Laws of the Games
(Rules for U12 8 a-side Soccer)
The Technical Committee of the Alberta Soccer Association wishes to thank the following working groups for their assistance with the development of this booklet:
For the rules of U12 8-a-side Soccer:
In addition Alberta Soccer would like to thank our soccer colleagues both domestic and abroad for their assistance
- The St. Albert Soccer Association
- Sherwood Park Soccer Association
- British Columbia Soccer Association
- Tino Fusco ASA Staff Coach
FIFA Modified Laws
U12 Soccer: Player Development within an 8 a-side environment
In keeping with the Long-Term Player Development Model of Canada’s Grassroots Soccer, this booklet deals with U12 soccer and should be considered the next step in the development of Alberta Soccer’s U10 Mini-Soccer program.
The Technical committee would like to emphasize that the program is designed as a progressive step from the U10 program. We consider it still to be development and learning, therefore requiring some variation from the full FIFA rules.
This program is designed to assist the development of young players. As such the rules reflect this philosophy.
This program provides an opportunity for the development of young referees.
This Program provides an opportunity for the development of coaches
-Tournament of Champions- Will be 16 players maximum.
Soccer Rules of the U12 Game
|8 vs. 8
|Ideal 11 /
|2 X 30 min
|42 to 55
|60 to 75
Law 1: Field of Play
- The Canadian Soccer Association highly recommends no 11-a-side soccer be played
- Field size permits the utilization and adaptability of workable sizes
- If necessary team size can be district determined
1. Whenever possible the ideal field size will be 75 meters (82 yds) length X 55 meters (60 yds) width, For practical reasons this may not always be possible and games could be played, for example across the width of a regular soccer pitch. However the internal markings should remain the same.
If the existing field is 120yd in length, the width of the 8 a-side field is from the center line of the large field to the edge of the 18 yard box and the length of the field is simply from sideline to sideline. If the length of the large field is less than 120 yd, then the sideline will need to be extended accordingly beyond the 18 yd box – toward the full field goal.
2. The ideal goal size is 6ft (H) x 18ft (w) however; the size of goals could be standard portable goals from manufacturers which tend to be approximately 12 ft wide X 6.5 ft high.
3. Goal nets should be used.
4. The goal area and penalty area are one and the same. From here on in it shall be referred to as the goal area.
5. Field Markings: Distinctive lines not more than fifteen (15) centimeters wide. The field of play is divided into thirds and by a centre spot that indicates a centre spot that is located at the midpoint. A circle with a radius of nine (9) meters may, but not mandatory be marked around it. An offside line parallel to the centre line should be marked from touch line to touch line at the attacking third mark. All field markings may be marked by the means of cones (woz makers).
6. The Goal area is defined at each end of the field as follows:
Law 2: The Ball
- Two lines are drawn at right angles to the goal line, eleven (11) meters and are joined by a line drawn parallel with a goal line.
- The area bounded by these lines and the goal line is the penalty area. Within each penalty area a mark is made nine (9) meters from the midpoint between the goalposts and equidistant to them.
1. The ball shall be spherical and constructed of material which is not dangerous to the players.
2. The ball size shall be 4.
Law 3: Number of Players
1. The game shall be played by two teams, each consisting of 8 players, one of whom shall be a goalkeeper. Teams must dress a minimum of 6 players and a maximum of 14.
2. Unlimited substitutions shall be allowed at any stoppage in the game. The referee should determine how players will leave and enter the field.
Law 4: Player’s Equipment
1. Equipment shall consist of shorts, socks, shin-guards, footwear, and a numbered shirt. Goalkeepers must wear colors that are distinguishable from those of other players, and the referee. Goalkeepers may wear gloves and tracksuit type pants.
Law 5: Referees
1. As per Alberta Soccer Association Rules and Regulations.
Law 6: Assistant Referees
1. Not Applicable to U12 8 a-side soccer
Law 7: Duration of the Game
1. The game shall be divided into two equal halves. Each half shall be 30 minutes in length. The length of halftime will be a minimum of 5 minutes and for a maximum of 10 minutes. The referee should determine the length of the half time break.
Law 8: Start of Play
1. At the beginning of the game the referee, by toss of a coin will determine choice of halves and kick off. The winner of the coin toss shall choose which half to defend and the opposing team will get the kick off. The order is reversed for the start of the second half.
2. At a kick-off, all players shall be in their own half. All players opposing the team taking the kick off shall not be less than 6 yards from the ball until it is kicked. The game shall be started by the referee giving a signal. The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward. For any infringement of rule the kick off shall be retaken.
3. The player taking the kick off must not play or touch the ball a second time before it has been played or touched by another player.
4. After a goal has been scored, the game shall be restarted by a kick off, to be taken by a player of the team against which the goal was scored.
5. After the first half of play, the teams shall change halves and the kick-off shall be taken by a player of the team opposing that which started the game.
6. For any stoppage not mentioned in these rules, the referee shall restart the game by dropping the ball at the place where it was when play stopped, unless play was stopped in the goal area. In this case, the ball shall be dropped on that part of the goal area line which runs parallel to the goal line, at the point nearest to where the ball was when play stopped. The ball shall be in play as soon as it touches the ground.
7. A goal may be scored directly from a kick off
Law 9: Ball in and out of Play
1. The ball is out of play
- When the whole of the ball has crossed the goal-line or touch line, whether on the ground or in the air.
- When the game has been stopped by the referee.
2. The ball is in play at all other times.
Law 10: Method of Scoring
1. A goal is scored when the whole of the ball has crossed the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar, provided it has not been thrown, carried, or intentionally propelled by hand or arm, by a player of the attacking team. The exception is for goalkeepers from within their own goal area.
Law 11: OFFSIDE
SCORING A GOAL WITHIN THE GOAL AREA (Crease):
- U12 soccer allows for entry into the goal area and as a result the offside rule extends into the goal area.
This rule is intended to HELP player development. Referees are requested to do the best they can. The Technical committee would like to emphasize that the program is designed as a progressive step from the U10 program. We consider it still to be development and learning, therefore requiring some variation from the full FIFA rules; i.e the offside line at three quarter field encourages players to spread out.
The offside rule is in effect at the attacking 3rd of the field. This line may be marked as a dotted line, and solid line or single cones or flags on the touch line.
This will allow players to develop an understanding of spreading out and creating depth in attack.
Law 12: Fouls and Misconduct
1. A player who, in the opinion of the referee, intentionally commits any of the following offences shall be penalized by the awarding of a free kick to the opposing side.
Law 13: Free Kick
- Kicks or attempts to kick an opponent
- Careless, reckless or excessive force
- Trips an opponent
- Jumps at an opponent
- Charges an opponent in any manner
- Strike, attempts to strike, or spits at an opponent
- Holds an opponent
- Pushes an opponent
- Handles the ball, i.e. strikes, carries or propels the ball with hand or arm, with the exception of the goalkeepers within their own goal area.
1. For any infringement of the Rules of the Game when the ball is in play, the referee may award a free kick to the team opposing that of the offending player. The free kick shall be taken from the place where the infringement occurred, unless the free kick is awarded to the attacking team within the opponent’s goal area. In this case, the kick shall be taken from that part of the goal area line which runs parallel to the goal line, at the point nearest to where the offence was committed.
2. At the taking of a free kick the ball shall be stationary and all opponents shall be not less than 6 yards from the ball until it is kicked.
3. Players taking a free kick within their own goal area shall kick the ball into play beyond the goal area. The ball is in play when it is kicked, moves, and has passed outside the goal area. All opponents shall be outside the goal area and not less than 6 yards from the ball until it has been kicked. For any infringement of this rule the free kick shall be retaken.
4. A player taking a free kick shall not play or touch the ball a second time until it has been played or touched by another player.
Law 14: Penalty Kick
Law 15: Throw in
1. When the whole of the ball has crossed the touch line, either on the ground or in the air, the ball shall be thrown in from the point where it left the field of play, by a member of the team opposing that of the player who last touched it.
2. Players taking a throw in shall face the field of play and have part of both feet on the ground, on or behind the touch line. The throwers shall use both hands to deliver the ball from behind and over their head. The ball shall be in play immediately after it enters the field of play.
3. Players taking a throw in must not touch the ball a second time before it has been played or touched by another player.
Note for referees: Please do not repeatedly stop the flow of a game by the retaking of an incorrectly thrown ball.
Law 16: Goal Kick
1. When the whole of the ball has crossed the goal line, either on the ground or in the air, excluding that portion between the goalposts having last been played or touched by a member of the attacking team, a goal kick shall be awarded to the defending team. The ball shall be kicked into play from a point within that half of the goal area nearest to where the ball crossed the goal line.
2. At the taking of a goal kick, all opponents shall be outside the goal area and not less than 6 yards from the ball until it has been kicked into play. The ball is in play when it has directly left the goal area.
3. The player taking the goal kick must not play or touch the ball a second time before it has been played or touched by another player.
4. A goal may be scored direct from a goal kick, but only against the opposing team.
Law 17: Corner Kick
1. When the whole of the ball has crossed the goal line, either on the ground or in the air, excluding that portion between the goal posts, having last been played or touched by a member of the defending team. A corner kick shall be awarded to the attacking team.
2. The corner kick shall be taken within the corner arc nearest to where the ball crossed the goal line. All opponents shall be not less than 6 yards from the ball until it has been kicked.
3. A goal may be scored directly from a corner kick.
42 Meters = 45 Yards
55 Meters = 60 Yards
60 Meters = 65 Yards
75 Meters = 82 Yards
For Further information with regards to the development of soccer in Alberta:
Please contact a member of The Alberta Soccer Technical Team