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AYSO Region 109 Menlo Park / Atherton


AYSO Region 109
Menlo Park-Atherton
Regional Guidelines
updated on 19 July 2023


Scope and Enforcement
Good Sportsmanship and Codes of Conduct
Coach's Code
Referee’s Code
Parent's Code
Player’s Code
General Regional Guidelines
Three Quarter
Positive Coaching
Registration Forms
Off the Field
Teams and Spectator On-Field Positions
Line-up Card
Score Keeping
Player Rating
Rotating Positions
Number of Field Players
Field Conduct Regional Guidelines
Misconduct Penalties
Suspensions and Other Sanctions
Ineligible Players
Thunder and Lightning
Slide Tackles
Game Protests and Complaints Guidelines
Player Equipment Guidelines

U6 (Kinderleague) Regional Guidelines

U7 and U8 Regional Guidelines

U10 and Older Regional Guidelines
Team Size
Laws of the Game
Penalty Kicks
Game Duration & Ball Size
Goal Keeper
Half Time
Games Running Behind Schedule
Field Size


These Regional Guidelines have been adopted by Region 109 of the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), which serves players primarily in Menlo Park and Atherton, California to define its organization and operation. Region 109 recognizes and adopts the Standard Regional Guidelines published by the National AYSO (available here: National Rules and Regulations), which apply to all regions. These Regional Guidelines are intended to define the specific application of those guidelines in Region 109. For the sake of brevity, all of the National Guidelines are not repeated in this website but may be accessed by the link above.

These Regional Guidelines are available so that they can be reviewed and referenced by all members of Region 109 and the public. They will be reviewed, modified (if necessary) and adopted annually prior to the fall soccer season.

The Region 109 Board of Directors (“”) understands that there are varying philosophies on the appropriate guidelines for coaching young soccer players and administering a soccer league. These Regional Guidelines are based on the National Guidelines, the U.S. Soccer Federation’s Best Practices For Coaching Soccer in the United States (2006) and the collective efforts of the Board, Region 109 families and the public. The Board welcomes comments and involvement by Region 109 families to improve these Regional Guidelines in future soccer seasons.

Scope and Enforcement of Regional Guidelines

These Regional Guidelines are mandatory on all players, coaches, referees, other volunteers and families in Region 109 unless noted otherwise. To be clear, while termed “Regional Guidelines,” these are in fact rules to be followed that shall not be disregarded or altered, either on their face or by agreement, by, between or among Region 109 individuals. Failure to follow these Regional Guidelines may result in, among other things, removal of the such individuals from the Region 109 league, at the discretion of the Board.

Should any violation(s) of these Regional Guidelines occur, one should:

(1) politely identify the violation to the referee, coach or other appropriate Region 109 Board Member, preferably with reference to this written Regional Guideline and applicable section;

(2) despite item (1), should the Regional Guidelines not be followed, anyone may contact the Regional Commissioner ([email protected]) to explain the violation;

(3) the Regional Commissioner shall contact all parties involved in the violation and determine if a violation has in fact occurred; and

(4) if a violation is determined to have occurred, the Regional Commissioner shall make a recommendation to the Board on the appropriate action to be taken by the Board for violation of the Regional Guideline, such action including possible removal of the individual(s) from the Region 109 league.


The mission of National AYSO and Region 109 is to develop and deliver quality youth soccer programs that promote a fun, family environment. These are the national AYSO six philosophies:

Everyone Plays – Our program's goal is for kids to play soccer so we mandate that every player on every team must play at least 50% of every game. It’s no fun to spend the game on the bench…and that’s no way to learn soccer! (Note that in Region 109 we take this principle a step farther by requiring a minimum three quarters of play when both teams are from Region 109.)

Balanced Teams – Each year we form new teams as evenly balanced as possible, because it is fair and more fun when teams of equal ability play. Teams are formed in accordance with the Region 109 Policies and Procedures for Building Teams.

Open Registration – Our program is open to all children between 4½ and 18 years of age who want to register and play soccer. Interest and enthusiasm are the only criteria for playing.

Positive Coaching – Kids win when they are built up, not when they are torn down. We train and encourage our coaches to make the extra effort to understand and offer positive help to our players, rather than negative criticism.

Good Sportsmanship – We strive to create a positive environment based on mutual respect, rather than a win-at-all-costs attitude, and our program is designed to instill good sportsmanship in every facet of AYSO.

Player Development –  All players should be able to develop their soccer skills and knowledge to the best of their abilities, both individually and as members of a team, to maximize their enjoyment of the game.

Region 109 also stresses the following principles:

Volunteers – We are keenly aware that AYSO relies on the efforts of volunteers. Therefore, we encourage parents of players and other interested people to volunteer to perform one of the many functions required to provide our program to youth soccer players. We offer a wide variety of jobs, which differ in required time, talent, and experience, in order to accommodate as many volunteers as possible. When necessary, we provide training and equipment to volunteers. We value, support, and recognize our volunteers, so that they will find their experience enjoyable and rewarding and will want to continue to volunteer.

Kids Zone – Region 109 operates in accordance with the AYSO Kids Zone program, which governs conduct of players and parents on the field. As part of the player registration process, all parents are required to review the Kids Zone materials and sign the Kids Zone pledge. All people who abide by the tenets of the Kids Zone program are welcome to attend soccer games in Region 109. Those who do not are not welcome and may be asked to leave the field.

Good Sportsmanship and Codes of Conduct

AYSO has always encouraged good sportsmanship in its program, but now we’re doing something more about it. First of all, we added “Good Sportsmanship” to our philosophy statement in our National Bylaws. Secondly, AYSO strongly recommends that its individual regions promote good sportsmanship through dynamic programs.

AYSO believes that when players, volunteers and parents understand what is expected of them with regard to good sportsmanship, those individuals will act to meet that expectation. AYSO understands that good sportsmanship doesn’t just happen. It needs to be taught, encouraged, and demonstrated. To that end, here are the AYSO codes of conduct.

Coach's Code

  • Enthusiastically support and practice “Everyone Plays,” Kids Zone, and Positive Coaching philosophies of AYSO.
  • Get to know players and call them by their preferred name
  • Be reasonable in your demands on the young players’ time, energy, enthusiasm and their performance on the soccer field.
  • Impress on your players that they must abide by the rules of the game at all times.
  • Develop team respect for the ability of opponents and for the judgment of the referees and opposing coaches.
  • Ensure that your players’ soccer experience is one of fun and enjoyment (winning is only part of it). Players should never be yelled at or ridiculed for making mistakes or losing a game.
  • Set a good example and be generous with your praise when it is deserved. Children need a coach they can respect.
  • Keep informed about sound principles of coaching and child growth and development principles.
  • Enlist the support of your team’s parents in your efforts to instill the proper attitudes and values in the players.
  • Check equipment and facilities that you use. They should meet safety standards and be appropriate for the age and ability of your players.
  • Follow the advice of physicians when determining when an injured child is ready to play again.

Actively instruct and practice good sportsmanship in relation to the referee, the opposing team, and teammates. In particular, do not publicly criticize them.

Referee's Code

  • Always remember the game is for the players. Player safety and fair play comes first.
  • Study and learn the laws of the game and understand the “spirit” of the laws. Help fellow referees do the same.
  • Encourage and enforce the AYSO philosophies of Balanced Teams, Everyone Plays, Kids Zone, Positive Coaching, Good Sportsmanship and Player Development.
  • Respect other referees and their decisions and do not publicly criticize another official.
  • Wear the proper uniform and keep it in good condition.
  • Maintain good physical condition so you can keep up with the action.
  • Stay calm when confronted with emotional reactions from players, coaches and parents.
  • Honor accepted game assignments. In an emergency, find a replacement.
  • Support good sportsmanship with a kind word to players, coaches and parents of both teams when deserved.
  • Always be fair and impartial avoiding conflicts of interest. Decisions based on personal bias are dishonest and unacceptable.

Parent's Code

  • Do not force an unwilling child to participate in sports.
  • Remember children are involved in organized sports for their enjoyment, not yours.
  • Teach your child always to play by the rules.
  • Teach your child that hard work and an honest effort are often more important than a victory.
  • Help your child work toward skill improvement and good sportsmanship in every game. Your child will then be a winner, even in defeat.
  • Do not ridicule or yell at your child for making a mistake or for losing a game.
  • Set a good example. Children learn best by example.
  • Applaud good plays by your team and by members of the opposing team.
  • Do not publicly question referee judgment and never their honesty.
  • Recognize the value and importance of volunteer coaches, referees and officials and give them their due respect. Without them there would be no AYSO soccer.
  • Support all efforts to remove verbal and physical abuse from youth sporting activities.
  • Support the Kids Zone program.

Player’s Code

  • Play for the fun of it, not just to please your parents or coaches.
  • Play by the rules.
  • Never argue with or complain about the referee calls or decisions.
  • Control your temper and most of all, resist the temptation to retaliate when you feel you have been wronged.
  • Concentrate on playing soccer and on affecting the outcome of the game with your best effort. Work equally hard for your team as for yourself.
  • Be a good sport by cheering all the good plays, whether it is your team’s or your opponent’s.
  • Treat all players, as you would like to be treated.
  • Remember that the goals of the game are to have fun, improve skills and feel good. Don’t be a showoff or ball hog.
  • Cooperate with your coaches, teammates, opponents and the referees.
  • Support the Kids Zone program.

General Regional Guidelines

Set forth below for the benefit of players, coaches, referees and parents are Regional Guidelines that govern play during the current season.

A. Three-Quarter Guideline: In Region 109, each player plays at least three quarters of a game and no player shall play four quarters until all players have played three quarters. Exceptions to this guideline are only allowed for matches where the opponent is not from Region 109.

B. Positive Coaching Guideline: Coaches and Spectators should, under no circumstance, engage in public and/or demeaning criticism of their own or opposing players, the referees or other coaches during games. For more information about Positive Coaching, please refer to the book by Jim Thompson, Positive Coaching (1995 ed.; Portola Valley: Warde Publishers).

One of the basic Laws of the Game of soccer is that dissent from the referee’s decisions is not allowed. Soccer is unlike baseball, basketball or other professional sports we are familiar with: the image of an angry coach or manager yelling at the umpire from a distance of two inches simply has no place in this sport. Players who directly show dissent towards a referee's decision can be subject to a Caution (Yellow Card). Repeated dissent after a Yellow Card has been shown is cause for Sending Off (Red Card).

Coaches are responsible (and will be held accountable) for their own conduct, as well as the conduct of Coaching Assistants, Players, and Spectators. If one or more Spectators persist in open and loud criticism of the Referee’s decisions, the Referee should warn the Coach that such behavior is unacceptable and ask that the Coach correct the behavior. In extreme cases, the Coach may be cautioned or sent off the field for persistent abusive conduct towards the Referee on the part of himself or any Spectators for whom he is responsible.

C. Registration Forms Guideline: Coaches must have registration forms with original signatures for all of their players in their possession during all practices and games. Referees are NOT expected to ask to be shown the registration forms (which also serve as medical release forms). It is the coach's responsibility that matches not begin unless registration forms are physically present.

D. Off The Field Guideline: Spectators and coaches are not allowed on the playing field during the course of the game except with the explicit permission of the Referee.

E. Teams and Spectators On-Field Positions: For U-10 and older games, coaches must stay within ten yards of either side of the half-line with both teams on the same touch line. The Coaches of the home team (the team that is listed first on the game schedule) choose the touch line and half from where to coach, if they arrive at least 20 minutes prior to the official starting time of the match. The other team’s Coaches occupy the other half. Spectators take positions behind the opposite touch line, unless there is consensus among Coaches and Referees that one touch line may be shared by both teams' Coaches and Spectators. Spectators must stay at least 6 feet from either touch line and between the penalty areas.

F. Line-up Card Guideline: Lineup cards must be given to the Referee before the start of the game, filled out with team name, Coaches names, and names and numbers of all players present. It will be the Referee’s responsibility to note on the card, which players are out for which quarters and who scored, in addition to assessments of conduct on the field by players, coaches and spectators.

G. Substitution Guideline: Coaches will be expected to instruct their Substitute Players to report to the Referee at the quarter breaks and report to her/him which Player she/he is replacing. Referees will dispose of completed lineup cards as instructed by the Division Commissioner responsible for the relevant age group. (In U-12/U-14, game cards should instead be entered into the Region 109 web-based game tracking system.) In lack of other instruction, referees should keep game cards until at least the end of the season.

All divisions must substitute players only at the quarters (except U14-U19 that have free substitutions). There is no free substitution in the U7-U12 divisions within a quarter. For safety reasons, players may be substituted in case of injury, but must follow the National AYSO Guidelines for injury substitutions.

H. Score Keeping Guideline: For U10 and younger, scores are not kept.

For U12 and older, game scores are tracked and standings are kept, often with an eye toward determining which team will be the division champion at the end of the season and/or which team(s) may represent our Region at the Area tournaments for their age group.

The following points system shall be used: 3 points for a win, 1 point for a tied game and 0 points for a loss. In the case of teams with the same number of points at the end of the season, ties will be broken as follows:

  • Head-to-Head Record: As between two tied teams, the team which has the best record in those games played against the team with which it is tied shall prevail. If this does not resolve the tie, then go to step 2.
  • Maximum Goal Differential: The team with the highest goal differential, defined as total goals scored minus goals scored against, shall prevail. If this does not resolve the tie, then go to step 3.
  • Goals Allowed: The team which has allowed the least number of goals during the season shall prevail. If this does not resolve the tie, then go to step 4.
  • Goals Scored: The team which has scored the most goals during the season shall prevail. If this does not resolve the tie, then the tie shall be resolved by coin toss administered by the Division Commissioner.

Games are forfeited if the minimum number of players is not present on the field by 5 minutes after the scheduled starting time of the game. The non-forfeiting team will be deemed to have won by a score of 2-0. If both teams forfeit, no standings points shall be awarded to either team.

In the event teams do not play the same number of matches during the season (due to unequal number of Bye games, or unsafe playing conditions), the relative standings shall be computed by dividing the team’s total number of points divided by the total number of games played (number of games scheduled minus number of games canceled due to unsafe conditions).

I. Player Rating Guideline: By the scheduled deadline at the end of the season, Coaches must complete the Player Rating forms. Once the forms are submitted, they will be entitled to receive their team’s trophies and photographs. The information contained on the Player Rating forms is important for making next year’s team balancing possible.

J. Rotating Positions Guideline: For U7 through U10, all players must be rotated equally through all positions during the entire season, with the exception of goalkeeper; players may choose not to play goalkeeper. Coaches should use their discretion in ensuring that all players experience equal time at all field positions, and at left and right sides of the field. This may be done during individual games AND/OR over the entire season.

Coaches should recognize that both strong and weak players benefit from playing in all positions and both sides (L and R) of the field AND that player development, NOT winning is one of the core AYSO values. In addition, coaches must manage potential blowouts through player rotation when mismatches become evident within a game.

For U7 and U8, field position means offense or defense. For U9 and U10, field position means defense, offense, and midfield when used in team formation. In no case should any player remain as keeper for more than two quarters of a single game. Any player playing two quarters in a single game as keeper MUST play at least one additional quarter in a field position in that game.

For the U12 and older divisions, this general guideline is not mandatory but is encouraged. In U14 and older divisions, a goalkeeper may stay in that position more than two quarters.

K. Number of Field Players Guideline: No more than the maximum number of field players per team are allowed on the field at one time per the table below:


Max Field Players


3v3 (4 concurrent games)


4v4 (2 concurrent games)


5v5 (2 concurrent games)











Teams shall not alter the number of players on the field (whether by agreement of the coaches, referees or otherwise) to play more than the maximum number of field players described above. Teams may only play less than the maximum number if not enough players attend the game.

Field Conduct Regional Guidelines

Players, Coaches and Spectators are required to conform to the Laws of the Game from the time they arrive at the field of play until they leave, including the period of time the match is in progress. The Laws will be enforced by the Referee, whose authority commences from the time he/she enters the field until he/she leaves the field of play. Good conduct is expected of Players at all times. Coaches are expected to support, model and enforce high standards of behavior for team Players and Spectators at all times.

The Referee should make all efforts to support Coaches in complying with these high standards of behavior. In the unlikely event that a Coach persists in exhibiting behavior inconsistent with the conduct of an AYSO match, it is within the Referee’s authority to send a Coach from the field. Per FIFA Laws of the Game, a Coach can be shown the Red or Yellow Card. If the Referee must dismiss a Coach from the field, this should be considered a very serious circumstance and an immediate, full report must be made to the Regional Commissioner, Division Commissioner, Regional Coach Coordinator, and Regional Referee Administrator (or to the appropriate Area Council in the case of intra-Area play).

Misconduct offenses should be very rare at U-10 and below. If such an offense occurs, the Referee should work with the Coach to make sure the match can continue to the benefit of all involved (perhaps by substituting the Player in question). However, Referees should not show the Red or Yellow Card to players U-10 and below. The following discussion of match penalties and suspensions is intended primarily for the U-12 age groups and above.

A. Misconduct: A Player who is sent off (shown the Red Card) for misconduct must be suspended from play immediately. The team of the offending Player must play short for the remainder of the game as outlined in the Laws of the Game. The Player must not be substituted, even if the team subsequently has fewer than the required minimum number of players, in which case a Forfeit results.

B. Misconduct Penalties: All misconduct penalties (cautions or send-offs) incurred by Players must be reported in writing or electronically to the Division Commissioner, the Division Referee Coordinator, and the Regional Referee Administrator within 48 hours. (Divisions involving intra-Area play might have different policies for reporting misconduct).

C. Suspensions and Other Sanctions:

1. A Player who is sent off is ineligible to participate in the next match the team plays following the match in which the offense occurred.

2. A Player who accrues three match cautions (not contributing to a send-off) in a season is ineligible to participate in his/her team's next match.

3. A Player who accrues two send-offs or is awarded misconduct penalties in five separate matches in a season is suspended from further Regional, Area and Section play until he/she appears before the Regional Sanction Committee (or AYSO Area Council, in divisions with intra-Area competition).

4. Misconduct sanctions are always subject to review by the Sanction Committee (or AYSO Area Council, in divisions with intra-Area competition).

D. Ineligible Players: Coaches are responsible for ensuring that ineligible players do not play. Ineligibility resulting from misconduct sanctions must be enforced by the team Coach. Failure to do so will result in the Forfeit of any match where an ineligible player participates.

E. Conduct: A match may be suspended or terminated by the Referee if the behavior of the Players, Coaches or Spectators becomes severely disruptive to continuing the game. Coaches are responsible for the conduct of their team and spectators at all times during AYSO functions. This includes litter removal after a match. As with other forms of misconduct, the Referee will report the situation to the AYSO Regional Council for disposition of the game and disciplinary action.

F. Excellent Sportsmanship: This is expected of all AYSO Coaches and Players at all times. A strong team is expected to adjust play to balance the game when a significant advantage is attained. Failure to sustain a sporting attitude, whether winning or losing, will be brought to the attention of the Regional Sanctions Committee (or of the appropriate Regional Commissioner in case of intra-Area competition) for disciplinary action.

G. Thunder and Lightning: Lightning can strike from a clear blue sky that is within a ten mile radius of a storm. It is therefore strongly recommended that practices and games be suspended immediately when lightning is within 10 miles. If the ‘Flash-to-Bang’ count is thirty seconds or less, everyone should leave the game site to a safe location and wait for 30 minutes before resuming play."

H. Slide Tackles: Slide tackles are dangerous for younger players. A fair slide tackle can be a good play; however, younger players on the ‘receiving’ end of the tackle do not have the body control to easily get out of the way of the tackler and therefore we consider slide tackles to be Dangerous Play in the U7/U8/U9 divisions and the Referee will call it a foul.

I. Heading - As per AYSO National Guidelines, deliberately heading the ball is NOT allowed in U12 and below matches. The restart for a deliberate heading in U12 and below is an indirect free kick for the opposing team.

Game Protests and Complaints Guideline

Complaints, including protests of games, must be made in writing or by email to the Regional Commissioner, delivered within 72 hours of an alleged violation or occurrence.

A valid complaint or protest will be reviewed by the AYSO Regional Council comprised of the Regional Commissioner, Regional Referee Administrator and Region Coach Administrator. Protests concerning judgment calls by game officials will not be reviewed, including camcorder footage or other purported photographic evidence.

Player Equipment Regional Guidelines

Law 4 states that:

“A player must not use equipment or wear anything which is dangerous to himself or another player (including any kind of jewelry.)”

and that basic compulsory equipment consists of:

  • a jersey or shirt
  • shorts - if thermal undershorts are worn, they are of the same main color as the shorts
  • socks
  • shinguards - must be covered completely by socks
  • footwear

Referees have discretion to judge the suitability and safety of any and all equipment, including equipment that does not appear on this basic list. Referee decisions in this regard are final. Referees are encouraged, however, to be reasonable in making such judgments, keeping in mind the age of the players involved and the overriding goal that kids have fun playing soccer in a safe environment.

The following specific rules on player equipment will be enforced in Region 109:

Casts, braces and other protective equipment

  • Casts and splints are NOT permitted, even if taped or wrapped in foam rubber. This applies even to plastic and Velcro strap-on casts. (What exactly qualifies as a cast is not easy to quantify. Players in doubt should ask the Regional Commissioner or Regional Referee Administrator.)
  • Knee braces are permitted, provided the brace is adequately covered and padded so as to eliminate the possibility of its causing injury to other players.
  • As per new FIFA guidelines, other protective equipment such as protective headgear, is permissible at the referee's discretion as long as it does not pose any injury risk to the player or other players on the field. This determination is made solely at the referees discretion, but the referee should allow protective equipment that meets this requirement. To quote Law 4:
    • Modern protective equipment such as headgear, facemasks and knee and arm protectors made of soft, lightweight padded material are not considered dangerous and are therefore permitted
    • In view of the new technology that has made sports spectacles much safer, both for the wearer and for otherplayers, referees should show tolerance when authorising their use, particularly for younger players

Personal Items

  • Plain elastic hair fasteners and cloth-covered elastic "scrunchies" are OK. All hair restraints containing hard objects are disallowed.
  • Prescription glasses are permitted, retaining straps are strongly encouraged but not mandatory. Safety or sport lenses are strongly encouraged; metal rims are discouraged. Sunglasses are disallowed.
  • Goalkeepers may wear soft-brimmed hats; (referee judges acceptability).
  • Dental retainers with protruding wires must be removed. Molded retainers without wires are OK. Orthodontic braces are OK. A mouthpiece is encouraged (but you'll rarely see it).
  • All jewelry is disallowed (including earrings). Jewelry must be removed, not taped. This includes cloth and or string "friendship" bracelets
  • "Medic-Alert" bracelets can and should be worn (and taped if loose).
  • Fingernails must not present a hazard to others.

Basic Equipment

  • Team jerseys must be worn (if possible).
  • Goalkeepers must wear jerseys that are clearly distinguishable from those of both teams.
  • Shoes are required. Cleats are recommended and must be FIFA-approved, without a single cleat at the toe (i.e., baseball/football shoes). Screw-in cleats are permitted if a sharp edge or protruding metal core is not present. Turf shoes and sneakers are OK.

We anticipate that some situations will arise where a player will need exceptional permission to wear or carry specific items that would otherwise be disallowed (e.g. for medical or religious reasons). In these cases, the player or coach should acquire a written waiver, signed by the Regional Commissioner, which can be shown to the referee on the field.

U6 (Kinderleague) Regional Guidelines

  • Region 109 follows a modified version of the AYSO National rules for U6 teams.
  • Teams in U6 comprise 12-15 players each. There are no separate practices for this division. The hour-long Saturday games include a half-hour practice followed by a half-hour inter-team scrimmage.
  • U6 will play on fields also used by older divisions, so the coaches may have to use cones to define the playing field.The maximum size should be no greater than 30 yards by 15 yards. Players use a size 3 ball, and PUGG pop-up goals.
  • There are no referees (coaches officiate) and no scores are kept. The coaches divide their teams into 3-player sides, and those sides play 3-player sides from the opposing team. So, for example, team A will be divided into A1, A2, A3, and A4. If more than 12 players are present, some will need to sit out for the first half.
  • Four games are played simultaneously between each pair of teams: A1 v B1, A2 v B2, A3 v B3, A4 v B4. Each must be supervised by at least one coach and preferably two, one per team. After approximately 10 minutes, play stops for a halftime break. Following halftime, play resumes with each side playing a different side from the opposing team: A1 v B2, A2 v B1, A3 v B4, A4 v B3. The second half of the game lasts another 10 minutes at which time the scrimmage ends.
  • If a player kicks or passes the ball over the touchline, a player from the opposing team shall throw it in. If a player kicks or passes the ball over the goal line (but not into the goal), a player from the opposing team shall put it back into play, either as a corner kick or as a goal kick.
  • Fouls in this division should be scarce, and should be limited to flagrant violations of good sportsmanship. The penalty for a foul is a direct free kick, with opponents at least five yards away.

U7 and U8 Regional Guidelines

  • Region 109 follows the National AYSO short-sided game guidelines except in Division U7 and U8, as follows.
  • Teams in the U-7 (6 year old boys and girls) will be comprised ideally of 10 players each. For games, each team will be divided into two units of up to 5 players each, unit A and unit B.
  • Teams in the U-8 divisions (7 year old boys and girls) will be comprised ideally of 12 players each. For games, each team will be divided into two units of up to 6
  • In the first set of mini-games, unit A of the "home team" will play unit B of the "visiting team". In the second set, the visiting teams will switch fields, so that its unit A plays unit A of the home team and vise versa.
  • The two games will be played side by side in adjacent fields, so that the coach or coaches, if desired, may position themselves in the median between the fields.
  • For U7:
    • For each “mini-game” there will be a maximum of 4 (four) players on the field for each team.
    • There will be no goalkeepers.
  • For U-8
    • For each “mini-game” there will be a maximum of 5 (five) players on the field for each team.
    • One of these players will be designated goalkeeper, and may legally handle the ball within his or her own goal area.
    • The Goalkeeper shall not punt the ball when putting it back into play. A free kick will be awarded to the opposing team at the spot that the Goalkeeper punted the ball from. If the Goalkeeper punts the ball within the goal area, the free kick will be awarded to the opposing team on the goal area line at the point nearest to where the goalkeeper punted the ball.
  • Substitutions shall be made halfway through each mini-game. Thus, if all players on a team are present, each player will play ¾ of total game time.
  • Each team will furnish one referee, so that one referee is available to officiate each of the two games.
  • U7 and U8 will use throw-ins instead of dribble-in or kick-in for restarts when ball goes out of play over the touch lines
  • No slide tackles are allowed in these divisions (see "B. Laws of the Game" below for explanation)
  • The offside rule is not enforced in these divisions.

U9 and Older Divisions

A. Team Size:

  • In U10, teams will ideally be comprised of 10 players and will play with 7 players (minimum 5), including a goalkeeper.
  • In U12, the teams are ideally comprised of 12 players and the game is played with 9 players on the field (minimum 7) including a goalkeeper.
  • For U14 and above, the teams are ideally comprised of 14 players and the game is played with 11 players on the field (minimum 7) including a goalkeeper.

B. Laws of the Game

The full FIFA Laws of the Game (download here, changes from past two years' presentation here and an app here) are used as modified by AYSO with the following exceptions:

  • Slide Tackles: Slide tackles are dangerous for younger players. A fair slide tackle can be a good play; however, younger players on the ‘receiving’ end of the tackle do not have the body control to easily get out of the way of the tackler and therefore we consider slide tackles to be Dangerous Play in the U8 division and the Referee will call it a foul. A fair slide tackle as determined by the referee is permitted in U10 and older.
  • For U10, the goalkeeper shall not punt the ball. An indirect free kick will be awarded to the opposing team at the spot of the offense if a goalkeeper deliberately punts the ball during a match. An indirect free kick awarded to the attacking team inside the opposing team's goal area must be taken on the goal area line at the point nearest to where the goalkeeper punted the ball.
  • For U10 there shall be a build-out line:

o The build-out line promotes playing the ball out of the back in a less pressured setting.

o The build-out line runs across the field equidistant between the top of the penalty area and halfway line.

o The opposing team must move back behind the build-out line for a goal kick or when the goalkeeper has possession. At any time, the goalkeeper may pass, throw or roll the ball to a teammate who is behind the build-out line.

o The goalkeeper or the player taking the goal kick does not have to wait for the opposing players to move behind the build-out line. The play from the goalkeeper or from the goal kick may be played to a teammate behind or in front of the build-out line. After the ball is put into play, the opposing team can cross the build-out line and play may resume as normal. The first touch is from the goal kick or the pass from the goalkeeper.

o The build-out line shall be used as the line to determine offside. Players cannot be penalized for an offside offense between the halfway line and the build-out line.

C. Penalty Kicks:

  • Coaches and Referees are reminded that Penalty Kicks are taken only from the penalty spot, and not from the spot where the penal foul occurs within the penalty area.
  • When a Penalty Kick is taken, only the Goalkeeper and the Player attempting the kick can be within the penalty area at the moment the ball is struck.
  • The Player taking the kick may not touch the ball again until the ball has been touched by another Player. Thus a goal scored by the penalty kicker on a rebound directly off a goalie’s hands or body will count, whereas a purported goal scored by the penalty kicker off a rebound from a post or the crossbar will not.

D. Injuries:

  • When a Player is injured, she/he may be substituted immediately upon leaving the field following the procedures for injury substitutions found on the National AYSO website link provided above.
  • If a Player is injured and is substituted, she/he may not return until the beginning of the next quarter.
  • However the Player may, if fit to play, act as substitute for a 2nd injured player. An injured Player receives credit for having played the entire quarter in which she/he became injured.
  • If a Player is injured, but no substitution is made, the Player may return at any stoppage of play after getting the Referee’s permission.

E and F Game Duration and Balls:

DivisionPeriods (halves of approx 5 min) Ball Size
7U and 8U 20-minute mini-games with two 10-minute halves 3
10U two 25-minute halves 4
12U two 30-minute halves 4
14U two 35-minute halves 5
16U two 40-minute halves 5
19U and 16/19U combo two 45-minute halves 5


G. Goal Keeper:

  • For Players in Divisions U-12, U-10, U-8, (7-11yr old players), no Player may play as goalkeeper for more than 2 quarters per game.
  • Players in Divisions U-14 and up may play as goalkeeper as many quarters as the coach decides.
  • In Divisions U-12, U-10,U-8, any Player who plays as goalkeeper must also play at least one quarter in the field.

H. Substitutions:

  • In U-8 through U-12, substitutions are only allowed at mid-halfs and halftime. In U-14 and up, free substitutions are allowed.
  • Coaches should make mid-half substitutions quickly so as not to affect the flow of the game, and to keep games on schedule.
  • Only Players being substituted are allowed to leave the field; all other Players should remain in their positions.
  • After Players being substituted have left the field, the new Players are allowed to enter the field.
  • All new Players should check in with the assistant referee.
  • the field without the express consent of the referee.

I. Half-time:

  • Minimum of 5 minutes to a maximum of 10 minutes.
  • If games are running behind schedule, the Referees should instruct the coaches that half-time will be minimized to keep the games on schedule.

J. Games Running Behind Schedule:

  • Every effort should be made to keep the games running on time.
  • If a game starts late for any reason, that game should be adjusted into two shorter halves of equal duration to allow the following games to start on time.
  • It is the Coaches and Referees responsibility to keep the games running on schedule.

K. Field Size:

  • 10U games use the full FIFA Laws the following exception.
  • Since a full sized field is a bit of a physical challenge for children this age, U-9 and U-10 games in Region 109 are played on reduced size fields that are approximately 60% of full size.
  • To keep everything to scale, all distances in the Laws of the Game are reduced proportionately. For example, the 10-yard distances at free kicks and corner kicks are reduced to 8 yards. Slightly smaller goals are also used.

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