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Small-Sided Games Resources

Manual [3.1MB pdf]
Slideshow [1.8MB ppt]
Small Sided Games Rules


The following are the same rules as the U.S. Soccer Small-Sided Games Rules, but in greater detail. These new modified Laws of the Game meet the Best Practices date from U.S. Soccer of August 2016 for their Player Development Initiative. The old set of modified Laws of the Game (Found in the Manual above) will come off the website by August 2017.

Laws of the Game


Welcome to the Small-Sided Games Resource Center on Below are several items regarding Small-Sided Games from the Official Rules and Handbook to various resources on why Small-Sided Games are important and more. If you have any specific questions regarding Small-Sided Games that are not answered below, please feel free to contact us at or by calling 800.4SOCCER.


US Youth Soccer has thought long and hard about the answer to the question, "Why Small-Sided Games?"

What does "Small-Sided Games" mean? These are soccer games with fewer players competing on a smaller sized field. These are fun games that involve the players more because fewer players are sharing one ball.

All ages can play "Small Sided Games", but it has a definite developmental impact on our younger soccer players. US Youth Soccer recommendations for "number of players" at the various age groups are as follows:

6U | 4 against 4 no goalkeepers
8U | 4 against 4 no goalkeepers
10U | 7 against 7 with goalkeepers
12U | 9 against 9 with goalkeepers
13U+ | 11 against 11 with goalkeepers

1. Because we want our young soccer players to touch the soccer ball more often and become more skillful with it! (Individual technical development)

2. Because we want our young soccer players to make more, less-complicated decisions during the game! (Tactical development)

3. Because we want our young soccer players to be more physically efficient in the field space they are playing in! (Reduced field size)

4. Because we want our young soccer players to have more individual teaching time with the coach! Less players on the field and less players on the team will guarantee this! (Need to feel worthy and need to feel important)

5. Because we want our young soccer players to have more, involved playing time in the game! (More opportunity to solve problems that only the game presents)

6. Because we want our young soccer players to have more opportunity to play on both sides of the ball! (More exposure to attacking and defending situations)

7. Because we want our young soccer players to have more opportunities to score goals! (Pure excitement)

These are the reasons why we adults must foster "Small-Sided Games" in our youth soccer programs. The "Small-Sided" environment is a developmentally appropriate environment for our young soccer players. It's a FUN environment that focuses on the young soccer player.

It just makes sense doesn't it?