Boys Youth Soccer: Rules for American Soccer
Youth Soccer aka "Football"
Looking for an exciting sports program for your boys to get involved in?
Have you considered youth soccer? Soccer, as it is known in America, is the sport called football in the rest of the world.
But American Football is a much more recently invented game. Soccer has been played for several hundred years, since the 19th century. Beyond youth soccer, some people continue to play through high school and college and even into adult leagues. The fast, exciting sport is a thriller both for participants and spectators. Moving the ball up and down the field using any part of your body except for your hands (except for goalkeepers and players throwing the ball in) is a real test of agility and coordination.
Where I live in the United States, boys youth soccer is not as popular as in other countries, or even as it was 20-30 years ago. Tackle football, cross-country running and many other extracurricular activities compete with soccer for kids' time. Yet, for overall fitness, and a team sports experience, its hard to beat soccer.
Getting children involved in sports is important for a number of reasons. The National Council on Youth Sports estimates about 30 million children under 18 participate in an organized sport, such as Little League and youth soccer. However, keeping kids interested in sports is a challenge.
A 2001 study from the National Alliance for Youth Sports found that 70 percent of children gave up on sports by the time they turned 13. This is primarily because it stopped being fun!
All photographs in this hub are the property of the author, Stephanie Hicks. Do not copy, use, reprint, without my express written permission
American Youth Soccer Organization
The American Youth Soccer Organization, is a national soccer organization in the United States. Its guiding principals for players, coaches and spectators include:
- Everyone Plays®
- Balanced Teams
- Open Registration
- Positive Coaching
- Good Sportsmanship
- Player Development
The program is focused on the athletes, and is organized to ensure that everyone plays and has fun. Although winning a soccer game is exciting, it is more important that all players on the team get an opportunity to play and develop soccer skills. Plus, real game experiences help young soccer players learn valuable skills that cannot be replicated in practice.
United States Youth Soccer Association
US Youth Soccer, the nation's largest youth sports organization, celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2009. The Game for All Kids!® had an explosive growth in numbers from 100,000 players in 1974 to over 1 million in the early 1990s. Today, US Youth Soccer registers over 3.2 million players annually, ages 5-19 through 55 US Youth Soccer State Associations.
The website is filled with resources for parents, children, coaches, sponsors and the community. Tips and hints concerning soccer are included. Important information concerning health and safety and risk management are important considerations, as well.
For example, you might think that the risk of head injuries such as concussions are not a concern among soccer players. Yet, a blow to the head can occur from a mis-played head ball, or simply crashing into another player or even falling on the ground. Any parent or guardian of a child who plays sports should learn how to prevent head injuries and what to do when they occur.
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Rules of Soccer
1. Up to ten players and a goalkeeper are allowed on the field for each team. Most games will have to referees to make calls and call fouls (if necessary).
2. Youth soccer games are played in halves (not quarters) and generally last about 25-30 minutes each, with a break in-between each period. Referees keep track of the time and will blow the whistle to indicate the end of the half and the end of the game.
3. Soccer games start with a kick-off at the center line in the field. When either team scores a goal, the game is re-started with a kick-off at the center by the other team.
4. A goal is worth a single point, which is awarded when any player moves the ball across the goal line. Usually a goalkeeper is positioned to try to keep the ball out of the goal. He is the only player that is permitted to use his hands and to fall on the ball to stop it.
5. Players are not permitted to kick or push an opponent, even if it occurs by accident. If this is determined to have taken place on purpose, the player will be given a red card for misconduct; if accidental, a yellow card is given as a warning. Play restarts after a foul or misconduct by either a free kick or penalty kick.
7. If the referee allows a free kick, players on the defending team must be at least 20 feet away. The player that takes a free kick is not permitted to touch it again until another player touches it.
8. A penalty kick is called when a player fouls or touches the ball with their hands inside the penalty box. Only two players are allowed in the box: the player making the penalty kick and the defending goalkeeper.
9. When the ball goes out the side lines, the person defending the player who last touched the ball is allowed the throw in. His or her feet must remain outside the side line, and the throw is done over head back into the game.
10. The goal kick restarts play after the attacking team takes the ball over the defending team's byline. The goal kick acts as a direct free kick, so if a player would kick the ball so hard that it would reach the opposing team's goal and score, the goal would count. The goal kick must be powerful enough to pass the penalty area. So if the goalkeeper executes the goal kick and passes the ball to a teammate in his own penalty box, the goal kick is re-taken.
11. The corner kick occurs when the ball passes over the defending player's goal line, with a defender having touched the ball last. The corner kick acts as a direct free kick taken from the corner of the pitch (if the ball passes the line on the left of the goal, the corner is taken from the left corner and if it passes on the right, the corner is taken from the right corner).
Opposing players must be at least 9.15 meters away from the corner, the corner taker may score directly from the corner kick and the kicker can't play the ball a second time until its touched by another player.
When is a player called offside?
A player may be called offside when he is nearer to the other team's goal than both the ball and the second last opponent. The second last opponent usually being the last defender from the opponent team, an offside occurs when the player is closer to the opposing team's goal than that team's last defender.
Boys Youth Soccer 2011 National Championship
Learn to Play Soccer
As much as I'd like to give you all the information right here, unfortunately its difficult to effectively teach a person how to learn to play soccer off the field.
Among various tips for beginners, however, consider the following:
1. Get a soccer ball and start getting comfortable kicking it. Try running and dribbling (small, short movements forward) with the ball. Pick a target and kick the ball toward it. You don't need to know anything about the game of soccer before you start.
2. Work on soccer kicking. There are a variety of kicks, including the instep kick and toe kicking. Variations depend on foot plant positions. Working with an experienced player and/or coach is your best bet.
3. Have fun! Today's culture seems to place much too high a premium on winning, rather than just having fun. Its not about whether you win or lose a game, but what you learn during the process. With less emphasis on results, more kids would probably stick with a sport like soccer!
Playing boys youth soccer on a team helps to build confidence, coordination, teamwork and much more!
Youth Soccer Skills
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