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AYSO Changes

AYSO Structure

Get into the details of division placement, small sided games, and youth soccer rules on this page.

Division Names and Birth Year Placement

The labels (names) for divisions will change from one in which the letter "U" preceded an age to one in which the "U" follows the age.  An example would be the U8 division changing to 8U.  The reason for this change is due to the manner in which the labeling is being interpreted. Previously the label U8 division could be translated to mean "under 8 years old".  The new labeling will read as "8 and under" and will include 8 year old players.  

The manner in which to calculate what division a players falls into is done as follows:

A)  Determine the child's date of birth year.
B)  Determine what the latter year in a season will be.  
C)  Subtract the players birth date from the latter year of the season.
D)  Apply resulting number to appropriate division.

OR -- use the birth year matrix below!

Player A was born in 2011 and will be playing in the 2019/2020 season.  Take the latter year in the season (2020) and subtract the year of birth (2011) and get an answer of 9.  Because the number 9 is greater than "8 and under" (8U) but less than "10 and under" (10U), Player A would participate in the 10U division for the 2019/2020 season.  

All of this means that in fall, all players in the same birth year move up at the same time -- even the November and December born players. Move ups and move downs are rare, and reserved for exceptional circumstances. 

Small-Sides Games

Another way AYSO improves the fundamentals of soccer players in the United States and allow for more touches is by using small-sides games.   

US Youth Soccer has thought long and hard about the answer to the question: 
"Why Small-Sided Games?"

What does "Small-Sided Games" mean? These are soccer games with fewer players competing on a smaller sized field. These are fun games that involve the players more because fewer players are sharing one ball. We want our young soccer players to touch the soccer ball more often and become more skillful with it. Young soccer players will be able to make more, less-complicated decisions during the game! 

These are the reasons why we adults must foster "Small-Sided Games" in our youth soccer programs. The "Small-Sided" environment is a developmentally appropriate environment for our young soccer players. It's a FUN environment that focuses on the young soccer player.

All ages can play "Small Sided Games", but it has a definite developmental impact on our younger soccer players. AYSO Hilo will be playing the divisions as follows:

6U 3 against 3 no goalkeepers Pugg goals Practice once a week about 45 minutes/games on Saturdays
8U 4 against 4 no goalkeepers 3'x4' Bow Net goals Practice once or twice a week 45 minutes each/games on Saturdays
10U 7 against 7 with goalkeepers 5'x10' goals Practice twice a week about 75 minutes each/games on Saturdays
12U 9 against 9 with goalkeepers 7x20 Practice twice a week about 90 minutes each/games on Saturdays
15U+ *Team size dependent on group Practice twice a week about 90 minutes each

5U or School Yard/Playground group- This age group meets once a week for about an hour. Players will be introduced to the game of soccer by playing FUN skills games that will help them develop their skills. They do order uniforms and may use some weekends to join in on some real soccer games. 


Youth Soccer Rules

Youth soccer play sees the removal of the punt and drop kick from the 10U division. Goal keepers in the 10U  division will no longer be able to punt or drop kick the ball from within their penalty box.  Once the ball is possessed in the goal keepers hands they must choose to drop the ball and take control with their feet, or roll/throw the ball to a fellow teammate. At the 10U division a "build-out" line will be put in place to reduce the immediate pressure of a defense.  On a punt and goal kick defensive players will be required to stand behind a "build-out line" and not cross the line until the ball is put into "play".  The build out line is used to promote playing the ball out of the back. 

The build-out line is also the line used to determine offsides in the 10U Division.

Another rule for all divisions will be the goal kick is in play at the moment the ball is played. It no longer needs to leave the Penalty Area before an offender can come in to play the ball. Consequently, the defense can make a pass into the penalty area to their own player and the play is on. 

Heading the ball is not encouraged at all in practice or games from Division 12U and down. Consequently, a player purposefully heading the ball will be penalized with an indirect kick for the opposing team. Coaches are encourage to protect players at the younger age by developing other methods of controlling the ball.

A 10U field schematic


Where can I get more information on all these rules?

To get a more detailed and comprehensive look at all the youth soccer rules, select any of the following links below. 

US Soccer Presentation on Player Development

Full US Soccer Player Development Initiatives



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Hilo AYSO Region 274

Hilo AYSO, PO Box 1664
Hilo, Hawaii 96721

Email Us: [email protected]
Phone : 808-959-1972
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