Empire United Soccer Academy

Winter Rules


Small sided games are ideal to accelerate the soccer learning process and to ensure full enjoyment. It guarantees many touches on the ball and players are constantly attacking and defending. During the Empire Indoor House League season, the U6 teams play 3 vs 3, U8 through U13 teams play 5 vs 5.


U6-U8 - The 3v3/4v4 Game

Don’t expect too much during the games regarding formation and tactics. At this age the players will be all over the place. During the game, instructions don’t go beyond; ‘win the ball back’, ‘go forward’, ‘spread out’ and ‘don’t steal the ball from your teammate’. Let the kids play and don’t be a joystick coach.

3 vs 3 Rules

• Field size is 20 yards long by 15 yards wide. Goals are 6 feet wide, 3 feet high.

• Playing time: 4 x 9 minutes with 2 minutes rest in between. Game starts at 9.15am. From 9am – 9.12am work on dribbling skills, play a tag game with ball, shooting at goal.

• Ball size: 3 or 4.

• No goalie.

• No off side.

• When ball goes over side line, ball can be brought back into play with kick or dribble. (No throw in.)

• Corner kicks are taken on side where the ball went out of play. (Kick or dribble.)

• Goal kicks can be taken from any position on the goal line. (Kick or dribble.)

• Kick offs at start of first and second half, and after goal is scored, take place in the center of field.

• After a foul (handball, pulling, tripping), a free kick can be awarded. Players of the defending team must take 4 yards distance from the ball. Penalty kicks are taken 6 yards from goal, on an empty net.

• All players receive equal playing time!


U10 Through U14 - The 5 vs 5 Game

Play 5 vs 5 either in a 1:1:2:1 diamond formation or a 1:2:2 box formation. Only at the beginning of the game or at half time, talk about this formation. With a sheet of paper, cones or a dry erase clip board with magnets, you can simply point out the positions on the field. During the game your instructions don’t really go beyond; ‘win the ball back’, ‘go forward’, ‘spread out’ and ‘don’t steal the ball from your teammate’. The moment when your goalie has the ball in his hands, is a great opportunity to remind your player to get in the correct shape/positions. But foremost, let the kids play. Don’t be a joystick coach.


5 vs 5 Rules

• Field size is 40 yards long x 20 yards wide. Goal size is 12 feet wide and 6 feet high.

• Playing time; 2 x 25 minutes.

• Ball size 4.

• Substitutions can only be made when the play is dead.

• No off side.

• Start game, second half and after a goal is scored with a kick off in the center of field. Both teams have to be on their own half at moment of kick off. Opponents have to be five yards away from kick off spot.

• When the ball goes over the end line a goal kick is awarded. Game is restarted with kick.

• At the U8 level a goalie can pick up a back pass. This is not permitted at the U10 level.

• Penalty kicks should hardly ever been given. If a PK is awarded the ball must be 6 yards from the goal. Do not award penalty kicks when a player is protecting his face/body with his hands.

• When the ball goes over the side line the ball will be brought back into play with a kick in at the U8 level.  At U10 and U13, the ball is brought back into play with a throw in.

• After a foul is made (handball, pulling, tripping) a direct free kick (the ball can be shot directly at the goal) is awarded. The players of the defending team must take 5 yards distance.

• Teams switch sides after halftime.

• Coaches and parents cannot be on the field. Only the players and the referee are on the field.

• All players receive equal playing time!