Rules of the Game

Canadian Soccer Association National Game Structure

In an effort to provide a consistent model for player development across the country the Technical Committee of the Canadian Soccer Association has developed a list of recommended game structures based on the developmental age of players 18 years and under. These game structures take into consideration such things as the ideal number of players on a team, the duration of the game, the ball size, the size of the field and the size of the goal recommended for the specific age range.

In is believed that by establishing recommendations for the National Game Structure clubs and leagues across Canada will be able to work together in providing an effective environment for the development of young players. There have been numerous studies and experiments carried out in countries around the world that have proven the effectiveness of small sided games in improving young players both technically and tactically. In addition these studies have shown that the small sided game environment provides players with more touches of the ball and, therefore, more enjoyment. All the elements of the “big game” are there with numbers and field sizes adjusted accordingly to allow players to be more involved in the action.

The graduated approach to increasing a player’s experience has many benefits for players and coaches alike. Players get the chance to improve technical skills through getting more touches of the ball in each game they play. Having fewer players to be concerned with also helps the coach lead the players through the concepts of basic group tactics in an environment which allows a player to get his or her head around such ideas. While many coaches understand that children and youth players are not “small adults” it is fair to say that Canadian Soccer has been slow to provide a suitable game environment for our young players. With that in mind the Canadian Soccer Association is pleased to make the following recommendations that form the National Game Structure.

Age GroupGame FormatSquad SizeGame DurationBall SizeField SizeGoal Size
U63v36 max4x8 minutes328m x 18m8ft x 4ft
U7 - U84v48 max4x10 minutes336m x 22m8ft x 4ft
U9 - U107v714 max2x25 minutes455m x 36m12ft x 6.5ft
U11 - U128v816 max2x30 minutes475m x 55m18ft x 6.5ft
U13 - U14 11v1118 max2x35 minutes5FIFA Reg24ft x 8ft
U15 - U1611v1118 max2x40 minutes5FIFA Reg24ft x 8ft
U17 - U18
11v1118 max2x45 minutes5FIFA Reg24ft x 8ft

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