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U7 & U8 Football Rules

Played in schools, local youth clubs or even just at the park on weekends, the game of football is designed to be played and loved by players of all ages. Offering a wide range of health and fitness benefits, including mental and social development, getting children involved in football from a young age is a great way to help them stay fit and healthy. And for balancing fun and wellness, mini soccer is the best place to start.

Whether your young footballer is just starting to get involved in the sport, or they’ve been playing for some time, you can help them understand the sport and get more out of their practices by learning everything there is to know about mini soccer, including the U7 and U8 football rules, from the team here at Avec Sport.

Why should kids play mini soccer?

The ultimate goal of every form of youth football is to give young children the best opportunity possible to fall in love with football and, as any coach will confirm, setting twenty two 6-year-olds loose on an adult-sized pitch is definitely not the way to achieve that. Instead, a modified version of the game was designed to give young players a more manageable, but still challenging, introduction to the game. 

Mini soccer has been designed to suit the specific abilities of young players, helping them get to grips with the game, without being overwhelmed by it. Most importantly, this modified game maintains the soul of football, allowing children the chance to fall in love with the game while still reaping all the benefits of joining in with sport. Mini soccer’s smaller teams, simplified rules and more appropriately-sized pitches and goals make this process smoother, allowing children to begin their football journey from a manageable and accessible starting point.

Mini soccer under 7/8 rules

Modified from traditional 11-a-side football, mini soccer has some unique rules and regulations that help to make it more suitable for younger, less experienced players. Whether you’re a coach brushing up on the rules before a new season, or a parent hoping to get more involved in at-home mini soccer training, learn the most important U7 and U8 football rules below.

What age is U7 football?

As the name suggests, U7 football is played by children under the age of 7, just as U8 football is played by children under the age of 8. Following the same schedule as the school year, players of U7 must have turned 6 as of midnight on 31st August in the playing season and can play up until they turn 7. Contrastingly, U8 football rules state ‘the player must be under the age of 8 as at midnight on 31st August in the playing season’, meaning children aged 6-8 can play. 

What size are U7 goals?

Kept the same in U8 football matches to allow for the players’ smaller size, the goals used in U7 football measure 12ft by 6ft. Similar adjustments are made for the ball size in mini soccer, which is a size 3 ball, as well as the pitch size, which should be 40 by 30 yards.

How long is an U8 football match?

For mini soccer, there is no set match duration applied to U7 and U8 games. Instead, the length of an U7 or U8 football match is decided by the league or competition, the only regulation in place stating that it must be within the maximum length of 40 minutes per match. These games are played in two halves, and each half is also held to a maximum duration of 20 minutes.

How many players are in under 8s football?

According to mini soccer under 7/8 rules, matches are played with five players on each side, including the goalkeeper. This is the maximum number of players allowed per team, however, in the instance where a competition or league may have less players available within the age range, 4v4 matches can also be arranged, though four players per team is the minimum allowed for mini soccer. In 4v4 games, there is no dedicated goalkeeper for either team.

Mini soccer rules on competitive football

Unlike older youth football groups, U7 and U8 football teams are not permitted to participate in any leagues that count or publish results from matches, or that present trophies to winners. This law has been outlined by the FA and is included in both U7 and U8 football rules as competition at this age is considered to be detrimental, rather than encouraging. 

The slight exception to this rule is that these age groups can play up to three trophy-giving events per season, provided these events last no longer than two weeks each. This rule was added from season 2013-2014 in order to allow children the opportunity to learn about winning and losing in a safe environment, with the time constraints and limitations of each event helping to ensure that stress and pressure is kept to an absolute minimum.

Find junior football teamwear at Avec Sport

Looking for junior football kits for your young football player? At Avec Sport, we have a wide range of high-quality, unisex junior kits available, perfect for children joining their very first mini soccer team. To find the best football jersey, shorts and socks for your child, browse through the junior team kits collection online.