7v7 Nuances

Many players join the SFYS house leagues having played Microsoccer in San Francisco. The Microsoccer program is a fun introduction to playing soccer, and the rules and gameplay reflect that. This means that there are some nuances to the 7v7 game that need to be understood and addressed as you embark on a 7v7 season with your players. If your players have never played before, then these are still key nuances that need to be learned.

Change is the only constant.

US Soccer, 2017
  • The field has grown 400%, from a typical 4v4 size of 20×30.
  • ‘Big goals’ and goalkeepers.
  • 3 more players including the new goalkeepers.
  • A ‘build out’ line.
  • There is a referee.
  • The game has two halves of 20-minutes, for a 40-minute long game experience.


If you are joining the SFYS leagues from SF Microsoccer, or from an outside program, you likely played without goalkeepers. 

The 7v7 game brings in bigger goals, a goalkeeper, and goal box.

Players will need to become familiar with playing in the position and what it adds to the game. Now you need to deal with goal kicks and how to get the ball back in play.

A ‘build out line’

Fortunately, there is a ‘build out line’ to help with your goalkeeper and your team to get the ball back in play. When your goalkeeper has the ball, either for a goal kick or in their hands, the opponent must all move back behind the line (the blue one in the image above). Your team may move anywhere to receive the ball, but your goalkeeper cannot kick or throw the ball over the blue line. 

So, the opponent moves back, giving you space to have the ball. Once the ball is in play from the goalkeeper (they have passed it) then the opponent can cross the line again.


The purpose is to help give your players some space to play forwards, without the need to boot the ball away because of the opponents pressure.

Note. On some SF fields, notably turf fields, a line is not marked so coaches need to identify this ‘line’ with cones on the sideline.

‘Set pieces’

Set pieces also include throw-ins, freekicks, penalties, and corners. Goal kicks are supported with the build-out line rule, but everything else is within the flow of the game.

There is ‘offside’

An attacker between the goalkeeper and the last defender is offside. This rule is ‘enforced’ using the SFYS ‘STAR’ referee’s.

There are 3 more players on the field from microsoccer (4v4)

More players on the field will inevitably lead to more chaos, but requires more management. All of which offers opportunity. It can often look like 12 players swarming the ball, with the goalkeepers watching. However, within the 7v7 curriculum, you will find links to the formation and a game model to help you and your team navigate a 7v7 game. 

This page is also in G-Doc format, here.

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