Haverhill Youth Soccer follows the development philosophy and playing standards set forth by US Soccer's Player Development Initiatives. The following is an outline of these standards for the 4v4 format used throughout our Development program.
Above all else, our primary goal is to make sure that every child has fun.
Develop improved skills with the ball.
- Improve confidence and comfort.
Develop intelligence with and without the ball.
- Promote faster decisions and better awareness.
- Develop partnerships within the team.
Provide an age appropriate environment.
- Standards align with physiological needs of players based on year of birth.
Uniformity across the country and across membership.
- Having consistent standards allows US Soccer, and the programs of our members, to provide more meaningful messaging and education for parents, players, coaches and referees.
Player Development Philosophy
- Coaches should have the age appropriate license issued by US Soccer.
- Formal games are not needed so playing with and against teammates at the end of each training session (1-2 per week) should be sufficient.
Formal rosters and teams are not needed so having a flexible and fluid approach to training and playing is recommended.
- While playing, everyone should participate a minimum of 50% of the time.
- With 4 players on the field, having 6 players on each “team” when the “game” is played helps maximize participation and engagement.
Here are some examples of having a flexible and fluid approach to training and playing:
- Utilize “in-house” programs that have everyone train and play as a pool of players rather than as distinct teams.
- This approach allows players to train and play with a variety of other kids based on numbers, ability, age, height, weight, etc..
- If using teams with a set roster of players, players can be mixed up during the game at the end of the training session to provide variety.
- Results and standings should not be recorded.
- Travel should be limited as much as possible.
- Players should not be participating in events (tournaments, showcases, festivals, etc.).
- Remember that safety and fun are the top priorities so make adjustments as needed to ensure both are being promoted.
- Per US Soccer's Concussion Initiative, if a player is suspected to have a head injury the referee* is instructed to stop play to allow for treatment/evaluation as needed.
- If the player leaves the field of play for additional evaluation, a substitution can be made in that moment.
- The player with the suspected head injury may not return to the game unless a Health Care Professional (HCP) or Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) has cleared the player.
- Any coach or parent insisting on returning the player to the game without approved\clearance will result in the referee* ending the game.
- Heading is not allowed in 4v4 games.
- If a player heads the ball in a game, whether deliberately or accidentally, an indirect free kick should be awarded to the opposing team from the spot of the offense.
- In a controlled and individual environment (where heading is an isolated skill being taught away from any form of opposition or other aspects of the game), the use of lightweight balls (foam, balloon, etc.) would be acceptable for teaching heading technique.
Standards of Play
- 25-35 yards (length).
- 15-25 yards (width).
- Goals should be no larger than 4 feet (height) x 6 feet (width).
- Corner flags are not needed.
- Size 3 ball.
- 4v4 (no goalkeepers).
- Shin guards are required.
- Substitutions are unlimited and can occur at any time.
- 4 quarters.
- No more than 10 minute quarters.
- 5 minute breaks between quarters.
- Playing times can be less than 10 minutes when managed by the coaches and parents.
- Kick offs, free kicks, throw-ins, goal kicks and corner kicks are used to start or restart play.
- Kick-ins and/or dribble-ins are also acceptable as restarts when the ball has gone out over the sidelines.
- Goal kicks and corner kicks should be taken in the general vicinity of the respective goal or corner.
- If used, all free kicks are indirect.
- Opponents should be 10 feet away from the ball on all restarts.
- No penalty kicks.
- No offside.
- Registered and certified referees are not needed at this level.
- Since there is no referee, coaches are expected to manage the game environment from the touchline using these standards of play and their best judgement.
- Together, coaches and parents are expected to create and promote a fun and safe environment for the players.