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Aurora Arsenal House League matches are to be played as scheduled for 5/11

The Aurora Arsenal Soccer Club

SMALL-SIDED FORMAT

Small-Sided Format

The Aurora Arsenal board introduced small-sided situations to our youth soccer organization in 2005.  As many of you are aware the rest of the world has been training their soccer players with this format for many years. We believe your child will continue to benefit from this format and are excited to continue with this proven training concept.   Below is a review of the small-sided format.

Training Sessions:
The weekly training sessions that our House League coaches conduct afford each player with many more opportunities to “touch the ball”. The emphasis changes from just kicking the ball (traditional setting), to controlling the ball with more individual skill.  The main emphasis, especially with the younger players, is to have fun while they learn and play.

Playing Sessions:
All small-sided games are played at the West End of the Knox fields on Saturday mornings. Matches will be 4v4 (or 3v3) depending on how many players from each team are present. By using smaller fields and fewer players, the emphasis has changed from watching the game (traditional format) to ‘getting involved’. Players have no choice but to be in the play. No longer are there 2 or 3 players from each team playing while a host of on-field and off-field player’s watch.  

Match Format:
The match make up is very simple. Each match consists of four 10-minute segments.  Each segment matches 3 or 4 players from a team against another team. There are two matches for each team running simultaneously, next to each other.  Teams “switch” fields after each 10-minute segment. This allows players to play for a longer time each week.  A coach or parent is in charge of both of their matches. It is necessary to have 2 coaches or parents’ controlling the flow of play for each team as it is impossible for one person to watch both ‘fields of play’ at the same time. If a team is assigned only one coach, a parent volunteer is needed to assist during the games. Referees are still used, but are there mainly for overall control and training purposes.

Field Arrangement:
In general, fields for U6 players are 20 yds x 30 yds.  U8 fields are slightly larger.  Fields & Matches utilize SMALL GOALS with NO goalkeepers used during the matches.  Again, the emphasis is on player development and the main objective is ball control (vs. scoring in the ‘traditional’ format). Coaches are requested to ensure players are staying in the ‘play’ of the game, and not ‘tending the goal’.

Skill Enhancement:
The ultimate goal of small-sided structured games is to improve individual skills by multiple touches on the ball.  Studies have indicated that in normal-sided youth games the player’s ratio of playing time and ball touches is not nearly adequate.  Small-sided games provide each player with more opportunities to touch the ball.

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