Basic Rules of the U6 Game
Roles of Coaches
If possible, coaches are physically on the field of play during games.
Coaches serve both as instructors for their teams and managers of game play (referees) during games.
One coach will be the official timekeeper during games.
Games are 32 minutes in length, with two 16-minute halves each comprised of four 4-minute periods.
Breaks between periods should be approximately one minute. The halftime break should be approximately five minutes.
Substitutions are made during the breaks between periods.
With the exception of injury or fatigue, players are not substituted "on-the-fly" during periods.
All players must play a minimum of 50% of a game (no fewer than four total periods across the game).
Player Formation and Positioning
Four players per team are on the field during game play.
All teams play a 1-2-1 diamond formation (shape) with one defender, two midfielders (right and left), and one forward.
The 1-2-1 diamond is the foundational shape for all advanced formations at higher levels of soccer.
The defender is the bottom point of the diamond, the left and right midfielders are the left and right points of the diamond, and the forward is the tip of the diamond.
There are no goalkeepers in U6 soccer.
The U6 field is a rectangle bounded by two longer parallel lines (touch lines) and two shorter parallel lines (end lines or bylines).
A midfield line runs parallel to the end lines and divides the field into two halves.
One goal is placed in the center of each of the end lines.
More about the field
Legal and Illegal Contacting of the Ball
Players may legally contact the ball with any part of their legs, feet, and torsos.
Players may not legally contact the ball with their hands, arms, shoulders, or heads.
Most unintentional illegal contacting of the ball at the U6 level is ignored in favor of maintaining the flow of the game.
Intentional illegal contacting of the ball restarts with an indirect kick for the opponent.
In-Play and Out-of-Play
A ball is in-play if it is contained within or is touching the touch lines and the end lines.
A ball is out-of-play if the entire ball has crossed the entirety of one of the boundary lines.
A player who is outside of a boundary line may legally contact a ball as long as the ball itself is in-play.
A goal is awarded to the attacking team when the ball crosses the end line between the posts of the goal.
A goal is awarded regardless of which team was the last to contact the ball as long as the ball crosses the end line between the posts of the goal.
Official score is not kept in U6 soccer.
Direct and Indirect Free Kicks
A direct free kick is a free kick (restart) that may be kicked directly into the goal without contacting a second player.
An indirect free kick is a free kick (restart) that must contact a second player (from either team) before legally entering the goal.
A restart occurs when a ball is out-of-play, following a goal, or following a foul.
There are four restarts: throw-in, corner kick, goal kick, kick-off.
A throw-in is awarded to the opponent when a ball moves out-of-play across the touch line after contacting a player.
A legal throw-in meets the following requirements:
1) Both of the thrower's feet remain on the ground for the duration of the throw
2) The thrower has both hands on the ball when releasing it
3) The ball is brought behind the top of the head before being released
An illegal throw-in is retaken (i.e., possession does not change as a consequence of an illegal throw-in).
A corner kick is awarded to the attacking team when the defending team is the last to contact a ball that crosses the end line.
Corner kicks are taken from the intersection of the end line and the touch line on the side of the goal where the ball moved out-of-play.
The left and right midfielders take corner kicks on their respective sides of the field.
The player who takes the corner kick may not be the second player to contact the ball following the kick.
Corner kicks are direct free kicks.
A goal kick is awarded to the defending team when the attacking team is the last to contact a ball that crosses the end line.
Goal kicks are taken from approximately five yards in front of the goal.
The defender takes the goal kick.
The player who takes the goal kick may not be the second player to contact the ball following the kick.
Goal kicks are indirect free kicks.
The Buildout Line
During a goal kick, the midfield line is called the buildout line.
During a goal kick, opposing players must remain behind the buildout line until the ball has been contacted twice by the opponent or until the ball crosses the buildout line, whichever comes first.
Kick-offs are awarded following goals and at the beginning of each period of play.
A team against whom a goal has been scored is awarded a kick-off following the goal.
One team is awarded four kick-offs for the periods of the first half; the opponent is awarded four kick-offs for the periods of the second half.
Kick-offs are taken from the center of the midfield line.
Kick-offs may be taken in any direction.
The player who makes initial contact on a kick-off may not be the second player to contact the ball.
Prior to a kick-off, the opponent must be at least five yards away from the midfield line in their defending half of the field.
Opponents may not move forward until after initial contact has been made.
Kick-offs are indirect free kicks.