Program Overview

The “Small-Sided” environment continues in the 1st & 2nd grade program where a FUN environment focuses on the young soccer players. US Youth Soccer sites the following educational benefits:

  • Because we want our young soccer players to touch the soccer ball more often and become more skillful with it! (Individual technical development)
  • Because we want our young soccer players to make more quality decisions during the game! (Tactical development)
  • Because we want our young soccer players to be more physically efficient in the field space in which they are playing! (Reduced field size)
  • Because we want our young soccer players to have more involved playing time in the game! (More opportunity to solve problems that only the game presents)
  • Because we want our young soccer players to have more opportunities to play on both sides of the ball! (More exposure to attacking and defending situations)
  • Because we want our young soccer players to have more opportunities to score goals and make saves! (Pure excitement)

All ages can play “Small Sided Games,” but it has a definite developmental impact on our younger soccer players. This has to do with the stages of development that all children go through. As children progress through these stages, they grow intellectually, they mature physically and they get emotionally stronger.

Six, seven and eight year olds are still little people but are maturing and have better balance and agility. They begin to experience success technically and will share the ball a bit with a teammate or teammates. Numbers on the field must be small so that they can have the ball a lot. This allows them to practice their newly learned skills in an uncluttered environment. They begin to enjoy playing soccer!

1st & 2nd graders are combined onto teams in the boys’ program and the girls’ program. Each group has their own program coordinator. Teams of ideally 7-8 players are formed, with an assigned head coach and an assistant. The number of teams, size of teams, and variations to program are driven by the number of registered players and coach volunteers.

Each Intramural team has a one-hour practice during the week and a game on Saturday. The boys’ games are scheduled for Saturday mornings and the girls’ games are in the afternoon. The practice day & time differ for each team and are set at the same time as the rosters in late August and late March. If there is a specific day that your child is not available for practice, please note it in the registration comments. We try to avoid known practice conflicts, although we can’t guarantee a specific practice time because of varying coach and field availability.

The 1st & 2nd grade games include two 20 minute halves and a five-minute intermission. Teams play with a 4v4 format with no goalkeepers. A size 3 ball is used. There is no offside rule and there are unlimited substitutions, made during any goal kick and a team’s throw-ins. Depending on the number of participants, the program may provide for a “duel field method” by which two games are run in parallel to allow for more play per child. The intramural coordinator for the group will work with the coaches to apply the best format. Intramural referees who have completed a Grade 9 License class officiate the games.

Players wear the reversible red/white Intramural shirt, which can be purchased at HYSA’s Shirt Nights before each season.  Players must wear shin-guards, soccer socks and cleats.

The program runs for 10 weeks in the fall and again in the spring.