U8 Soccer Rules: An Easy Guide for Young Players 2023

U8 soccer also referred to as under-8 or U8 recreational soccer, is designed specifically for children aged seven or eight. It serves as an introduction to the sport, allowing young players to learn the basics while having fun with their teammates. U8 soccer rules are modified to suit the skill level and physical abilities of this age group, promoting fair play, skill development, and sportsmanship.

U8 Soccer Rules

Table with overview of U8 soccer rules:

RulesRule Information
Kick-offStarting the game with a kick from the center of the field.
Throw-insRestarting play when the ball goes out of bounds on the sidelines.
Goal kicksAwarded to the defending team when the ball goes out over the goal line.
Corner kicksAwarded to the attacking team when the ball goes out over the goal line.
No offside ruleNo restrictions on players’ positioning in relation to the defenders.
Fouls and penaltiesCertain actions are not allowed and result in free-kicks for the opposing team.
SubstitutionsAllowing players to be replaced during breaks in play.
Team structureTypically consists of six to eight players, including a goalkeeper.
Scoring a goalKicking the ball into the opposing team’s goal to earn points.
EquipmentWearing soccer cleats, shin guards, and appropriate clothing.
Field dimensionsSmaller field size compared to adult soccer matches.
Goalkeeper rulesSpecial rules apply to the goalkeeper’s role and handling of the ball.
Fair playEmphasizing sportsmanship, respect, and fair competition.
Coaching emphasisFocusing on skill development, teamwork, and enjoyment.
Duration of the gameGames usually consist of four quarters, each lasting around 10-12 minutes.

Overview of U8 Soccer

U8 soccer is typically played on a smaller field compared to adult soccer, often around 25-30 yards wide and 40-50 yards long. The objective of the game remains the same: to score more goals than the opposing team. However, the rules are adjusted to accommodate the players’ size, stamina, and skill level.

recommended drills for U8 soccer training

Field and Equipment

The field for U8 soccer is marked with boundaries and includes goalposts at each end. The goalposts are narrower compared to those used in professional soccer matches. The players wear soccer cleats, shin guards, and comfortable clothing suitable for physical activity. It’s important to ensure that all equipment and the playing surface are safe and suitable for young players.

u8 soccer rules

Basic Rules

  1. Kick-off: The game starts with a kick-off from the center of the field. The opposing team must be at least five yards away from the ball until it is kicked.
  2. Throw-ins: When the ball goes out of bounds on the sidelines, it is put back into play through a throw-in. Players must use both hands to throw the ball from behind their heads while keeping both feet on the ground.
  3. Goal kicks: If the attacking team kicks the ball out of bounds over the goal line, the defending team is awarded a goal kick. The ball is placed within the goal area and is kicked back into play.
  4. Corner kicks: When the defending team kicks the ball out of bounds over the goal line, the attacking team is awarded a corner kick. The ball is placed within the corner arc and is kicked back into play.
  5. No offside rule: At the U8 level, the offside rule is usually not enforced. This allows players more freedom to explore and develop their attacking skills.

Team Structure

U8 soccer team typically consists of six to eight players on the field, including a goalkeeper. The players are encouraged to rotate positions to gain a better understanding of the game. This rotation also helps develop well-rounded skills and prevents players from becoming specialized too early.

Scoring and Offside

In U8 soccer, scoring a goal brings great excitement to both players and spectators. When a player successfully kicks the ball into the opposing team’s goal, a goal is awarded to their team. It’s important to emphasize the joy of scoring and celebrate the efforts of all players, regardless of the outcome.

As mentioned earlier, the offside rule is often not enforced at the U8 level. This means that players can position themselves anywhere on the field without the fear of being called offside. This encourages more active participation and allows young players to focus on developing their skills without the complexities of offside positioning.

Fouls and Penalties

While U8 soccer emphasizes fair play and enjoyment, it’s essential to introduce young players to the concept of fouls and penalties. Players should understand that certain actions are not allowed in the game to ensure everyone’s safety and maintain a fair playing environment.

Common fouls in U8 soccer include:

  1. Pushing or tripping: Players must avoid using excessive force or deliberately tripping opponents.
  2. Handballs: Players are not allowed to touch the ball with their hands unless they are the goalkeeper within their own penalty area.
  3. Dangerous play: Actions such as high kicks or tackling from behind are considered dangerous and should be avoided.

When a foul occurs, a free-kick is awarded to the opposing team. It’s crucial for coaches and referees to explain these fouls to the players, emphasizing the importance of fair play and sportsmanship.


U8 soccer teams often utilize a substitution system to ensure that all players have equal opportunities to participate and rest. Coaches can establish specific rules regarding substitutions to ensure fairness and keep players engaged throughout the game. Substitutions can be made during breaks in play, such as throw-ins or goal kicks.

Coaching Tips for U8 Soccer

Coaches play a vital role in creating a positive and engaging experience for young soccer players. Here are a few coaching tips to enhance the U8 soccer experience:

  1. Focus on fundamentals: Emphasize the development of basic skills such as passing, dribbling, and shooting. Provide age-appropriate drills and exercises to enhance these skills.
  2. Encourage sportsmanship: Teach players to respect opponents, referees, and teammates. Emphasize fair play and discourage negative behaviors such as arguing with the referee or displaying poor sportsmanship.
  3. Keep it fun: Design training sessions and practices that incorporate fun games and activities. Remember that at this age, the primary goal is to foster a love for the sport and keep children engaged.
  4. Promote teamwork: Teach young players the value of teamwork and encourage cooperation on and off the field. Emphasize the importance of supporting and encouraging teammates.

Importance of Fair Play

U8 soccer provides an excellent platform to introduce young players to the concept of fair play. It’s essential to emphasize that winning is not the sole focus of the game. Instead, the focus should be on enjoying the sport, developing skills, and displaying good sportsmanship. Coaches, parents, and referees should work together to create a positive and supportive environment that nurtures fair play and encourages young players to respect the rules and their opponents.

Conclusion U8 Soccer Drills

U8 soccer is an exciting and formative experience for young players. By understanding and following the simplified rules, children can enjoy the game while learning essential skills and values. Remember, the primary goal is to foster a love for soccer, promote fair play, and create a positive environment that encourages growth and development both on and off the field.

(FAQs) u8 Soccer Rules

What is the minimum age to play U8 soccer?

The U8 category is typically for children aged seven or eight, although specific age requirements may vary depending on the league or organization.

How long is a U8 soccer game?

U8 soccer games often consist of four quarters, each lasting around 10 to 12 minutes. However, the duration may vary based on the league’s regulations.

Are there any restrictions on goalkeepers in U8 soccer?

Goalkeepers in U8 soccer have similar rules to other players, but they are usually allowed to use their hands to pick up the ball within their own penalty area. However, it’s essential to confirm specific rules with the league or organization.

Can U8 players use their hands to throw the ball in?

No, U8 players must use proper throw-in technique, which involves throwing the ball using both hands from behind the head while keeping both feet on the ground. Using hands to throw the ball is not allowed.

What are some recommended drills for U8 soccer training?

There are numerous fun and engaging drills suitable for U8 soccer training. Some examples include dribbling through cones, passing relays, shooting accuracy exercises, and small-sided games to encourage teamwork and decision-making.

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  • Jack Wilson

    My name is Jack Wilson, and I'm a professional soccer trainer. My goal is to provide you with helpful soccer tactics and information on this website. We are accepting guest post and niche edits on socceriate.com contact me on [email protected] I will keep sharing best tactics, soccer information and soccer tips.

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