Mini Soccer Policy Guidelines
For ease of reading the term ‘parent’ has been used to describe the adult who is responsible for the child at a game / training.
1) U8s, U9s and U10s will play in mini-soccer matches of the size determined by the FA and the League in which they play. Currently this is 7 v 7.
2) Two games will be played each Sunday.
3) Matches are 15 or 20 minutes each way.
4) Players are required to turn up at least 30 minutes before the game starts.
5) Players must wear shin pads and appropriate footwear.
6) Players should be appropriately attired for playing football and for being outdoors in the specific weather conditions.
7) LBV will provide shirts for players – black shorts and socks should be provided by parents.
8) Players should have appropriate drinks / snacks.
9) At mini-soccer the optimum squad size is 14. Further places can be offered on a training only / no commitment to play basis.
Pre match / off pitch
10) Guidance on preparations for games eg nutrition is available on the club’s website.
11) Managers will let parents know asap details (time, location etc) of each week’s match.
12) Parents must let the manager know of availability / lack availability asap. Not contacting the manager may be interpreted as a lack of availability.
13) The coach should put down cones / use tape to keep all those not involved in the game (ie players and parents) at least one yard back from the touchline.
14) Players who are not on the pitch are encouraged to be ready to come on immediately if necessary. This requires them to be available and warmed up. The reality is that the manager / coach may not have the capacity to concentrate on both the game and those players not on the pitch. His / her primary focus must be the game (as that is where the children need the most support). As such responsibility must fall to parents / carers for child welfare (eg clothing, drinks, food, sun block, hats, readiness to play etc) while off the pitch.
15) Players who are not on the pitch:
· Must not interfere in the game in any way
· Must not be behind the goal
· Must wear the club ‘track top’ / a different coloured top to ensure they are not mistaken for an active player.
16) A match fee (set by the club at the start of the season) will be payable for each player. Repeated failure to pay may lead to players not being played.
Matches / playing time / selection
17) The club’s aim is to ensure that all players who pass through the club continue to enjoy playing as young people and as adults.
18) We aim to have teams that compete rather than win at all costs. Children understand competition and that football in competitive. Losing heavily is therefore demoralising and if a regular occurrence not only likely to damage morale but ultimately see squads disband. Managers are therefore encouraged to set up their teams in a way that minimises this risk while complying with the approaches below.
19) LBV managers should play each child for at least two halves each Sunday that they are selected (ie the equivalent of one full game).
20) In instances where squads have more than 14 players it may be necessary at times to rest players to ensure 16) is possible. Such ‘resting’ should be fairly rotated and / or balanced by additional halves in future games.
21) Managers should maintain a record of time on pitch (to the nearest half game) for each child to ensure fairness throughout the season (recognising there may be variations week by week) – parents should be able to see this record.
22) Managers should endeavour to give players the opportunity to play in a range of positions, although this may lessen over time. Equally there is an expectation that players will play in the position assigned by the manager and recognise the team’s needs as well as their own.
23) It is good practice to record the positions played by each child each week – and for this information to be available to parents. It is recognised, however, that this may not always be possible, especially if there are late team changes / injuries.
24) Parents are free to discuss player positions and team allocation decisions but the manager’s decision will be final.
25) Managers have the discretion on whether to field all players in both games or play two distinct 7-a-side teams – both approaches have their merits and can be interchanged week by week. Again the approach taken may be different at different age groups.
26) As games become more competitive managers may seek to play more discernable ‘first’ and ‘second’ teams. The club has a commitment to develop all children in these age groups and this may best be achieved by fielding players in the team they think best matches their ability.
27) Managers have a clear child welfare responsibility and this extends to not putting them in situations that they consider represent a danger to them (however this is defined).
28) Direction to players on the pitch must only be given by the manager / designated other. Parents are encouraged to voice support for players and give praise. They should not voice criticism on the sidelines - parents that do this repeatedly will be asked to refrain or leave the touchline.
29) Parents / players should stand at least one yard back from the touchline. Players who are not on the pitch should cover their playing shirt to avoid confusion.
30) While recognising that there may be other calls on the time of parents / players on Sundays, it is desirable for all players to be present during both games. This builds a squad mentality and may help the manager to make substitutions in case of injury.
31) Managers need a range of support on match days and parents are encouraged to volunteer to collect match fees; referee; put up / take down goals as required etc.
32) No alcohol shall be consumed on the touchlines and smoking is discouraged.
Training / coaching
33) Coaching and training will be delivered in an age appropriate way, recognising that younger children are less developed and have shorter attention spans.
34) Children at these ages require a balance between free expression and direction / instruction on how to play in a team / position. It is for the manager /coach to achieve this balance in training and in games.
35) Training will run for one hour once a week and will wither be on grass or astro-turf. Appropriate footwear should be worn for the particular surface.
36) As with matches shin pads and other appropriate clothing / kit shall be worn at all times and are the responsibility of the parent to provide.
37) Similarly, each child should attend training with a drink and healthy snack.
38) Each squad should have at least one coach qualified to FA Level 1.
39) Training should focus on ball control, passing, tackling, shooting, team play, positional play and competitive practice (eg 4v4, 7v7 mini-matches)
40) Training will take place unless the manager / coach believes the weather conditions are too severe.
41) Managers / coaches may at times make club or other guidance available to parents / children in order to help them develop physically or in their understanding of the game.
42) Managers / coaches will be supportive and encouraging to all players, with a focus on developing confidence as well as footballing skills.
43) Managers / coaches will comply with the club’s child welfare policies at all times.
44) Managers / coaches will ensure a first aid kit and child medical forms are at training and games