u8 Rules

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NWSC Recreational Youth Soccer

4v4 U8 Program Official Rules and Policies

FIFA/USYS/ISL Laws and Policies as amended by NWSC 7/2021

All rules herein are for NWSC Closed League matches and supersede FIFA, USYS and ISL rules for recreational soccer. Items not specifically addressed herein shall conform first to ISL rules then USYS and then FIFA. FIFA Laws of the Game can be found at www.ussoccer.com/referees.

Law 1 – The Field of Play:

A. Dimensions: The field of play must be rectangular. The length of the touchline must be greater than the length of the goal line. Length: minimum 25 yards maximum 35 yards. Width: minimum 20 yards maximum 30 yards

B. Field Markings

1. Distinctive lines not more than five (5) inches wide.

2. A halfway line shall be marked out across the field.

3. A center circle with a three (3) yard radius.

4. Four corner arcs with a radius of one (1) yard.

5. Goal area: Three (3) yards from each goal post and three (3) yards into the field of play joined by a line drawn parallel with the goal line.

6. Penalty area: none

C. Goals: Maximum six feet high and six yards wide.

Safety: Goals must be anchored securely to the ground.

Law 2 – The Ball: Size three (3).

Law 3 – The Number of Players:

A. Maximum number of players on the field per team at any one time is four (4). There are no goalkeepers. The minimum number of players to start the match is three (3).

B. Maximum number of players on the roster should not exceed six (6).

C. Substitutions:

1. Substitutions shall be unlimited and at the referee’s discretion (the coach must request permission from the referee prior to making a substitution.) and will be permitted at any stoppage of play.

2. Substitutions must be made from the sideline, at the center of the field.

D. Playing time: Each Player shall play a minimum of 50% of the total playing time.

E. Teams and games may be coed.

Law 4 – The Players’ Equipment: Conform to FIFA. Non-uniform clothing is allowed based on weather conditions, but uniforms must still distinguish teams. Shin Guards are required, Jewelry is not allowed (this includes taping over any type of piercings)

A. Uniform: During a game, players must wear their team shirts tucked into their shorts. Non-uniform clothing is allowed based on weather conditions, but uniforms must still be visible to distinguish teams.

B. Footwear: Shoes and shin guards, covered by the socks are mandatory at all practice and game activities. Soccer shoes, tennis shoes, or similar type athletic shoes are recommended. The type and condition of cleated shoes must be inspected for safety before use.

C. Jewelry: NO jewelry (earrings, necklaces, bracelets…), metal or plastic hair clips are allowed on the playing field. Band-Aids or tape to cover earrings is not allowed.

Law 5 – The Referee:

A. A recreational referee or higher (Registered 09 recommended) is desired but not mandatory, games may be played with alternative officiating (Game Manager, Team Parent or Coach) if there is a shortage of referees so that the match can start on time.

B. All infringements should be briefly explained to the offending player.

Law 6 – The Assistant Referees: None.

Law 7 – The Duration of the Match:

A. The match shall be divided into four (4) equal, ten (10) minute quarters. There shall be a two (2) minute break between quarters one and two and another two (2) minute break between quarters three and four. There shall be a half-time interval of five (5) minutes.

B. Clock runs during the game, stopping only for the end of each 10 minute period.

Law 8 – The Start and Restart of Play: Conform to FIFA, with the following exceptions:

A. Opponents of the team taking the kick-off are at least three (3) yards from the ball until it is in play.

B. Kick is taken from the center of the field and the ball must move forward.

C. A goal may not be scored directly from the kick-off.

Law 9 – The Ball In and Out of Play: Conform to FIFA.

Law 10 – The Method of Scoring: Conform to FIFA.

Law 11 – Offside: There shall be no offside.

Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct: no caution or send off shall be issued to players. If a child is being too rambunctious then the game official will ask the coach to make a substitution of that player to give the child a chance to calm down before returning to play.

Law 13 – Free Kicks: Conform to FIFA with the following exceptions:

A. All free kicks shall be indirect.

B. A goal may not be scored until the ball has been played or touched by a second player of either team.

C. No kicks are to be taken by the attacking team within the defending team’s goal area.

D. Opponents must be five (5) yards away before kick is allowed.

Law 14 – The Penalty Kick: No penalty kicks shall be taken during these games.

Law 15 – The Throw-In: The player selected to throw must keep both feet on the ground while the ball is being thrown. Further, a portion of both feet must be on or behind the line as the ball is being thrown. One ‘do-over’ per thrower should be the normal response if the throw-in is incorrect. The official of the match should explain to the child how to execute the throw-in correctly. If the second attempt also results in an infraction, the opposing team shall be awarded the throw-in at the same spot on the field.

Law 16 – The Goal Kick: Conforms to FIFA Laws of the Game with the following exceptions:

A. The goal kick shall be made anywhere along the top of the penalty area.

B. Opponents must drop to the build out line also known as the Halfway Line, which promotes playing the ball out of the back in a less pressured setting. When the defender is taking a goal kick, the opposing team must move behind the halfway line until the ball is put into play. Once the opposing team is behind the build out line, the defender can kick / pass the ball to put it into play. After the ball is put into play by the defender the opposing team can cross the half line and play resumes as normal.

Ideally, the defender will wait to put the ball into play once all opponents are past the build out line. However; the defender can put the ball into play sooner but he or she does so accepting the positioning of the opponents and the consequences of how play resumes.

C. A goal may not be scored directly from a goal kick.

Law 17 – The Corner Kick: Conform to FIFA with the exception:

A. Opponents must remain at least four (4) yards from the ball until it is in play.

Additional Recommendations

  • Team/Spectator Seating:

A. Spectator and team benches should be on opposite sides of the field. Spectators and the team benches should be 2 yards from the field

B. Spectators cannot watch from the behind the end-line (goal area).

  • Sideline Behavior: Coaches and spectators should keep all comments positive and supportive of the players. Spectators should refrain from providing playing instructions to the players which should only be done by the coaching staff. No referee abuse will be tolerated.

  • No Sweeper-Keepers:

A. Coaches are strongly encouraged to have defensive players remain in the same 2/3 of the field as the ball. All players need to be encouraged to be involved in active play and not simply positioned in front of the goal to prevent scoring. Referees may remind coaches of this policy, but no penalty or sanction shall be enforced by the referee during the game.

B. If it is found that teams are keeping players in the 1/3 section of their goal line, a defensive line will be traced on the field. Players can play behind this line/ in this zone when actively playing the ball but cannot stay in that zone if the ball is away.

  • Slide Tackles: Slide tackles shall not be permitted. Any player engaging in slide tackles should be counseled to not repeat. Repeated infractions may result in the player be cautioned and/or red carded.

  • Scores: Scores are not kept in this age group and competition is within the club. The emphasis is on learning the game and having FUN, not winning and losing.

  • Injury: If the coach and game official determine an injury requires more assistance than they can provide, then a parent can be asked to enter the field also.

  • No alcoholic beverages or tobacco products will be consumed or allowed near the playing area.

  • Referee: Your referees are younger and less experienced as a rule in this age group. Asking a question to clarify a rule during player check in with the team is encouraged. Continuously suggesting a call for the referee or discussing/arguing the rules before, during or after the game is not allowed.


Coaches/Assistant Coaches – Allowable Exceptions During the game:

  • Responding to a referee initiating a communication

  • Making substitutions

  • Pointing out emergencies or safety issues

Spectators should not address the referee at any time!


  • 1st Infraction – Referee should stop the game, give a verbal warning to the coach, and ask the coach to warn the spectator that the next infraction will be an ejection or the referee will abandon the game.

  • 2nd Infraction – The referee shall instruct the coach to direct the spectator to leave the field. The referee should abandon the game if the spectator does not leave the field.

Communications among players and referees are governed by the FIFA Laws of the Game.

Everyone, especially coaches and assistant coaches, shall provide support to the referees at all times.

1. Coaches are responsible for assistant coaches’, players’, fans’, and their own behavior.

2. Any coach who does not comply with a referee’s request to deal with a fan shall be issued a misconduct as deemed appropriate by the referee.

3. Anyone responsible for the verbal or physical assault of a referee prior to, during, or following a game will be subject to review by the Board of Directors.

o Any issues or discussion of the rules or game performance may be done away from the players and referee with Mark Hollister, NWSC President, by any of the follow means.

Email: president@nwsoccerclub.org

Phone: 515-321-5548