How many Youth Soccer Team Players Play in a game At One time
(Updated For 2024)

Here is the list of how many youth soccer team players play during a game for each age group. You'll also learn how many total players your team should carry on a soccer team including substitutes.

Here is a simple table, or if you're more visual, you can look at the infographic below. Please feel to share it.

  • For under 5 year olds, games can be played with 3 players on each team, designated simple as 3 v 3.
  • For U8 (under 8 year olds) team size is 4 per side.
  • For U10 players the teams have 7 players on each side of the ball.
  • For U12 soccer matches, the recommended size of the teams is 9 players.
  • For U16 and older, the teams go to full-sized 11 v 11 soccer games.


U5 3 v 3
U8 4 v 4
U10 7 v 7
U12 9 v 9
U16 11 v 11

Most leagues use small, portable soccer goals (see the post on what size soccer goals to use by age). Typically they usually don't use goalies until the U10 age level. Other towns prefer that the kids get some initial opportunities to play goalie and will include them in games.

The graphic below shows the number of players that play at one time on each team.

Infographic how many kids teamUS Youth Soccer Team Size Guidelines

how many total players on youth soccer team?

With recreational sports like youth soccer, the best thing to do is to give near equal playing time to each kid that's a member of the team. It's also advised that kids get a variety of experiences with playing the different positions on the soccer field.

It's beneficial for each child to learn during the game, and have successes and make mistakes as part of that process. Players typically get fewer touches on the ball during the games than they do at practice, so we want to maximize the playing time for all the players on the soccer team as best as we can.

What's The Ideal Team Size For Youth Soccer

The ideal size for a youth soccer team size should be big enough to give you a few players to substitute into the match within a rotation, and also gives a chance for players to get enough rest time between playing periods. Having too many extra players can create shortage of playing time and boredom for the young players that are sitting on the bench.

Make youth soccer fun graphicYouth Soccer's #1 Goal

The best team size (kids on the field and on the bench together) for all youth soccer teams should be enough to give you a few players to substitute in within a rotation, and also facilitate a chance for players to get adequate rest. Too many extra players can create lack of playing time and boredom for the kids sitting on the bench.

  • For children age 6 and younger, there is a total of six players are on the field during a soccer game. Each team has three players on the field and no goalie. Having a total of 5 players on each team is ideal.
  • U8 boys and girls will play 5 v 5. The ideal team size is 7 or 8 players, up to a maximum of 10.
  • U9 and U10 teams play 7 v 7, team size is ideally 10 to 12, with a maximum of 14.
  • U11 plays 9 v 9, team size is ideally 12-13, up to 15. 
  • U16 and older play 11 v 11. Ideally 15 is a good size of for the total number of players and 18 is a good maximum.

chart how many soccer team rosterYouth Soccer Team Size Chart

final comments on youth soccer team sizes

Sometimes it can be challenging to get the right number of players on a youth soccer team. How the teams are divided up depends on the total number of kids who are signed up in each age group. My most challenging youth soccer team season to coach was a Spring season where I had 18 players on my roster for 11 v 11 games.

The main goal was for the kids to have fun and having 7 young boys on the bench was not a desirable situation to be in. Secondly, I've always tried to give equal playing time to all players. Substituting 7 players at once created confusion and near bedlam on the field. We did the best we could and ended up substitution in groups of 3 or 4 at a time.

Despite the challenges of managing an overcrowded soccer team the kids had a blast and that's what matters most! You team may also benefit by inspiration from hearing a few soccer team quotes.

I hope you found this article helpful.

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Soccer coach Bruce Lovelace started playing soccer in 1974 when, as a young boy, he constructed his own makeshift soccer goal. He played in high school, then in college and beyond. He started to coach his own children in the 1990s and then ran a Soccer Shots franchise for 12 years. Now, Coach Bruce publishes the website.  Find out more about youth soccer coach Bruce Lovelace  and what inspires this website.

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