In an effort to provide a consistent model for player development across the country the Technical Committee of the Canadian Soccer Association has developed a list of recommended game structures based on the developmental age of players 18 years and under. These game structures take into consideration such things as the ideal number of players on a team, the duration of the game, the ball size, the size of the field and the size of the goal recommended for the specific age range.

In is believed that by establishing recommendations for the National Game Structure clubs and leagues across Canada will be able to work together in providing an effective environment for the development of young players. There have been numerous studies and experiments carried out in countries around the world that have proven the effectiveness of small sided games in improving young players both technically and tactically. In addition these studies have shown that the small sided game environment provides players with more touches of the ball and, therefore, more enjoyment. All the elements of the “big game” are there with numbers and field sizes adjusted accordingly to allow players to be more involved in the action.

The graduated approach to increasing a player’s experience has many benefits for players and coaches alike. Players get the chance to improve technical skills through getting more touches of the ball in each game they play. Having fewer players to be concerned with also helps the coach lead the players through the concepts of basic group tactics in an environment which allows a player to get his or her head around such ideas. While many coaches understand that children and youth players are not “small adults” it is fair to say that Canadian Soccer has been slow to provide a suitable game environment for our young players. With that in mind the Canadian Soccer Association is pleased to make the following recommendations that form the National Game Structure.

Age Group Game Format Squad Size Game Duration Ball Size Field Size Goal Size
U6 3v3 6 max 4×8 minutes 3 28m x 18m 8ft x 4ft
U7 – U8 4v4 8 max 4×10 minutes 3 36m x 22m 8ft x 4ft
U9 – U10 7v7 14 max 2×25 minutes 4 55m x 36m 12ft x 6.5ft
U11 – U12 8v8 16 max 2×30 minutes 4 75m x 55m 18ft x 6.5ft
U13 – U14 11v11 18 max 2×35 minutes 5 FIFA Reg 24ft x 8ft
U15 – U16 11v11 18 max 2×40 minutes 5 FIFA Reg 24ft x 8ft
U17 – U18 11v11 18 max 2×45 minutes 5 FIFA Reg 24ft x 8ft