Long time readers know that we’ve covered the elimination of offside for U10 Soccer in North Carolina in depth:

So now that the Fall season is over – how did it work?

I’ve personally heard many more negative comments than positive. I found it telling that a tournament sponsored by an association that supported no U10 offside, switched back to calling offside at the tournament within hours­. One of my peers who attended the recent United Cup in Charlotte said cherry picking was rampant, with players often stationed directly between the penalty area and mid-field – they weren’t even subtle about it. It is clearly a controversial topic. Discussions about it reached well over a hundred posts on multiple discussion threads on our local soccer boards.

My daughter played U10, but we found most teams played as if it was enforced, likely due to most of the players coming from leagues that had enforced it in Rec at U8 or U9 or coaches who felt it should be enforced. But as the season went on, you saw the players pushing closer to cherry picking, even if coaches weren’t encouraging it. The girls figured it out. A number of Rec programs, not subject to the Challenge ruling, continued to enforce offside. Our Rec league did and it was fine. The kids understood it just fine (and I swear my U11 Challenge Girls got called offside more than my Rec teams, primarily because they pushed the invisible line more often trying to break away).

Well, after one season, a proposal has already been made to repeal the U10 Offside Ban.

I personally never saw the field ‘spread out’ in U10 matches where offside was ignored. This often came down to differences on the subject of the coaches in a given match. If one team cherry picked, you often had another coach that refused to mark the cherry picker and tried to utilize the one player advantage on the attack. Other times both coaches seemed to encourage their teams to play as if offside was still in effect, meaning defenders pushed to mid-field on the attack anyway. This was a key point that swayed many voters last time – that we made passing more difficult because we often played with 10 players crammed into a 25yd x 35yd space. The hope was the threat of cherry picking would keep defenders closer to their goal. But that didn’t happen from what I saw. Besides, planting your defenders on the 18 is just asking for a team to take long ball shots against a young keeper. So teams push their defense up more often than not, keeping things compressed.

So what are the chances this will pass? I’m not sure. Some bigger clubs have pulled out of U10 Challenge in favor of U10 Academy, but will still have votes because they have older Challenge teams. I expect many will strongly encourage those clubs not to vote since they don’t participate at U10. I doubt they will abstain, but who knows. If enough smaller clubs attend the council meeting, I see a good chance that it’ll get repealed. Many smaller clubs disliked this rule and felt the small number of bigger clubs got their way due to weighted votes. But they have to attend or submit proxies to do it.

I’ll keep everyone posted. I may also actively try to collect proxies to bring on December 1st. If you have a vote, can’t make the meeting, and would like to see U10 Offside reinstated for Challenge, fill out a proxy and get it to me and the NCYSA.