U8 Program Guidelines


1. Playing time will be equally divided between all players. If a player plays goalie for a quarter, then that player should get some field time in the other quarters of the game.

2. Every player will play every position many times throughout the course of the season. The time player each spends in each position is to be equally distributed. First year players may take some time before they are ready to be the goalie. We do not want to hurt their confidence by putting them in goal during the first 2 or 3 weeks of the season. However, every field position must be equally distributed. For example, all players should have played center forward an equal amount of time throughout the course of the game/day/season! Playing your best player at center forward for an entire game, or half of every game, or more than any other player is unacceptable. Playing your less skilled players on defense the whole game, or half of every game, or less than the better skilled players is unacceptable. As a coach, please measure yourself on your ability to improve the skill
level of every child, not on how often your team wins or how good your best players are.

3. All players must play goalie as well as sit out an equal amount of time. As coaches, we must be fair to all of the players.

4. This is our opportunity to teach the children good SPORTSMANSHIP. In the past there have been complaints about certain teams being abusive during the game… and especially during the handshake at the end of the game. PLEASE make every effort to teach… and model… good sportsmanlike conduct.

5. Teach the children the rules of soccer. No Pushing. No tripping. Absolutely NO FIGHTING. Fighting will result in the player being thrown out of the game and not allowed to play for the remainder of the day's games. Coaches will correct children who push while dribbling and absolutely disallow pushing or tripping from behind. In Travel Team Soccer such behavior would result in a yellow card or red card (removal from the game).

6. Parents and Coaches are to be on opposite sides of the field.

7. Coaches are restricted to one half of the field on the coaching side. This is to prevent coaches from running up and down the sidelines shouting instructions during the games. Neither coach can cross the midfield line during the game. Coaches should not constantly yell instructions to their players, it is distracting and actually detrimental to their play.

8. All parents are to stay on the opposite sideline from the teams. They are not to stand with the teams or at the goal lines. No parent or coach can stand at the goal lines. The referees are instructed to stop the games if spectators or coaches are not in their appropriate areas. As coach, you must help the referee enforce this rule.

9. Neither coaches nor parents should yell or speak to the referee during the game. The coach may ask for clarification at halftime or after the game, but that is all. NASA has a zero tolerance policy for any abuse of this policy. Also, please remember that the referees are mostly middle schoolers. We really appreciate their willingness to participate in our program and we strive treat them with the upmost respect. They are young teenagers and we, as adult coaches must be constantly aware of our interaction with them. They are learning too… just like our players… and we need to always support and respect them.

10. There will be two 24 minute games, with each game playing for 4, 6 minute quarters. There is a 1 minute break between each quarter, and a 3 minute break at halftime. There will be about a five minute break between each game.

11. It’s suggested that coaches make a list requesting different parents bring water and orange slices each Saturday. This snack will to be consumed during the rest period between the 2 games. Please be sure to remove all trash from the field area after the game.

12. Coaches should get their team to the next playing field before handing out water and oranges or discussing the game.
13. When a referee does not show, each coach should split the game and referee one half of the game. As a referee, the coach may not coach the players on the field. He/she is on the field to referee only. When a referee does not show, the coach MUST inform the U8 Director who will in-turn notify the Referee Director.

1. A number 3 sized soccer ball will be used.

2. In order to maximize touches on the ball, teams will play 6 v 6 (including goalkeeper). If a team has many players, play will be 7 v 7 (including goalkeeper). The two coaches should decide on the format before the game.

3. If one team is short players, the two teams should combine players and form two equal teams.

4. Each game is 24 minutes long, played in 6 minute quarters. There is a 1 minute break between each quarter, and
a 3 minute break at halftime. 

5. After a goal, the team that is scored upon will take a kickoff to put the ball back into play. 

6. The second half begins with a kickoff for the team that did not kickoff to start the game.

7. There are NO Offsides.

8. There are NO DIRECT KICKS... All fouls resulting in a free kick will be considered an indirect kick. A foul occurring in the penalty area will be ruled an indirect kick from outside the penalty area. This means no penalty kicks.

9. Throw-Ins: Follow standard soccer rules but give the thrower 2 chances. 

10. Goal Kicks: All defensive players must clear the penalty area. The ball will be placed at the end of the goal-area box. The kick must clear the penalty area before being touched by any other player.

11. Corner Kicks: Follow standard soccer rules with the defending player nearest the ball maintaining an appropriate distance from the kicker.

12. When a goalie makes a save, he/she may take the ball to the top of the penalty area and throw or kick the ball.

13. The goalie is considered in possession of the ball if the ball is stopped and the goalie has contact with the ball. It is not considered in possession if the ball is moving and the goalie slaps at it and it continues in motion.

14. When a goalie has possession, an opposing player may not interfere with the goalie. The goalie is to be given free space to move to the top of the penalty area and throw or kick the ball. Any player interfering with the goalie is to be warned by the referee. When interference is called the goalie is to be given another opportunity to get rid of the ball. Three warnings to a player for interference or rough play and the player is to be removed for the remainder of the day's games.

15. There are NO "drop balls." In a drop ball situation a throw-in should be awarded to the defensive team.

16. No fighting is permitted and will result with the player being removed from play for the remainder of the day's games. Rough play or serious infractions, like pushing and tripping from behind can result in warnings if deemed appropriate by the referee. Three warning and the player is to be removed from play for the remainder of the day's games.

17. Make up games are scheduled 8 days and 3 hours after the originally scheduled game. There are no make-ups for the last scheduled day of the season.

1. Must start all games simultaneously.

2. Must control the game by using the whistle and letting the kids and coaches know what the call is. The whistle should be blown loudly and the call blatantly explained. Indirect kicks, goal kicks, corner kicks, kickoffs, should all begin with the referees whistle or acknowledgment to begin. (This unlike ordinary soccer where kicks are taken immediately without referee intervention)

3. The referee should explain to the players what they should do if they seem uncertain and should not let play continue if the players are confused. Corner kicks and goal kicks in particular should be explained to the players. Remember… these are 6 and 7 year olds who are just learning the game.

4. The referee must not allow any coach or parent to come on to the playing field at any time except in the case of injury.

5. The referee must stop play if spectators or coaches and sidelined players are not in their appropriate areas. 

6. Any abusive parents or coaches should be reported to the Director of Referees, the In-Town Director, and the President of the Soccer Association. Abusive coaches will be released from the program. Coaches of teams with abusive parents may be asked to help with the parent in question. Ultimately, abusive parents will either be asked to watch the games from a place where they can not be heard or they will be required to remove their child from the team.

7. Although we want the kids to just go out and play soccer, the whistle must be blown to call obvious and blatant fouls such as pushing, shoving, tripping, and illegal tackles, handballs, goalie interference and unsportsmanlike conduct. Each call should be explained. Serious infractions can result in warnings. Three warnings and a player is removed from the games for the remainder of that day. Fighting is an immediate removal of play for the remainder of that day's games.

8. The referee is in control of the game and must use the whistle to keep control. Referees calls are final and should not be contradicted or questioned by either coaches or parents during the course of the game. 

****** End of Guidelines *******

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