Coaching U4 House League Soccer


Goals;  Fun - Enjoyment - Player Development - Lifelong Soccer Fans - Sportsmanship

For many kids in the U4 program this will be their first experience with soccer and being on a team .  In your group you will have kids who are full of energy and ready to play, while other kids can be shy, apprehensive, and even afraid to join in.  It can also be very overwhelming for some of the kids. Stepping on the field for the first time is a huge adventure and can even be a little bit frightening at this age.  

At U4 it is just important that the kids run around with a soccer ball at their feet and have the feeling that they are playing soccer.  However, it quite often does not look like soccer at all and more like herding cats. And that is fine! 


U4 Training Goals

  • Become friends with the ball.
  • Understand the very basics of soccer. Two goals; one to score on, one to defend
  • Improve dribbling and shooting at the goal
  • Improve basic tactical skills; go to the goal and try to score
  • Improve basic motor skills, movement and play
  • Have fun!


U4 Practice Themes

  • Ball Control
  • Technique, dribbling and shooting game Small sided games; 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4
  • Coordination and Movement 


Practice Set Up

  1. When you arrive at practice, immediately set up a field with two goals and have your players start to play a game right away.  Get them in soccer mode!  
  2. After about 10 minutes start with your practice session. Follow the lesson plan that has been provided as your guide.
  3. End practice with a game. Play either 3v3 or 4v4, but don’t make the games any larger. Don’t have a pile of 12 four year old kids on top of each other.  You can also set up two games of 3v3. Just make sure they play and touch the ball a lot.


Age Specific Coaching Tips

  • Change activities every 8 to 10 minutes
  • Keep your instructions to one or two points at a time. Give short clear answers to questions
  • Learn your players first name right away and use first names when you speak to them
  • When talking stoop to the players’ level. Eye contact is very important
  • Being friendly, positive, patience and routine provide a sense of security
  • Accept differences in ability
  • Introduce simple rules and ensure safety of all
  • Celebrate success; a goal scored, a good pass and so forth
  • In the beginning of the season don’t be afraid to let parents on the field and help their children a little bit.
  • Have one or two parents assist you during the sessions.


Four versus Four  / 4v4 - Better Soccer, More Fun!

Four versus Four is the ideal game format for this age group and an ideal teaching tool in practice. The 4v4 game guarantees many touches on the ball, and players constantly being faced with the three main soccer moments; attacking, defending and transition. 

The formation in 4v4 is 1-2-1 or the Diamond formation. When a team wins the ball they should quickly get into this formation, especially during a goal kick and after a goal is scored. However, at the U4 level don’t expect much regarding formation and team shape. Don’t focus even focus on that. Just tell them to spread out.  At U4 the players will be all over the place. It does not look anything like a real soccer game and that’s fine!

The only thing you have to do as a coach is keeping the game going. Don’t be afraid to bring the ball back into play yourself if it takes too long and modify the rules whenever you deem necessary. Just keep the game going!


Four vs Four Rules

1. Field Size; length between 30yards,width 20 yards. 

2. Goal size; between 6 and 8 feet wide, and 3 to 5 feet high.

3. Playing time;4x10minutes. Equal playing time.

4. Ball size 3.

5. No goalie.

6. No offside.

7. When the defending team kicks the ball over the goal line it’s a corner kick.The attacking team takes the corner kick from the corner of the field on the side from the goal where the ball went out of play.

8. When the attacking team kicks the ball over the end line it is a goal kick. The goal kick (pass or dribble) can be taken from any position on the goal line. 

9. When the ball goes over the sideline the ball will be brought back into play with a kick or dribble from the sideline. No throw in, but kick in. Enforce this rule. The sideline is an opponent too.

10.The game starts off with a kick off, but when a goal is scored the game is restarted from the goal line. The coach is allowed to restart the game with rolling a ball back into the field.

11. After a foul is made (handball, pulling, tripping) a free kick can be awarded. The players of the defending team must take 4 yards distance. The coach can roll the ball back into play.

12.No penalty kicks.

When the ball is out of bounds, the ball has to be put on the side line before restarting the game. Once the ball is on the side line, the player can either pass or dribble the ball back into play.