How are U-Littles set up in your league?

Discussion in 'Coach' started by equus, May 7, 2010.

  1. equus

    equus Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Just curious to see the numbers playing and setup of different age groups in different leagues around the country...

    I'll start with mine (rec):

    U5 & U6:
    • 4v4
    • no goalkeepers
    • field size approx. 15x30
    • goals 6'W x 4'H
    U8
    • 7v7 (incl. keeper)
    • field size approx. 35x50
    • goals 18'W x 6'H
    • no PK
    • all FKs are indirect
    U10
    • 8v8 (incl. keeper)
    • field size approx. 45x60
    • goals 21'W x 7'H
    • PKs allowed
    • FKs can be direct or indirect


  2. cleansheetbsc

    cleansheetbsc Member+

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Albany, NY
    Club:
    --other--
    For our rec league, we don't do U-'s we go by grade level, but we try to configure with USSF recommendations.

    PK and K
    3v3
    30 x20 field (35 for K)
    6 x 4 goal for PK - 12 x 8 for K (hey we use some old equipment, but nothing wrong with scoring goals when the alternative is a goal kick).
    Kick ins, no throw ins.

    1st
    40 x 25
    4 v 4
    8'x5' goals

    2nd and 3rd grades
    6v6 (sometimes 7 v 7 depending on # of coaches and players registered)
    60 x 35 field
    standard U-10 rules except no offside
    goals 7 x 21 (we opted not to reduce to 6 x 18)

    4th and 5th grade
    standard u-12 rules
    70 x 40 field
    8 v8 (sometimes 9v9 depending on numbers)

    6/7/8th grade
    full 11 v 11.
  3. threeputzzz

    threeputzzz Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2009
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Our rec league currently:

    K and 1st (u5 and u6):
    4v4 w/ keepers
    pitch size 30x20 yards
    goal size 4x6 feet

    2nd through 5th (u7 - u10):
    6v6 w/ keepers
    pitch size ~50x30 yards
    goal size ~12x6 feet

    6th through 10th (u11 and up)
    7v7 w/ keepers
    pitch size ~65x45 yards
    goal size ~15x7 feet

    If I was creating a league for the same age groups I would change the following:

    K and 1st (u5 and u6):
    3v3 no keepers
    pitch size 30x20 yards
    goal size 4x6 feet max

    2nd and 3rd (u7 - u8):
    5v5 w/ keepers
    pitch size ~40x25 yards
    goal size ~10x5 feet

    4th and up (u9 and up): no changes
  4. Monkey Boy

    Monkey Boy Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Club:
    FC Bayern M√ľnchen
    Country:
    United States
    For U6 and under, the only option is the local rec league:
    U4, U6, U8 and U10:
    3v3
    no keepers
    goals 4'x3'
    field about 20x30

    Once the kids get to 1st grade, there are local clubs available as an option.
    teams split into 2 games of 4v4, no keepers, dimensions similar to above
    -- this is the same for U7 (1st graders) and U8 (2nd graders)
    -- at U9 and U10, still 4v4 but one of the players is a keeper


  5. ChapacoSoccer

    ChapacoSoccer Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    U6 outside of Los Angeles

    rec league exactly like Monkey's:
    3v3
    no keepers
    goals 4'x3'
    field about 20x30
  6. amikavpar

    amikavpar Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2009
    I think our league can be improved dramatically by downsizing the field and number of players at U8. It's good to see what others are doing and I'll continue to ping my league officials about it. Hopefully change will come in the fall.

    Not really sure of the height of the goals but I know I don't worry about banging my head on the crossbar when I'm in there and I'm right at 6':)

    U6 Coed:
    • 4v4
    • no goalkeepers
    • field size approx. 30ydsx40yds
    • goals 6'W x 4'H
    • no play zone 6' arc around goal
    • free substitution on the fly
    • two games played simultaneously
    • no offsides
    U8 Girls and Boys Separate:

    • 8v8 (incl. keeper)
    • field size approx. 40mx60m
    • goals 18'W x 7'H
    • two chances to throw in (not strictly enforced)
    • free substitution on the fly
    • no offsides
    U10 Girls and Boys Separate:

    • 7v7 (incl. keeper)
    • field size approx. 40mx60m
    • goals 18'W x 7'H
    • free substitutions on the fly
    • no offsides
    U12 Girls and Boys Separate:

    • 8v8 (incl. keeper)
    • field size approx. 40mx60m
    • goals 18'W x 7'H
    • normal substitutions
    • offsides enforced
  7. jmnva

    jmnva Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    U6, U7 and U8
    4v4 no keeper
    roughly 30X20 -- we tuck these fields in "interesting" spaces--basically just get a rectangle


    U9&U10
    6v6-- including keeper
    60X40


    U11 &U12
    8v8 -- including keeper
    80X60

    U13 and up
    11v11
    full-sized fields
  8. JustSomeDude

    JustSomeDude New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2006
    U6: 3v3
    U8: 4v4
    U10: 6v6 or 8v8 ("academy") w/ keeper

    I've been to many rec tournaments at various clubs in our area, and although all the clubs play the same numbers of kids on a side, there is quite a diversity in size of fields. For instance, one club has both U6 and U8 playing on a 20x30 (if that big) field that I think they just fit into the available space. The kids spend more time chasing balls out into the street and taking throw-ins than actually playing the game at that club. Our "home fields" are probably the biggest in the area (35x55 @ U8, 25-30x35-40 @ U6) and there are definately a lot more touches on the ball and less silliness (like letting "big leg kid" shoot at goal on the kick-off, or just kicking it out of bounds all the time as a defensive measure because "out-of-bounds" is always close by).

    The downfall of the larger fields is that there is probably more "kick and run" soccer played by teams with unknowledgable coaches. So, it's 6 of one, a half dozen of the other.
  9. threeputzzz

    threeputzzz Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2009
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Is that a typo? 8v8 at u8 is nuts.
  10. amikavpar

    amikavpar Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2009
    Wish it was.
  11. equus

    equus Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    That's why I started this thread, to see some of the disparity in numbers at equivalent age groups. I look at some of these and get envious that you can play more small-sided than others of us can.

    Last season our U8 division coordinator floated a trial balloon in an e-mail about moving from 7v7 to 8v8. From the responses that came back, it was easy to tell which coaches knew the game and which ones didn't. The ones that were for it were of the "more the merrier" type. Luckily, there were enough of us responding with well-reasoned responses about why that's not good for development, more touches and fun, and that we wanted to go even lower.

    It really depends on your area's situation. Our league, for a good-sized city, has a low inventory of fields for both rec and club, and a low turnout of volunteers to coach. I, among many I know in the league, coach two rec teams. Those factors, combined with lots of interest from kids who want to play, mean you have those larger numbers playing against each other.

    Another factor is the whole "team" philosophy that a lot of uninformed or stubborn parents want versus the festival/academy style that is good for development and lots of touches.

    The clubs in the area recently went to academy style training for the ULittles, but I hear from a few parents that say they don't like it because there's no "team" to be on and why they have to pay that kind of money when there's no proper team like they're accustomed to. I'm beginning to wonder if that method will survive if enough parents won't support it.
    1 person likes this.
  12. cleansheetbsc

    cleansheetbsc Member+

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Albany, NY
    Club:
    --other--
    Its not all uninformed and stubborn. Its just the nature of youth ACTIVITIES. Soccer is just one of the available activities for parents to place their kids. Taking into account music, dance, etc. Baseball, football, basketball, hockey, lacrosse, gymnastics, cheerleading are all 'team based.' It is very hard for soccer to say we are going to do academy only. "We will only train, we will not play proper games." It just doesn't work when we have other choices. The kids and parents want games and leagues as well.

    OUr travel went to modified academies this year for our U-8 - U-12 this year. We train all players together once a week and teams have individual practices as needed/wanted. We trained from Sept-Jan, before forming teams for the spring outdoor league. The teams were based on ability, so each kid is matched at the level that is best for them.

    I feel that this is the best compromise possible.
  13. BTFOOM

    BTFOOM Member+

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    MD, USA
    In the rec league I run, we use:

    U-5:
    Clinic only (run by Coerver) on "Game Day"

    U-6/U-7:
    4v4, field 20x40
    Pugg goals, no goalies
    2 games at same time on side by side fields
    Kick-ins (on goal kicks, opposing team must be behind mid-field)

    U-8
    7v7, field 30 x 50
    Goals 6 x 12, goalies
    Throw-ins when appropriate (same rule on goal kicks)

    We have to do all co-ed to this point for numbers reasons.

    One thing that I believe has helped us to get and keep coaches (and allows us to have more teams, play smaller sided games) is the use of a professional coaching group (currently Coerver) to provide clinics for all of these rec teams. The U-5s don't play organized games vs another team. They work on ball skills and play small games w/in the clinics. The older teams alternate weeks, one week they play games and the next they have clinics. This ensures that every kid is exposed to the same level of teaching for at least 4 sessions every season. This is also a good coach training tool, as we tell the new coaches to use the drills/games that the Coerver guys do. They can ask questions and even get a training outline if they want. It costs a little more money, but it is well worth it.

    By the way, I only reference Coerver because that is what we have gone to. Any good, professional group would work.
  14. ChapacoSoccer

    ChapacoSoccer Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    What a great set up BTFOOM, I would have loved having a professional group to teach me last year as a first time U6 coach.
  15. equus

    equus Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    I didn't say or mean to imply that it was all uniformed and stubborn, and I agree with your premise. We have both options if a parent (and hopefully the child) decide to go one way or the other. If they do go the club route, some want it to be the same as rec. Some have pulled their kid out of that and gone back to rec -- that's cool if they want -- and at least the option is there to go rec or to another club.

    I think most of it is like you said where parents are so used to the team-based style in other sports that it seems wrong or strange to them for soccer training to be done in the academy/festival way.
  16. amikavpar

    amikavpar Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2009
    For those of you with U8s using 5v5 and 6v6, what's your roster size and do you play simultaneous games? I think going forward that might be the resistance I get to shrinking the # of players and field size. Just not enough volunteer coaches to have rosters less than 11 or 12. The last two season there were 53 and 56 girls in our division with 5 teams.
  17. cleansheetbsc

    cleansheetbsc Member+

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Albany, NY
    Club:
    --other--
    Our league guarantees that child will get at minimum half a game played, so we never go more than double the number of field players (excluding the goalkeeper), so 6 v 6 our max roster would be 11.

    And yes, that means you need more (and competent) coaches. That is why we may stretch the U-10 rules and go to 7 v 7 on a field to help reduce the number of teams.
  18. equus

    equus Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Same here with 7v7 as far as minimum playing time, and we have 12 on the roster. My assistant coach doesn't really know the game well, he just helps me where he can. It's hard for me to give personal attention and advice to a single player every once in a while, with a roster that size and the limited training time.
  19. Twenty26Six

    Twenty26Six Feeling Sheepish...

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2004
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Country:
    United States
    Why not just have coaches coach more than one team and train them together?

    22 kids at a session with two parent helpers isn't too bad.
  20. cleansheetbsc

    cleansheetbsc Member+

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Albany, NY
    Club:
    --other--
    We give our rec coaches some flexibility in choosing their night to practice, so in some cases, there isn't a second team to train with. In some cases, yes teams will practice/scrimmage together.
  21. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 1999
    Location:
    Raleigh
    Club:
    DC United
    Country:
    United States
    CASL:

    u5 and u6 are minikickers. No competition between teams.

    U7 and U8 is 32 yards by 40 yards 4v4 no GK.

    U9 and U10 is 6v6 with keepers.
  22. strike

    strike New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Country:
    United States
    AYSO Reg.70:

    U-6
    5v5, no keeper
    U-8
    8v8 keeper
    U-10
    8v8 keeper

    We have around 2000+ kids in our program every season and though we try our best to recruit as many coaches as possible, we always end up a little short, hence the larger sided matches. I'd love to see these reduced by a player for each age group.

    At my academy, I run 4v4 matches, co-ed without keepers, this is u-6 to u-10. I'm hoping to pitch it to the ayso board next season but I'll wait for my academy to grow a little more ;)
  23. amikavpar

    amikavpar Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2009
    If any of you had a chance to set up a rec U8 division, what would your ideal configuration be? Everything is on the table here. Would you have official teams or hand out pinnies each weekend? Would you have division wide practices run by a number of coaches or individual team practices? And what would be the best field size, number of players, length of games, quarters, halves. Coed or separate?

    Additionally, in my league's case, all the coaches are volunteer parents, and the soccer expertise is very limited.
  24. BTFOOM

    BTFOOM Member+

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    MD, USA
    Hi,
    I have run our local rec league (3.5 to 7 year olds) for the past 12 years or so.

    For rec U-8, my ideal configuration would be:
    6v6 w/goalie.
    Field ~60 x 40.
    No more than 11 players on a team.
    I would have teams and get them different, fun colors (kids like bright/neon colors) t-shirts and black socks. Have them supply shorts.
    They would practice as a team, once a week (45 min to one hour) + clinic (see below).
    Play quarters, 12 minutes (no stoppage), allow subs liberally when ball is out of play (can sub on opponents throw if they do so). 2 min between quarters, 4 min at halftime.
    If you have the numbers, I would have separate boys/girls teams.
    Employ local, youth refs to call games.
    I would highly recommend finding a local, professional coaching group (Coerver, UK Elite, etc) to work with the kids. They would have clinics once per week (in place of one of a practice). If you can't afford to send every team every week, send them every other week. This ensures that every kid gets consistent training AS WELL AS providing 'coaching assistance' to your coach volunteers. We do this and it works great. The Coerver guys explain each drill to the coach, including what they are working towards and how it helps the kids. They will even write up a training plan for coaches who want one.

    The biggest problem I run into is, like you, there aren't that many experienced coaches. I've tried to hold coaching clinics (even for 4 hours), but they aren't generally well attended. Having the 'pros' run a practice every week (or every other) allows coaches to see what to work on, how to run the practice, and how to help the kids get better. By the end of the season, you have a fairly experienced coach.

    Good Luck. Let me know if you have more questions or comments.
  25. amikavpar

    amikavpar Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2009
    That does look like a nice setup. I just feel like our league, as a whole - including myself, lack that coaching expertise. The few that do have that expertise are really busy with their own teams and there is very little oversight and sharing of training methods.

    Would you have an estimate of cost per player for these soccer clinics? I think our league overall has about 500-600 players. There are about 45 boys and 55 girls in U8 with 4 and 5 teams in each division. I would imagine these weekly clinics would most benefit the U-10 and lower.

    I guess I'm less than optimistic this will happen due to cost. Our league is only $55 a season and we would want to keep it that way. We don't want to price out any families especially with 3 or 4 children in these economic times.

    One more thing, 40x60 seems a little large for 6v6. We have 8v8 on that size field and the kids look pretty darn small.

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