Players use an indoor soccer field that extends approximately 180 feet from one goal to another, a much smaller scale than the outdoor version. The smaller size makes it necessary for players to improvise in the limited space, requiring the use of a slightly different set of rules than traditional outdoor soccer. However, parents and coaches can teach these new rules to kids in a straightforward manner.
Teams are categorized as “U-” and then the age of the players. For example, for teams with 8-year-old players, they would be categorized as “U-8.” For U-12 teams or younger, there are generally seven players on each team, including a goalie. U-13 teams generally have six players. However, some arenas may limit the number of players to four or five for each team. Players may be traded out during the game, when a player is injured or a player is in the penalty box.
Players must wear shin guards during play. Players should not wear any kind of jewelry during play. Soft-cleated tennis shoes or standard tennis shoes may be permitted, but cleats are generally prohibited. The type of ball that players use is based on the age of the players. For example, U-8 and under teams use a size #3 ball, U-9 through U-12 use a size #4 ball and older children use a size #5 ball.
The game officially begins with a coin toss. The winner gets to choose to kick off or to defend. The second half will be the opposite of whatever the winner chooses. The referee places the ball at midfield and a player kicks it forward while the other members of his team stay on their side of the field. Opposing team members must remain 10 yards away from the ball until the kickoff is made by the other team. The initial kicker cannot kick the ball again until another player on the field has touched it.
A player scores a goal for his team when the entire ball passes over the goal line, assuming that there is no penalty. After a player scores, the opposing team goes to midfield and kicks off.
Fouls and Penalties
A player commits a foul if she holds an opponent, holds the ball, side tackles another player or prevents the goalie from releasing the ball. The referee is responsible for noticing and calling fouls. Fouls can also consist of kicking another opponent, tripping an opponent, jumping at another opponent or striking another opponent if the referee determines that these actions were committed with recklessness or with excessive force. If a player fouls, he will receive a card with a certain color. A blue card means that the player will have a two-minute penalty. A yellow card indicates that a player will have a two-minute penalty, and if he accumulates three yellow cards during the season, he will be suspended for one game. A red card means a player will have a five-minute penalty and can be ejected from the game. When a player fouls, the player who had control of the ball will receive a direct free kick. A foul that takes place inside the penalty area results in a penalty kick.