For the Younger Division (U7, U8, and U9) players, AYSO scales the game to improve the opportunity for learning, touches on the ball, and FUN. Palo Alto AYSO reduces the size of the field, the teams, the ball -- and simplifies the Laws! These simplified Laws are designed to make the game easier to understand and more fun for inexperienced players, coaches, spectators, and referees, while preserving the spirit and the structure of the full Laws of the Game.
The U8 Official certification clinic applies to U7, U8 and U9 games. It consists of a single, 2.5 hour session.
Simplification of the Laws includes eliminating the offside, direct free kicks and simplifying the layout of the Goal Area. The pages to the right lay out the Laws for Younger Division play in U7, U8, and U9 in Palo Alto AYSO.When reading and applying these Laws, remember always -- above everything else -- that while Laws are laws, U7 to U9 AYSO players are, in every sense, children playing. At this level, the Laws exist to structure their game activity in a fair way, and that should be the message to the children. Almost all violations of the rules are inadvertent at his age level, so "penalties" are assessed to "make it fair" to a team which has been disadvantaged by some action, not to "punish" the offender.
Referees should make it simple and clear when they make a call, not just what is being called, but why, in terms that young children can understand. Also remember that since virtually all violations of technical laws (e.g., the "double touch" or the throw-in laws) reflect a player's inexperience and enthusiasm, and not deliberate attempts to gain an advantage, they should almost always be met with an explanation and a chance to do it again -- not the "penalty" that the Laws allow you to impose if you feel that the player really did know better.
The Laws don't require a Referee to be a kind and gentle teacher. In fact, they give the Referee the authority to be a stern disciplinarian, for the occasional time when it might be necessary. However, Palo Alto Referees should not let the formality of the Laws become their only point of view or they will miss much of the joy of being part of young children's soccer.