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FUNdamental SOCCER – U8 Playing Rules

Why shake things up for this age group? If we want our kids to grow up with a genuine love for the game, and the traditional methods haven’t quite hit the mark, let’s toss in some new flavors. Blending the old with a dash of something new is the beginning of a winning recipe!



Keep the field rectangular, not too big or small—just right for the little ones.

  • Long: 30 yards minimum       – 50 yards maximum                          
  • Wide: 20 yards minimum       – 40 yards maximum


  • Lines: Distinctive (at least 2-5 inches wide.
  • A halfway line and a center circle are a must.
  • No corner arcs, No goal area—Let’s Keep it Simple.
  • SPECTATOR VIEWING LINE – Marked out (5 to 10 yards) from the touchlines and opposite the players’ benches!


  • Four (4): Two (2) to attack & Two (2) to defend.
    Why? More goals scored -More FUN.
  • Placed: 3 to 5 yards from each corner.
    Why? To allow players to take shots from various angles.  
  • (Optional) Use lightweight, portable goals -or- Mark them out with cones, flags, or other objects (Size: 2-4 yards wide)
    Why? Cost-related reason – Less expensive.

2.  BALL     

  • Size #3
    Why? To fit their size, easier to handle, safety ensured.


Co-ed Teams (Highly Recommended) Why? Learning, sharing skills, and attitudes. It’s a win-win.

Maximum number of players on the roster (+2)
(2 vs. 2 = 4) (3 vs. 3 =5)     
Why? Smaller rosters more playing time for everyone.

  • Maximum number of players on the field 2 vs. 2 or 3 vs. 3, (Optional) 
    Why?  Fewer players to bunch up, more ball touches -More FUN!
  • NO Goalkeepers -Not Optional!
    Why?  Let’s keep the goals coming — more goals -more FUN!


  • After every goal: Both teams must rotate a player.

Additional Substitution Opportunities:

  • Whenever the ball goes out of play.
  • 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.

4.  Player’s Equipment

  • Jersey or t-shirt (with a number on the back),
  • Shorts, stockings, shoes, and shin-guards are mandatory
  • Nothing that can be harmful to the player or others.

Hydration: Keep a water bottle close to stay refreshed and hydrated.

5.  NO Official Referees

Have a ‘FUN Marshall’

-If you have a better name? Please submit your suggestion! 😊
Why? Frees up officials for older age groups.

FUN Marshall

  • Ensures fair and safe play, acting more as a helper than a referee.
  • Exhibits flexibility, especially when calling fouls like handball.
  • Stops the game only when necessary.
  • Must explain the rule broken by the guilty player, encouraged to do so loud enough for all players to hear.
  • Assists all players in understanding basic rules.
  • Can be positioned on the field or on the sidelines.

Principle: Encourage, not Enforce. Educate, not Evaluate.

6.  NO Assistant Referees

Why? Frees up officials for older age groups.
You must believe that everyone will let the Marshall know when the ball is out of play 😊

7.  Duration of the Game

  • The game is to be divided into two (2) equal halves of (10-15) minutes (Optional)
  • Half-time break of (3-5) minutes (Optional)

8.  Start of Play     

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

9.  Ball In and Out of play

  • Out of play only when it has wholly crossed the goal or touch lines.

10.  Method of Scoring

  • The whole of the ball must cross the goal line between the posts 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.

11.  NO Off-Side       

12.  Fouls and Misconduct

  • Foul: The guilty player rotates out, leaves the field, free kick is awarded from the spot of the foul.
  • Important: FUN Marshall explains the foul loudly for everyone to hear.
  • Injuries:  If the game is stopped for an injury, the player must be replaced and may not reenter until officially cleared.

Safety Guideline: NO Heading: Heading the ball is a foul!

13.  Free Kicks

  • Opponent must be 6 yards away from the ball.
  • A goal cannot be scored directly; the ball must touch a second player (of either team) before entering the goal.

14.  NO Penalty Kick           

15.  NO Throw-In

  • The game is restarted by passing or dribbling in from where the ball went out.

16.  NO Goal Kick

17.  NO Corner Kick

18.  Common Sense

  • Sportsmanship Rocks! Everyone shakes hands before and after the game.
  • It’s not the World Cup; No Standings, No publicity; Play and have FUN!
  • Our Ultimate Goal Must Be: All the kids asking, “Can We Play Again..!”

 *Remember, it’s the Children’s Play Time; Not their Performance Time!*

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