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Evanston AYSO Region #735 rules will overrule AYSO Guidelines.

The Field:

The recommended field size for U-8 games is 50 x 25 yards with the following field markings below.  See diagram:  U8 Field Layout

Halfway line, 6 yard radius center circle

1 yard radius corner arcs and 6 x 12 yard goal areas.

See diagram here (coming soon).

The Goals:

The goals in U-8 games should be a maximum of 6 feet high and 6 yards wide.

The Ball:

A size 3 ball is used for U-8 games.

Player Equipment: (See AYSO Laws of the Game Link)

Shoes and shinguards covered by the socks are mandatory at all practices and game activities.

Soccer shoes, tennis shoes or similar type athletic shoes are recommended.

The type and condition of cleated shoes must be inspected for safety before use.

Uniform:  As issued by the region – NO Names or alterations


Certified referees must be used in U-8 games but if one is not available, current certified AYSO coaches must referee the games.  If certified referees/officials are used, the referees/officials must be AYSO trained and certified as U-8 Officials or higher.

Just as players at this age are discovering the game of soccer, this is a good opportunity for older siblings, family and friends to discover the enjoyment and rewards of volunteering, while also learning about the game.  Must be currently certified AYSO referees.

Every effort should be made to keep the game moving and free from unnecessary stoppages.

Officials/referees in U-8 games should encourage proper play and sporting behavior and thus provide an opportunity for players, coaches, officials and spectators to have a positive AYSO experience.

Let them play and enjoy.

The Teams:

Each U-8 team should have a maximum of 8 on the roster.

Games are played with 5 players per team on the field (5v5).   If both coaches agree, one player can be added to each side.

No Goalkeepers in U-8 games.


The following, if deliberately done, are the fouls most likely to occur in U-8 games: kicking, tripping, pushing, holding, handling the ball and dangerous play.

There are NO OFFSIDES at U-8.

Do not stop play for trifling violations. It’s a player’s game, so keep the fun going and let them play.


Misconduct should be rare in U-8 games.

There is no need for the public cautioning and sending off of young players (leave your red and yellow cards home).

Officials should work cooperatively with the coach when a U-8 player may need a “time out”.

Duration of Game:

U-8 games are forty minutes and are played in two 20 minute halves with substitutions allowed in the middle of each half and after halftime.

The substitution break between quarters is 1 minute maximum.

The half-time break is 5-10 minutes.


Opponents must be at least 6 yards from the ball during the kick-off in U-8 games.

The Start of Play:

To start the first and second halves and following each goal, play is started or restarted with a kick-off in the middle of the field.

A coin toss is used to determine which team kicks off to start the game and the other team kicks off to start the second half.

Following a goal, the team scored upon kicks off.

Ball In and Out of Play:

The ball is out of play when it completely crosses the touch line (side line) or goal line (end line), either on the ground or in the air.

The team that didn’t touch it last gets either a throw-in, corner kick (indirect only), goal kick (indirect only)

Free Kicks:

All free kicks in U-8 games are indirect free kicks in Evanston AYSO.

Opponents must be at least 6 yards from the ball or on the goal line between the goal posts during free kicks.

Free kicks awarded the attacking team inside the defending team’s goal area are to be taken from the nearest point on the goal area line parallel to the goal line.

No Penalty Kicks at U-8.  Indirect Kicks will be awarded.

No Walls at U-8


A second throw-in should be allowed in U-8 games if the first attempt was improperly done. Following brief, corrective instructions, a second attempt should be permitted. If the second attempt is still done improperly, let it go. Proper technique can be reinforced later by the coach. Keep the game moving and minimize interruptions.

Goal Kick:

A goal kick is awarded the opposing team, in U-8 age groups and older, when the attacking team is last to touch the ball before it crosses the goal line but not scoring a goal. The goal kick may be taken from any point inside the goal area. The team who last touched the ball before it crossed the goal line must retreat to their side of the field in Evanston AYSO before the goal kick is taken in U-8 games.

Corner Kick:

A corner kick is awarded the opposing team, in U-8 age groups and older, when the defending team is last to touch the ball before it crosses the goal line but not scoring a goal. The opposing team must be at least 6 yards from the ball when the corner kick is taken in U-8 games.


Method of Scoring:

A goal is awarded when the ball completely crosses the goal line into the goal.

Goals should be enthusiastically celebrated by everyone, but in U-8 games, they are not recorded to determine who wins. Everyone wins in U-8 games.

Additional Evanston AYSO/Region/Area/Section Rules:

  • I.  HEADING THE BALL1.   Consistent with the U.S. Soccer mandates on heading the ball, heading is banned for all division players U-11 (U-12 and below for programs without single age divisions) and below in both practices and games.

    Heading for players in U-14 is limited to a maximum of thirty (30) minutes per week with no more than 15-20 headers, per player. There is no restriction on heading in matches.

    2.   An indirect free kick will be awarded to the opposing team if a player deliberately touches the ball with his/her head during a game.

    a. The indirect free kick is to be taken from the place where the player touched the ball with his/her head.

    b. An indirect free kick awarded to the attacking team inside the opposing team’s goal area, must be taken on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the player touched the ball with his/her head.

    3.   Neither cautions nor send offs shall be issued for persistent infringement or denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity related to the heading infraction.


Region standings are not recorded.

Game scores are not recorded.

No individual should be allowed to run the length of the field except participants of the game and referees.

Parents and coaches should encourage players.

Spectators are not allowed behind either goal or within three (3) yards outside the touchline.

It is the responsibility of coaches, referees AND parents to be knowledgeable of Evanston AYSO Rules of the Game.

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Evanston AYSO

848 Dodge Ave PMB 392 
Evanston, Illinois 60202

Email Us: [email protected]
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