Fundamental Youth Soccer

Soccer: Simple Game – Simple Rules

By Tom Starr, SYRA Cal North

The game of Soccer is a simple game played with simple rules. Although the Laws of the Game are simple there are many interpretations put forth by FIFA and by USSF. Many books have been written on the Laws of the Game and their interpretations, several of which are available at any good bookstore. Therefore, below is a synopsis of the laws and interpretations (in parentheses) to answer the most frequently debated aspects of the game.

Keep in mind that application of the Laws of the game is “in the opinion of the referee” and that the application or non–application of the Laws of the Game may differ from age group to age group or competitive level of the teams to enhance the safety aspect of the game or to increase the enjoyment of the game by the players.

LAW 1: The Field of Play

The field shall be rectangular with the longest lines called touchlines and the shorter lines goal lines. The important areas of the field are:

Center Circle – to keep defenders 10 yards from the ball at kick-offs
Penalty Area – the area where fouls from the defending team become more serious (Penalty Kicks)
Goal Area – From where Goal Kicks are taken
Corner Arc – From where corner kicks are taken
Goals – consisting of goal posts and crossbar (24’W x 8” H)

All lines are part of the area they mark
The most important aspect of the field is that it is SAFE!

LAW 2: The Ball

The ball is spherical. The ball must be properly inflated. The circumference of the ball depends on the age group and have number designations. Under 6 thru Under 8 players use a size 3 ball, Under 9 thru Under 12 players use a size 4 ball, and Under 13 and above players use a size 5 ball.

The ball may be any color.
The ball must be SAFE!

LAW 3: The Number of Players

The number of players on one team varies with age group (see your local rules of competition for specific number of players on each team). When the number of players on a team is (11) teams may not participate in games with less than (7) players. If any players are sent-off (red card) the number of players on the field for that team is reduced by the number of send-offs

A team may start of play a game with less than the specified number of players for that age group as long as it is at least (7) players.