Chelmsford Youth Soccer Association

U8 Rules

CYSA Rules of Competition for U8

For Under 8 (U8) matches in Chelmsford, the following Rules of Competition will be applied. These Laws are specific to CYSA.

Field of Play (Law #1):

The U8 fields in Chelmsford will be a minimum of 20 yards in width to a maximum of 30 yards. The fields will have a minimum length of 25 yards and a maximum length of 35 yards. The fields are to be lined with goal lines and touch lines with a half line placed 1⁄2 the distance between the goal lines. A goal area will consists of two lines perpendicular to the goal line that are 3 yards in length and a line parallel to the goal line connecting these two lines. A center circle will be lined with a radius of 4 yards. Penalty area and corner arcs are not required for CYSA U8 matches.

The Ball (Law #2):

U8 matches shall use a Size #3 ball.

It is critical that games be played only with properly inflated balls in good condition, if a suitable ball is not available, the game simply cannot be played. You cannot start a game with the “best we could find”. If a suitable and properly inflated ball cannot be found, keep looking, or find a pump.

The Number of Players (Law #3):

A U8 game in Chelmsford will consist of 4 players per team with no goal keepers.


Substitution will only at the end of each period (below) unless a player is injured. Before the next period can begin all players not participating in the previous period must be substituted into play unless the team roster is greater than eight players.

If a player is injured he or she may be substituted with a player from the coaches box. The opposing team will NOT be given the opportunity to substitute any players at this time.

Playing Time:

Playing time will be managed with substitutions in between each period. All players must be given equal playing time throughout the 60 minute block by managing an equal number of periods for each player on the team.

Coaches are strongly encouraged by CYSA to strive for equal playing time for all players. This is fundamental to the philosophy of CYSA. One player should never play the entire game when the available number of players exceeds the number on the field.

The referee may instruct the coaching staff on player availability when the roster is greater than or less than the optimum number of players. For example, if six players are present for the game, each player must sit out every third block.

Coaches, Parents, and Spectators:

Each team must have a coach, and may have up to two assistant coaches accompanying the team on the “team” side of the field. No other parents or spectators may accompany the team on the “team” side of the field.

All parents, spectators, and other non-participants must watch the game from the opposite side of the field from the team.

The area behind the goals must be free of all spectators.

Player’s equipment (Law #4):

All players must wear a uniform distinguishing the two teams. Non uniform equipment is allowed based on the weather conditions but team colors must distinguish the players. All players must wear shin guards and socks to cover the shin guard. Players are not allowed to wear jewelry or any other article that may endanger other players.

The Referee (Law #5):

Referees enforce the laws of the game as presented in this document. Referees are also required to instruct the players on the laws that are being enforced at the time of enforcement. For CYSA U8 matches the referee is also considered one of the instructors of the game.

The Assistant Referee (Law #6):

CYSA U8 games do not use assistant referees.

Duration of the Match (Law #7):

U8 games will consist of an unlimited number of 6 minute periods. The referee will not allow any stoppage time at the end of each period. U8 games are scheduled in 60 minute blocks with the last period starting no later than 10 minutes prior to the end of the block. The referee will blow the whistle twice at the end of each period and three times at the end of the time block. Between each period the referee will allow player substitution (rules above) and then begin the next period when all players are ready.

Kickoff (Law #8):

A kick off is used to start or restart play at the start of a period or after a goal.

The ball must be stationary during the kick off. If it is not, the player may redo the kick off.

The ball can move in any direction at the kick off.
 All opposing players must be 4 yards from the ball at the time of the kickoff.

Ball in and out of Play (Law #9):

Ball in and out of play is in accordance with FIFA Laws of the Game.

Method of Scoring (Law #10):

Scoring method is in accordance with FIFA Laws of the Game.

Offside (Law #11):

Offside (Law 11) does not apply to U8.

However, attacking players are not to linger in front of the opposing team’s goal and “cherry pick”. This is not in the spirit of the game. The referee should warn the attacking player, and encourage him to move back. If necessary, discuss the problem with the coach.

Cards and Misconduct (Law #12): Fouls:

CYSA U8 matches will enforce the 7 careless, reckless or excessive offences (kicking, tripping, jumping, charging, striking, pushing and tackling) along with the 3 other offences (holding, spitting and handling) with an indirect free kick. CYSA will also enforce the indirect free kick offences of playing in a dangerous manner and impeding the progress of an opponent. All offences are restarted with an INDIRECT free kick. CYSA acknowledges that at this age group most fouls will be unintentional and the referee is to instruct the player on the offence and what corrective action may be required. In the event that a player appears to be committing the foul intentionally, the referee is to speak with the player AND coach to instruct them that such action is not allowed.

No Heading:

Intentionally playing the ball with the head, or attempting to play the ball with the head is not permitted in CYSA U8 matches. Restart: Indirect free kick for the other team.


Carding a player at the U8 level should never happen. The referee should instruct the player and the coach about the violation and ask them to stop. If it continues the referee should inform the coach that the player needs to be substitute and re-instructed on the reason for his removal.

Coaches may not be shown either the yellow or red card. The referee may dismiss a coach that is abusive, or otherwise is behaving inappropriately, and suspend play until the coach leaves the area. If the coach will not leave the area, the referee must abandon the game.

Any misconduct must be reported as soon as possible to the CYSA Referee Coordinator.

Free Kicks (Law #13):

In U8 play, all awarded free kicks are indirect free kicks.
The opposing players must be at least 4 yards back from the free kick.

Two or more defensive players may not gather or create a wall within 8 yards of the point of the free kick. The team taking the free kick will retake the kick in the event of infringement.

No Penalty Kicks (Law #14):

No penalty kicks are awarded in U8 matches.

Pass In (Law #15):

CYSA will be using a pass in as a restart when the ball crosses the touch line. A throw in is NOT allowed.

A pass in is awarded to the opponents of the player who last touched the ball when the whole of the ball crosses the whole of the touch line, either on the ground or in the air.

A goal cannot be scored directly of a pass in. If the ball enters the goal a goal kick is used for a restart if the player kicks the ball directly into the opposing team goal. A corner kick is used if the player kicks the ball directly into his own goal.

The ball must be stationary when the pass in is taken. If it is not, the player retakes the pass in.

All opponents must stand no less than 4 yards from the point at which the pass in is taken.

Two or more defensive players may not gather or create a wall within 8 yards of the point of the pass in. The team taking the pass in will retake the kick in the event of infringement.

The ball is in play when it enters the field of play.

After kicking in the ball, the player must not touch the ball again until it has touched another player. If the player touches the ball, the opposing team is awarded an indirect free kick.

Goal Kick (Law #16):

A ‘goal kick’ is awarded to a team when a player on the attacking team is the last to touch the ball when the ball is out of play behind the goal.

Goal kicks are taken from the goal box on the line parallel with the goal line.

The goal kick must touch the ground before crossing the center line or an indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team. Placement of the ball during the indirect free kick will be on the centerline at the point the ball crossed the center line in the air.

All opposing players must move back to half field.

Corner Kick (Law #17):

A ‘corner kick’ is awarded to a team when a player on the defending team is the last to touch the ball when the ball is out of play behind the goal.

Corner kicks are taken within 1 yard on the spot of the goal line where the goal line crosses the touch line.

All players must be at least 4 yards from the ball when the player taking the corner kick touches the ball.

Two or more defensive players may not gather or create a wall within 8 yards of the point of the corner kick. The team taking the corner kick will retake the kick in the event of infringement.

The referee will strictly enforce the 4-yard space given for all free kicks on the corner kick. Attacking players are not to enter this area until the kick is taken. In the spirit of the game, the corner kick is intended to be highly advantageous to the team taking the kick.