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Running games for 5U-8U.


The goal of the match is to let players play in a game-like scenario. Score is not being kept at the 5U-8U level and should not be the focus of the game. We are there for the kids on both teams to have fun and to develop a love for the game, not see how many points we can score. 

Coach-Led Scrimmages

Two Coaches are allowed on the field during the scrimmage to help guide the game and keep it safe. You are not there as a referee which means you let the game run with as little interference as possible. The only game stoppages should be if the ball goes out of bounds, into a goal, or a player gets hurt. Quarter breaks should only be called during one of the mentioned stoppages. At this level, there should be plenty.

Coaches do not have training to call fouls and should not stop play unless a player is hurt. The restart of a game when a player is hurt can be a dropped ball preferably to the injured player or their teammate if they leave play. If a player is engaging in unsafe or unsportsmanlike behavior such as pushing (meaning outstretched arms or elbows), tripping, or dangerous slide tackles, at the next stoppage, coaches should take a moment to teach a more appropriate behavior or technique. We have a regional policy on the website in the Coach's Corner about games without a referee aka, Coach Led Scrimmages

During the scrimmage, remember not to interfere with play. Make sure you are not blocking a goal or players moving down the field. Ideally coaches should remain on the sides of the field out of the way of players. 

Sportsmanship

Coaches have the most direct contact with the parents and have the most influence, therefore we rely on you to help promote AYSO philosophy of good sportsmanship for both players and parents. Before a scrimmage I encourage you to talk to the parents from both teams, and remind them of proper game etiquette. You might say something like: 


"We are there for the kids. We aren't keeping score, and today isn't about how many goals you can score. Our main focus is to let the kids have fun and learn soccer and hopefully develop a love of the game. Keep all comments positive and encouraging, cheer and encourage and congratulate both teams. Finally refrain from shouting where to run and what to do, in other words leave the coaching to the coach." 

For your players, remind them about having good sportsmanship: not to push, trip, or brag to the other team. Remind them to congratulate the other team if they make a goal or do something well. 

Game Cards

There appears to be some confusion about game cards and keeping score. For 5U-8U, score is not kept should be left blank on the Game card. Game Cards are primarily a means of tracking attendance for insurance purposes. Coaches can download Game Cards from their Team Page under "Roster->Print Team Line Up". Mark which players are absent and either mark which players played or who sat out. If you have a Center Referee have them sign the front and email a photo of the completed card to [email protected].

Limit Running up the score

Even though you aren't keeping score, if it is obvious that one team is stronger than the other, coaches should try to shift focus of that team away from scoring and toward other player development such as passing, ball control, or switching sides of the field. I will be sending out more ideas on effective ways to limit the score without penalizing either team, but here are some quick ideas. Have them play games that you might play during practice such as keep away where the objective is to see how many time they can pass the ball without it being stolen by the other tream, or they get a "point" if they pass to all players on the team. See if they can play only using their "other foot" and they get points for how many times they use the non-dominant foot. If necessary you can even subtract "points" is they kick the ball into a goal. In general take the focus away from making goals and onto other skills. Practice these during practice so they know what to do at the game and so you know what works and what doesn't, particularly if you have a strong team. Above all, don't make it obvious to them or to the other team that you limiting the score, just try putting focus on other skills or objectives.


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AYSO Madison Alabama Region 498

101 Danvers Dr 
Madison, Alabama 35758

Email Us: [email protected]
Phone : 256-684-2959
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