The guidelines for U-8 games in the AYSO Short-Sided Games Program are the same as for U-6 games and no other elements of the Laws of the Game apply, with the following modiﬁcations or additions:
The recommended ﬁeld size for U-8 games is 50 x 25 yards with the following ﬁeld markings: Halfway line, 6 yard radius center circle, 1 yard radius corner arcs and 6 x 12 yard goal areas. See diagram on the following page.
50 yards long
3 yards from touch line 2 x 20 yards, 1 yard from touch line
The goals in U-8 games should be a maximum of 6 feet high and 6 yards wide.
A size 3 ball is used for U-8 games.
Each U-8 team should have a maximum of 7 on the roster. Games are played with 5 players per team on the ﬁeld (5v5) and no goalkeepers.
AYSO certiﬁed U-8 Ofﬁcials or higher are required for U-8 games. The U-8 Ofﬁcial should brieﬂy explain any infringements to the player(s) and encourage proper play and sporting behavior. As with all games, every effort should be made to keep the game moving and free from stoppages for doubtful infractions. Let them play and enjoy.
Duration of Game:
U-8 games are forty minutes and are played in 2 twenty minute halves with substitutions allowed 10 minutes into each half. The half-time break is 5-10 minutes.
Opponents must be at least 6 yards from the ball during the kick-off in U-8 games.
The following, if deliberately done, are the fouls most likely to occur in U-8 games: kicking, tripping, pushing, holding, handling the ball and dangerous play. Do not stop play for triﬂing violations. It’s a player’s game so keep the fun going and let them play.
Misconduct should be rare in U-8 games. There is no need for the public cautioning and sending off of young players (leave your red and yellow cards home). Ofﬁcials should work cooperatively with the coach when a U-8 player may need a “time out”.
All free kicks in U-8 games are direct free kicks. Opponents must be at least 6 yards from the ball or on the goal line between the goal posts during free kicks. Free kicks awarded the attacking team inside the defending team’s goal area are to be taken from the nearest point on the goal area line parallel to the goal line.
A second throw-in should be allowed in U-8 games if the ﬁrst attempt was improperly done. Following brief corrective instructions, a second attempt should be permitted. If the second attempt is still done improperly, let it go. Proper technique can be reinforced later by the coach. Keep the game moving and minimize interruptions.
A goal kick is awarded the opposing team, in U-8 age groups and older, when the attacking team is last to touch the ball before it crosses the goal line but not scoring a goal. The goal kick may be taken from any point inside the goal area. The opposing team must be at least 6 yards from the ball when the goal kick is taken in U-8 games.
A corner kick is awarded the opposing team, in U-8 age groups and older, when the defending team is last to touch the ball before it crosses the goal line but not scoring a goal. The opposing team must be at least 6 yards from the ball when the corner kick is taken in U-8 games.