1) It looks like four 5-minute periods per half is the preference for this age group. Play should stop on the first dead ball (goal, out-of-bounds, etc.) after five minutes have elapsed so that no offensive play is stopped by a whistle. This gives a chance to rotate players, giving those who just played a hydration and rest break. The half time break should be about five minutes long. Total time should be about 45 minutes. Be respectful of the next teams on the schedule and try to start and end your game on time so the next game can start on time.
2) If a player performs a throw in incorrectly, stop play and have the child repeat it after showing that the feet must stay down and the ball must come from behind the head.
3) If a player touches the ball with their hands the first time, just tell them “no hands” but keep playing. If that same player touches with their hands again, call it and give possession to the other team. There are no direct penalty kicks.
4) Keep players on your team from poaching. Poaching is the stationary setting up of offensive players behind the defense when there is no offensive charge. It is ok for the player to run past the defense when the player’s team is moving towards the goal. The concept of offsides is not taught until 5th grade.
5) Players must stay out of the crease until the ball enters the crease. Players must exit the crease once the ball has been cleared.
6) Please move your defense away from the crease. There is a temptation to station a player right in front of the crease as a form of no-hands goalkeeper. We do not want that. We want the player to move up and be part of the action.
7) When a team takes a goal kick, the defensive team should be backed up to the midfield line. Once the kick is made, the defense can crash the field like barbarians.
8) The purpose of on-field coaching at this level is not for strategy: it is for safety and encouragement to go after the ball. While there is a temptation to micro-manage, coaches should make an effort to stay quiet unless players need to keep elbows down or be encouraged to run after a ball.
9) Do not practice or play on a field when there is standing water. We will post on the website, www.csoccer.org, if fields are closed.
10) If a child is overly physical and will not stop despite your warning to do so, replace the child for the quarter and make sure the parents understand that this is a safety issue. If the parent complains, contact Dennis Nagel or Andrew Newton.
11) When coaching at this level, replace a child who scores a goal, congratulate them, let them know to tell their parents about it, and send them back in on the next substitution. It sometimes results in an amusing 11-second playing shift, but the child will be back in within a few minutes. This is a level where everyone (teammates and opponents alike) is fighting for the same ball, so the substitution pattern forces teammates to pick up the slack.
12) The score is not important; fun and development are. Coaching success is measured by the number of children who register again the following season.