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FUNdamental SOCCER – U-12 Playing Rules

“Spain’s youth academies, exemplified by Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid, prioritize small-sided games with no more than 7 players per side until the age of 12. Despite the success of this approach in developing technically skilled players at top clubs globally. Why can’t we do the same?” Stan Baker, Author, Our Competition is the World,

Law 1:  FIELD of PLAY

  1. DIMENSIONS:
  • The field of play should be rectangular.
  • The length should not exceed 70 yards (minimum 50 yards).
  • The width should not exceed 40 yards (minimum 35 yards).
  • In all cases, the length should exceed the width.

TARGET GOALS – BECOME OPTIONAL

7 vs. 7

5 vs. 5

B. Markings

  • Lines: Distinctive (at least 2-5 inches wide)
  • Halfway Line: Marked out across the field
  • Center Circle: Over Halfway Line with a 3-6-yard radius
  • No – Corner Arcs
  • No – Goal Area
  • No – Penalty Area
  • No – Penalty Mark
  • No – Penalty Arc
  • Player/Coaches Area: Twenty (20) yards long; ten (10) yards down the touchline into each half of the field
  • Spectator Viewing Line: Five to ten (5 -10) yards from the touchlines and behind the Player/Coaches Area

(4 vs. 4) Goals (5 vs. 5)

Six (6): Three (3) to Attack & Three (3) to Defend

Why? Tripple the pleasure -Tripple the FUN.

Regulation Goal Placed in the middle

Two Modified Goals Placed 3 to 5 yards from each corner.

Goals (7 vs. 7)

Two (2):  One (1) to Attack & One (1) to Defend

Maximum Size: Six (6) feet high and six (6) yards wide

Minimum Size: Five (5) feet high and five (5) yards wide

US Soccer recommends six (6) feet, six (6) inches high and eighteen (18) feet, six (6) inches wide

Farpost Goal

We recommend the 3-in-1 goals from Farpost Soccer.

Law 2: SOCCER BALL

Using a smaller ball is less intimidating to the players and much less stressful on their joints (minimizing injury).

  • Soccer ball size 3
  • Soccer ball size 4 (recommended)

Law 3: NUMBER OF PLAYERS

Co-ed teams are still recommended.

Why? Learning, sharing skills, and attitudes. It’s a win-win.

  • Maximum number of players on the roster (+2)

                         5 vs. 5 =7              7 vs. 7 =9

Why? Smaller rosters mean more playing time for everyone.

  • Maximum number of players on the field 5 vs. 5 or 7 vs. 7  (Optional)

Why?  Fewer players to bunch up, more ball touches -More FUN!

SUBSTITUTION:

After every goal:

  • Both teams must rotate A player.

Additional Substitution Opportunities:

  • Whenever the ball goes out of play.
  • After a given time period if no subs have been made.
  • At halftime and for injuries.

Why? Because All Children/Players come to Play!

  • Keep everyone engaged, ensuring players have an active role in the game
  • Prevent the most talented player from hogging the time/ball and ensure everyone contributes to the game.

Law 4: PLAYERS EQUIPMENT

  • Jersey (or shirt) with a number on the back
  • Shorts
  • Stockings
  • Shin-guards (mandatory)
  • Footwear
  • Note: A player shall not wear anything dangerous to another player or themselves

Law 5: REFEREE

  • Officially licensed referees can be used (if available).
  • Older age group players as Referees can be used (highly recommended)
  • Referees are encouraged to explain the infraction called on the offending player (the referee should address both teams, not an individual, while doing so)
  • A Referee’s decision on points of fact connected with the game are final

Law 6: ASSISTANT REFEREE

  • A neutral person who can tell that the ball has gone totally over the touch or goal lines and who can follow the instructions given to them by the Assigned Referee.
  • If possible, use individuals familiar with the Laws of the Game.

Law 7: DURATION OF GAME

  • Divide the game into two halves of (20 to 25) minutes each. (Optional)
  • Substitutions should be allowed at any time with the referee’s permission.
  • Half-time break should not exceed five (5) minutes.

Law 8: START OF PLAY

  • Opponents must be outside the center circle and on their half of the field.
  • The ball can be played (passed) either forward or backward.
  • Optional: Restart by dribbling, similar to other restarts.

Law 9: BALL IN & OUT OF PLAY

  • The ball is out of play when it has wholly crossed the goal or touch lines.*

Law 10: METHOD OF SCORING

  • The whole ball must cross the goal line between the goalposts and under the crossbar.
  • The ball cannot be thrown, carried, or intentionally propelled by hand or arm over the goal line.
  • The whole of the ball must cross the goal line between the goal post and under the crossbar if there is one.
  • The ball cannot be thrown, carried, or intentionally propelled by hand or arm over the goal line.

Law 11: NO OFF-SIDE

Law 12: FOULS AND MISCONDUCT

  • Introduction of “Direct Free Kick” (recommended)*
  • Referees are encouraged to explain the infraction called on the offending player (the referee should address both teams, not an individual while doing so).
  • The guilty player is asked to leave the field, and a free kick is awarded from the spot of the foul.

Law 13: FREE KICKS

  • Free Kicks shall be classified under ONE (1) heading.
    1. “INDIRECT” means that a goal may not be scored until the ball has been played or touched by a second player of either team.

Law 14: NO PENALTY KICKS

Law 15: THROW-IN

  • Throw-ins are now introduced.
  • One rethrow should be allowed if a foul occurs.
  • The referee should explain the fault before rethrowing. *

Law 16: NO GOAL KICK

Law 17: NO CORNER KICK

Law 18: COMMON SENSE

  • Team officials and players are encouraged to shake hands with the opponents before and after the game.
  • Do not make rules, resulting in boredom, bureaucracy, and losing sight of your purpose as an adult.
  • Keep no league standings. Publicity of the game and results is discouraged.

CHECK WITH EITHER YOUR LOCAL, STATE, OR NATIONAL GOVERNING BODIES TO SEE HOW THESE ‘U-10 MODIFIED LAWS’ ARE APPLIED WITHIN YOUR SOCCER COMMUNITY

Most importantly:
LET THEM HAVE FUN!

Stay tuned for more; in the meantime, send us your comments/ideas and consider becoming a supporter of the SOCCERevolution!

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