U-5 Guidelines

The Under-5 Jamboree program will be divided into two back-to-back sessions on each Saturday. Session 1 will emphasize fun & simple games to learn some basic skills of soccer. This will include the players and their parents, the team’s coach and “Master Coach” to direct the games. Session 2 will be a short game between two different teams. The rules below are for the actual games.

Guideline Handout for Coaches and Parents: Coaches & Parents should print out and know the rules.

The Field

  • Dimensions: Maximum 30 yards long and 15 yards wide (30 yds x 15 yds)
  • Markings: Distinctive lines not required. Field can be marked using 10 flat pro-cones and four regular cones.
  • Goals: Maximum 4 feet high and 6 feet wide (4′ x 6′)

The Ball

  • Size three (3)

Number of Players

  • Maximum number of players PER TEAM on the field at any time: three (3)
  • Maximum number of players PER TEAM on roster: SIX (6)
  • No Goalkeepers

    TIP: Players should be reminded NOT to stand in the goal. They should be encouarged to run back and try to kick the ball away when defending their goal, and to move forward with their team to when they are trying to score.

  • Substitutions: Between breaks, or if a player is hurt or does not want to play anymore
  • Playing time: Minimum of 50% of the total playing time for each player and 75% when possible. No one should play four quarters until everyone has played three.
  • No co-ed teams.

Players’ Equipment

  • Shinguards: MANDATORY
  • Footwear: Soccer shoes or tennis shoes
  • Each player will be given their own jersey, shorts, and socks


It is recommended that both u5 coaches act as the referees (“game monitors”) during the game with one coaching monitoring one side of the field and the other coach monitoring the other side of the field.

The referee can be also be a:

  • a certified referee
  • a certified youth referee

NOTE: Any person acting as a referee must be a registered AYSO volunteer, and have taken the Safe Haven course.

Referees should emphasize:

  • safety
  • fun
  • fairness

Referees should briefly explain any infringements to the player(s) and help players with direction. In the Under-5 age group, the referees can help the players understand the rules of the game if needed, but the primary focus is to keep the players safe and the game flowing. This allows the players to learn from the game.

Duration of the Game

  • Four 5 minute quarters with quarter breaks, if necessary for substitutions or water break
  • Two minutes between quarters
  • One 5 minute half time
  • There will be no practice during the week for the Under-5 division.

The Start of Play

  • The game should be started with an indirect free kick (“kickoff”) in the middle of the field.
  • The coaches should determine which team starts the game and the opposing team should start the second half.
  • The referee will ensure that opponents are at least five (5) yards from the spot of the free kick.

Ball In and Out of Play

  • The Under-5 division varies from the upper divisions in this respect, and does not have throw-ins, goal-kicks or corner-kicks.
  • When the whole ball passes over the touch line or the goal-line, by any player, either on the ground or in the air, it should be quickly given back to the referee for a dropped ball.
For Parents/Spectators:

A person on the sideline who retrieves a ball that has gone “out of bounds” shall quickly throw the ball back to the closest referee, who will make a quick restart with a dropped ball.

For Coaches/Referees:

Ball out over the sidelines: Once you receive the ball from a parent, quickly restart the with a dropped ball away from the pack and near the middle of the field. If neccessary, to keep the game fair for all players, a dropped ball should be dropped (or rolled) closest to a player who rarely receives the ball. Make all attempt to keep the game fair for ALL Players.

Ball out over the goal-line: First, try to corral the players back towards the center of the field. Then, play the ball towards the center of the field in an open area away from the goal. Also try to drop (roll) the ball to a player who rarely receives the ball. Do not attempt any quick counterattack the opposite way.

Note: The reason for doing this is twofold: to keep the game flowing quickly so the players can develop the necessary foot skills for soccer, and also to allow the coach/referee to make sure that ALL players get a chance to get the ball.

Method of Scorekeeping

  • Scores are not kept.
  • If a goal is scored, players should be brought back to their half, and the ball shall be placed at the center spot. The game shall continue with a free kick from the team that was scored upon. The referee will ensure that opponents are at least five (5) yards from the spot of the kick.

Fouls & Misconduct

  • Indirect free kick for all fouls, with the opponents five yards away
  • There is no offside in the Under-5 division
  • Referee should briefly explain infractions
  • If necessary, the referee should stop the game when any player has fallen on or near the ball and is in danger of being kicked. The quick restart will be a dropped ball.
  • Remind players that goaltending is discouraged.

Penalty Kicks

  • There are no penalty kicks in the Under-5 division


  • There is no offside in the Under-5 division

AYSO Region 88 Recommendations

  • Parents of both teams should split up to both sides of the field so the ball can be easily put back into play.
  • Both coaches should work together, not as opponents, to keep the game flowing freely and to help teach the children (and parents) the basics of the game
  • Spectators are not allowed on the field during game play.
  • Spectators are not allowed behind either goal or within three (3) yards outside the touchline
  • Helping the players feel comfortable with the ball, through dribbling, should be the priority.
  • Region standings are not recorded
  • Game scores are not recorded
  • Parents, coaches, and players from both teams exchange handshakes before and/or after each game
  • All players receive participation awards
  • Parents and coaches should encourage players, but not coach or instruct during game time

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