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Western United Soccer Club

Western United Soccer Club

Rules/Tips for 6-7 Year Olds

Click here to see the Official USYS Small-Sided Rules.

Here are some highlights:
1) We play 6 vs 6. There are 5 field players plus a goal keeper. (This is a modification from the NCYSA Small-Sided Guidelines).
2) Each player must play at least 50% of the game.
3) We play 12 minute quarters with a 2 minute break between the 1 & 2nd and 3 & 4th.  There is a 5 minute halftime break.  Have a parent or an assistant coach keep track of time and let you know when 1/4 of the time has elapsed each quarter (3:00).  You will find it very difficult if not impossible to keep track of time while coaching so have an assistant or parent do this and the time hacks keep you mindful of substitutions (see #2). Please try to keep on time - especially if you are the first game of the day!
4) Slide tackling is NOT allowed!
5) Heading is not allowed.
6) One do-over for an improper throw-in is allowed.  Do not let poor throw-ins slide.  Explain the error and give them another chance to make a proper throw-in.
7) There are no penalty kicks.
8) Goal keepers must be protected at this age!  Keepers must wear a pinny to distinguish them from the other players.  No player may kick at a ball if any part of the keeper is touching the ball.  No player may kick wildly at a ball when a keeper is on the ground in the vicinity of the ball.  Make sure you teach and enforce this at every practice and game.
9) Based on the recommendation from USYS (parent of NCYSA), both teams must move to their half of the field during a goal kick.  This allows the kicking team to begin an attack rather than have to play defensively on a goal kick (kick the ball to the sideline and out of play).  Once the ball is touched, players are free to move anywhere on the field.  The goal kick may be taken prior to the other team retreating, if the kicking team chooses to.
10) You and the other coach are the refs.  Stop play if there is an infraction. (The most common infractions at this age are pushing with the arms, tripping, or high-kick - kicking above the waist while other players are nearby.)  In these cases, explain the penalty to all the kids and offer a free kick from the spot of the foul and let play continue.
11) In the event of lightning and/or thunder all practice and play must be stopped immediately and the field cleared! After a 30 minute period without any lightning or thunder, play/practice may resume.

Here are some other tips:
1) Player safety is your primary concern as a coach.  Your second concern is that they have fun!
2) Each player should play about the same amount of time in each game.  I found it difficult to keep track of this during a game, so I would come up with a substitution plan before each game.  But don't be afraid to modify it if the game is a blow out.
3) I recommend you use a parent on the sideline to keep time.  Ask them to let you know when 6 minutes has passed and at the end of the quarter.  Then, the next time the ball goes out of play, you can make your substitutions.  The clock generally does not stop when the ball goes out of play.  If there is a significant delay due to injury or fetching a ball out of play, you can add some time to the quarter, but please be respectful that there may be up to 2 more games that need use the field after you and need to start on time.
4) If one team is scoring all the goals, the other team may add a player to the field help balance the competition and keep the game more enjoyable for everyone.  NCYSA's recommendation is that a player may be added when a team is down by 3 goals.  If that team scores and is only down by 2 goals, the extra player would have to leave the field.  Since we don't "keep score," you don't have to follow that exactly, but it is a good guideline to think about when it might be appropriate.  Coaches of teams that are up by 2 or 3 goals need to also look at what they can do with their lineups to give other players an opportunity and keep the game more fun for everyone.  Remember, there are no win/loss or goal statistics kept.
5) Talk to the opposing coach before the game and pick a quarter (or half of a quarter based on my comment 1 above) to put all of your (and their) least skilled players on the field at the same time.  It will give them the opportunity to step up to a role that they may not get to experience when the stronger players are on the field.  It also lets them watch what happens when all the strongest players play together after the substitutions.  Remember, we don't keep score or stats, so the most important part is that the kids learn and have fun.
6) Remember, you and the other coach are working as a team.  Work together to do what will create the best learning environment for the kids.  If you have questions about the rules and what is appropriate at this age, start with the other coach and if still unsure, feel free to ask another coach, board member, or myself.
7) If anyone gets a skinned knee or bump or bruise, their are first aid kits in the shed with ice packs, band-aids, etc.
8) Praise players from both teams!  This teaches your team good sportsmanship.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask for help - either from another coach or from anyone else affiliated with WUSC.  We're all working together to help our kids have a great community soccer club.
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