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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
I hope you found this article helpful.
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