New U8 Rules for Fall 2016

The rules for our U8 Divisions were updated on August 18, 2016 to come more in line with recent USSF guidelines (which are likely to become mandates in the fall of 2007).  Among other things, we have issued clarifications on field lining, substitutions and restarts.  We ask all coaches, referees and others who will be involved with the U8 divisions to become familiar with the rules as revised.

NOTE: The latest changes made on September 7, 2016, which are highlighted in red.

Westchester Youth Soccer League

U8 Small-Sided Games Format for Fall 2016/Spring 2017

(For players born on or after January 1, 2009, based on the new USSF calendar year mandates)

1.  Minimum roster size per team will be 8; maximum roster size will be 12, although the League President may waive the maximum for good cause following application by the club president.

2.  Matches between teams in a division will be scheduled during a 1¼ hour block on a weekly basis, as is the case currently. The League will attempt to populate divisions that are more regional to minimize the amount of travel for U8 teams.

3.  Each of the two teams scheduled to play during the 1¼ hour block will arrive at the designated field, which will contain at least two side-by-side fields meeting the requirements set forth below. Before match play starts that day, the coach of Team A (the home team) will split Team A into Squad A1 and Squad A2 and the coach of Team B (the away team) will split Team B into Squad B1 and Squad B2. Each squad must have at least three players to play a match. If, on a particular day, a team has eight or more players, it must assign at least four players to each squad; if it has seven players, it must assign three to one squad and four to the other; if it has six players, it must assign three to each squad; if it has three, four or five players, it must assign all players to a single squad, which would play its matches, while the other squad would forfeit its matches; if it has fewer than three players, it would forfeit all of its matches. There will be only one forfeiture fee per team.

4.  Match play will consist of simultaneous 4v4 matches (each with four field players, no goalkeeper) on side-by-side fields. Each squad will play two 24-minute matches (each with two 12-minute halves, separated by a 2-minute break). First, Squad A1 will play Squad B1 on subfield 1 and Squad A2 will play Squad B2 on subfield 2. There will be a break (of 5-10 minutes, depending on weather and other factors) after each squad finishes its first match during which Squads A1 and A2 will switch fields, after which Squad A2 will play Squad B1 on subfield 1 and Squad A1 will play Squad B2 on subfield 2. For each of the four matches, the away team will decide which goal to attack in the first half and the home team will take the kick-off to start the game, and, for the second half, the teams will change ends and attack the opposite goals and the away team will take the kick-off to start the half.  Once players are assigned to a squad before a match, they must stay with that squad for the remainder of that match (but they may switch to the team’s other squad during the break between the first and second matches).            

5.  We will not be keeping scores. (We plan to keep sportsmanship scores; details to be released before the first game of the season.)

6.  One carded coach per team may supervise both simultaneous matches, but the League strongly recommends that each team have two carded coaches present - one to supervise each match.

7.  Field of play for each match should be 30 yards by 20 yards (with each home team/club providing two such fields, side by side, for each 1¼ hour block).  Deviations in field size should only be allowed in exceptional circumstances upon application by the club President to the League President.  A halfway line shall be marked, equidistant between the goal lines. No penalty or goal areas should be marked. While normal field lining is preferred, chalk or other temporary lines will be acceptable. Alternatively, flat cones or spots may be used to mark the four corners and the non-lined portions of the perimeter (approximately 5-8 yards apart) of the field may be utilized, provided the referee is satisfied that the markings do not create a safety issue. If there is no midfield line (and no safe substitute as temporary lining for the midfield line), cones (distinguishable from other cones where other cones are used) can be placed on each touch line, equidistant between the end lines, and a virtual midfield line shall exist between these two cones.

8.  Goal size will be 6 feet wide and 4 feet high.

9.  Ball size will be number 3.

10.  Restarts:

a.  Kick offs, goal kicks, corner kicks, throw-ins and drop balls shall be used to start or restart play as with the older age groups, following the requirements of the Laws of the Game, as modified below.

b.  Kick offs shall be taken from a spot at the approximate center of the midfield line. All opposing players shall be at least five (5) yards from that spot until the kick is taken.  

c.  Goal kicks shall be taken from any point within five (5) yards of the end line.  All other players must be at least five (5) yards from the spot when the kick is taken and should not move closer than five (5) yards from that spot or touch the ball until the ball moves at least five (5) yards from that spot.  If the ball does not move at least five (5) yards from that spot, or if there is any other non-trifling violation of this rule, the referee should call for a re-kick.

d.  Corner kicks shall be taken from a spot within a yard of the corner of the field closest to where the ball went over the end line when last touched by a player from the defending team. Players on the defending team shall be required to remain five (5) yards away from the ball until the kick is taken.  

e.  While throw-ins should follow the requirements of the Laws of the Game, referees are encouraged to instruct players as to these requirements and to allow players to retake throw-ins one or more times and to allow non-blatant violations as they deem appropriate to help players learn and develop, while not unduly interrupting the flow of the game, keeping in mind the developmental nature of play at this age group.

f.  All free kicks shall be indirect free kicks (even where the Laws of the Game would otherwise call for a direct free kick). On all free kicks, players on the defending team shall be required to remain five (5) yards away from the ball until the kick is taken.  

g.  Deliberate heading is not allowed. When a player heads the ball deliberately, in the opinion of the referee, the referee should stop play and award an indirect free kick to the opposing team from the spot where the heading occurs (provided, that, if that spot is less than ten (10) yards from the goal defended by the team of the player who deliberately headed the ball, the kick should be taken from a spot which is ten (10) yards from that goal (at approximately the same angle to the goal as the angle from the spot where the deliberate heading took place to the goal).

h.  Determination of all distances under this rule shall be at the complete discretion of the referee.

11.  The offside rule shall NOT be in effect. 

12.  Referees may issue yellow or red cards in their discretion, but are very strongly discouraged from doing so except where absolutely essential.

13.  Unlimited substitutions may be made, with the consent of the Referee, at any stoppage in play.

14.  All interpretations of the rules for this age group should consider first the safety of the players and second the developmental nature of play at this age group.  The emphasis should be on playing and having fun, not strict interpretation of the Laws of the Game as modified by these rules.  

15.  The League plans to assign a referee (likely a new category of junior referee) to officiate each match.

16.  Improvements to be considered for Spring 2017 while continuing basic format, including roster size, from the fall.




Contact WYSL:
Phone: (914) 235-5110
Fax: (914) 235-5323
Office Location:
32 Elm Place, Suite 1S
Rye, New York 10580