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Western United Soccer Club

Western United Soccer Club

Rules/Tips for 10-12 Year Olds

Click here to see the Official USYS Small-Sided Rules.  (We use the rules for U12 but allow U13 age kids to play with this group.)

Here are some highlights:
1) We play 9 v 9. There are 8 field players plus a goal keeper. (This may be adjusted based on registration numbers.)
2) Each player must play at least 50% of the game.
3) We play two 30 minute halves with a 5 minute halftime break.  The referee will start the game on time, so please be sure your team is ready!
4) Slide tackling is NOT allowed! (This is different from NCYSA, but WUSC enforces this rule for safety.)
5) Heading IS allowed in a game if the opportunity arises, but should not be the objective of the players.  (Do not plan/encourage the high cross to a header, for example.)  Heading is not allowed in practice.
6) If a goal keeper punts a ball and it flies directly into the opposing team's penalty box, an infraction will be called and the opposing team will get a free kick from midfield.  A punt may land outside the opposing team's penalty box and roll, bounce, or be deflected into the penalty box, but it may not fly directly into it.
7) Offside will be enforced.  Here are two videos that provide basic concept: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFCdMz7eph8 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKxy45xqgSo
8) 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) Players should NOT specialize at this age!  Goal keepers may not play more than 50% of the game in the goal and must have significant field time during the other half.
3) One sideline is designated for the parents.  The other sideline is reserved for the coaches and players from both teams.
4) Remind parents not to tell the kids what to do - that is the coach's job.  Instead they should praise good actions and cheer for their team.  Many kids get stressed out when they are constantly told conflicting information about what to do.  The goal is for the kids to learn to make their own decisions during the game.
5) 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 balanced and fun for everyone.  Remember, there are no win/loss or goal statistics kept.
6) 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.
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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