The Nashua Youth Soccer League (NYSL) is a recreational, non-profit, volunteer organization that teaches basic soccer skills to children between the ages of 5 and 19 years old. It has been serving the Nashua area 40 years!
Some of the players that are playing as a 7 year old have had two years of soccer experience and thus have already touched the ball a few thousand times in their lives. They may have an older sibling they’ve been keeping up with, or friends in their backyard. This does not mean that these players are ready for the mental demands of tactical team soccer. However, at this age level, we can begin to insert tactical exercises and rules into the curriculum. The majority emphasis still needs to be placed on the individual's ability to control the ball with his/her body. In general, this age range is playing to have fun, although some of them will be extremely motivated and work outside of the practices. Many players may be new to the sport, while others on the same team may have been playing for years. This makes the transition here difficult and it is imperative that activities are geared towards individual success and participation. Following are some more items that a coach of U-8 players should consider.
NYSL plays 4v4 soccer in keeping with the US Soccer Recommendations. This gives them more time with the ball, which translates into more individual successes. At NYSL, we build success through success. Soccer is played in Play - Practice - Play ie, Game, Skills\Drills, Game.
Because of rapid growth spurts during this age, players will go through times when they seem to have lost control of their body. What they could easily do 2 weeks ago now seems unattainable. Be patient.