US Soccer recommends, and WSC supports, 4v4 games for the u5, u6 & u8 REC age groups.
If all REC coaches for these age groups follow the below 4v4 game guidelines it provides consistency for the players, makes the games more FUN for the players and enhances their skill development.
How to correctly run a 4v4 game is demonstrated at a pre-season meeting.
4v4 Game Guidelines
• ONE coach only on the field
• Coaches not running games are responsible for substitutions and sideline
• No goalkeepers
• Games are 2 x 20-minute halves with a brief 5-minute half-time break
• Ball out sideline
> u5/u6 the coach passes the ball back into play
> u8 the players can pass the ball back into play
• Ball out end line
> Offense retreat half-field, defense dribble or pass ball back in play
• Corner Kicks: not at the u5/u6 level, introduce at u8
• GOAL! Restart from center or restart quickly from the goal (coach discretion)
• Parents/spectators should watch from the sidelines not from behind the goals
Additional Notes / Suggestions
The one coach on the field should keep the game fast paced and moving, do not spend time teaching positions at these age groups LET THEM PLAY!
Make substitutions on average every five minutes, depending on the number of and stamina of the players.
No formal free-kicks at these age groups. For an infraction like hand ball just give possession to the other team and keep playing!
- If the ball goes off the field during the game and a player or coach can get the ball back on the field quickly then keep playing
- If a game is uneven the coach on the field can pass the ball into space to help the weaker team, or switch players to even up the teams
- In the event of uneven teams coaches should communicate with each other and share players when necessary
This is REC soccer, coaches should always communicate and cooperate to help all teams and players have a fun and positive experience.