New To Soccer? Basic Rules and Development
NEW TO SOCCER? Basic Rules Below
New to Soccer? Here are some of the basic rules...
Kickoff - Play is started by kicking the ball from the center of the field. Each team must start on their side of the field. The opposing team may not be inside the circle until the ball is played. The player who takes the kickoff may not touch the ball again until it is touched by another player. The kick may go in any direction. The kickoff is a "direct kick" and, therefore, may directly score a goal. (Coaches at our level should not encourage or teach this practice, however.) The ball may not be put into play until directed by the referee.
The ball is "in play" as long as any part of the ball is touching or inside the outer most edge of the line marking the edge of the field. The ball may be touching the grass outside the line, but as long as any part of the ball breaks the plane of the outermost edge of the sideline or endline, it is still in play. A player may stand out of bounds and play the ball. The ball is not out of play until it has entirely crossed the plane. (This is why parents must stay at least 3 feet away from the sidelines during games.) Similarly, a goal is not scored until the entire ball has crossed over the entire goalline/endline so that no part of the ball is still breaking the plane of the outside edge of the goalline.
When the ball goes out of play over a sideline, the team that was NOT the last to touch the ball (intentional or not) gets a throw-in. When the ball goes out over an endline, the team that was NOT the last to touch the ball gets a free kick (goal kick if it is the defensive team, corner kick if it is the offensive team). Players may restart play immediately and do NOT have to wait for the referee unless the referee has held play in order to allow substitutions.
Throw-in - A throw-in must be made using both hands. The hands must start from behind the head and the ball must travel over the head. Both feet must stay in contact with the ground throughout the entire throw. A run prior to the throw is allowed so long as both feet remain in contact with the ground throughout the entire throwing motion. (One foot may be dragged during the throw.) Part of the foot may be in the field of play, but at least some part of EACH foot must be either on or behind the sideline. (Neither entire foot may not be inside the field of play.) An opposing player may not interfere with a throw-in and must remain 2 meters (~6 feet) away from the thrower. A throw-in is considered "indirect" and may not score a goal unless touched by at least one player (from either team) before entering the goal.
Goal kick - A defensive player (including goalie) typically kicks the ball from the corner of the goal box (the smallest rectangle nearest the goal) on the side that the ball exited play. (The ball may, however, be kicked from anywhere in the half of the goal box on the side that the ball exited play.) The ball may NOT be touched by any player on either team until it has exited the penalty box (the larger box near a goal or the area that a goal keeper may use their hands).
Our modified rules for small-sided games state that both teams must move to their half of the field for a goal kick (for all ages except U13) although the goal kick may be taken before that has occured, if desired.
Corner kick - An offensive player kicks the ball from the corner of the field on the side that the ball exited play. The ball may be placed anywhere inside or touching the arc painted near the corner of the field. The ball is in play immediately when kicked. A corner kick is a direct kick and may score.
Goal Keeper - A goal keeper may play anywhere on the field, but may only handle the ball with his/her hands inside the penalty area. The keeper may sometimes be in a dangerous situation (reaching down with hands/face while the other team is kicking at it). The keeper must always be protected by the rules of the game and the referee. If any part of the keeper is touching the ball, everyone else must stop kicking at it and, even if the keeper is not touching the ball, wild kicking near the keeper should be prevented. Once the keeper has the ball and has gotten to their feet, they have 6 seconds to put the ball back into play. (This is just a guideline for us. They should not sit there all day, but should not be penalized.) An opposing player may not interfere with the keeper in any way while they are putting the ball back into play. A keeper may throw the ball any way they want, drop-kick the ball (the ball bounces then is kicked), or punt the ball (the ball is kicked before bouncing). For U10/U13 only, a keeper may not drop-kick or punt the ball directly into the opposing team's penalty area. If the ball does not touch the ground (bounce) before landing in the opposing team's penalty area, the defending team is awarded an indirect free kick at midfield.
All children are different and learn soccer skills at different rates, but here are some very general guidelines for the development that we can expect to see in the children as they mature through the age groups. You can use this as a guideline for how to focus your practices.
Kids at this age are individually focused. Most of the development tends to be in individual skills.
- Kicking - Focus on proper technique
- Toe down, knee over ball, kick with laces for power (see who can kick the farthest using this technique)
- Twist foot outward (but not hips), lock ankle, and kick with inside of foot for accuracy (see who can hit a cone while kicking correctly)
- Discourage kicking with the toe!!!
- Practice with both feet
- Keep the ball within 3-4 feet, practice dribbling at different speeds, learn to change direction (to the side or reverse direction)
- With practice, kids will learn to dribble while glancing up to see what is happening around them
- Use lots of games to give kids practice dribbling and encourage looking up while dribbling (follow-the-leader, sharks and minnows, etc.)
- Practice with both feet
- Trapping (how to control a ball that is coming to you)
- Stomp on ball to stop it
- Use inside of foot to control it
Continue to develop individual skills! Also, kids at this age are able to start working in pairs.
- Add juggling and other "touch" drills to individual skills
- Use your body to shield the ball from an opponent
- Don't be afraid to use chest, thigh, shin on ball. Keep hands down!
- Shoot for the corners of the goal, not the center where the goalie is.
- Play defense by maintaining a position between the ball and the goal. Do not kick/stab at the ball on defense - opponents will go right by.
- Encourage buddy play and drills (passing through gates drills, how many passes can you make in x seconds, keep away)
- Introduce and encourage general positions (offense, defense, left, right) and the purpose of the position (defense keeps the ball away from our goal, offense takes the ball to their goal)
Continue to develop individual skills! Focus on the whole team.
- Add controlling the ball from the air to individual skills
- Control the ball on the first touch
- Draw the other team to you and then make the pass to the open player
- Give and Go
- Teach soccer concepts like turning the ball to the outside on defense (rather than toward the center of the field)
- Attack up the sidelines and then look to pass to the center