Small-sided Games (U-6 to U-12)


AYSO recommends that all children under the age of 12 play short-sided (less than 11 players per team) soccer. As such, the Region is supplementing the Regional Guidelines with the following small-sided guidelines for the specified age divisions:

Why Small-Sided Soccer?

Small-sided soccer is about what is best for young soccer players. It's for AYSO coaches, referees, administrators, spectators, and anyone else concerned with the development of 5 to 12 year old soccer players.

For more information about why AYSO recommends small-sided games, please visit the AYSO webpage.

Clarifications to the Small-sided Guidelines

Under-6 Division

AYSO Region 213 is going to slightly modify the standard Under-6 guidelines in the following ways:

  • Games will be four (4) eight (8) minute periods rather than four five minute periods.
  • Teams can practice one (1) time per week for one (1) hour per practice.

Goal Keeper Guidelines for Under-10 and Under-12

The current Regional Guidelines are new for this Membership Year and they are based on the AYSO Standard Regional Guidelines. The new Regional Guidelines do not have provisions or restrictions related to goal keepers. The only provisions in the new Regional Guidelines include: 1) All Players must play at least half of the game (with exceptions related to players sent off for misconduct and for injury); and 2) A Region-specific rule which states no player may play the entire game until all players have played three-fourths (3/4ths) of the game.

The Region placed restrictions on players playing in goal in the past. The goal was to ensure players get to play some of the game on the field. The Region determined it still wants to require players play part of the game on the field prompting this additional clarification: any player who plays in goal must play at least one-quarter (1/4) of the game as a player on the field (not a goal keeper. Here are some examples to illustrate:

  • If a player plays half the game in goal, then they must play at least one quarter in goal.
  • A player can play 3/4 of the game in goal and 1/4 of the game on the field as long as all other players played at least 3/4 of the game.

Coaches will need to closely monitor player playing time to ensure this guideline clarification is being followed.

Note: This clarification only applies to the Under-9 through Under-14 core program divisions.

Player Safety and Slide Tackles

General Information

All coaches and officials should make every effort to make the games safe and fair for all players and spectators. In particular, in those rare cases where one team is substantially dominating the game, coaches should do all they can to minimize the chances of lopsided scores by adjusting the lineup accordingly and deploying other tactics to limit how many times players move to goal. This also will minimize escalated emotions during these matches. Few teams really like to win 10-0 and none like to lose 0-10.

Slide Tackles for U10 and up

Slide tackles should be discouraged as a part of the game. They are difficult to execute properly and they are often dangerous and lead to a high degree of injuries. The referee shall remain the sole judge in deciding which plays are fouls and whether or not a player merits a Caution (yellow card) or Send-off (red card) for misconduct.

Slide Tackles in U7 and U8 Games

For player safety, no “slide tackles.” The Referee will stop play for any slide tackle, inform the player slide tackles are not permitted, and award a DFK to the opposing team.