What I suggest – 7v7 to u12s

Jan 30, 11 What I suggest – 7v7 to u12s

4v4s to u7s, 5v5s to u8s & 7v7s from u9s until u12s. 11v11 at u13s on smaller pitches, with smaller goals and full size 11v11 at u14s. 

How would it work

  • 7v7 Modified rules
  • None competitive leagues
  • Every player must play at least half the game


  • No goal-kick outs from hands (all play from U10s)
  • Must throw/roll ball into feet or else play a pass into feet.
  • First pass is free (remove at u12s)

Goal Kicks

  • Opponent must be 6 yards away from player receiving the goal kick
  • First pass is free
  • Must be taken from the ground
  • Encourage GK to pass to nearest teammate at all times

Throw Ins (kick ins)

  • From the ground (Change to hands from 11s)
  • First pass is free (remove at 11s)
  • Play can start with a pass or like field hockey just take yourself.

Pitch Size

  • Pitches to be roped off with Parent area
  • Must be fully lined (no cones)
  • Penalty Box & Penalty spot
  • Side lines
  • End line
  • Half way line
  • Centre circle

Goal Posts

  • In good working order
  • Safe
  • Secure to the ground
  • Game appropriate
  • Age appropriate

For the 7v7 game goals should be the same as in Spain and Portugal – 6×4′


  • Introduce rugby style clapping off the pitch after game.
  • Kids must learn discipline at a younger age and to respect elders i.e referrer
  • Introduce zero tolerance
  • Sin bin or cool off period with 1 chance (No sending offs, no number advantage)


  • Should shake hands after game.
  • Encourage, no screaming at/or abusing players.
  • Shake referrers hand before and after every game.
  • Zero Tolerance for abusive coaches
  • If you have more than 10 0r 12 players, prior to kick off, then so what. All kids should be able to play regardless if you have a few Extra.
  • Referee to step in if coaches are being too aggressive to players.


  • Parents requested to stand to the side and not behind coaches
  • In a designated roped off area
  • Parents should not be coaching from the sides, in fact should be encouraged to say nothing at all just be a spectator. They are their to support not ridicule.
  • If a parent is seen to be abusing any match official he/she is expelled from the venue – Zero Tolernace (Game does not start until spectator is removed)
  • If a parent is taunting apposing fans he/she is expelled from the venue – Zero Tolernace
  • Referee have the right to call the Garda if threatened.

Introduce the 11v11 from u13s

  • If county does not have sufficient teams or players to play 11v11 they continue with 7v7 , 8v8 or 9v9 until a later age.
  • Full association football rules.
  • Smaller 11v11 pitches and goals.
  • Move to full size 11v11 pitches and goals at u14s.

Pitch Size

  • Must be fully lined (no cones)
  • Penalty Box
  • Penalty spot
  • Side lines
  • End line
  • Half way line
  • Centre circle

Goal Posts

  • In good working order
  • Safe
  • Secure to the ground
  • Proper size

Code of Conduct

Same RULES apply as the small sided games

“players join football teams because they want to play the game not sit and watch”

We need change so badly, its killing spirit of the game…

The reality is that our kids are far less superior to our Iberian neighbours and why? Well the game in Europe is age appropriate and the focus is to develop the kids technically, allowing more touches of the ball and encouraging them to express themselves by taking risks and being spontaneous. Dribbling is taught at a very earlier age and encouraged by all.

In Ireland

Our focus is results, leagues, cups, top goal scorer, getting the ball forward and playing bigger kids over the smaller more technical and why, well to win of course!

This year 3 FCBarcelona coaches, 1 Sporting Club de Portugal Coach, 1 Sporting Braga Coach and Horst Wein all had the opportunity to watch Irish kids of various ages and abilities and they all expressed the same concerns. Irish kids were not intelligent (Game intelligence) and technically very poor.

Let me know your thoughts and the changes you would make.

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