2016 Rule Changes

Updated Friday February 26, 2016 by Mission El Camino Soccer Club.

Registration ages will go from being based on the school year (August 1st- July 31st) to being based on the calendar year (January 1st-December 31st). This means that some players will stay in their current age division and others will be moved up. Players may choose to “play up” or play in an older age group if they are ready for the challenge.  The purpose of the age registration change is to:

  • align with the international standards

  • reduce age bias of older players over younger players

Player Safety: US Soccer has changed how we teach heading to improve player safety. For U10 and below, there is neither practicing nor coaching of headers. If a ball is headed in a game, there will be NO stoppage of play. 


Small-sided games: US Soccer is changing U9 age and below to decrease the number of players on the field, decrease the field size, and decrease goal sizes.  The changes are summarized below and are compared with our current standards:U12 and below will reduce the number of players on the field. For example: U12 currently plays with 11 on the field, starting next year it will be reduced to 9. The number of players on each team’s roster will be reduced. Field and goal sizes will be reduced.  *see the table below for a breakdown of how the changes will affect your team
We know change is hard, but please remember these changes are being made by US Soccer to improve the soccer experience! We look forward to assisting you in adapting to the new changes, and we will 
ensure you have the proper fields, equipment, and coaches training to make a smooth transition next season.   


US Soccer made the small-sided game changes for the following reasons:

  • Fewer players on the field means more touches on the ball and increased touches translates to more individual skill. 

  • Players who are more skilled may become more confident and comfortable when in possession of the ball. 

  • The ratio of players to field size is designed to assist players with making the right kind of decisions and improving awareness. 

  • This approach builds on itself as players get older and start playing with more players on bigger fields. 

  • And as players get older, the building block approach also allows them to better integrate into a team model where they develop partnerships with the other players that make up the team. 


More information about these changes can be found on the US Soccer website.




Build out lines: for u9 and u10 age groups (7v7), US Soccer enacted a rule change called "build-out lines" to promote individual skills and facilitate game flow. 



  • The build out line is used to promote playing the ball out of the back in an unpressured setting.

  • When the goalkeper has the ball, either during play (from the opponent) or from a goal kick, the opposing team must move  behind the build out line.

  • Once the opposing team is behind the build out line, the goalkeeper can pass, throw, or roll the ball to a teamate (no punting). Punting the ball is not allowed as this would defeat the purpose of the build out line and reduces the opportunity to play out of the back in an unpressured setting.

  • After the ball is put into play by the goalkeeper, the opposing team can cross the build out line and play resumes as normal.

  • These build out lines would be painted in blue on u9/u10 fields- see the illustration below from US Soccer.

  • 729c73_12a1a22a54fa469eb88b9418d8b69b0d.jpg

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