U7 – U8 Information and Rules

A PDF of this information can be downloaded from PYSA here: http://www.portlandyouthsoccer.com/doclib/U7-8_Coach_Parent_Brochure%202018-19.pdf

The Game

The U7 and U8 age groups play small-sided games. The emphasis is on player development and enjoyment. Small-sided soccer is intended to better meet the developmental needs of younger children by allowing them more touches on the ball and fewer players to interact with on the playing field. Please also note there are no goal keepers during these games. Both U7 and U8 games are played on two identical side-by-side playing fields (see diagram for field layout) close to each other. Two teams face each other on each field and try to put the ball in the opponent’s goal. At half time the HOME teams switch fields. No score is kept so that the emphasis can be on player development. Game time is divided into two equal halves, with a 5 minute break between.

The Team

Each team of 10 – 12 players is divided before play begins into small, evenly balanced squads of 5 to 6 players. The players should be divided differently each week so the same players are not always together. The coach leads one squad and the assistant coach leads the other. Each squad plays against a similarly constructed opponents’ squad. For U7 and U8 there is no goalkeeper.

50% Playing Time Rule

All players are entitled to play at least one half of each game (50%) for which they suit up. PYSA understands that sickness, injury, failure to make practice or disciplinary action, may be cause for an individual to play less than the mandated playing time.

The Officials

The HOME team and the VISITOR team must each provide one parent volunteers to referee one of the playing fields. Each parent should become familiar with the 3 v 3 or 4 v 4 soccer rules and the playing field. The primary concern of the referee is the safety of the players. Although most fouls are unintentional, mistakes should be corrected (gently) for everyone’s safety. Referees may not coach while refereeing. The referee (s) do not in any way coach while on the field. Any comments given must be in a supportive nature to BOTH teams.


Offside will not be enforced in U7 and U8 games, but referees should instruct players to avoid flagrant “cherry-picking”. Similarly, referees should instruct defenders not to act as goal keepers in defending or blocking their own goal.


The player taking a kick off, goal kick, corner kick, or throw-in may not play the ball a second time until it is touched by another player.

Corner Kick

Taken by any attacking player to restart the game when the ball goes out of play past the goal line and was last touched by a defending player. The kick is taken in the corner area on the side of the field where the ball went out of play. Opponents must be 6 or more yards away.


Officially begins the game at each half and restarts play after a goal is scored. The ball is in play once it is touched by the player kicking the ball. Opponents must be on or behind the quarter field line in their half of the field when the ball is kicked.

Goal Kick

Taken by any defending player to restart the game when the ball goes out of play past the goal line and was last touched by an attacking player. The goal kick may be taken anywhere on or behind the quarter field line. All opposing players must stand on or behind the half line until the ball is kicked.

Throw-In (NOW KICK IN)

As of the Spring of 2018 there are more NO THROW-In’s for this age group. All restarts when the ball has gone out of bounds on the sideline will be done with a KICK-IN. Opposing players MUST stand back at least 3 yards (9 feet) to allow the team kicking the ball in to play the ball fairly.


Player substitutions may be made whenever the ball is put out of play, e.g. throw-in, goal kick, after a goal is scored, for an injury, etc. Players should be rested regularly while remembering the 50% playing time rule.


The HOME team must provide a timekeeper to start and keep the games on time. Each half lasts 20 minutes with a 5 minute halftime break. During each half the clock runs continuously and is not stopped for breaks in the action (ball out of play, injury, etc).

The U7 & U8 Field

Each team is responsible for setting up one field with cones and portable goals with nets. Ideally, tall cones should be used to mark the corners with flat cones between to mark the sidelines and goal lines. For U8 field only, a 6 foot arc should be set-up in front of each goal, with flat cones.

Method of Scoring

A goal is scored when the entire ball crosses the goal line into the goal. A goal may not be scored directly from a throw-in, kick-off or free kick. A goal can be scored from a corner kick.

Drop Ball

A ball may be dropped by the referee/parent between two players (one from each team) to restart the game after play was stopped for a no penalty situation (after an injury or if the referee did not see which team put the ball out of bounds). The ball is dropped where it was last in play or at the nearest point outside the quarter field area. The ball must touch the ground before being kicked.

No Heading

There is no heading in anyway at this age group in practice or games

Fouls and Misconduct

Players are not allowed to kick, trip, jump at, charge, obstruct, hold, push, or strike an opposing player. The basic rule is “play the ball, not the player”. Players also may not strike, carry or propel the ball with their hand or arm. The key judgment for the handball foul is whether the contact was “hand to ball” (foul) or “ball to hand” (no foul). PYSA strictly prohibits slide tackling for any and all age groups. The player committing any foul is penalized by the award of an indirect free kick to the opposing team. The kick is taken at the place where the foul occurred, unless it is between the quarter line and the goal line, in which case the kick is taken on the quarter line at a point nearest the foul. In both U7 and U8 games, all penalties are indirect, i.e., another player must touch the ball before a goal can be scored and there are no penalty kicks at all. All opponents must be at least 6 yards away from the ball at the time the kick is taken.

6 Foot Arc

U8 games only a 6 Foot arc should be set-up in front of each goal. No offensive or defensive player is allowed to touch the ball within this area. If a defensive player touches the ball within this area the offensive team will receive an indirect free kick at their quarter line. If an offensive player touches the ball within this area the defensive team will receive a goal kick. If the ball comes to a stop within this arc the defensive team will receive a goal kick.

Blow Out Policy

In keeping with the recreational nature of our league, coaches are expected to prevent games from becoming extremely one sided. This means that when a team is ahead by 5 goals that team is expected to initiate methods that will make it more difficult to score. Try to have your team get 3 to 4 passes in a row or see if your players can pass the ball from one side of the field to the other side of the field prior to going to goal etc. If actions such as these do not limit scoring then the team that is losing the game may add a player or players to the field to even the game.

Two Adult Rule

At least two adults must be present at all PYSA sponsored activities including team practices. All volunteers working with players must have consented to, and passed, a criminal background check. No child should ever be alone with an adult. Bathroom breaks etc. should be with one or more adults and two or more children.

Parents and Team Seating Area

Please note that ALL Parents from BOTH teams are to sit on one sideline (the same sideline) and ALL PLAYERS FROM BOTH teams on the other sideline. When the fields are adjacent, the parents are NOT to stand in BETWEEN game fields where players are.

All chairs, etc. MUST be set back 3 to 4 feet from the sideline for player safety.

This rule is to allow the coaches to properly manage the players and the game at all times by only having the players on their sideline.