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Micro Soccer Manual

Overview

Micro soccer is a modified version of 6v6 soccer that is developmentally appropriate for young players. In Micro soccer, there are fewer players on the field, the field is smaller, and the rules simplified, making the young players’ soccer experience more enjoyable.

This program applies to kindergarten, first and second graders only; kindergarten and first graders play 3v3 and second graders play 4v4. Third graders progress to 6v6 intramural soccer in the fall, and to 6v6 BAYS (Boston Area Youth Soccer) travel team league play in the spring.

Guiding Principles

Micro soccer is based on principles adopted by the American Youth Soccer Organization:

  • Children must be treated as children, not as mini-adults.
  • Children are essentially self-oriented and only relate naturally to a friend or two, not to groups of six or more.
  • Children cannot sustain prolonged activity and function best with frequent rest periods.
  • Children have a limited span of attention, so frequent activity changes are necessary.
  • Children focus best when learning activities are fun.

Basic Features of Micro Soccer

  • Fewer players on the field (3v3 for kindergarten and first graders, and 4v4 for second graders)
  • Simpler rules (e.g., no throw-ins)
  • Smaller fieldsShorter periods of playing (games are broken into quarters with additional time-outs as needed)

Organization

  • Team Makeup – teams are single gender, and belong to the same grade.
  • Roster sizes will be between 10 and 12 on average.
  • Number of Coaches: minimum of two, ideally three or more.

Rules for Micro Soccer

Coach acts as referee or “facilitator”.

Standard 6v6 rules apply except as follows:

A. Field Players

  • Kindergarten and first grade: 3 field players per team (3v3)
  • Second Grade: 4 field players per team (4v4)

B. Goalkeeper

  • Kindergarten and first grade: None
  • Second Grade: Goalkeeper can use hands within 5 yards of the goal. No punting allowed.

C. No Throw-ins

D. Restarts:

  • Player starts with the ball on the line and may dribble or pass. ALL restarts begin this way (Goal kicks, corner kicks, following a goal, and sideline restarts)
  • Goal kicks and restarts following a goal- NO opposing player is allowed in attacking half of field.
  • For all other restarts, defender must be at least 3 yards away.
  • Start quarters with kickoff. Ball does not have to travel forward.

E. Substitutions are “on the fly”

F. Scoring

  • De-emphasize team results
  • Player who scores is prohibited from scoring his team’s next goal.

G. Serious Foul Enforcement

  • Substitute player immediately. Coach on sideline instructs why the player was substituted.
  • Serious Fouls include:
    • Dangerous fouls (deliberate kicking, tripping, pushing a player, etc.)
    • Handballs preventing goals or scoring opportunities. Rule enforced even if handball was accidental.

Micro Soccer Game Day Format

Note on Goals:

Coaches are responsible for the goals for their team. (See Micro Soccer Goal Instructions for help). The first session coaches should plan to arrive a few minutes early to move their goals from the storage facility to the fields. The second session coaches will need to return their goals to the storage facility.

Session Structure

Session length:

Kindergarten: 1 hour
1st Grade: 1.25 hours
​2nd brage: 1.5 hours

First half of session: Team Practice
  • Warm-up
  • Skill activity
  • Game activity
Second  half of session: Game
  • Player lineup: safety (shin guards, jewelry, etc.) and shoelace check
  • Team is split in half and plays on adjacent fields
  • 4 ten minute quarters- with a one-to-two minute break between quarters
  • Switch goals after each quarter.
  • One team switches fields after the second quarter
  • One coach acts as referee or “facilitator”, assistant coach or parent manages substitutions

Fall Season Clinics:

During the fall season, the Saturday sessions are assisted by PROformance Soccer Academy.

  • Town coaches are expected to participate in these clinics; they are a great way to pick up new ideas on coaching techniques.
  • Coaches need to arrive at the field 15 minutes prior to their session start time.

Please remind players to be on time!

Field Layouts

Practice session is conducted on a single field (e.g. Field 1A on the diagram below).

A team’s scheduled opponent practices on an adjacent field.

Team is split in half for the game session; two games will be conducted simultaneously.

__________GGGG__________   __________GGGG__________ <- goal line

|                      |   |                      |
|----------------------|   |----------------------| <- GK line; 2nd graders only
|                      |   |                      |
|                      | A |                      |
|                      | A |                      |
|       Field 1A       |   |       Field 1B       |
|                      | B |                      |
|                      | B |                      |
|                      |   |                      |
|----------------------|   |----------------------| <- GK line; 2nd graders only
|                      |   |                      |
----------GGGG----------    ---------GGGG--------- <- goal line

Dimensions:

  • Fields are 20 yards wide by 30 yards long.
  • The distance between the GK line(Goal Keeping or penalty area line) and the goal line is approximately 5 yards. This area is where the goal keeper (2nd grade only) may use his or her hands.
Key:

GGGG – the micro soccer goal
AA - Team A substitute players
BB – Team B substitute players
 

Coaching Considerations

Practice Content: Through age 12, the primary focus of any practice should be skill development. The best way to teach skills is to choose activities that maximize ball touches. Line drills should be minimized as too much time is spent waiting and not touching the ball. Avoid “knockout dribbling games” where knocked out players wait on the sideline until everyone has lost their ball; instead, have them do some skill activity on the sidelines, then re-enter the playing area. Every player should have a ball at his/her feet for much of the practice.

Practices are most effective when they are based on a theme, e.g., passing, dribbling, shooting, ball control, etc. For the very young player, teach soccer skills primarily through small sided games and activities.

Organization: It is very important to come to a practice knowing what activities you want to conduct. To do otherwise will lead to “dead time”, where you’re discussing with your coaches what to do next. It is during this time that you lose the attention of your players, and control of your practice. Time management is the major issue in conducting a good practice; activities should seamlessly flow from one to the other.

10 to 12 players are hard to manage, especially when they are young. Consider using activity stations and dividing your team up, with one coach per station. Have the players switch after 5 or 10 minutes at a station.

Teaching Positional Play and Tactics: The mental capacity for spatial awareness doesn’t fully develop in young players until after puberty. Trying to teach  kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade players formal positions is like teaching 3 year olds how to read: they’re just not ready for it. Our advice: don’t waste your time.

Instead, you do want to encourage your players to:

  • “Attack as a team” and “defend as a team”
  • “Make it hard for the other team to score,” by getting between the player with the ball and the goal.
  • “Spread apart”, and to pass to someone closer to the goal.
Introducing players to “roles and responsibilities,” rather than formal positions, is the next step, appropriate for teams entering 6v6 soccer.

Goalkeeper play: For second grade teams, encourage the goalkeeper to play as a sweeper (the last defender), and participating in his team’s attack. Coaching the goalkeeper to always stay on the goal line is setting up the player for boredom interrupted by brief periods of terror (assuming they’re paying attention!). If presented properly, the goalkeeper should be the most desirable position to your players.

During the game: Please keep yelling directions to your team to an absolute minimum. Use the sidelines to suggest ideas to your players to try out. On the field, let the players think for themselves. Soccer is a player’s game - let them play and have fun!

updated 8/25/13