Small Sided

Discussion in 'Youth & HS Soccer' started by SFIU_94_Coach, Nov 10, 2003.

  1. SFIU_94_Coach

    SFIU_94_Coach New Member

    Mar 4, 2003
    Wisconsin will officially have small sided for U11 nest fall and U11 and U12 in 2005-6. I have posted this before but no one seems to know or care. I am not posting my postion on this but would like to know which states have done it, and which are planning to and when. I'm not looking for rec information but the select/travel teams info.

    Any postings would be greatly welcome. Also like I said I'm not going express my opion yet, I would like to see what kind of feelings there are out there first.
  2. Richie

    Richie Red Card

    May 6, 1999
    Brooklyn, NY, United
    Want to find out? Have to go to the individual state organizations and ask them. It depends how much they are influenced by the USYSA.

  3. SFIU_94_Coach

    SFIU_94_Coach New Member

    Mar 4, 2003
    I have contacted both the IL and MN offices, since these are the states we are most likely to travel to. However I wasn't given very concrete answers, so I was hoping to pick the BS brain and see what is happening in more parts of the country.

    I am suprised at how little is mentioned in BS since this is a huge change to the competative youth soccer. There seems to be an opinion on everything in here but this. I maybe wrong and maybe this is something everyone wants and is very happy to see come in, but still you'd think that there would be some sort of thread discussing this.

    We discuss everything soccer related on BS yet no one has mention ed this. I was just curious.
  4. Richie

    Richie Red Card

    May 6, 1999
    Brooklyn, NY, United
    Go on to the coaching sites and the coaches list there is a ton of oppionions on this.

    I will give you mine even though I have not coached youth teams in way over a decade.

    In training a lot of my practices are small sided but in a very small space. Then when they get good holding the ball in high pressure I shrink the space further.

    Why? Because in every 11 v 11 game at every level there is always small side play near the ball going on. Until you can make the break out pass.

    I started coaching in 1970 while i was still playing. At that time there was no such thing as small sided league games or even a small field at the youth level in NYC.

    6 yr old to under 19 played 11 on a side on a mens pitch. So that is how I learned and trained to play and how I coached little kids in league play. Even saying that in practice at the adult level still played a lot of small sided in a small space.

    People argue for small sided play because more touches, and pay 11 v 11 players at young age do not know how to get into the attack, also the big field prevents reversing the field, plus the kids can't phyically deal with running on the big field not even at 11 or 12 years old.

    I agree and disagree with most of this.

    I am not interested in this anymore it was all played out for me many times over in the past. Maybe, others have an interest. Check out the arcives on soccer coaching sites for past oppionions.
  5. Mr Martin

    Mr Martin Member+

    Jun 12, 2002
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The list below is copied from a post in the following link to a coaching web site. I cannot speak to it's accuracy, but it seems like a legitimate attempt at compiling a state-by-state list.

    States following the USYSA Small-Sided Recommendations.

    Alabama (III) NO 8v8 for U11 2004 / U12 2005 will be voted on at summer AGM Fall 2005
    Alaska (IV) NO
    Arizona (IV) NO
    Arkansas (III) YES 8v8 with U-12 Fall 2004
    Cal North (IV) NO
    Cal South (IV) NO
    Colorado (IV) NO
    Connecticut (I) NO
    Delaware (I) YES 7v7 for U-9/10 Phase in complete by Fall 2004
    East. New York (I) NO
    Eastern PA (I) NO
    Florida (III) YES 6v6 for U-9/10 8v8 for U-11/12 Phase in complete by Fall 2005
    Georgia (III) YES 6v6 for U-9/10 8v8 for U-11/12 Phase in complete by Fall 2005
    Hawaii (IV) NO
    Idaho (IV) NO
    Illinois (II) NO
    Indiana (II) YES 6v6 U-9/10 8v8 U-11/12 Sept. 2003
    Iowa (II) YES
    Kansas (II) YES 6v6 for U-9/10 8v8 for U-11/12 Sept 2003
    Kentucky (II) YES 7v7 for U-9/10 9v9 for U-11/12 Sept. 2003
    Louisiana (III) YES 8v8 for U-12 Fall 2005
    Maine (I) NO
    Maryland (I) NO
    Massachusetts (I) NO
    Michigan (II) YES 6v6 for U-9/10 8v8 for U-11/12 Sept 2003
    Minnesota (II) YES 6v6 for U-9/10 8v8 for U-11/12 Sept. 2003
    Mississippi (III) YES 8v8 for U-11 Sept. 2003
    Missouri (II) YES 6v6 for U-9/10 8v8 for U-11/12
    Montana (IV) YES
    Nebraska (II) YES 6v6 for U-9/10 8v8 for U-11/12 Phase in complete by Fall 2004
    Nevada (IV) NO
    New Hampshire (I) NO
    New Jersey (I) NO
    New Mexico (IV) NO
    New York West (I) YES 7v7 for U-9/10 9v9 for U-11/12
    North Carolina (III) YES 6v6 for U-9/10 8v8 for U-11/12 Phase in complete by Fall 2005
    North Dakota (II) YES
    North Texas (III) NO Will not know until after summer vote
    Ohio North (II) YES 6v6 for U-9/10 8v8 for U-11 Fall 2003
    Ohio South (II) NO
    Oklahoma (IV) YES 6v6 for U-9/10 Phase in complete by Fall 2004
    Oregon (IV) NO
    Penn West (I) YES 7v7 for U-9/10 9v9 for U-11/12 Phase in complete by Fall 2004
    Rhode Island (I) NO
    South Carolina (III) YES 6v6 for U-9/10 8v8 for U-11/12 Phase in complete by Fall 2005
    South Dakota (II) YES 6v6 for U-9/10 8v8 for U-11/12 Fall 2003
    South Texas (III) YES U-11/U-12 will be voted on next year Fall 2003
    Tennessee (III) YES 6v6 for U-9/10 8v8 for U-11/12 Phase in complete by Fall 2004
    Utah (IV) NO
    Vermont (I) YES
    Virginia (I) NO
    Washington (IV) YES
    West Virginia (I) YES 6v6 for U-9/10 8v8 for U-11/12 Phase in complete by Fall 2004
    Wisconsin (II) YES
    Wyoming (IV) NO
  6. SFIU_94_Coach

    SFIU_94_Coach New Member

    Mar 4, 2003
    Thanks, Mr Martin

    Now I guess the question is it a god thing that half(or so) states are making changes and the other half aren't?
  7. voros

    voros Member

    Jun 7, 2002
    Parts Unknown
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm a big proponent of small sided games at young ages. Boys that age grow and physically mature at different rates, and the big field with 11 a side places a lot of emphasis on the physical aspects of the game particularly at lower skill levels.

    A kid who is 4'4" at age 9 might be 6'1" at 18 if he grows a bit above the average rate. You don't want kids to fall behind in the sport due to the temporary vagueries of child growth. The smaller side games take a little bit of the running, and the high and long ball aspects out. The game becomes more about technique and less about power.

    It's funny, I have all sorts of problems with the way the USYSA does things, and I'm not even on board with them for most of their stated reasons for small sided games (

    But I do think small sided games are the way to go here.
  8. schmuckatelli

    schmuckatelli New Member

    Nov 10, 2000
    No, what's really going to be interesting is to track how many players from which states are going to advance in the National Team youth pools in the next 10 years or so. It will make an interesting correlation that may give us some indication of what effect small-sided games are having on player development.
  9. SFIU_94_Coach

    SFIU_94_Coach New Member

    Mar 4, 2003
    I am also for small sided at the younger ages, I love the 3v3 for 5-6 yr olds, 5v5 for 7-8 yr olds and even keeping it 8v8 for rec ages. But i do think that 11v11 for competive team at 10 yr old is good. I think the field size should be reduced but the team concept is still there. A good coach will play alot of small sided at practice; we spead about 10 minutes on foot skills, 20 minutes on simple tasks, and a hour playing from 3v3 to 8v8.

    But I really don't see a benefit if everyone in atleast a region doesn't do it, we already have a huge gap in when states think "select" soccer should start. I've heard some states start at U9 with travel teams, and Wisconsin has tossed around the idea of pushing thier start age to U13 from U11.

    Well I said more than I wanted to about it, I would still like to what everyone else feels about it. Like I said earlier this is a huge change and it seems to be getting a pass by the BS brain and that seems odd to me. Nothing soccer happens with out a stir in BS,lol. Well thanks and good luck to all.
  10. Mr Martin

    Mr Martin Member+

    Jun 12, 2002
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I am also a fan of small sided play. I think the vast majority of kids will benefit from the increased time on or NEAR the ball that small-sided games offer. It isn't just time on the ball, but being near the action and having to always participate. An 11v11 game for 9 year olds allows far too many kids to just be observers on the field.

    Personally I would like to see fewer steps than the USYSA is recommending. For example, the following works for me:

    4v4 for U6, U7, and U8
    7v7 for U9, U10, and U11
    11v11 for U12 and older

    I think most 11 year olds are not really ready for the full 11v11 game. Sure, the top 10% are ready. Another 10% would be fine with good coaching. But the remaining 80% will learn the game better, and enjoy it more, playing small-sided. In fact, the bottom 20%-40% may never really be able to play the 11v11 game well.

    So, do we structure the system based on the top 10%-20%, or based on the remaining 80%? I think the answer should clearly be for the 80%. Plus, I don't think the best players will be harmed at all by postponing 11v11 play for a year, or even 2 years. They will still need to learn 1st, 2nd, and 3d defender principles, good first touch, movement off the ball, how to create and close space, and so on. All of those things can be learned just as well plaing small-sided as full-sided. A skillful 13 year old will pick up the 11v11 game quickly.
  11. voros

    voros Member

    Jun 7, 2002
    Parts Unknown
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Correct. And of course there's a good chance that 10% could be playing up a year in age anyway.

    I think it may also help in showing that soccer isn't just a game on a big field with 22 guys running around, and that it can be scaled down and still be lots of fun. Heck, keep away can be fun.
  12. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Small vs. Big

    Voros -

    Having a U11 boy who has played in 3 vs. 3, 5 vs. 5, 7 vs. 7, 8 vs. 8, 9 vs. 9, and 11 vs. 11 formats over the past 2 years, I have become something of an expert on small vs. big fields and the effect on the players.

    I don't fully agree with your assessment that size/strength is more valuable on bigger fields than smaller fields.

    Yes, the big, strong kids are useful on the big field for launching long shots and crosses. However, if they are immobile (sometimes the case) their defensive deficiencies are highlighted by the larger field.

    Conversely, while being able to whack the ball isn't as useful in the small-sided format, being able to use your muscle defensively in a cramped field can be very beneficial.

    Two problems with small ball - 1) tactics are less sophisticated, 2) a single dominant player becomes even more dominant.

    Overall I think that small ball is a positive for U.S. youth soccer because it discourages kick and run, but I don't really view it as helping smaller players and for the handful of young teams that really know how to play soccer -- such as my son's team -- small ball is actually moving backwards. They're going to play short pass/control game on any size field, so 11 vs. 11 is best for them because the tactical choices are more challenging. But admittedly, they would not be the usual case.
  13. voros

    voros Member

    Jun 7, 2002
    Parts Unknown
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well the problem is that often at that age, bigger/stronger very often equals quicker/faster as well.

    I think an important point to bring up is that small sided doesn't mean _zero_ tactical play (as mentioned you still have basic building blocks of defending and also the need to attack in combinations), and large sided doesn't mean _zero_ technical play (as you mention), but the two are emphasized at different levels at each type. I think given the choice, I'd much rather have 12 year olds lagging behind tactically than technically.

    And while you're right, a highly technical version of 11v11 can always be taught by the team's coach, unfortunately if the opponents don't play the same way, you lose half the benefit as the kids are not also learning how to defend against short technical play (which at the top levels they may run up against if they play Latin American or Continental European teams).

    For the small subset of kids who have progressed to the point where 11v11 is appropriate, there _should_ always be the option of the kid playing up a year or two. Maybe for the top talent, there can be a setup where a system that allows a gradual transition from small sided to full sided from ages 9 to 12.

    From what little I've talked to you about your son's club situation, it sounds like he's in a great situation, but I think it's just as important to understand that such a situation is likely not the norm for youth players as you mention.

    If there is an all-purpose complaint I have with US Youth Soccer, it's that we're continually casting too small of a net as kids get older. While it's true that a top 10% player at U12 is far more likely to be in the top 10% at U20 than one in the other 90%, there's a bunch more kids in the other 90% so their chances don't need to be as good for as many of them to move into the top 10%. I think US Soccer casts too many kids to the side, too soon. I'm thinking small sided play could help this to some extent, but is certainly not a panacea.
  14. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Big vs. Small

    Voros -

    Fair enough. I won't argue, overall the move to small-sided play is sensible. If done intelligently! A couple of towns up from me, they abruptly switched from 8 vs. 8 play to a 4 vs. 4 format -- with the same number of referees! Yep, they tried to assign each referee to 2 games being contested simultaneously. This did not work well at all.

    OK, since you won that one, I'll pick another fight with you -- the big vs. small debate. You see a lot about how youth soccer rewards big players at the expense of small players, with the implication being that adult soccer is different. I'm not buying.

    The following players on the Chicago Fire were likely "big and fast" kids while growing up playing youth soccer -

    Carlos Bocanegra
    C.J. Brown
    Jim Curtin
    Kelly Gray
    Nate Jaqua
    Damani Ralph
    Ante Razov
    Zach Thornton

    The forwards and center backs ... just like kid soccer, where the big fast kids are often up top and a big fast kid is back at sweeper to clean up the mess.

    Big, fast people are disproportionately represented both in professional soccer and in high-level youth soccer. They are a minority in both, but a much larger minority than they are in the population as a whole.

    Basically, big & fast is a damn good starting point for athletes in many sports, soccer included.
  15. old boy

    old boy New Member

    Jul 8, 2003
    As more and more kids chhoose to stick with soccer as opposed to switching to football or basketball, you are going to have some pretty big kids playing soccer. In the end athleticism and ability will win out. Donovan & Beasley being the obvious examples.
  16. Bleacherbutt

    Bleacherbutt New Member

    May 1, 2001
    Rochester, NY
    *#*#, Thanks for saving me the keystrokes.

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