8U Guidelines

The Field:

The field size for 8-U games is 35 yards long, 25 yards wide.

The Markings:

Distinctive lines recommended. If not available, flags and cones can be use to mark the area of play.

Halfway line the width of the field, marked equidistant between the goal lines. Center circle with an six-yard radius in the center of the field. Corner arcs with a one-yard radius at each corner of the field. Goal area in front of each goal measuring 6 x 12 yards.

The Goals:

Maximum six feet high and six yards wide.

The Ball:

A size 3 ball is used for 8-U games.

The Players:

There will be four per team on field; no goalkeepers. Six maximum on roster.

Substitutions are between periods, at halftime and for injuries. The players will be separated by girls and boys teams at all levels of play. Playing time is a minimum of two halves per game and no player should play four periods until everyone has played three. Separate girls and boys teams should be promoted at all levels of play.

Player Equipment:

Shoes and shinguard's 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.

Duration of Game:

Four 10-minute periods. Halftime break of 5–10 minutes.

The Start of Play:

The game should be started with a kick-off in the middle of the field.

The Kick-off:

A coin toss is used to determine which team kicks off to start the game and the other team kicks off to start the second half. Opponents must be six yards from the center mark while kick-off is in progress.

Method of Scoring:

See 8-U Coaching Manual.

Heading the Ball: 

Consistent with the US Soccer mandates on heading the ball, heading is banned for all division players 11U (12U and below for programs without single age divisions) and below in both practices and matches.


When the ball is out of play on the touch line (side line), the restart of play should be a throw-in by the team opposite of who last touch the ball out of play. The proper throw-in technique is described in the 8U coaching manual.  

Goal/Corner Kick: 

When the ball is out of play, past the goal line and last touched by the attacking team, the defending team will be awarded a Goal Kick and restart the ball from inside the goal box. When the ball is out of play, past the goal line and last touched by the defending team, the attacking team will be awarded a Corner Kick and restart the ball from the corner flag (or cone). The side of the corner flag is determined by the side of the goal post in which the ball past.

Fouls & Misconduct

There are no regulated fouls in this division, it is up to the desecration of the referee to stop play. The Referee will assess direct free kicks for all stoppage of play, with the opponents six yards away from the ball.

Free kicks are awarded the attacking team inside the defending team's goal area should be taken from the nearest point on the goal area line in front of the goal. There are no penalty kicks. Referees will work cooperatively with the coaches and eliminate the need for cautions and send-offs. Do not show yellow or red cards.

The Referee:

AYSO certified 8-U Officials or higher are required for 8-U games. The Referee should briefly explain any infringements to the player(s) and encourage proper play and sporting behavior. As with all games, every effort should be made to keep the game moving and free from stoppages for doubtful infractions. Let them play and enjoy.