Novice Program

Rules of Play for Novice Program  

Age Group:

U8 & U9


4 quarters

Period Duration:

12 minutes per quarter

Time Between Periods:

2 minutes

Time Between Halves:

5 minutes after the half

Total Running Time:

57 minutes

Number of players per side:

5 v 5  including keeper. .

Ball Size:

Size 4

Goal Size:

6.5’ x 10’

Field Size:

35yds x 45yds 

Number of Coaches on Field:



1. Same team taps off for the odd periods. The other team taps off the even periods. Teams switch sides at half time.


2. If one team has fewer players show up to a game than the maximum allowed on the field, the opponent plays with the same amount or coaches can mix the teams to ensure the most players can take part in the game.


3. Substitutions: Are permitted on the fly at any time during the game.


4. Indirect Kicks: When a foul occurs, such as a dangerous play, tripping, handling, slide tackling etc., play is stopped to allow the referee or coach to quickly explain the error. Foul kicks are all indirect (even if within the goal area/box) and from the spot of the foul. If a foul occurs inside the goal area/box, the kick is taken from directly outside the box at the point closest to the foul. All fouls should calmly be explained to all players as a learning experience. (Ball touched by at least two players before it goes in the goal.) Obstruction, unsportsmanlike conduct, slide tackling, dangerous play (lying on the ground near ball or foot too high in the air). If repeated behaviour, coaches are to take player off field to discuss.


5. Throw-ins: No throw-ins, only kick-ins are to be taken if the ball goes out of bounds on the sidelines. Opposing team needs to give at least 3 yards space for the inbound pass to take place.


6. Playing Time: All players are guaranteed at least 1/2 the game and no goalkeeper should play more than half the game in goal per game.


7.Goalkeepers: Can use their hands inside the goal area/box and have ~6 seconds to distribute the ball. (Encourage quick distribution) Keepers can NOT pick up a ball played back by their teammates’ feet. (They can pick up a ball deflected or hit with another body part.) Keeper/Sweeper role is to be rotated each quarter. A Keeper/Sweeper role is defined as a position that is not ’stuck’ in the goal and when the ball is in their defensive half, plays as a traditional goalie with their hands in the box. When the ball goes upfield, they come up and play as a defender all the way up to the circle. They receive passes and play as ’last man back. This allows the team’s defenders to attack, while the goalkeeper covers as the last man back. The goalkeeper stays higher up the field than he or she might normally do, and performs the defensive actions of a sweeper by clearing long balls sent to his defensive side and dribbling/passing to his team mates. What he/she shouldn’t do is play in his 6 yd box and wait. He is an active player, involved in all aspects of the game.


8. Goal kicks are taken when the attacking team knocks the ball out of bounds across the end line. Opposing team must wait at midfield and not proceed across until the pass is completed.


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