There are a lot of parents and kids still being introduced to soccer in U8. An interesting stat by AYSO mentioned that over 70% of the coaches are first time parent-coaches. What does this mean for soccer in the US? We need to educate our parents and show them how to properly develop and train our kids! I would like to think of myself as a knowledgeable parent coach, and over after coaching age groups like U8 there are a number of questions that parents ask. Here are my top ten u8 frequently asked questions (FAQ).
1. What type of equipment does my child need to be successful at u8 soccer?
- Size 3 soccer ball
- Shin guards
- Soccer shoes
- Water bottle
- Good Attitude
- Engaged Parent
2. How do ages work in U8 soccer?
- Youth soccer in the US today works on an August calendar. For the 2011 season your child would need to be born between August 1, 2003 and July 31, 2005. The oldest child in that scenario is the child born in early August of 2003. As a parent/coach it is important to be cognizant of the inherent advantages kids with August birthdays have and not discourage other children with less than optimal birthdays in June or July.
3. Do most U8 teams have soccer practices?
- The short answer is yes. Most U8 soccer teams have at least one practice during the week and one game on the weekend. Some leagues will require two practices throughout the week. In either instance, your child will most likely not participate more than a few hours each week. Travel should be limited at U8.
4. Should our team have positions?
- The consensus is no, and we agree for the most part. Most soccer experts want to avoid having children in U8 soccer being labeled a defender, midfielder, or striker. In today’s game it is important that all players be fluid and move throughout the field. On the other hand it is important that U8 soccer players lose the ‘bunch ball’ that runs rampant in U5 and U6 soccer. We would suggest encouraging players to focus on spacing and all players ‘getting back’ throughout the game.
5. How long should a U8 soccer game last?
- We think having four ten minute quarters with two minutes between quarters and five minutes between halves works best.
6. How many players should be on a field at once?
- We believe in playing 5v5 in U8 soccer. Four players would stay on the field with one goalkeeper (not designated, rotating between all players). Other organizations like the AYSO will recommend 7v7 with goalkeeper which is okay also but we always side on smaller games. Never play 11v11 at U8 soccer, it wastes everyone’s time.
7. Should the game have referees and keep score?
- As parents and coaches we are kidding ourselves if we think the kids don’t keep score. The important thing is to tell the kids how important other facets of the game are like defending. And given the kids are older, yes we believe in having referees. At worst you should have parent referees that understand the rules to help.
8. What size ball should we use in U8 soccer?
- Size 3.
9. Should we do throw ins or kick ins?
- At this age though most people transition to throw in’s so that is the direction we would go.
10. Is my son/daughter really good or really bad at soccer?
- If they are smiling and having fun, going after the ball then that is all that matters. Most coaches at U8 soccer appreciate attitude more than anything else.