Referee‎ > ‎8U Laws‎ > ‎

Differences from the Full Laws

Law 1: The field and goals are smaller. (See diagram under Law 01.)  The center circle is 7 yards, rather than 10 yards, in radius.  There is no Penalty Area or mark.  Instead, the Goal Area is enlarged and serves as both Goal Area and Penalty Area.

Law 2: A Size #3 ball is used.

Law 3: Each team is divided into 2 mini-teams with 5 players each, rather than eleven players.

Laws 4 & 5: No changes.

Law 6: Assistant Referees are not used.

Law 7: The teams play alternate formats each week.  In one format, each half is 10 minutes long and the mini-teams play two consecutive 20-minute games.  In the other format, mini-teams in play one 40-minute game.

Law 8: All restarts are "indirect" (cannot directly score a goal without the ball touching another player).

Laws 9 & 10: No changes.

Law 11: The offside law is not applied.

Law 12:

  • All fouls result in an indirect free kick.  There are no direct free kicks in U8 games.
  • Although technically within the Referee's power, formal cautions and dismissals of players from the match are to be used only in very extreme cases.  Yellow and Red Cards are not to be shown.
  • Slide tackles are dangerous for younger players.  A fair slide tackle can be a good play; however, younger players on the "receiving" end of the tackle do not have the body control to easily get out of the way of the tackler and, therefore, we consider slide tackles to be Dangerous Play U8 divisions and the Referee will call it dangerous play and award an indirect free kick to the opponent.
  • Heading the ball is not permitted and any heading of the ball is dangerous play.  Award an indirect free kick to the opponent.  If the ball hits the head of a player unintentionally, stop the play, check the player, and restart play with a drop ball.

Law 13: All free kicks are indirect.  Opponents are required to be 6 yards (rather than 10 yards) away from the ball when it is kicked.

Law 14: Penalty kicks are not awarded.

Law 15: No changes.

Law 16: As in the full Laws, goal kicks are taken from anywhere in the Goal Area.  Since there is no separate Penalty Area, opposing players are simply required to be 6 yards from the ball and outside the Goal Area when it is kicked.  The ball is in play when it leaves the Goal Area.  A goal may not be scored directly from a goal kick.

Law 17: Corner kicks are indirect.  Opponents are required to be 6 yards (rather than 10 yards) away from the ball when it is kicked.