skip navigation

U4 and U5

Guidelines for U4 and U5 Micro Soccer

Objective and Introduction

The objective of the U4,& U5  Micro soccer program is to provide our children with a simple, fast-paced game with few interruptions that allows maximum participation by everyone. This is a recreational level league (not competitive) with the focus on active participation, skills development, and most of all fun.

The following rules guidelines are a summary that works in most situations. These rules are based on the Laws of Soccer, modified to the U4 & U5 age groups. Many individuals within the ESC have spent long hours developing these guidelines over the past several seasons of Micro soccer.

  1. Field Size: 35 yards by 25 yards. The field is marked with a halfway line, and a line designated as the "goal kick line". The goal kick line designates the area from which a goal kick should be taken, and provides a reference point on the field for the players.
  2. Play format: 3 v 3 with no goalkeeper. Usage of hands in micro soccer is forbidden.
  3. Duration: Two 20-minute halves, with approximate 10-minute quarter breaks. The quarter break should be taken at a natural stoppage in play (i.e., throw in) or when the ball is in a neutral position on the field. Half time duration is 5 minutes; quarter break duration should be about 2 minutes. If a quarter break is taken with the ball in a neutral position, they play is restarted with a drop ball at that point.
  4. Scoring: No scores are kept or recorded and no team standings are kept. Coaches should exhibit good sportsmanship and back off their goal scoring opportunities when a differential of more than 7 goals is amassed.
  5. Referees: Referees are not provided for U4-U5 games. Parent coaches should be familiar with the modified U4-U5 rules. Coaches can be the referees as along as it is agreed upon by both teams in advance.
  6. Coaches responsibilities, before the match begins:
    1. Players’ equipment; all players are required to have uniforms (shirt, shorts, socks) and shin guards (socks must be worn on the outside and entirely cover the shin guard).
    2. Shoes: No metal cleats or toe cleats; tennis shoes are fine. No sandals.
    3. Safety: No player may wear equipment dangerous to himself or others. This includes casts, metal braces, and jewelry. Earrings are specifically prohibited, including posts for pierced ears.
    4. The home team provides the game ball (size 3). The referee should ensure the ball is properly inflated and free from defects before the match begins.
    5. One parent coach/referee should have a whistle, and a watch or stopwatch in order to keep time. It is the parent/coach referee’s responsibility to stop the game for fouls, quarter, and half-time breaks.

7. Coaches: Players will have the attitude exhibited by their coach. Although the coach is responsible for teaching skills and strategy, the primary focus on the game should be recreational and for fun.

  1. 1 (one)Coach per team may remain on the field during play in order to provide encouragement and advice to players, as long as the coach does not interfere with the flow of the game. There should never be more than 1 coach per team on the field of play. Emphasis must be placed on increasing the number of 'ball touches' for each player. Players should not be taught to stand in front of the goal as a goalkeeper. Coaches who do so will limit this player's development by decreasing the amount of time this player has to develop valuable ball handling skills. DO NOT TEACH 'PLAYING POSITIONS AT THIS AGE !!!
  2. No coach or parent may stand behind or beside the goal. Spectators should remain on the sidelines.
  3. It is the responsibility of the coach to ensure that all comments from the sidelines are positive.

8. Kick-Off: Starts the game, the second half, and after each goal. At the start of the second half, teams trade ends of the field.

  1. The kick-off must travel forwards (not backwards). The player taking the kick-off may not touch the ball a second time until someone else touches the ball first (i.e. A player cannot dribble from the kick-off). In either instance, the restart is to replay the kick-off.
  2. Goals may be scored directly from a kick-off.
  3. The visiting team kicks off the first half; the home team the second half. The home team has the choice of which direction to attack in the first half.

9. Substitutions: All players must play at least 50% of each match.

  1. Substitutions may occur at a kick-in (team taking the kick-in), at quarter or half time breaks, and after a goal.
  2. A coach may substitute a player who is injured, or who has lost contact with the game, with the permission of the parent-referee. No substitution may occur unless the ball is out of play.

10. Ball Out of Play: The ball is out of play when The ball has completely crossed the touchline (sideline).

  1. The kick-in is taken by the opposite team that touched the ball last as near as possible to where the ball left the field. .
  2. The Kicker must have part of each foot either on the touchline or on the ground outside the touchline.
  3. A goal may not be scored directly from a kick-in.
  4. Player taking kick-in may not touch the ball a second time again until it has touched another player.
  5. Any time the parent-referee blows the whistle to stop play. In the case of an injury or other stoppage where the ball has not otherwise gone out of play, the game is restarted with a drop ball at a neutral position on the field.

11. Goal Kick: Attacking team has touched the ball last, and the ball has completely crossed the end line without scoring a goal.

  1. Defending team places ball at goal-kick line marked on field, in the area in front of their goal.
  2. Ball is kicked forwards. The ball may not be touched by any player until it has traveled at least 5 yards.
  3. If a ball does not travel 5 yards, or is touched first, the kick is retaken. The kicker may not play the ball a second time until it is touched by another player.
  4. A goal may be scored directly from a goal kick.

12. Corner Kick: Defending team has touched the ball last, and the ball has completely crossed the end line without scoring a goal.

Fouls: All fouls result in a Direct Free Kick (DFK) being taken by the opposing team. There are no penalty kicks.

  1. For the purposes of the U6 program, fouls should only be whistled when necessary to maintain order in the game, or to prevent a more dangerous situation from occurring. Physical contact is a normal part of soccer. While bumping and grinding while moving with the ball should not necessarily be condoned, it should not be penalized as long as the physical capabilities of the players are similar and no clear advantage is gained by doing so. When a parent-referee notices a foul, or realizes one is about to occur, the opportunity should be taken to explain the violation and how to avoid it.
  2. In general, the following are judged as fouls; kicking, tripping, pushing, holding, and hitting an opponent. In addition, making contact with an opponent before the ball when tackling to gain possession is a foul. In soccer, a tackle is the action of taking the ball away from an opponent. A tackle from behind is always judged a foul at this level.
  3. Slide tackling (sliding on the ground in order to play the ball, offensively or defensively) is prohibited at this level.
  4. Deliberate handballs: The "hand" is considered any part of the arm or hand, from the shoulder down. A deliberate handball is judged as movement of the "hand-to-ball", where an advantage is gained by doing so.
    1. A kicked ball that deflects off a player’s arm, with no intent to play the ball is NOT a handball.
    2. A player protecting their face or other body parts from a hard-kicked ball should not be called for a handball unless an obvious advantage is gained.

5. Unsporting Behavior: Screaming, yelling, or other unsavory conduct by coaches and parents will not be tolerated. Should these incidents occur, the parent-referee should make a written report to the age group coordinator. In severe cases, this will result in the suspension from the ESC of the offending adult.

Field positioning of players: No player is allowed to play as a goalkeeper on defense, or to "park" or "camp out" in front of the opponent’s goal on offense. All players should be involved in active play at all times, meaning each player should be actively following the movement of the ball, even if jockeying for tactical position on offense or defense. If the parent-referee notices a child not involved in active play, he should encourage the player to join play. If the player is unwilling or unable (due to exhaustion, for example), the referee should allow this player to be substituted at the next stoppage or when the ball is in neutral position.

Questions and Comments concerning these rules: Please contact your age group coordinator or the Recreational Chair. Rules interpretation questions should be addressed to the Referee Coordinator at the Edmond Soccer Club