Northern SC U8 Playing Formats 4v4

Northern SC U8 Playing Formats 4v4
Northern SC U8 Playing Formats
4v4 Recommended
This document outlines guidelines for increasing the consistency of playing
formations and terminology we use with U7 and U8 players. As players of this
age may have different outdoor coaches each season, different coaches for
indoor, etc. we would like to minimize the confusion for the players by adhering to
some fundamental game formats and position naming. The formations have
been selected to provide a natural transition to the formats used in the NSC
Select Program and beyond.
Also included at the end of this document is a glossary of commonly used soccer
Diamond (1-2-1) Formation
The diamond formation shown below is preferred because it contains many of
the elements of full-sided games (e.g. forward, midfielders, and a defender;
triangles, etc.). Rather than coaching the players to stand in the right spot, it’s
more important to get them thinking of playing in this shape. Inter-changing of
positions is not a negative thing as long as the team’s shape remains consistent.
When the team is attacking the entire diamond moves forward. When the team
is defending the entire diamond moves backward. The midfielders in this
formation do a lot of running to help defend and to help set up and participate in
the attack. When the ball is far forward the defender should not be playing back
by the goal; rather the defender should be pushed up to the center line or so.
Box Formation (2-2)
The box formation shown below may be used as a more defensively oriented
formation. Again, rather than coaching the players to stand in the right spot, it’s
more important to get them thinking of playing in this shape. When the team is
attacking the entire box moves forward. When the team is defending the entire
box moves backward.
Basic Soccer Position Terms
Backs – Refers to defenders.
Defender – A player who works mainly in the defensive third of the field. They are primarily
focused on stopping the opposition’s attackers from scoring.
Forward – A player who is responsible for most of a team's scoring. They play in front of the rest
of their team (or in the attaching third of the field) where they can take most of the shots.
Fullback – a rear defender.
Goalie – Abbreviation for Goalkeeper.
Goalkeeper – I bet you know this one. The player positioned directly in front of the goal who tries
to prevent shots from crossing the goal line; the only player allowed to use their hands and arms,
though only within the 18-yard penalty area.
Keeper – Abbreviation for Goalkeeper.
Midfielder – A player generally positioned in the middle third of the field between the forwards and
defenders. Their job is to link the defense and the offense through ball control and passing. They
play both an attacking role and a defensive role.
Striker – Generally the same as a forward, though it sometimes refers to a forward that is his
team’s primary scoring threat.
Sweeper – Not always used. In some formations, a single defender that plays closest to their own
goal behind the rest of the defenders; a team's last line of defense in front of the goalkeeper.
Basic Soccer Field Terms
Center Circle – a circular marking with a 10-yard radius in the “center” of the field from which
kickoffs are taken to start or restart the game. Purpose: Simply a reference line for the referee
and defenders. Defenders must be as least 10 yards away from the ball prior to start or restart.
Center Line – See Midfield line.
Center Spot – The “center” of the center circle from which kickoffs are taken to start or restart the
Corner Arc – an arc or quarter-circle with a radius of 1 yard located at each of the 4 corners of the
soccer field. Purpose: Also a reference line, the ball must be kicked from inside this arc on a
corner kick.
Corner Flag – the flag located at each of the 4 corners of the soccer field, inside the corner area.
End Line – the boundary line extending from corner to corner along its width at each end.
Field – the rectangular area where soccer matches are played.
Goal Area – the rectangular area (20 x 6 yd. on a full-size soccer field) marked within the penalty
area (or inside the larger rectangle) and directly in front of goal. Purpose: Marks the area from
which all goal kicks must be taken.
Goal Box – commoner’s term for the goal area or sometimes the penalty area.
Goal Line – same as the end line.
Midfield Line – a line in the center of the soccer field that divides the field in half along its width
and runs parallel to the goals. Purpose: Used for start and restart as well as for calling offside. A
player cannot be offside on their half of the field. Also called the center line.
Penalty area – The larger rectangle (18 x 44 yd. On a full size field) in front of the goal that
includes the goal area. Purpose: Marks both where the goalkeeper is allowed to touch the ball
with his hands AND the area where harsh fouls committed by the defending team result in penalty
Penalty Arc – The arc at the top of the penalty area. Purpose: Designates how far back all players
must be away from the ball while a penalty kick is being taken.
Penalty Mark (or Spot) – the mark on the soccer field from which penalty kicks are taken.
Pitch – Another word for the field.
Sideline – common word for the touchline.
Touchline – the line that runs along the length of each side of the field. Commonly called the
sideline in other sports.
Basic Soccer Rule Terms
Caution – a disciplinary action in which the referee shows a player the yellow card (for violating a
soccer rule, obviously). A second caution in the same match results in the player being shown the
red card (ejected from the game).
Corner kick – a direct free kick that is awarded when the defending team puts the ball over the
end line. A corner kick is taken by the offensive team from next to the corner flag.
Dangerous Play – an action by a player that the referee considers dangerous to that player or
others. Examples are high kicking, playing while lying on the ground, or playing the ball while it is
in the possession of the goalkeeper.
Direct Free Kick – a free kick that is awarded at the spot of the infraction for a physical contact
foul such as tripping, holding, pushing, tackles from behind, jumping into an opponent, or for hand
balls. A direct free kick can score by going directly into the goal. It does not have to be touched by
anyone other than the kicker.
Drop Ball – a method of restarting a game where the referee drops the ball between 2 players
facing each other. A drop ball restarts the game after play is stopped for no penalty situation (e.g.
after an injury) and in other circumstances (more than one soccer rule about this). The ball is
dropped where it was last in play or at the nearest point outside the penalty area.
Foul – when the referee judges a violation against an opposing player. The team that suffers the
foul is awarded with a direct free kick unless the foul is committed by a defensive player inside his
own penalty area, in which case the foul results in a penalty kick.
Goal Kick – a type of restart that is awarded when the attacking team puts the ball over the end
line. The ball is kicked from anywhere inside the goal area away from the goal to restart play.
After the kick is taken, the ball cannot be touched again by any player until it is outside of the
penalty area.
Indirect Free Kick – a free kick that is awarded at the spot of the infraction for other fouls that are
judged not to be serious such as obstruction, dangerous play or charging (non-contact fouls), as
well as for offside. Indirect kicks must touch another player (either team) before the ball goes into
the net in order to score.
Offside (U10 and Up) – a difficult soccer rule.
Not good enough for you? Ok, ok. Here it is: a violation that occurs when an offensive player is
closer to the opponent’s goal than both the ball and the second-to-last opposing player at the time
that the ball is passed to the offensive player by his or her teammate. Players cannot be called
offside if they are in their own half of the field or if they receive the ball from a throw in, corner
kick, or goal kick. When a player is called offside, the opposing team is awarded an indirect free
Obstruction – a foul in which a defensive player, instead of going after the ball, illegally uses their
body to prevent an offensive player from playing it.
Penalty kick – A kick taken from 12 yards in front of the goal as a result of a contact foul or hand
ball that takes place inside the penalty area.
Red card – a referee shows a player a red card to signal that the player has been banned from
the rest of the match. A red card can be shown for a single serious offense or as the result of
being shown a second yellow card in the same game. After a player is shown a red card, the
player must leave the field of play and cannot be replaced by a substitute, meaning that his or her
team must finish the match with one player fewer.
Sending off – an ejection resulting from a player being shown a red card. See also Red card.
Throw-in – a way to restart play when the ball goes out over the sidelines. The team that did not
touch the ball last is allowed an overhead throw.
Yellow card – see Caution.
Basic Soccer Action Terms
Center – a pass from either side of the field towards the middle of the field. It is used primarily to
get the ball closer to the front of the goal. The words “center” and “cross” are used
Charging – a method of running at and unbalancing the player who has possession, or is
attempting to gain possession of the ball; the act of using a "shoulder" against an opponent’s
shoulder to gain an advantage, allowed only when the ball is playable (i.e. within 3 feet).
Clearing – the act of moving the ball out of the area of one’s own goal by throwing (goalkeeper
only) or kicking it.
Cross – another word for center.
Fake – a move by a player meant to deceive an opposing player. Used to gain an advantage, it is
frequently used when dribbling to get past an opponent.
Feint – another word for a fake.
Foot Trap – the use of the foot, usually the bottom, to control a rolling or low bouncing ball.
Header – When a player passes or shoots the ball with his head.
Save – the act of a goalkeeper in stopping a shot that would have otherwise gone into the goal.
Screening – another word for shielding.
Shielding –used by the person with the ball to protect the ball from a defender; the ball carrier
keeps their body between the ball and the defender.
Slide Tackle – a move where a player attempts to win the ball by sliding towards the ball. If the
tackling player touches the ball first, he is allowed to make contact with the player controlling the
ball. If the tackling player strikes the player before the ball, a foul is assessed. A tackle from
behind is always a foul regardless of whether the tackler managed to get to the ball first.
Tackle – the act of taking the ball away from a player by kicking or stopping it with one's feet.
Trap – the use of one’s body to slow down and control a moving ball, most often using the chest,
thighs or feet.
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