U8 Small Sided Continuous Play Format
In the spring 2012 season, we altered the format of U8 matches to less structured games which feature a faster-moving style of play. This promotes positive development of our players and provides them with a higher level athletic experience. The format aligns with most recent recommendations from US Youth Soccer, the largest member of the US Soccer Federation, the governing body for soccer in the United States.
Quoted US Youth Soccer recommendations for U8
“The Number of Players: A match is played by two teams, each consisting of not more than four players. There are NO goalkeepers.”
“There are no goalkeepers in the U8 age group so that all of the players may chase the ball around the field. The kids want to be where the action is and at this age, it is around the ball. This will provide the opportunity for the children to further develop their running, jumping and kicking coordination. These are valuable traits for all soccer players to develop. The smaller number of players takes into account the egocentrism of this age group and therefore allows each child more opportunities for shooting, passing and dribbling the ball. With fewer players on the field, each child has an increased number of contacts with the ball and has more actual playing time. Additionally, the players will be required to make more decisions and experience repeated game situations frequently. The involvement of players will be more consistent. While learning both offense and defense, players will become well rounded and will understand more readily the roles and importance of teammates. Children in the U8 age group will intentionally play in pairs. The smaller number of players on the field will make it easier and more likely that passing and receiving will occur.”
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