My my My my
Game Format  7 v 7

 Center Referee only
Minimum Ref

 Grade 9
Game Length  65 minutes; two 30 minute halves. Game times are generally between 9am - Noon

 5 minute half time

# of players
 No more than 7 v 7; no less than 5 players to be an official game
Required Equipment Shin Pads worn under soccer socks. Athletic shoes, soccer cleats recommended. Visible uniform shirt, shorts, soccer socks. No jewelry of any kind. No football or baseball cleats permitted. No baseball caps. Eye glasses must have straps. No uncovered zippers.

 Size #4. Home team is expected to provide a properly inflated game ball.
Subs  On goal kick by either team, after a goal by either team, half-time, during injury stoppage by either team, prior to your own throw-in, prior to your opponents throw-in if they sub.
Goalies  Yes - Any goal keeper distibution (punt or throw) that crosses midfield before touching the ground or another player will result in a direct free kick from the center spot. Goalies may not play the ball with their hands if it is passed to them by a teammate. This will result in an indirect free kick from the spot of the foul.

Goal Kicks
 FIFA PLUS: a goal kick that crosses midfield before touching the ground or another player will result in a direct free kick from the center spot for the opposing team.


Free Kicks


Required Distance
 8 yds


 FIFA - only use your cards in extreme cases. Explain offenses.

 Mass Youth Soccer Statewide U10 Curriculum 


Age Group: U10     
Skill Priorities

  • Continue with dribbling focus from U8
  • Passing with inside and outside of both feet
  • Shooting with both feet---using laces
  • Receiving the ball with all parts of body

Tactical Priorities

  • Basic Attacking Ideas
  • Basic Defending Ideas
  • Comprehend 1 v 1 concepts
  • Comprehend 2 v 1 concepts
  • Introduction to 2 v 2 concepts
  • Comprehend roles of 1st and 2nd  defenders
  • Comprehend roles of 1st and 2nd attackers

As we move up the age ladder from the U8 level to the U10 level there are many differences we must attend to in order to provide an optimal experience for young players of this age. However, there are also many similarities. Just as in parenting, it is important to be consistent in coaching and we must make sure that we follow a progressive trend of development for young players. To this ends, we need to continue to focus on technique during our practices, as we did at the younger ages. Creating environments in which players get maximum repetitions of technical skills is key. Players at this age should still work on ball mastery and demonstrate growing familiarity and comfort with a ball at their feet.
Typical Characteristics of U10 Players


  • attention span lengthens from U8---they start to show the ability to sequence thought and actions
  • they start to think ahead and think “If this, then that”
  • they are more inclined towards wanting to play soccer rather than being told to play
  • demonstrate increased self-responsibility – bringing a ball, water and all gear should now be their complete responsibility
  • they start to recognize fundamental tactical concepts
  • children at this age begin to become aware of peer pressure
  • players greatly affiliate with their team or their coach—“I play for the Tigers” or “I play for coach Amy’s team”
  • players at this age are extremely rule bound—remember each rule you create is the equivalent of a bar in the prison in which you would like to live
  • there is a wide continuum of maturity evident on most teams this is still a crucial age for technical skill development   


The U10 Age Group

The motivation to learn basic skills is very high at this age level.  Children gradually begin to change from being self-centered to being self-critical and develop the need for group and/or team games.  The game itself should be central to all skills training.  Small-sided games continue to be the method of choice for this age group.  This is an appropriate time to introduce some of the basic
Principles of play:
Attacking Principles                                       Defensive Principles
Penetration                                                      Recovery (Immediate Chase)
Support                                                           Pressure
Mobility                                                           Cover
Width                                                              Balance
Depth (length)                                                 Compactness
Improvisation (deception, creativity)                 Counter Attack
Role of Coach
The role of the coach in the U10 age group is to be a patient and motivating teacher.  At this level, in addition to understanding technique, coaches should be able to provide environments conducive to problem solving (decision-making) by the players utilizing guided discovery methods.
License Recommendation
Grassroots 7v7 License 


The U10 Player Characteristics

Mental/Psychological (cognitive)


  • Lengthened attention span
  • Ability to sequence thought and actions; begin to think in advance of the ball…anticipate
  • Ability to remember, follow more complex instructions and solve higher-level problems (i.e. simple combination play)
  • Developing ability to focus and stay on task
  • More understanding of time and space relations

Physical (psychomotor)


  • Gain a tremendous amount of physical strength, endurance and power; this is related to body size and muscle mass
  • Motor performance includes a variety of motor tasks that require speed, balance, flexibility, explosive strength and muscular endurance; pace factor is developing quite well
  • Gross and small fine motor skills becoming refined
  • Children this age are in a linear growth mode (head to toe)
  • Height can approach 5 feet and weight can approach 80 pounds

Socially (psychosocial)


  • Self-concept and body image are important
  • Less Sensitive…but still dislike personal failure in front of peers
  • Begin to initiate play on their own…they want to play
  • Becoming more serious about their play
  • Inclined more toward small group and team activities
  • Peer group attachment and pressure becoming significant
  • Adults outside the family become influential (coach, teacher, etc.)
  • Gender differences becoming more apparent


What to Teach U10 Players (Game Components)

Techniques (skills):

  • Running with the Ball: At speed. Under pressure.                     
  • Passing: With outside of the foot. With head.
  • Instep Drive: Shooting.Crossing.                        
  • Receiving Ground Balls: Inside/Outside of Foot. Away from pressure. Past an opponent.
  • Receiving Air Balls: With the Instep (cushion) and sole, inside and outside of the foot (wedge)
  • Throw-In: Short and long distances
  • Moves in Dribbling: Half-turns. Step-overs.
  • Introduce Heading: Juggling (alone and in small groups). Feet in contact with the ground Introduction to jump heading.
  • Tackling: Balance foot and contact foot (block tackle)

Goalkeeping (skills)

  • Ready Stance for Goalkeepers: Foot positioning. Body posture.
  • “W” Grip: Positioning of thumbs. Fingers spread.                     
  • How to Hold a Ball After a Save: Ball to chest. Forearm protection.
  • Catching Shots at the Keeper: Body alignment path of ball
  • Punting: Distance and accuracy          
  • Throwing: Bowling, Over-arm.
  • Goal Kicks: Distance and accuracy

Psychology (mental and social):


  • Working in groups of 3-6
  • Staying focused for one entire half
  • Sensitivity; learning how to win, lose or draw gracefully
  • Sportsmanship
  • How to handle parental involvement
  • Communication; emotional management

Fitness (conditioning):


  • Endurance
  • Range of motion-flexibility
  • Proper warm-up is now mandatory
  • Introduce cool-down

Tactics (decisions):


  • Roles of 1st attacker and defender
  • Roles of 2nd attackers and defenders
  • 2v1 attacking (simple combinations)
  • Man-to-man defending
  • Throw-ins to teammate’s feet
  • Introduction to the tactics of set plays/restarts (goal kicks, corner kicks, other free kicks)
  • Introduction to setting up walls

Review Fouls and Misconduct

The Training Session

  • The training session should involve fun and imaginative game like activities, as well as technical and tactical repetitive activities.
  • Coaching technical skills is very important at this age as well as light tactical concepts.
  • The training session has a technical and/or tactical theme (focus).  For example: dribbling technique, or passing and receiving, or combination play.
  • Small-sided directional games such as 3v3, 4v3, 4v4, 5v4 and 5v5 should be included as well.
  • Training should always conclude with a 6v6 game with goalkeepers if possible (5 field players and 1 goalkeeper on each team).
  • The duration of the training session should be 75-90 minutes.

Some Recommended Games for U10 Players:


  1. Free Dribble---Everyone with a ball, use inside, outside, and sole of the foot. Have players dribble with speed (outside of foot), change direction, and perform moves. Coach calls out moves or changes in direction and sets the pace as the manipulator of the session, kids carry the ball towards someone and try a move. Version 2: As players get comfortable, coach can walk around and put pressure on players as they are performing dribbling tasks. This adds fun and interaction. Version 3: Make the game a knockout game in which players try to knock each other’s balls out of the grid while maintaining possession of their own. Note: You may wish to have them perform a skills task before re-entering such as 10 toe touches or juggling 5 times. You do not want players sitting out.


  1. Shield-Steal---Half of players in the group have a ball and half do not. If you do not have a ball you need to steal one from someone who does. If ball goes out of bounds, person who touched it last does not get possession. You can teach players the technical points of shielding as a group at start of activity. Show technique with body sideways, arm providing protection, ball on outside foot, knees bent, turning as defender attacks, using feel to understand where defender is going. Fix technical shielding errors throughout this activity and make sure entire group knows how to properly shield.


  1. Gates Passing---Same set up as previous game. However players are now paired up and must successfully pass the ball through the cones to their teammate to earn a point. Again, players try to accumulate as many points as possible in the time allotted. Similar to previous game, have them pass only with their left foot or right foot, or the outside of their foot.


  1. 1 vs. 1 To lines---In a grid 10x10 yards, players line up on opposite sides. The first player in each line alternates attacking the player opposite them. When the attacker dribbles over the line they score a goal. If the defender wins the ball he or she can counter attack to the opposite line to also score a goal. The players switch to the opposite line if a goal is scored or the ball goes out of bounds. The coach rotates the lines so all players get to compete against each other. Version 2: Make the grid larger and make this a 2 vs. 2 or a 3 vs. 3 game.


  1. 1 vs. 1 To Two Small Goals---Same grids as above except now there is a three foot goal in the middle of each line. Attackers try to score by passing the ball through the goal. Defenders can counter attack to the opposite goal if they win the ball. Players switch sides after a goal or the ball goes out of bounds. The coach rotates the lines so all players get to compete against each other.
  2. 2 vs. 2 to Four Cross Goals---Teams defend one goal and have the opportunity to score on the other three, you must dribble through a goal to score a point. The goals are on the ends of a large cross in a square grid roughly 10yd X 10yd. Have one team of 2 on deck, they come on when a team gets scored on twice. Game is continuous, they must run on immediately.


  1. 2 vs. 2 To Four Small Goals---In a 15 X 15 yard grid with a small goal in each corner teams of two attack the two opposite goals and defend their two goals. The coach will set up as many grids as needed to accommodate the players. When the ball goes out of bounds it can be passed or dribbled in to play. The teams should be rotated every three minutes until all groups have played against each other. Version 2: 3 vs. 3 in a 20 X 25 yard grid. Teams should show a triangle shape in attack.


  1. 4 vs. 4 Endzone Game---Teams comprised of 4-6 players depending on numbers and space. To score you must pass the ball to a teammate into the opponent’s end zone (created with discs).  The player cannot go into the endzone until after the ball has been passed. Stress recognizing opportunities and timing of passes.


  1. Triangle Goal Game---Make a triangle with three cones in the center if the field. The sides of the triangle each serve as a goal mouth so teams can shoot at three different goals. Place 2 goalies in the triangle and the 2 goalies must protect the three goal mouths. Two even teams play a normal soccer game, except they both can score on any of the three faces of the triangle for a point. The game is continuous and if a goalie catches the ball he just throws it out so the game continues. Version 2: Use two balls at the same time.


  1. 4 vs. 4 To Four Small Goals---In a 30 X 35 yard grid, the same rules as 3 vs. 3 but now players must show a diamond shape in attack.


******************* Every practice should include a scrimmage***********************