The US soccer rules for kids are a bit different then the FIFA’s (The Federation International Football Association) rules. Did you know that the recently published FIFA rule book is a 140 pages long?
ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY PAGES!!!!!!
That makes me want to cry thinking that I was training to become a referee myself.
Thankfully, I stopped, but it does make me thankful for those that are referees. Their job is pretty hard. I mean the whole crowd plus each team is pretty much against you. That is a lot of pressure.
So, if you are new to soccer then you are basically considered a beginner. Therefore you are probably just trying to figure out the game of soccer. Even though at this point it may be a good idea to have some basic rules of the game memorized don’t think you have to memorize an entire 140 page book!
Or maybe you are a parent who has never played the game of soccer and you honestly don’t even understand the basics of the game of soccer.
Well first of all, the rule book I am referring to above is for professional soccer athletes and not for kids.
I will be providing you with a simple list of the basic US soccer rules for kids that will help with your soccer journey.
And no! This is not going to be 140 pages long! 😉
8 Basic Rules of Soccer:
Let’s start with the most basic rule of soccer.
The object of the game is to get the soccer ball into your opposing team’s goal. If you don’t do that, then you are less likely to win the game and are giving your opponents the opportunity to win because they are trying to do the same thing.
So, do whatever you can to kick the ball into the net. I recommend passing the ball to your teammates to get the ball in position to score a goal. Some players like to keep the ball for themselves the whole time but that strategy will most likely get the ball taken away.
The game of soccer is used with any part of your body except using your hands or arms. You can use your shoulders but if the ball touches any part of your arm or hand the referee’s will most likely call a hand ball and the ball will go to the other team. The only person that has the exception of this rule is the goalkeeper. He must be inside the 18 yard box (Goalie box) to be able to touch the ball with his/her hands.
11 vs. 11
Each team is allowed 11 players on the field during a soccer match. You have 10 field players and 1 goalkeeper. You may trade players in and out, which is called a substitution, but only when the referee calls you in. Substitution rules change when you get into college and pro soccer.
Soccer Field Size
Each soccer field has to be at least a rectangular in shape. Other than
that the size of the field depends on the age and level of the soccer team, the younger the players the smaller the field.
Regulation lengths are:
- Touch line: Minimum 90 meters (100 yards), maximum 120 meters (130 yards)
- Width (goal line): Minimum 45 m (50 yds), maximum 90 m (100 yds).
- At each end of the field is an eight-yard-wide goal centered along the goal line.
- Six yards from each goal post along the goal line and six yards out into the field (perpendicular to the goal line) is the goal box.
- Extending 18 yards from each goal post along the goal line and 18 yards out into the field (perpendicular to the goal line) is the penalty box.
- In each of the four corners of the field is a five-foot-high corner flag.
The ball size varies within the ages. However, the ball must be round and made of leather or a material similar to that.
Here is a list of ball sizes for each age:
- 3-5 years old: Size 4
- 6-12 years old: Size 4
- 12-Adult: Size 5 (This is standard size for Pro players as well)
Substitution rules vary depending on what level of soccer you are playing. For instance, in college and professional soccer you are only allowed 3 substitutions per game. In younger leagues, you may substitute as much as you want.
Substitutions mainly happen when a player is injured, tired, or the coach wants to create momentum from bringing in a new player.
Youth Soccer- 20-30 minutes per half (40-60 minutes). There are two halves with a 7-10-minute halftime break.
Pro and College Soccer- 45 minutes per half (90 minutes). There are two halves with a 15-minute halftime break.
Out of Bounds
Any time the ball goes outside the end lines or sidelines the ball is considered out of bounds. Whichever team touched the ball last after the ball goes
out of bounds then their opponent gets a throw in. This only happens if the ball is out on the sideline and the end lines. However, if the ball goes out on the end line then two things can happen. If the ball goes out on the defending teams end line, then it will be a corner kick. If the attacking team kicks it out, then it will be a goal kick.
Soccer is a simple game and quite enjoyable once you have the basics down, so don’t complicate it. If you are a parent, all you have to do is take these basic rules and you will be able to understand it yourself and help your child learn more as well.
Good luck in your soccer journey! Remember to have fun in the process!
Loving, serving, and bringing value to others,
Coach Phil is the co-founder of SoccerSkillsU.com and a private training coach. He is passionate about coaching young people and helping them to step up their game on the field. His personalized training style helps the student of the game have a seemingly unfair advantage over their opponent. Learn more about Coach Phil on his About Me page or his CoachUp profile.