How are U-Littles set up in your league?

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

  1. strike

    strike New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Country:
    United States
    I ripped this straight from the revised USSF Best Practices, for the OP. I'd be sure to pass it along to your commissioner...

    "U-6: K and 1st graders:

    Soccer at these ages should be discouraged in any form other than as a fun activity for kids, that happens to includes a soccer ball. There should be groups of players rather than teams. Fees should be nominal. Attendance should be optional. Creating a joyful environment is mandatory.

    SOME GENERAL THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS AGE:

    Five- and six-year olds are too young to be involved in any structured, organized soccer program. At most, they should be involved in fun activities that encourage the children to explore their physical abilities, while also including a ball with which to play. Make sure these are activity based games that emphasize exploration and experimentation with the rolling, spinning, and bouncing qualities of the ball. The soccer ball should be considered a toy. There should be no activities where players wait in lines to perform a pre-determined movement or required action.

    Five- and six- year olds, although still young, are beginning to gain more control over their bodies. At the same time, it is still new to them and they will require a lot of time and energy figuring out what their bodies can do, and how to use this developing coordination. Children at this age also
    love to use their imagination when they play. Keep this in mind when designing games. They enjoy playing on their terms, and as a by-product of their play, they will gain some limited comfort with the ball.

    Although they love to play, their ability to stay focused on any one thing is very limited. Keep your activities short and simple. Finally, even as they are steadily developing physical and mental abilities, they are still very young. Always treat children with care, patience and give plenty of encouragement. It can be helpful to include parents in the practice/play time so they can take ideas home with them to their backyards or parks. If children must be involved in these organized practice times, they should be having so much fun that when they go home, the soccer ball becomes one of their favorite toys.

    DURATION OF PRACTICE; RATIO OF BALL TO CHILD AT PRACTICE:

    30 to 45 minutes is the best option for these ages. Most of the practice should be spent in ratios of one ball per child or one ball per two children.

    GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF WHAT SHOULD BE HAPPENING DURING PRACTICE:

    The children should be having fun with the ball. There should be periods of active playing where everyone is involved, and there should be ample opportunities for short breaks for water and for catching their breath. If there is more than one adult/coach, the children should be divided into smaller groups, with at least one adult per group. At these young ages, children work hard and tire quickly. Allow them to have “active rests,” where they are not running but are trying to do something specific with the ball, often sitting or standing. Everyone should be occupied with something, even when resting. Keep the numbers from 1 v 1 to 3 v 3 and keep as many children actively involved with a ball as possible. Let them go to small goals with no goalkeepers. When possible, a size 3 soccer ball should be used.

    GAME APPLICATION
    Game Form: 3 v 3 is best option for these ages
    GK Status: Goalkeepers should not be used
    Field Size: 4 v 4 (40 yards x 25 yards)—3 v 3 (30 yards x 20 yards)
    Ball Size: 3
    When ball goes out of bounds, the game is restarted with a kick-in or dribble-in. No throw-ins."


  2. briansnat

    briansnat Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    In NJ youth soccer at the club level is 8 v 8 from U8-10.

    Think that's bad? My niece played rec youth soccer in VT. It was 11 v 11 on a small field at U8 - U11. At U12 they moved to the full sized field.
  3. jmnva

    jmnva Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Team Sizes

    In addition to coaching, I do admin stuff for our league/club. We've instituted a set of rule changes to shrink the maximum sizes of our teams (to generally 2x the number of players on the field at any time) and a recommended # which is slightly smaller. Questions for all of you: Does your league/club have size limits for teams in the rec program? If so what are they by age group?
  4. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Re: Team Sizes

    For the most part, in PA West, we can carry double the number of field players up to U10 (7v7) and maxing out at 18 per side at 11v11.
    1 person likes this.


  5. cleansheetbsc

    cleansheetbsc Member+

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Albany, NY
    Club:
    --other--
    Re: Team Sizes

    Our rec league wants each kid to play half a match minimum. If we have enough coaches we will try to make the teams as small as being able to replace half the field players at a time, thereby giving each team around 3-5 subs, depending on age group.
  6. equus

    equus Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Re: Team Sizes

    Same here. U5-U6 is 4v4 (8 on roster), U8-U10 is 7v7 (12 max). That way you can get everyone at least half a game. Plus not everyone shows up for games or a few here and there may quit during the season, so you still have a couple or three left to sub with.
  7. omgkittymeow

    omgkittymeow Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    Club:
    12 de Octubre
    Re: Team Sizes

    same here
  8. dc4ever

    dc4ever New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    Club:
    DC United
    Country:
    United States
    Re: Team Sizes

    My league is doing the same thing- we have one teen team that we refer to as the clown car of 30, while others had 12. they're trying to do it more uniformly, or something like that. my dad could tell you a bit better.
  9. jmnva

    jmnva Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Re: Team Sizes

    Very funny. Time to let the rest of you in on the joke. I'm DC4Ever's dad and her assistant coach.
    Thanks to the rest of you for your responses. I had a discussion with a coach last night who was trying to convince me that there was no problem with a U10 team (6v6) having 15 players
  10. The Friendly Ghost

    The Friendly Ghost Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Re: Team Sizes

    For U6 (3v3, no GK, dual field) we like not to roster more than 9-10, but have gone as many as 12 (so it means 4-6 players per team per field).

    For U8 (4v4, no GK, dual field) we like to roster about 12, but have gone to as many as 14 and as few as 10 (although the 10 was with an experienced coach who was masterful at getting his full team there each week) (this works out to 5-7 kids per team per field).

    For U10/12 (8v8) we'll roster 12-13 players but for unstable teams have gone up to 15 players.

    The state association puts limits on travel team rosters:

    U10 (7v7): 14 players (ideally, we'll try to roster 10-11 kids).
    U11/12 (9v9): 16 players (ideally, we'll try to roster 13-14 kids).
    U13+: The most players you can dress is 18, but I think at the older groups you can roster 20.
  11. jmnva

    jmnva Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    U8 question-- for those of you that play 4v4. Do you do a single field (roster size of 8) or a dual field (roster size of 12-14)?
  12. cleansheetbsc

    cleansheetbsc Member+

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Albany, NY
    Club:
    --other--
    dual field. Rosters between 12-14. Allows flexibility in case a team doesn't have enough players on a given day to play one field 3 v3 or share a sub between two fields etc.
  13. NBTHOMCCC

    NBTHOMCCC Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2009
    I'm wondering if other leagues have non-players on the field at U5 and U6. Our league doesn't use referees at that level, but has the two coaches (each with a whistle) on the field directing play. I'm a referee so it drives me nuts to see the both stuff they whistle that they shouldn't (hand ball! hand ball!) and the stuff they don't whistle that they should (11 kids kicking away at the one lying on the ground with the ball beside them). It also drives me nuts how much gamesmanship enters into a U-Little game when coaches have whistles. Do real leagues keep the coaches on the side at this level? Who makes calls?
  14. rca2

    rca2 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    There are no "real" leagues, "real" teams, or "real" matches at that age. Expecting 4 year olds to play soccer like adults is just plain crazy. I am not surprised that the "coaches" don't know the LOTG.

    "Soccer at these ages [U6] should be discouraged in any form other than as a fun activity for kids, that happens to includes a soccer ball. There should be groups of players rather than teams." --USSF Best Practices, p. 11.
  15. NBTHOMCCC

    NBTHOMCCC Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2009
    Agree. Except you should probably say "there should not be any 'real'..." Unfortunately, our rec league has real teams and real matches. I had to fight to change down to 7v7, I don't think groups of players just having fun will fly quite yet.

    Baby steps. The next one is to get the micro-managing coaches off the field so the kids play around without constantly being told what to do, where to stand, where to run, and my personal favourite, to "kick the ball!!". However, I have no previous experience with U-littles to know if 2 or more coaches running around on the field with whistles is the norm or not.
  16. tonythetard

    tonythetard Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2010
    Location:
    Topeka
    Club:
    Kansas City Wizards
    Country:
    United States
    for us (rec) is set up kinda like this:
    U5 & U6 3v3 no GK. 30 min games

    U7 & U8 6v6 w/GK. 40 min games

    U9&U10 6v6 w/GK. 50 min games.

    corner kicks and goal kicks come in at U7... there isn't a ref on the field until U7 also.

    Luckily we don't seem to have trouble finding enough people volunteering to coach. OH and I have no clue how big the fields are.
  17. ranova

    ranova Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    I would think you are joking (7v7!) but I know you are serious. You can dress a 4 year old in a uniform, put shoes on him, give him a ball, assign teams and positions, and put licensed referees on the field enforceing FIFA LOTG, but it is still not a "real" soccer match any more than kids dressed in costumes trick-or-treating on Halloween are real ghosts and witches.

    I sure hope the kids are having fun, because there is some value in that.
  18. equus

    equus Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Our U5 and U6 is like this. 4v4, no GK. Corners and goal kicks, throw-ins, etc. I hate that part. Just kick it back in and play. So much time is wasted doing throw-ins. Overall the coaches don't take it too seriously. Some are yapping the whole time or setting up the kids like chess pieces at every throw-in or set piece. I'd just raise my hand in the general area and let them go. They'd ask me where they need to go and I say, "Where do you think you need to be?", and they figure it out. Laugh and clap and have fun.
  19. Monkey Boy

    Monkey Boy Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Club:
    FC Bayern München
    Country:
    United States
    We have U4, U6 and U8 rec levels that are all 3v3, no keepers and a ref. The coaches are typically on the field with the players for encouragement at the U4 and U6 levels. This does present the chess piece type of problem all the time as it can take forever for some coaches to set-up their players just right for every stoppage.

    The kick it and run mentality reigns supreme, but at least there are fewer players on the field so most players can get touches during the game.
  20. SoCalCJax3

    SoCalCJax3 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2011
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Country:
    United States
    I know no one has written in this thread for a while, but I just thought i'd vent a little about how my local [rec] league runs its u6 and u8s. In our "region" the u6 have rosters of about 8 or 9 and play 4v4 w/o gk. Other than the fact that they throw in the ball from touch--it sounds fine... except for the ref situation: Coaches are on the field with whistles but do little more than make the call as to who gets the ball when it goes out.

    When fouls occur, they brush them off and allow play to continue. Of course, i don't expect them to call the handballs or the inadvertent stray kick--but they don't say anything about the shoving and the intentional kicking, either.

    At the next level, which is u8, our league has had two fights break out between players. I think that this may be because they've been taught that it's okay to go up to a kid and kick him to get the ball away from him at the u6 level. This carries over, and frustration gets to the kids, whose parents are telling them to just kick the other player back--and the fight ensues.

    The season is over... i'm leaving for greener pastures-- hopefully u8s in the new league will be better next year.
  21. equus

    equus Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Not always so...read this, bottom of page:
    http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1850662&page=2
  22. SoCalCJax3

    SoCalCJax3 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2011
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Country:
    United States
    well, at least i know that we're not alone. I wish this were the only reason that we were leaving--maybe then I could convince my wife to stick around. I'll just have to make some noise in the new league.

    Thanks equus.
  23. jmnva

    jmnva Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Update on my league:
    For U7 we are switching to single gender teams in the fall. Looking at a single 4v4 game format was well.
    For U6 we are talking about going to 3v3 with dual fields.
  24. matherold

    matherold Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2011
    Club:
    AC Milan

    Similar to CA. Futsol is getting popular for the youngers as well.
  25. Beau Dure

    Beau Dure Member+

    Joined:
    May 31, 2000
    Location:
    Vienna, VA
    Seems like a good evergreen thread to revive.

    Are we the only league that keeps U6 games going by having a coach shout "New ball" and tossing a new ball onto the field whenever it goes too far out of play? I hate that. Kids inevitably get confused. Coaches, too -- so sometimes, we have kids chasing three balls.

    And some coaches think it's fun to toss the ball high in the air and let players try to get it off the bounce. Not sure whether they think we're all supposed to be heading the ball at U6 or what.

    Fortunately, we've managed to get rid of that practice at U7. Doing kick-ins now. Then throw-ins at U8.

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