fact, it pro-vides
one of the best cardiovascular workouts in all of sport.
There are normally eleven players on a soccer team. However, smaller teams are
used for younger players. The following is the AYSO Under-8 program which includes
only those aspects of the game which are age-appropriate.
GAME GUIDELINES FOR U-8
Dimensions: 50 yards long and 25 yards wide maximum
- Distinctive lines not more than five inches wide.
- Halfway line the width of the field, marked equidistant between the goal lines.
- Center circle with a six yard radius in the center of the field.
- Corner arcs with a one-yard radius at each corner of the field.
- Goal area in front of each goal measuring six yards by 12 yards.
- Maximum six feet high and six yards wide.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS:
- Maximum number of players on the field at any one time: five withÂ no goalkeeper.
- Maximum number of players on the roster: 7.
- Substitutions: Between periods and at halftime.
- Playing time: MINIMUM of 75% of the total playing time for each player, if possible.
No one should play four periods until everyone has played three periods.
- No co-ed teams. Separate girl teams should be promoted at all levels of play.
- Footwear: Tennis shoes or soft-cleated soccer shoes.
- Shinguards: MANDATORY for practices and games.
- The referee should be either a
- adult referee
- youth referee
- Referees shall emphasize
NOTE: Referees should briefly explain any infringements to the players and help
players with instructions. All referees must be registered AYSO volunteers.
- Referee decisions are final and must not be questioned by coaches.
Duration of Game:
- Four 10-minute periods.
- Halftime break of five to ten minutes.
The Start of Play:
- No change from regular play except that opponents must be six yards from the
center mark while kickoff is in progress.
Ball In and Out of Play:
- No change from regular play.
Method of Scoring:
- No change from regular play.
- There shall be no offside called.
Fouls and Misconduct:
- No change from regular play except: DIRECT FREE KICK for all fouls, with the
opponents six yards away.
- Referee will work cooperatively with the coaches and eliminate the needs for
cautions and send-offs. Do not show yellow or red cards.
- All kicks are DIRECT FREE kicks.
- Free kicks awarded to the attacking team inside the defending team's goal area
should be taken from the nearest point on the goal area line in front of the goal.
- A second throw-in allowed if the player commits a foul on initial attempt. The
referee should explain the proper method before allowing the player to re-throw.
- May be taken from any point inside the goal area.
- Opponents six yards away from the ball.
- No change from regular play except opponents must be eight yards away from the
- Parents, coaches, and players from both teams exchange handshakes before and/or
after each game.
- League standings are not recorded.
- Game scores are not recorded.
- All players receive participation awards.
- Spectators are not allowed behind either goal or within three yards outside the
- Only game participants are allowed to run the length of the field.
- Parents and coaches should encourage players, but not coach or instruct players