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3rd Grade (BAYS) Program Information

The third grade spring season is the one of the most significant for the developing youth soccer player. Teams now play out of town opponents, and travel half of the season to "away" games. A real referee, 7 players a side, a big goal, and rule changes all start to bring play in line with traditional soccer. To help you with this transition, WAYS has prepared these notes to highlight the most important changes you’ll encounter.

Program Overview

  • 3rd Grade soccer games are played on Saturdays. Game schedules are established by BAYS.
  • Weekday Practice schedules:  Mondays and Thursdays 6:00-7:30 PM at Claypit

For further clarification on rules or program format, please contact your BAYS girls or boys commissioner, the referee director, or the director of coaching.


Helpful Links

7v7 Field Layout
Referee Considerations
Major Rule Changes: Restarts
Game Day Format
Coaching Considerations
Changes in the rules for 3rd graders: Intramural to BAYS (PDF) (3rd grade is intramural in fall season, and BAYS in spring)

7v7 Field Layout

At 60x40 yards, the 7v7 field is twice the linear size of the micro soccer field, or 4 times the area. This is quite an increase in space. In addition, the 7v7 goal is now twice as wide (12’) and 50% taller (6’).
Lines delineate new areas in the 7v7 field:

  • The center circle
  • The “penalty area”
  • The goal keeper’s area (just in front of the goal)

The importance of these areas is discussed in the following sections.   

Referee Considerations

  • The Zero Tolerance Rule, is in force for our travel teams playing BAYS. This rule states that coaches and parents are not allowed to communicate to the referee about the conduct of the game, during or after the game. The only two exceptions are:
    • Requesting permission to substitute players
    • Alerting the referee about an on field injury


  • Keep in mind that the referees are young and in training themselves. They will make mistakes, but the spirit of the game is to not complain and keep on playing. Referee feedback from parents should be made via  the Contact WAYS form. Coaches may use the Coach's Feedback on Referees formPlease use these avenues to ask questions on the rules, or to make constructive observations about your referee.


  • NO MORE SUBSTITUTING on the fly. Instead, the proper procedure is:
    • Identify who is going in to the game (it’s a good idea to ask your player to call out the substituted player’s name when the substitution takes place).
    • Have them line up at the midfield line
    • At an appropriate stoppage in play, call out to the referee, requesting permission to sub
    • The players may enter the field ONLY when the referee grants permission
    • Permission will be ordinarily granted when
      • The game is stopped for your throw-in
      • The game is stopped for the opposing team’s throw-in AND the opposing team substitutes
      • All goal kicks
      • Following a goal
      • Following an injury for the injured player (and only the injured player). Note that the opposing team is allowed one substitute at that time as well.
    • Permission is not granted
      • Before a free kick that was awarded for a rule infraction
      • Before corner kicks

Playing time reminder: through Grade 3, WAYS policy states that all players be afforded equal playing time.

  • Play is continuous, but the referee’s whistle stops play. When the ball is clearly out of bounds, players may recover the ball and execute a throw-in, goal kick, or corner kick without intervention from the referee. Encourage your players to continue playing until you hear the referee’s whistle.


  • When play is stopped by the referee due to an injury, ask your players to sit down on the field until the injured player is attended to.


  • Fouls will start to be more strictly enforced.
    • Some of the common ones resulting in an indirect free kick include
      • tripping,
      • handballs,
      • shoving/pushing,
      • kicking the player and not the ball,
      • tackling from behind.
    • Second chances on throw-ins (see below). Because this is a new skill to master, referees will give a second chance to the player committing a throw-in infraction, after explaining the nature of the infraction. If a second infraction occurs, then the opposing team takes possession.


Major Rule Changes: Restarts

  • NO MORE DRIBBLING on a restart. This means that another player (teammate or opposing team player) must touch the ball before the player initiating the restart may touch the ball again.
  • Throw-ins are now required for all balls that go past the sideline (aka, the touchline). A ball is out of touch when the entire ball crosses the touchline. Key points include:
    • Both feet must be on the ground when the ball is released
    • Both hands must be used, with equal force. (“Baseball-like” throws are illegal.)
    • Ball movement begins behind the head, and the release takes place just over the head.
  • Kicks awarded for rule infractions are direct or indirect depending on the infraction. An indirect kick means that the ball must touch another player (teammate or opposing team player) before a goal can be scored. In the spring, direct kicks are allowed, and serious fouls within the penalty area result in a penalty kick.
  • Game kickoff and restarts following a goal
    • All players must start in their half of the field
    • The ball is placed in the center of the field
    • The defending team is not permitted in the center circle until the ball is touched
    • Upon the referee’s whistle, the ball must be advanced into the opposing half of the field
    • The player taking the first kick may not touch the ball again until another player touches the ball
    • Tip: traditionally, two players from the attacking team stand at the middle of the field, and one player pushes the ball over the midfield so his/her teammate can control it. Point out to your players that just kicking the ball into the opponents half only gives possession back to the other team.
  • Goal keeper restarts
    • Goal kicks
      • must take place within the small box in front of the goal keeper. The ball must move past the penalty area before a player may touch it.
      • Defending players do not have to go on their half of the field on a goal kick
      • Must take place with 6 seconds of the goalkeeper securing possession within the field of play.
    • Goal keepers may roll the ball, or use a one armed delivery following a save using the hands
    • Goal keepers may not use their hands on a ball deliberately passed back to them by a teammate
  • Corner kicks are like any other restart- kicks are indirect (in the spring, corner kicks are direct).


Game Day Format

  • Coaches must present their ID cards and two copies of their roster to the official.
  • Coaches will receive one copy of the opposing teams roster from the official.
  • Official retains one copy of each team's roster for his/her records.
  • Game Start
    • Pre-game lineup. This is a mandatory safety check (proper cleats, shin-guards, no jewelry, no casts, etc.). When requested by the referee, have your players line up for this inspection. Players may be invited to ask questions about rules.
    • The referee will ask team captains to help decide which goal they defend or whether they start the game with possession.
    • Games consist of two 30 minute halves. They may be shortened if the game starts late. The referee is the official time keeper.
    • Teams switch goals after half time.
    • At the end of the game, it’s customary to cheer the players of the other team, and then shake their hands and the referee’s hand.


Coaching Considerations

Here are a few thoughts, dos and don’ts for your consideration.
Skill development is your primary consideration for the next 4 years, and the fastest way to develop skills is through repetition. Players need to touch the ball as much as possible, and be involved in many small sided games that reproduce game-like situations.
Do select fun activities that teach soccer skills
Do select activities where everyone has a ball at their feet, or shares it with one other player.
Do keep pure drills to a minimum; line drills should be avoided altogether.
Do plan your practice around a theme (e.g., dribbling, shooting, passing, control),
Do consider using coaching cards to plan your practice.
The biggest concerns of most coaches new to 7v7 soccer are formations and positions. Typical formations include K-2-1-2-1 (keeper, two defenders, one defensive midfielder, two attacking midfielders and one striker), K-3-2-1 (keeper, three defenders and two midfielders and one striker). Many formations can work--- but don’t confuse players by switching formations in the middle of the game. Remember that children’s ability to handle spatial concepts doesn’t fully mature until puberty. So,
Do not focus too much on positions at this age; players still tend to play bumblebee soccer.
Do encourage players to attack as a team and defend as a team.
Do let all players have an opportunity to play all positions, including goal.
Do start talking about the roles of defenders and attackers, but don’t give rigid rules about where they are “allowed to go”.
To really get a leg up on coaching, we highly recommend the Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association G and F license courses. These short courses are offered in neighboring towns throughout the year, and WAYS will reimburse your registration fees. Please click here for more information.