Player Substitution Guidelines in Case of Player Shortages

In case of player shortages, teams can proceed as follows:
1 – Preferably, each team plays with less players on the pitch according to the number of the short-handed team while the opposing team rotates players during the game or,
2 – The coach from the short-handed team can reach out to the opposing team coach or other coaches from the same age division to borrow substitute players to match the number of players from the opposing team. In this case, the coach from the opposing team must agree to the substitutions in the spirit of helping ensure that no superior competitors ( otherwise known as a “ringers” ) are brought on board to avoid inequities on the pitch.
3 – In any case, coaches should never bench their own players and substitute them with players from other teams based on ‘lack-of-performance’ concerns..

4-5 Age Division

Basically, for this age group, the key thing is to let the kids play. As you can guess, there isn’t a lot of deliberate pushing and fouling at this age! Give corners as normal, throw-ins – at this age, it is better to put the ball on the line and get the kid to do a ‘kick-in’. There will be a few parents that call for proper throws but the simple fact is that the kids can’t throw it properly and if they can, they may hurt another kid by simply throwing the ball at someone’s face. Keep them inside the pitch and DO enforce handballs and this age group is not too troublesome!

6-7 Age Division

In the 6-7’s, like the the 4-5’s, keep the game flowing as much as possible. There will be the possibly of mores fouls at this age so make sure you keep up with play. 6-7s should be doing proper throw-ins and if a kid does it wrong, stop play and get him/her to do it again correctly, DO NOT give possession to the other team. Corners apply as normal. Goal-kicks: make sure the attacking team moves back far enough so that the Goal-keeper has the chance to clear the ball. Goal-kicks should be taken on the ground, not out of the hands. If any kids are pushing or fighting, simply pull them to one side and warn them that the coach will sub them if they continue.

8-9 Age Division

At 8-9s, you can begin to enforce the rules more strictly. There is generally more shirt-pulling and pushing at this age and you CAN stop the game and make it clear that they can’t do that. Goal-kicks and corners: Same as 6-7s. For throw-ins, make sure the kids are doing this 100% correctly. Give the player a chance to get it right first and then if they continue to get it wrong, you can give a throw to the other team. For free-kicks, make sure the defending team gets back a decent distance (10yds is the official distance but the pitches are small so max. 3- 4m). The goal-keeper can kick from his/her hands if they catch the ball but goal-kicks must be taken off the ground.

10-11 Age Division

Same as above. Just be strict on pushing and shirt-pulling and also warn any kid who is using bad language or ‘trash-talking’ constantly. Parents are very much into games so you should be keeping up with play to make sure you make the correct decision on throws, corners and goal-kicks.

12-15 Age Division

Standard application of rules as above. Any fouls should be closely monitored and if a player is persistently fouling you should talk with their coach. Players ARE allowed to ‘appeal’ for a decision but if a player continues to complain after the decision has been made, then you can warn that player and again, in the absence of cards, talk with their coach. Throw-ins should be done correctly every time and if not, then the ball is given to the other team for a throw. **Goal-kicks should be taken roughly 2m from the goal line, NOT from the edge of the goalarea.

It’s a Kick!