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AYSO Region 1631 - Downtown San Jose

Refereeing 8U Soccer Games

The information below applies to our 1631 region's 8U games. Other regions may have varying rules that you should understand if volunteering for another region's 8U games.  Check their website for details or contact their RRA at where xx = region number.

  • No jewelry including earrings, hard hair clips, bracelets, watches and necklaces.
  • No casts. If a player arrives at the field in a cast and takes off a removable cast, they still are not able to play
  • Shin guards are required and should be worn inside socks.
  • Soccer cleats are optional. Players can play in closed toe sneakers.
  • 4v4 with subs at quarters and halftime
  • 20 minute halves with quarter breaks at 10 minutes for substitutions (and water breaks on hot days)
  • All players need to substitute before player subs twice
  • Size 3 ball
U8 Modified Laws of the Game
  • One Center Referee (CR).
  • Optional to have 2 parents as lines people. If Lines People are requested by the CR, CR provides a referee flag to each coach to get a parent to assist. Lines people only call out of bounds, which may need to be explained on the ball fully crossing the line.  Lines people cannot coach the kids, so recommend someone other than the coach.
  • No offsides. Discourage cherry picking
  • No goal keepers or players standing in goal entire game acting like a goal keeper
  • No INTENTIONAL headers.  If intentional header occurs, indirect kick to the other team at the point of the foul
  • No throw ins.  Players place ball on the touchline and pass to teammate. Defense needs to back up 5 yards.  This is an indirect kick, so player cannot score a goal by kicking directly into the goal.
  • All fouls have restart as an indirect kick. If inside the penalty area, bring ball to the penalty area line parallel to the goal line. There are no penalty shots, so consider this like any other indirect kick.
  • Remember that all indirect kick restarts (corner kicks, goal kicks, and touchline kicks (replaces throw-ins)) are kicks. Meaning the ball is in play when the ball moves and the kicker cannot touch the ball again until another player touches the ball. If they do touch it a second time, remind them of this law and have them re-do the kick until they do this correctly.
  • Corner kicks require defense to be 5 yards back.
  • Goal kicks require defense to be 5 yards back from penalty area or easiest to have them behind the halfway line. Ball is placed on the penalty line closest to the center of the field for the offense to kick the ball. Offense does not need to kick it out of any specific area, but they do need to kick it and the ball must move.


  • Teams are placed on opposite sides of the field.
  • Pre-game coach meeting to review the rules/laws, answer questions and show parents alignment between referees and coaches
  • Remind coaches that when a player is injured, only come on the field when invited by the referee. Otherwise, players will get "hurt" to get attention at this age.
  • Blow the whistle immediately if a player that falls and is lying on the ground near the ball when another player is close by (including a teammate). At this age, players tend to kick the ball even when there is a dangerous situation.
  • Watch the pulling on jerseys and late kicks that miss ball and kicks a player.  Call the foul, as we need to teach the kids the rules.  Take a minute to get on one knee to explain the call to the player in a non-intimidating way. 
  • Calls that may have reactions or complaints by sidelines, we recommend talking to the coach at halftime or end of game to explain your viewpoint and why a foul was called.  Build a trusted relationship.
  • Monitor handshakes and encourage players to show good sportsmanship.


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AYSO Region 1631

AYSO Region 1631, PO Box 486
San Jose, California 95103

Email Us: [email protected]
Phone : 669-247-7199
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