Rules for 1st Grade



Field Size: 25 x 35 Yards


Goal Size: Small goals marked with cones


Ball Size: Size 3


Format: 4v4, no Goalkeeper (if number of players is low, coaches may decide to play 3v3, but may NOT go higher than 4v4)


Time: 48min with 4 quarters. Substitutions on 6 min intervals recommended. One coach should keep official time for the game.



Start of quarter: alternate possession in center of field. Pass to start.



  • FALL SEASON - Coach drop-ins for all restarts
  • SPRING SEASON - Kick-ins or Dribble-ins. Emphasize quick restarts. Have players place the ball down quickly and immediately kick or dribble into play. Do not allow a running start. Defense must be 5 yards back.



    • Goal kicks and corner kicks
    • Goal kicks: Attackers in their own half. Defenders pass or dribble start.
    • Corner kicks: Defenders at least 4 yards away. Attackers pass or dribble start.


GOALS: Start in the center of field. Pass to start.



Each player shall play a minimum of 50% of the total playing time and no player shall play the entire game unless all other players have played at least 75% of the game.



  • Players may wear sneakers or soccer cleats. 
  • Shin-guards are MANDATORY. Socks must cover shin guards entirely
  • No child will be allowed to wear jewelry of any type during games or practice. (See Jewelry Policy)



There will be no official referee for first grade games. One coach or assistant coach from each team should be on the field at all times. Coaches are encouraged to call fouls if they occur.



  1. Start of play will be conducted with a kick off at the center circle. Opponents must be five yards from the center mark. The ball is in play when it has been kicked and moves forward. The ball must be completely over the line to be out of play or to be a goal.
  2. All fouls and misconducts shall result in an indirect free kick with the opponents five (5) yards away. All free kicks are indirect and a goal may not be scored until the ball has been played or touched by a second player of either team. There will be no penalty kicks.
  3.  If a ball goes out of play over the touch (side) line the game will be restarted with a COACH DROP IN (FALL SEASON) KICK-IN or DRIBBLE-IN (SPRING SEASON) from the spot where the ball went out of play. All other players must stand at least five (5) yards from the ball. Emphasize quick restarts, do not allow a long time to kick or a running start. Encourage players to place the ball down and immediately kick or dribble into the field of play.
  4.  If a ball goes out of play over the goal line:
      1.  If the ball goes out of play over the goal line and is last touched by an attacking player the game will be restarted with a goal kick from anywhere within the goal area. Opponents must move to the other side of the centerline for a goal kick, but can enter the opposing half of the field after the kick (live on the first touch). Goal kicks may be KICK-INS or DRIBBLE-INS.
      2. If a ball goes out of play over the goal line and was last touched by a defending player the game will be restarted with a corner kick. Opponents must be 10 yards away. Corner kicks shall be DRIBBLE-INS.

Note: the idea behind the restart rules is to introduce the concepts of out-of-bounds and the resulting restarts. The use of DRIBBLE-INS is to provide players with more opportunities to handle the ball and de-emphasize the BIG kick which so many young players have trouble avoiding. While BIG kicks are fun we should encourage ball control and dribbling first.

No slide tackles. Sliding to kick the ball is allowed if no opposing players are in the vicinity. Sliding into opposing players results in a foul.


Some Guidelines from Youth Soccer Organizations 

 From United States Soccer Federation Best Practices 

At the younger ages (6 to about 10), soccer is not a team sport. On the contrary, it is a time for children to develop their individual relationship with the ball. The fact that younger children are placed into team environments is not their fault. Do not demand that the more confident players share the ball. Encourage them to be creative and go to the goal. Do the same with the rest of your players. Work to bring all your players up to that level of confidence and comfort with the ball. Coaches should avoid the impulse to “coach” their players from “play to play” in order to help them win the match. Coaches should not be telling their young players to “pass rather than dribble,” to “hold their positions” or to “never” do something (like pass or dribble in front of the goal).

 From Mass Youth Soccer 21st Century Player Development Manual

Most coaches and parents would likely agree that teaching dribbling at these younger ages is extremely important. Regardless, if one attends a typical U6 or U8 game, one can hear the players being encouraged to boot the ball up the field. Shouts of “get rid of it!” and “kick it!” resonate the entire game. The further forward a player kicks, the louder the cheers. Players become hesitant to try to dribble as the cheers get louder for them to kick the ball with every second they possess it. Some children report they do not want to be yelled at anymore so they kick the ball even though no one is around them. Whatever the situation, we need to curb this tendency and need to encourage creative dribbling, not big kicking. What we must do as an organization is to make sure that our coaches are all on the same page. If all the teams are focusing on dribbling skills, then all children will be learning what is appropriate. The next task is to make sure this goal is communicated to parents so they know what is expected of the players and can support the players appropriately during games. Imagine how the players will react if they are encouraged to be creative and are cheered for when trying a daring new move. Imagine how much more comfortable even the most timid players will feel when encouraged to possess the ball and told they should keep the ball. This will only help development and help build confidence and increase enjoyment in these youngsters.