U-10 League Rules and Guidelines

Return to BYSC Home | Return to Rules and Guidelines Index

U-10 League Rules and Guidelines

The mission of the Ballard Youth Soccer Club is to "Provide a safe, positive atmosphere where girls and boys can learn the game of soccer". U-10 leagues are competitive in that scores are kept but league standings are not recorded. Games are recreational in that learning the game is paramount. The Official U10 Rules are maintained by SYSA on their website. Please read them there.

Player Development Philosophy

  • Coaches should have the age appropriate license issued by U.S. Soccer
  • The training-to-game ratio should be 1-2 training sessions per game played
  • Rosters should include no more than 12 players
  • Players should participate in no more than 20 games per calendar year and in no more than one game per day
  • Every player should play a minimum of 50% of the time in each game

U-10 teams play 7v7 soccer. Referees are scheduled through the league. Girls and boys play on separate teams in separate leagues. U-10 teams play other BYSC teams as well as teams from SYSA. The rules for U-10 (and above) are developed and maintained by SYSA.

  • NOTE: For a chart of small sided game guidelines, including number of players on the fields, field sizes, goal sizes, and length of games, click here.

Concussion Initiative

  • Per U.S. Soccer's Concussion Initiative, if a player is suspected to have a head injury the referee is instructed to stop play to allow for treatment/evaluation as needed
  • If the player leaves the field of play for additional evaluation, a substitution can be made in that moment
  • The player with the suspected head injury may not return to the game unless a Health Care Professional (HCP) or Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) has cleared the player
  • Any coach or parent insisting on returning the player to the game without approved clearance will result in the referee ending the game
  • Deliberate heading is not allowed in 7v7 games
  • If a player deliberately heads the ball in a game, an indirect free kick should be awarded to the opposing team from the spot of the offense
  • If the deliberate header occurs within the goal area, the indirect free kick should be taken on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the nearest point to where the infringement occurred

Ballard Guidelines:

  • We will be playing 7-a-side soccer, 6 field players and a goalkeeper. Minimum number of players on the field during a game is 5. A registered or associate referee shall be provided by the home team. Two volunteer linesmen may assist the referee, subject to the decision by the referee. Each team should bring a properly inflated #4 soccer ball for use as the game ball, though the responsibility lies with the home team.
  • Size of field is ranged 35/45 x 55/65 yards
  • Games are scheduled in 1 hour blocks of time. Start times may be delayed 5 minutes to wait for late arriving players. Coaches must be very firm to the team parents about arriving early to warm up prior to games to prevent injury. Games are played in halves, lasting 25 minutes each, depending on the actual start time. Half-time is 25 minutes after the scheduled start, no matter when the game actually starts, and lasts 5 minutes. Games end 5 minutes before the next scheduled games. The referee keeps the official time.
  • Unlimited substitutions are allowed when ever the ball goes out of play, but with the acknowledgment of the referee. Just call out "Substitution" or "Ref, Substitutions" until you get the referee's attention and approval.
  • All players shall play at least 50% of each game. Substitution patterns for equal time are difficult to accomplish. Make the effort to try the best you can.
  • During the game, coaches may not go on the field except out of concern for an injured player. All coaches and assistants must stay on the sidelines, near the center of the field, not within 14 yards of the end line. No player, coach, or parent shall stand behind the end lines or near the goals. Coaching shall be understood as giving directions to one's own team on points of strategy and position. The tone of voice must be informative and not a harangue. If what you want to say can't wait and can't be condensed into a few words, you should pull the player off and explain your point on the sidelines.
  • Negative criticism or anger toward a player or the referee is always inappropriate and will not be tolerated in this league. The referees, particularly the young ones, have completed refereeing courses, and may be inexperienced in dealing with the complex responsibilities involved with refereeing. We need them to keep refereeing, and this is where they learn. Show them the proper level of respect, and deal with their errors with clarification at half time or after the game. Coaches must control their team parents and eliminate any derogatory and harassing comments toward the referee, opponents and fans. Keep in mind that anyone who chooses to become a referee are by and large conscientious and responsible people who are doing their best.

U-10 Game Rules:

Note: Official SYSA U-10 rules are maintained by the Association, and should be used in to resolve any issues. The following are taken from the official SYSA for presentation in the BYSC format. The SYSA format is at the bottom of the page.

  1. All players must wear shin guards with socks covering the shin guards. Only soft cleat soccer boots or sneakers are allowed. Check to see that each players shoe laces are tied. Players must wear the same style uniform, including numbered jersey, shorts, and socks, as the rest of the team, except the goalkeeper, who must were colors significantly different from both teams.
  2. The game begins with a kick-off from center field. The choice of ends or kick-off shall be decided by the toss of a coin. The kicking team must start with all its players on its half of the field. The opponents must start with all its players on its half of the field. All free kicks, including the kick-off, required the opponents to be 8 yards (10 big steps) away from the ball. Center field kick-offs are also taken after a goal is scored, by the team who was scored against. Teams switch directions at half-time, and the team that did NOT kick-off at the start of the game, gets to kick-off to start the second half.

  3. Throw-ins will be taken when ever the ball is played "out of touch" across the sidelines. The ball is out when the whole ball is past the whole "line", it doesn't matter where the players feet are or if the ball in on the ground or in the air. Throw-ins shall be taken be the team who did NOT put the ball out of touch. The player must throw the ball from behind their head, with two hands giving equal effort, and with both feet on the ground, on or outside the touch line. A foul throw-in will result in the opponents receiving a throw-in. A goal can never be scored directly from a throw-in.
  4. Build Out Line (BOL) The BOL promotes playing the ball out of the back in a less pressured setting. When the goalkeeper has the ball, either during play (from the opponent) or from a goal kick, the opposing team must move behind the BOL until the ball is put into play. Once the opposing team is behind the BOL, the goalkeeper can pass, throw or roll the ball into play (punting is not allowed). After the ball is put into play by the goalkeeper, the opposing team can cross the BOL and play resumes as normal. If a goalkeeper punts the ball, an indirect free kick should be awarded to the opposing team from the spot of the offense. If the punt occurs within the goal area, the indirect free kick should be taken on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the nearest point to where the infringement occurred.

    The BOL will also be used to denote where offside offenses can be called. Players cannot be penalized for an offside offense between the halfway line and the BOL. Players can be penalized for an offside offense between the BOL and goal line.
  5. Goal kicks are taken when an attacking team kicks the ball past the end line, missing the goal. The goal kick is taken by the defending team, from a point within 6 yards from either goal post (typically 4 yards in front of either "post"). The ball is placed on the ground, like any other free kick. The kicking teams players may be anywhere on the field during a goal kick (Off-sides is in effect), but the other team must behind the build-out line (BOL). Neither team may touch the ball until it has traveled out of the penalty area. An infraction will result in a take over goal kick. The kicker may not play the ball again until it has been touched by another player.

  6. Goalkeepers may use their hands anywhere inside the penalty area, extending 12 yards out from the end line. It is NOT legal for goalkeepers to use their hands on balls passed back to them by their teammates foot. A ball that is not a pass from the foot may be handled by the keeper. A keeper who uses their hands outside the penalty area will be called for a foul, with the other team awarded a free kick from the spot of the foul. When a keeper has touched the ball, and has at least one hand on it, no player may come near the keeper. There is no reason for aggressive attacking play near the goalkeeper in U-10 Mod soccer. The goal keeper may be anywhere in the penalty with the ball, and either throw it, roll it or put on ground and pass it back into play. Opposing players must be behind BOL when the goal keeper "distributes" the ball.

  7. Corner kicks shall be awarded to the attacking team when the defending team kicks the ball over their own end line. The corner kick must be taken within 1 yard from the corner cone marker. A goal may be scored directly from a corner kick. Defenders must be 8 yards back from the corner kick.
  8. Direct free kicks result from flagrant fouls and misconduct. Flagrant fouls are when a player kicks, curses, trips, jumps at, charges violently, charges from behind, strikes, spits at, holds or pushes an opponent (including the goalkeeper), or intentionally handles the ball with hands, forearms, or upper arms. Defenders must be 8 yards back from the free kick. A goal can be scored directly of the free kick, hence its name.
  9. Many tripping fouls are the result of poor tackling or slide tackling. A proper tackle will clear the ball from the opponent's feet WITHOUT contacting the opponent's feet or ankles. The tackle must be made from within the opponent's peripheral vision, not from behind. It is not enough that the ball is contacted first (as many people believe), but the tackle follow through must also not stop the progress of the opponent.
  10. There are no "penalty" kicks in U-10 soccer. There are just fouls that result in direct or indirect free kicks.
  11. Less flagrant fouls result in "indirect" free kicks, where a goal can NOT be made directly from the kick, but must touch another player, from either team, before crossing the goal line between the uprights and below the crossbar. Dangerous play, conduct obstruction, and unsportsmanlike conduct are penalized by an indirect free kick for the opponents. When a player is down on the ground, attempting to play the ball they are making a dangerous play. Play shall be stopped immediately, prior to any contact if possible, and the other team awarded a free kick. The ball doesn't go in the air very often, but it can be dangerous for players to lift their feet high in the air. High kicking will be considered dangerous play, whether an opposing player is kicked or not.
  12. Head balls are not allowed in U-10 Mod soccer. If a player deliberately heads the ball in a game, an indirect free kick should be awarded to the opposing team from the spot of the offense. If the deliberate header occurs within the goal area, the indirect free kick should be taken on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the nearest point to where the infringement occurred.
  13. Offsides will be called in U-10 soccer. A player is in an offside position when they are nearer to the opponents goal line than the ball, unless (a) they are behind the BOL, or (b) they are not nearer to the opponents goal line than at least 2 of the opponent players, where one can be the goalkeeper. The player shall only be penalized for being in an offsides position, if, at the moment the ball is played by a team member, they are, in the opinion of the referee, (1) interfering with the play of with an opponent, or (b) seeking to gain an advantage by being in that offside position. A player shall not be declared offside for simply being in an inconsequential offside position, or if receiving a ball direct from a goal kick, a corner kick, or a throw-in. At the referee's discretion, offsides will be called, and the opposing team will be awarded a free kick from the point of the offside position infraction.
  14. A goal is scored when the whole ball goes over the whole goal line, between the goal posts and under the cross bar, provided it has not been thrown, carried or intentionally propelled by hand or arm of the attacking player.
  15. All rule infractions shall be briefly explained to the offending player by the referee.
  16. When the game is over, we expect a cheer for the other team and a post-game handshaking. This is a fun post-game ritual for the kids and provides a chance to get any snacks ready. Coaches must be careful to ensure the handshaking is not filled with "you lost", "we beat you" words, or spitting on the hands, which can kill the joy of the game for many players. This kind of youthful thoughtlessness can be controlled simply by the coach reminding the players what to say and why, and by accompanying them through the line. Coaches should also shake hands with each other and the referee. Take this opportunity to congratulate your team if they have done well, or provide positive feedback on errors you noticed. Players should be taught that all trash and gear is to be picked up by the team. Yes, even if it was there when the game started. We are always teaching good citizenship and stewardship to the players.
U-10 Soccer League - SYSA Rules

The SYSA rules are hosted on their website under the tab "SYSA Administration/Rules and ByLaws"