Under 8 Coaching Suggestions

Coaching Suggestions U8 Division


1. The goals of SYSL at the U8 are to involve everyone, improve basic soccer skills and learn new ones and have FUN!
2. Children at this level are more competitive and some will have a deeper understanding of the goals and rules of soccer.
3. Be flexible, if something isn’t working try something else, children can be easily distracted.
4. Be patient, sometimes things you practice don’t seem to be working, only to come out in a game situation
5. Remind the parents that the children need shin pads, sneakers or cleats, and WATER! (snacks are also helpful)
6. Keep parents informed about practices and games.
7. If you need advice or have an issue please bring it up to a board member.


1. Instead of straight drills, design exercises as games.
2. If you haven’t already this is a good time to start practices with stretching exercises. The kids will play harder and run more.
3. When children move up to the U10 travel level players will be evaluated because players will be placed on teams by skill and play against teams from other towns at that skill level. Below are the skills we look for at the evaluation session. You should use these as guides for planning practice exercises.

Dribbling and Passing:

– Does the player dribble well with both feet (ask them to use the inside and outside of both feet

– Are passes strong and accurate.

– Does the player understand leading passes.


– Does player shoot well with both feet.

– Are shots made quickly or do they have to be set up.

– Are shots to the corners of the goals.

Practice (cont.):


– Does player play well in a group.

– Is the player willing to pass, find the open player.

– Does the player defend the ball while moving forward.

– Can the player stop an attacker and steal the ball.

– Does the player move well without the ball and understand position.

We have some references and books available that discuss coaching at this level please see Chris Harkins or Gordon Siek for more information.


1. Games are still meant to be non-competitive. All kids should be given equal playing time. This is a policy of SYSL not a suggestion.
2. Cheer good plays by both teams, ask your parents to do likewise, encourage good sportsmanship. Show all children respect and treat them in a positive way.
3. Organize the kids at the game (a blanket often helps), organize your parents to bring snacks, help referee if need be, etc.
4. If you end-up as the referee treat both teams equally, think of yourself as a gym teacher, not a coach.
5. Most Important have FUN !

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