Reduced Field Size
Since a full size field is a challenge for children this age, U10 games in Palo Alto AYSO are played on reduced size fields (roughly, 60% of full size). To keep everything to scale, the distances in the Laws of the Game are reduced proportionately. For example, the 10-yard distances at free kicks and corner kicks is reduced to 8 yards, and slightly smaller goals are used.
Reduced Team Size
U10 teams consist of 7 players. This allows players to get more "touches" on the ball than they would if 11-player teams were used, and provides the coaches with a smaller group to instruct.
A match may not start if a team consists of less than 5 players. However, referees should allow the team that is short to forfeit the game and then "borrow" players from the other team so that a game can still be played.
Heading the Ball in U10 Games is Prohibited
U10 players are not physically developed enough to head the ball safely in all situations. To ensure player safety, heading the ball is prohibited in U10 games. Referees are to whistle heading the ball as "dangerous play" and award the opposing team an indirect free kick from the point of the infraction. If the free kick would occur in the offensive Penalty Area, the free kick is to be taken from outside the Penalty Area nearest to the point of infraction.
Goal Kick Law Goal kicks will be taken from within the goal area, but the size of the goal area relative to the penalty area will be changed to make it easier for U10 players to put the ball into play. Moreover, when a free kick is taken by a team from within its own penalty area, all opponents must remain at least 8 yards away from the ball.
No other changes are made to the full FIFA Laws, other than those mandated for all of AYSO (see AYSO Rules and Regulations ) and the changes of "scale" noted above.
U10 games are typically refereed by certified parent referee volunteers from each team. However, U10 games are played using the full Laws of the Game (with some minor changes), rather than the abbreviated ones used in U7 through U9. It is important that all referees officiating at this level actually know the full Laws, otherwise the players, coaches and parents get confused.
Each U10 team is required to provide a certified Regional Referee for each game for which they are the Home team. The Home team is the team listed first in the game schedule. If the Home team cannot provide a certified Regional Referee for the game and the Away team cannot provide one, the Home team will be considered to have forfeited the game. The Home team can arrange for any certified referee for the game, not necessarily from their own team.
Since most parent referees will occasionally be unavailable for a home game (e.g., due to business travel, illness, etc.), each team should obtain (i.e., train) two Regional referees, so they have a backup. In a pinch, work with the Division Commissioner to identify a backup referee. Having two team referees is beneficial, as they can serve as Assistant Referees on away games, and backup referees for friends games.