08U Guidelines

The 8U division is where players are first introduced to the goalkeeping position. The age of the players can range from 5 to 7 (6 to 7 by the end of the calendar year). It is expected that the 8U teams will train once during the week. Additional training days can be schedule if there is enough training space.

The field size for 8U is 40 yards by 25 yards. The size of the field is designed to accommodate matches that are 4 v 4. However, since we utilize the goalkeeper position, teams are allowed to play 5 v 5 when a goalkeeper is used. While some coaches may be tempted to simply put all of their players on the field, there are reasons why this is not allowed:
  • The field becomes too crowded and the flow of the match slows down due to too many bodies
  • Each player on the field has less opportunity to touch the ball
  • More action and scoring opportunities
  • Even the best players will need to sit out, allowing the other members of that team to step up and contribute
Remember, it is not about wins and losses, but about developing the players. Giving the players an opportunity to become involved in the action and play in different positions is the best way for players to improve their skills. Any player that plays a quarter as the goalkeeper must play at least one quarter at some other position. Players are limited to only two quarters as a goalkeeper per match.

In having to plan out substitutions, this also develops the coach's ability to strategically plan out the match. After all, not only should the player improve their skills, the coaches abilities will also improve as they gain more coaching experience and handle more complex situations.

In this division, we do have players perform throw-ins. Prior to the throw-in, the player should be quickly reminded of the proper technique before given the ball. When the player executes the throw-in, if it is done incorrectly play is stopped and the throw-in is attempted again after it is explained to the player what they did wrong. If the 2nd attempt is also done incorrectly, simply let play continue.

If there is a foul (e.g. tripping, shoving), all restarts are indirect free kicks. That is, when the free kick is taken, the ball must touch another player before a goal can be scored. If the ball enters the goal without being touched by another player, it is either a goal kick or corner kick, depending on which team kicked the ball into the goal. Any free kick within the goal box must be brought out to the goal box line. While there is a penalty box, there are no penalty kicks.

When the keeper controls the ball, or when a goal kick is to be taken, the opponents must back up to the build-out line. For the 8U division, the build-out line is the half line. Keepers are not allowed to punt or drop-kick the ball - the ball must be distributed by either throwing it or placing it on the ground and kicking it. Please note that once the ball is release by the keeper (either thrown or placed on the ground), it is in play. In the case of a goal kick, the opponents are not allowed to cross the half line until the ball has exited the penalty box. If an opposing player crosses the build-out line and interferes with play when the keeper is in the process of releasing the ball, an indirect free kick is awarded at the build-out line to the team that was in possession of the ball. If this violation occurs on a goal kick, the goal kick is retaken.

Coaches should instruct their players that when they see the keepers hands near the ball, they should stop their attack. We want to make sure that keepers are not injured. If the ball subsequently bounces away from the keeper, they can resume their attach.