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U8 Rules and Guidelines for Referees

Guidelines for AYSO Region 889 Aliso Viejo 8U games for Spring 2024:


  • 20-minute halves.  The clock continues to run during the substitution breaks, so the coaches should make their substitutions efficiently.  It takes 2-3 minutes for 8U substitutions, so the referee should stop the game at approximately 8.5 – 9 minutes into each half.
  • Size 3 ball.
  • Format is 6v6 including goal keepers.  Try not to play 7v7, but if one or both teams have 9 players show up, and if both teams’ coaches agree and request to play 7v7, please consider it as it will avoid having one or two players sit twice.
  • All free kicks in 8U are direct free kicks (DFK), which means that the ball can go directly into the goal without being touched.
  • However, a goal cannot be scored directly from a kickoff.
  • There are no indirect free kicks (IFK) in 8U.
  • There are no penalty kicks in 8U.
  • Any DFK or IFK foul or offense committed by the defending team inside their own penalty area, results in the ball being moved out to the 12-yard line.  The restart is a direct free kick for the attacking team from that spot on the 12-yard line.
  • If a defender who is not the goalkeeper uses their hand(s) to stop a ball from going into the goal, the referee should award the goal.
  • The normal required 10-yard distance is scaled down to 6 yards, as evidenced by the smaller center circle.
  • There is no offside rule in 8U.  However, the referee can award a free kick to the defense if an attacking player is taking advantage of the no offside rule.  A referee can deny a goal scored by a player who is "cherry picking" in the referee's opinion.

Please let me know if you have any questions.  Thank you for volunteering so the kids can play soccer!  -PK

Paul Konrad
Regional Referee Administrator | AYSO Region 889
[email protected]

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26895 Aliso Creek Road, #B196
Aliso Viejo, California 92656

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