Rainbow Soccer Age Group Philosophy

Rainbow Soccer and the Coaches Role

Rainbow Soccer is a recreational soccer league. We do not report scores or keep standings to protect a positive soccer experience by everyone involved. Whether you are a player, coach, parent, or spectator you must uphold an atmosphere of fun and good sportsmanship. The spirit of play should be fun, fair, and safe. Injuries are a part of any physical activity and there will be some this season; however player safety is always the top priority as a participant with Rainbow Soccer.

It is helpful to ask yourself the following questions when coming up with practice ideas:

  • Are the activities fun? Will it keep their interest?
  • Are the activities organized? Objectives clear?
  • Are the players involved in the activities? Max participation of players?
  • Is creativity and decision making being used?
  • Is the space appropriate for the age group and number of players?
  • What are the implications of what I’m doing on the game? Are the objectives related to a demand they would face in a game?

Rainbow Soccer is here as a resource for coaches. If you are having trouble coming up with activities or don’t know where to start we are here to help.


  • During games it is important that each player plays at least 50% of the game regardless of skill level. For divisions with goalkeepers, never have one player play the entire game in goal.
  • Be respectful of all teams and shake hands after each game with your opponents.
  • All referees should be respected.
  • U5/U6/U7 Games are refereed by the coaches. Coaches are allowed on the field to help direct and get the ball back into play. The U5/U6/U7 age groups start games on the hour. Please use the first 5-10 minutes for a warm-up and to allow all the kids to arrive and then start your game.
  • Players & coaches are on one side of the field during games; parents are on the other side.

Trash: Every participant needs to help keep the fields clean. We have one request to each team; leave your field cleaner than you found it. There will be recycling and trash cans at each field so use them appropriately.

Rosters: All players must go through the registration process before they can be a participant. You may not allow a player who is not a Rainbow Soccer participant to play/practice with your team. It is a huge liability for our organization and yourself as the coach. If you have a player who has not been attending practices for several weeks and you have not had any luck contacting them, please let the office know so we can reach out to the player/parent.

Team Manager: Recruit one or more parents to organize things like post-game snacks or end of the year parties. They can also assist in team communications. Having a parent oversee this aspect of rec soccer will be a huge benefit to you as a coach.

Fields and Goals: DO NOT move the goals at your practices. They are moved during the week and staked down to help prevent wear and tear in the goal mouths. Players must never be allowed to climb, hang, or play on the goals. We rent the other field locations and it is important that you follow the Chapel Hill Parks and Rec field rules while using their facilities. We don’t want to lose access to those fields.

Field Monitors: A field monitor will be present at all locations. Please let them know if you are having an issue and they will communicate that with the office.

Please send a welcome email to your team. Introduce yourself and let them know a little about you such as your soccer experience, coaching experience, years with Rainbow, etc.  In your email you also need to make parents aware of the following:

  • Practice times and location
  • Players should bring their own soccer ball and water to practices and games.
  • All players should wear shin guards
  • How to check the weather hotline and website
  • Game schedule and how to look at it online

Age Specific Development Philosophy

KickStart; Rainbow Under-5, Under-6 & Under-7

General Philosophy:

  • Primary goal is individual mastery of the ball
  • Fun games should be used to teach ball skills and creativity
  • This age is unable to grasp organized soccer. Team concepts like positions are not suitable at this age.
  • There are no ‘mistakes’ at this age. Everything should be learning to be comfortable with the ball and we want them to try new things.

Training Philosophy:

  • Lenth: 45-60 minutes of activity around the ball
  • Lines should not be used at this age. EVERY PLAYER WITH A BALL!
  • Learning is done through active play with the ball. Get the kids moving.
  • Coaches should be enthusiastic at this age. Sometimes the coach must provide the energy for a practice to be successful.
  • Specific training concepts:
  • Moving with the ball
  • Lots of touches
  • Movement/Coordination
  • Work on changing speeds with ball
  • Dribbling/Turning

Game Philosophy:

  • 4 x 8 or 10 minutes quarters
  • Games are to be played 4v4 without goalies
  • No scores will be kept and everyone plays!
  • Game should be used to have fun. Strict field rules are not necessary and goal should be to get the ball back in play as quickly as possible.
  • Encourage players for trying things they’ve learned in training
  • Coaches should focus on players trying to find the ball, control it, keep it close, and deal with it appropriately

Under-8, and Under-10

General Philosophy:

  • Primary goal of this age is to introduce and develop team concepts.
  • Special care should be given to teaching correct technique and improving individual skills. We want players to be confident with the ball at their feet.
  • Possession game should be emphasized. Can the team win the ball and keep it versus just kicking the ball up the field to the other team.
  • A player struggling at this age doesn’t mean they won’t be great players at U12 or U14. Goal is to keep all players learning and enjoying the game.
  • The team that is being developed correctly will likely ‘lose’ games at this age. Parents/Coaches should focus on improvement and playing the game the right way.

Training Philosophy:

  • 60 minutes
  • Training should consist of a warm-up, dynamic activity, and small-sided game (2v2, 3v3, or 4v4)
  • Focus on speed of play with and without the ball
  • Players should work on technique to be able to pass and receive the ball correctly
  • Specific Training Concepts:
  • 1v1 – ability to break down defenders while dribbling the ball
  • 2v1 – attacking with the extra player
  • Shooting and striking the ball
  • Possession
  • Changing directions with the ball

Game Philosophy:

  • 50 minute games
  • Played 7v7 to allow for more touches by individual players
  • Goalkeepers are introduced at this age
  • Winning is not the goal. Coaches should focus on player creativity and reward the correct idea as much as execution
  • Players should be asked and give effort while playing
  • Coaches should never discourage or substitute a player for a mistake
  • Players should be encouraged to take risks
  • Don’t ‘over-coach’! Let the players figure it out. The game is more fun when there aren’t coaches and parents giving you directions constantly.
  • Problem solving: how do players respond in different situations

Under-12 and Under-15

General Philosophy:

  • Primary goal is to continue mastery of technical ability and introduce tactical components of the game
  • Being a recreation program we still want soccer to be fun for the players. Best way to accomplish this is to make sure players have a good understanding of the game and to be sound technically. Generally, something will be more fun when you are good or improving.
  • Most kids will drop out sometime around the Under-12 age. We want to do whatever we can to make the game enjoyable for these kids to keep them playing.

Training Philosophy:

  • 60 minutes
  • Training should include a warm-up, dynamic activity, and game
  • Specific Training Concepts:
  • Players should be able to beat players in 1v1 and 2v2 situations
  • Crossing and finishing
  • Ball Movement as a team and player positioning
  • Increasing speed of play
  • Maintaining possession for extended periods of time (5-10 passes)
  • Using the goalkeeper to maintain possession
  • Attacking out of the back

Game Philosophy:

60 minutes

  • Games will be played 9v9 but 11v11 concepts may be worked on in training
  • Each player should play at least 50% of the game. More playing time will be dependent on effort, training attendance, and skill.
  • Coaching focus:
  • Creativity in the attack
  • Problem solving
  • Getting involved and effort
  • Taking chances
  • Implementing specific tactical plans
  • Parents should be there as spectators and encouragers. Directions should only be dictated by the coach.