The West Hartford Youth Soccer Association has reorganized its recreational divisions to offer short-sided soccer (also called micro soccer) to promote skills development in an age appropriate environment. We gathered opinions from prominent professional coaches, researched surrounding towns, all of whom offer short-soccer in developmental leagues, and consulted the U.S. Soccer Federation and Connecticut Junior Soccer Association. They all advocate short-sided soccer, which emphasizes basic technique and skill development.
A study of young (9 and under) players by Manchester United in the U.K. showed that during a similar-duration 8 v 8 game and a 4 v 4 game, on average, the 4 v 4 based games increased the number of passes by 135%, the number of scoring attempts by 260%, the number of 1 v 1 encounters by 225% and the number of dribbling skills (tricks) demonstrated by 280%. They concluded that the 4 v 4 based games offered players a significantly higher number of touches (as defined by the number of passes, shots, goals, 1 v 1 encounters and dribbling skills) than comparable 8 v 8 games. Furthermore, 4 v 4 based games were better for developing more skillful young players.
West Hartford Youth Soccer now has the resources to phase in these changes with the goal of teaching children soccer skills in fun, age-appropriate playing environments. Children in Training, Mites and Juniors will be clustered by age groups of two years. Each division of these divisions will adopt smaller sided soccer. The Seniors Division will be unaffected.
Specific guidelines for each division are outlined below, followed by a description of each division's philosophy.
We have also instituted Spring pick-up soccer for grades 5-8 and we retained a coaching director and supervisor of referees to provide expert training for our volunteer coaches and referees.
As always, the division coordinators and our other Board of Director members welcome your comments and participation. We may be reached through our website; www.whysa.org.
About WHYSA in General
Under the leadership of Don Horner, a group of six soccer enthusiasts organized the West Hartford Boys Soccer League in 1971. Eight teams of boys of the Junior Division age level took the field for the first season. The Senior Division was added during the 1970’s.
The coed Mites Division and the Travel Division were formed in the mid-1980’s. The Training Division was organized in 1990. The Premier Program was added in 1994. In 1991 The West Hartford Boys soccer League was incorporated as ‘The West Hartford Youth Soccer Association’ to reflect its coed status.
About 1300 youths are registered and participating in WHYSA programs. Many of our players play in both the fall and spring seasons.
Beginning with the Spring 2005 Season, the West Hartford Youth Soccer Association has reorganized its recreational program to offer short-sided soccer (also called micro soccer) for the Training, Mites and Junior Divisions to promote skills development in an age appropriate environment.
To find more information about Recreation Soccer, please contact:
To find more information about Travel Soccer, please contact: