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Small-Sided USSF Guidelines

As an AYSO Gold region that abides by the US Soccer Federation Player Development Initiatives (PDI's), we stand as a leader in youth soccer throughout the country.  We believe this is what is best for the players and their soccer development.

AYSO pioneered the introduction of small-sided games to our membership in 1988! Today, global research validates the need to create age-appropriate playing and training environments aligned with the child’s physiological and developmental needs. Afterall, they are not mini-adults.  Almost every national soccer program from Brazil and Spain to England and the United States as well as the largest professional clubs, including Barcelona, Manchester United and Juventus, promote small-sided matches as the best tool to develop young players. This is formally confirmed in the recent U.S. Soccer Player Development Initiatives.

Benefits of Small-Sided Games

  • Small-sided matches encourage young players to be engaged in the game at all times. Every child has to participate in all facets of the game--they learn to attack and defend. This leads to player development.

  • They have more touches on the ball, which helps players build confidence on the ball.

  • It allows for more opportunities for goals and success and excitement for the young players.

  • The game is easier to understand - there are no positions, and the players have freedom of expression and decision making.

  • It also allows for coaches to spend more time with each player – helping them develop their individual skills. 

  • The ball is in play far more.  Active participation is related to enjoyment of the game, better fitness, increased confidence and increased player retention.

  • It's fun!

Laguna Hills AYSO is proud to continue to be at the forefront of youth soccer development by following US Soccer Federation Program Development Initiatives.


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