Some of Mark’s Remarks
Field Size: Since before 1984 when I started my coaching in the Yuba Sutter area we have successfully used the following field sizes and numbers:
U-8– 7 on a field which is 25-30 X 50 yards
Goals are 5′ X 15′ with a 6 X 15 goal/”penalty box
U-10– 9 on a 35-40 X 65-70 yard field.
Goals are 6 X 18′ goals and a penalty box which is 12X 24
I believed these were Koach Karl’s recommended numbers and sizes at that time. I have no idea where they came up with these figures, but they work. Kids have the opportunity to spread out, of course many prefer the tactical approach of a giant clump. At times there are even passes, as differentiated from an accidental extrication of the ball from the middle of a clump or a toe shot from Kahoona the defensive back.
As one looks at the Darwinian approach to human evolution he will see that there is a certain physiologic logic to events (in addition to the concept of “____happens”). In our coaching instructors’ meeting the ancient Guru Dewazien redefined the measure of 1 yard. In our 1 + 1 games he recommended goals being 10 yards apart for every player on the team – 1 + 1 = 10 yards; 2+ 2 = 20 and so forth. The Guru then defined 1 yard as 1 large step taken by the player. Obviously a 6 year old’s step is shorter than a 9 year olds. I will refer to this system as the Dewazien Utilization’s For Our Soccer (DUFUS) in which a yard is actually a “Dewazien Equivalent.”. Using the DUFUS system the above fields work out to close to regulation sizes in Dewazien equivalents.To state the above in different terms, the sizes work well. Coaches will have the opportunity to assist their kids in learning how to use the field without being cramped and without being overwhelmed.
Goalies: Definitely in U8 and older. We encourage every player to have a chance in the goal and I would love to see a rule that no player may be goalie more than 25% of the time in U-10 and no more than 50% in U-12. The goalies that week should spend some time getting acquainted with the goal and the referees for U10 and younger should be willing to gently assist the keeper. Of course there are no PK’s until U-12.
Off sides: Definitely in U8 and older. Since there is only one ref, subtle off sides will always be missed; however, the obvious will be called. Kids can learn and adapt to it. More important offside prevents an ambitious striker from “staking out the goal.” I encourage U8 coaches to compress the field having their defense pull up to midfield. Without offsides we could not do that. I like quick mobile defensive players. The days of Rotundo and Elephante as immobile pillars hanging out around the box are over. Offsides permits our kids to learn the game properly. I think the CYSA recommendation of not having offsides in the younger ages is not in the best interest of the game or the player and should be changed.