Mini soccer is a game designed to introduce young children to organised soccer in a competitive yet fun way. The game is aimed primarily at children under 10 and uses smaller fields, teams and goals to make it easier for smaller children to play the game and develop their skills. In September, 1999 the Football Association in England made mini soccer the official game played by all under-10 soccer teams in the country. After three years of exhaustive research, the game was found to improve the enjoyment of players and increase the development of skills.
The number of players on each team increases on a sliding scale along with the ages of the players. Kids under seven play with four players on each team, while 10-year-olds play with seven per side. One player is added to each team each year between the ages of seven and 10.
Seven- and eight-year-olds should play on a pitch no smaller than 20x30 yards and no bigger than 30x50 yards. Nine- and 10-year-olds should play on a field no smaller than 30x50 yards and larger than 40x60 yards. The penalty areas should be 10 yards in length and 18 yards in width and the pitch should be split by a halfway line. Each penalty spot should be 8 yards from the centre of the goal and each goal should be 12 feet wide and 6 feet tall.
Games should be played with a size four ball and players must wear shinguards. Each team must wear a matching strip and, as in regular soccer, each goalkeeper must be clearly visible by their own uniform.
Duration of Games
In any one day, no child should play for more than a specified time. Seven and eight-year-olds should play for no longer than 40 minutes with this rising to 60 minutes for nine- and 10-year-olds. Half time should last only five minutes.
The rules of mini soccer are largely the same as those of 11-man soccer. The only differences take into account the smaller playing field. There is no offside in mini soccer and a goal may not be scored directly from a kick off. If a free kick, corner or similar dead ball situation occurs, opposing players must remain 5 yards away from the ball instead of the 10 yards seen in regular soccer.