Chelmsford Youth Soccer Association

U10 Rules

CYSA Rules of Competition for U10

For Under 10 (U10) matches in Chelmsford, the following modifications to the FIFA Laws of the Game apply to in-town play. These modifications are derived from both local rules specific to CYSA in-town play, and the modifications outlined in the Middlesex Youth Soccer League (MYSL) Referee Handbook.

Referees are encouraged to review both documents. This reference sheet provides a summary of the modifications.

Size of Ball:

U10 matches shall use a Size #4 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.

Length of Game:

U10: Two 25 minute periods, 5 minute halftime.

The referee may add stoppage time at his discretion in accordance to the Laws of the Game. However, time should not be extended excessively if it will delay the start of the next scheduled game.


An unlimited number of players may be substituted, and players may re-enter the game during subsequent substitutions.

Substitutions may be made at the following times:

  • The team’s own throw-in. Also, if the team throwing-in chooses to substitute, the other team may substitute as well.
  • Either team’s goal kick
  • After a goal by either team
  • After an injury stoppage (injuried player only, and an equal number of players from the other team)
  • Half time

All substitutes are to enter from the halfway line. Players to be substituted must gather by the halfway line prior to the substitution opportunity and be ready to immediately enter the game when the referee grants permission.

Players may only enter the field of play when the referee grants permission. The referee may, at his discretion, not allow substitutions at any particular opportunity.

Playing Time:

In accordance with MYSL guidelines, all players should play a minimum of 40% of the game. 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.

Coaches are encouraged to use the allowed substitution opportunities (throw-in, goal kick, goal, half) to allow players to receive equal playing time.

In extreme cases, the referee may stop play at his discretion to allow substitutions should the flow of play not allow adequate opportunities to achieve this goal. Such stoppages should be at points in the game which are as non-impacting as possible (ball near mid- field, etc.)

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.

Protect the Goalkeeper:

Protection of the goalkeeper is very important in youth play. Once the goalkeeper has control of the ball, no kicking or charging of the goalie is to be tolerated. Any play that looks hazardous to the keeper should result in an immediate whistle for dangerous play, under Law 12, and result in an indirect free kick.

Pass Back to Keeper:

At the U10 level, the “pass back to keeper” rule under Law 12 of the game should be enforced only in the most extreme cases, where the players are clearly and deliberately wasting time, and after the warning of the referee. This rule is in place to discourage deliberate time wasting, and should never be called for a deflection or other unintentional passing of the ball.

Field of Play:

The U10 fields in Chelmsford are lined with a combined goal/penalty area (see diagram). Within this area, the goalkeeper may play the ball with his hands.

The goal kick may be taken from any spot within the approximate area indicated in the diagram; approximately 2 yards back from the line defining the front of the goal area.

No Offside:

Offside (Law 11) does not apply to U10 games.

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.

Free Kicks:

In U10 play, awarded free kicks are either direct or indirect, per FIFA Law. The opposing players must be at least 8 yards back from the free kick.

No free kicks are to be taken from inside the opponent’s goal/penalty area. If the normal placement of the kick would be within this area, the ball should be moved to the nearest spot outside this area.

No Penalty Kicks:

No penalty kicks are awarded in U10 matches. No penalty kicks shall be awarded to or taken by either team. All fouls committed inside the penalty area that would normally result in a penalty kick will be moved outside the penalty area to the point closest to where the foul was committed and a free kick awarded.

In U10 play, the awarded kick is a direct free kick.


Following along with FIFA Laws, a goal may be scored directly off a kickoff.

In CYSA play, the opposing team must honor the 8 yard distance on the kickoff, even if there is no center circle painted on the field.

Goal Kick:

As most CYSA fields do not have a separate goal area indicated on the field, the goal kick may be taken from any spot of the teams choosing approximately 2 yards back from the front of the combined goal/penalty area.

The referee will strictly enforce the 8-yard space given for all free kicks on the goal kick. Attacking players are not to enter this area until the kick is taken. In the spirit of the game, the goal kick is intended to be highly advantageous to the team taking the kick. Referees are to discourage any attempt by the opposing team to “block” the kick.

No Long Punts or Goal Kicks:

A goal kick, or a punt by the goal keeper must bounce, or be played, before entering the opposing teams penalty area. If any punt or goal kick enters the opposing teams penalty area without touching the ground or being played, play will be stopped, and an indirect free kick awarded to the other team at the halfline.

The kick shall be taken from the spot on the halfway line where the ball crossed.

A goal may still be scored directly on a kickoff or punt, provided it bounces off the ground before crossing the halfway line, in accordance to FIFA Law.

Cards and Misconduct:

Carding a player at the U10 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.