Retreat Line Information U7 to U12

The Retreat Line

Why Is It Needed?

The world of soccer is evolving and Canadian youth must also evolve with the game. The modern game now evolves around maintaining possession of the ball, with controlled, precise build up play starting with the goalkeeper. Players must understand the right time to play forward and/or backwards. 
To enable youth players to play this style of soccer they must learn to play through the thirds of the field and have the ability to maintain possession throughout the whole field, while under pressure. Every player on the field must become comfortable in possession of the ball. Possession based soccer should become their default style of play .

2017 saw the introduction of the retreat line to the rules for the U7/U8's in the North Bay Youth Soccer Club. In 2018 we are happy to see the retreat line being implemented for the U7 to U10 divisions.   In 2019 we are happy to announce that the retreat line is now implemented from U7 to U12. The retreat line gives young players the chance to receive a pass from the goalkeeper without pressure and builds confidence in playing the ball along the ground for all the players in the game. We hope that by introducing this rule ALL players, including the goalkeeper, will become confident having the ball at their feet and finding teammates to pass to.

The Procedure
The retreat line will come into play when the ball has gone out for a goal kick or when the goalkeeper has the ball in his/her arms. 
All opponents must be behind the retreat line and cannot cross the retreat line until the ball:

  • Is touched by a player of the team taking the goal kick OR,
  • Leaves the field of play OR, 
  • Goes over the retreat line.

Location of the Retreat Line:

For U7 to U10 the retreat line is located on the half way line, splitting the field in two. You can either lay a line of cones across the field to mark this area for the players, use the painted white line as the marker, or place a cone at each side of the field on the halfway mark to identify the retreat line. 

For U12 the retreat line will be 1/3 the distance from the goal to the half way line.  This will be marked with paint on the U12 field.

ALL player on the opposition team should retreat behind this line when the goalkeeper has the ball in his hands OR is taking a goal kick.

Can the Goalkeeper still Punt the Ball? 

Yes the goalkeeper can still punt the ball. HOWEVER as coaches we should encourage that the goalkeeper tries to pass the ball to players and pass them balls that the player can realistically control. Sometimes punting the ball may be suitable, but often it is uncontrolled and not directed towards a player. 

More Information 
More information can be found on the PDF document attached to this page or you can visit the Ontario Soccer website which holds information about the retreat line. A Webinar is also available on the Ontario Soccer Website 

Retreat Line Information.pdf 

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