I’m going to start up a new regular feature here at On The Pitch – a Question of the Week (QOTW). Based on whatever might be gripping the soccer world or my own feeble brain at any given moment, I’ll try to use the QOTW to stimulate some debate and commentary among soccer fans. I’ll also include a poll for those of you who want to make your opinion known but don’t feel like commenting :) But the idea here is to generate debate around a given question.

I expect many of the questions will relate to youth soccer, but not all. If you happen to find the question interesting enough to blog about, by all means trackback or if your blog doesn’t support Track/Pingbacks – post a comment with a link to your post. This way folks can easily find ALL the debate.

I’ll try to do this every Wednesday. Yes, I know I’m posting this on Thursday – it’s been a crazy week!


So without further Adu (OK that was bad)…

Should offside Be Called for U10 Small Sided Matches?

I wrote a fairly long post on this a while back, so I won’t bore you again with all my thoughts on this. Just read the original post. To summarize the pros and cons (of NOT calling offside):

Pros

  • 8/9 year olds can’t grasp the offside concept
  • Cost for 3 official crews can be expensive compared to a single official
  • Shortage of qualified referees makes staffing matches difficult
  • Field is too short
  • Added: Players that age can’t pass 20-30yds to the cherry picker.

Cons

  • 8/9 year olds can grasp basic concept (don’t go past last defender without the ball)
  • No offside encourages/allows cherry picking
  • Cherry pickers actually pull defensive players further back, reducing their ball touches
  • Younger matches are often perfect training grounds for match officials – we need to train more officials and this reduces the outlets to train them.
  • Added: Encourages longball play – team gains possession and forwards crash the box looking for a long ball to poke into the goal uncontested.

I’m sure I missed some, but those about cover it. Post a comment with any others. So what do you think? Should U10 small sided games use offside and line judges? Most states in the US don’t have offside at U10 (I believe North Carolina is the only state that still does, and only at Challenge and above officially) However I’m sure many local associations in other states still use it – the only way to track it is in the state cup/tournament rules.

So what do you think? Are we being practical not teaching these kids offside? Or is it something the kids CAN grasp and should be taught, even if in a limited form?

Should Offsides Be Enforced for U10 Small Sided Matches?


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