The following pages contain what we hope is a simple explanation of the rules of the game of soccer. It contains the basic FIFA (Federation Internationale De Football Association) rules combined with the modifications that we play under.If you want an overview of the official rules, we suggest you go to http://www.fifa.com/ and review the Table of Contents of the “Laws of the Game.
Keep in mind that most youth leagues modify the rules usually to make the matches more fun (e.g, smaller fields), safer (e.g., no slide tackling), more evenly matched or to promote a better learning environment (e.g., by playing “small sided” games).
The rules here do not attempt to go into depth on each and every law of the game. Some laws are explained in greater detail than others.
As a coach of soccer, we must all remember that a lot of the rules of the game are “in the judgment of the referee” and that the referee cannot call what he does not see.
Simplified Rules of Soccer
LAW 1. THE FIELD OF PLAY.
LAW 2. THE BALL.
The ball used will be round and as follows:
|11-13 years||5||27″ – 28″|
|6-7,8-10 years||4||25″ – 26″|
|4-5 years||3||23″ – 24″|
LAW 3. THE NUMBER OF PLAYERS.
A match (game) will not be considered valid if there are fewer than the minimum number of players on either of the teams. Ejected players can not be replaced to meet the minimum.
Substitutions made be made freely and without limitations with the permission of the referee. Substitutions can be made on:
Substitutions by one team at these times does not give permission to the other team to substitute. Permission must be given to each team by the referee.
No substitutions are permitted during corner or penalty kicks. However, one of the field players may change places with the goalkeeper, provided the referee is informed before the change is made.
The referee must be informed of all goalkeeper changes, even those that occur at half-time.
A substitute may not enter the field until the player he is replacing has left the field.
A substitution is complete when the substitute enters the field, not when he is in the position of the player he is replacing.
Playing time shall be approximately one-half of the game in all divisions of play. Enforcement is the responsibility of the parents, coaches, and home club. Playing time is not a matter of protest.
LAW 4. PLAYER’S EQUIPMENT.
All players will wear a shirt, shorts, socks, shoes, and shin guards. Shin guards will be worn at all practices and at all games. Shin guards must be covered entirely by the socks.
Each player will wear a uniquely numbered shirt and will wear the same number throughout the game. Goalkeepers will wear a shirt which distinguishes him from the other players, not the same color as either team.
In cold weather, warm-ups are permitted provided the uniform shirts are worn over the warm-ups.
Players may not wear anything that is dangerous to another player. This includes watches, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, etc.
LAWS 5 & 6. REFEREES AND LINESMEN.
Referees are normally assigned to all games. They can be expected at the field 15 to 30 minutes before the game. If one does not appear 15 minutes after the scheduled time of the game, then a person mutually agreed upon by both coaches may referee the game. That person is the referee with all the authority of an “assigned” referee.
Linesmen are normally assigned to upper age level games only. The use of club linesmen, usually a parent, is optional with the referee. If a club linesman is used, he will assist only in determining balls in or out of play along the touch-line. The referees have been asked to use a linesman from each team, but if one cannot be supplied, he may choose one from the other team. The referee may remove a linesman if that person’s performance is not satisfactory to the referee.
The referee’s powers and authority begin as soon as he enters the field of play. The referee shall:
Assign linesmen duties (subject to the decision of the referee) shall be to indicate when the ball is out of play, indicate which side is entitled to a corner-kick, goal-kick, or throw-in, and indicate when a substitution is desired. The linesmen may also assist the referee in control of the game accordance with the rules.
LAW 7. Duration of the game.
Regulation time for games shall be:
|Division||Time per Half (minutes)|
Time may be added in either half for time lost due to substitutions, injuries, time-wasting, or other causes. Time is up to the discretion of the referee.
Time shall be extended to permit a penalty-kick to be taken at the end of the normal time period in either half.
Half-time intervals shall be a minimum of 5 minutes and shall not exceed 10 minutes.
If a championship/play-off game is tied at the end of regulation play, then the game shall be extended by two complete halves. The duration of these two overtime halves shall be:
|4-5, 6-7 years||5|
If, at the end of the two overtime halves, the two teams are still tied, the game will be decided by taking of penalty kicks from the penalty mark. This is what is commonly called a “shoot out”.
COACHES ARE ADVISED TO BE FAMILIAR WITH THIS PROCEDURE, ESPECIALLY THE FACT THAT ONLY PLAYERS IN THE GAME AT THE END OF OVERTIME ARE TO TAKE PART IN THE SHOOT OUT. WHEN THE FINAL OVERTIME WHISTLE BLOWS, NO PLAYERS ARE TO LEAVE OR ENTER THE FIELD.
PROCEDURE FOR SHOOT OUTS
LAW 8. The start of play.
LAW 9. Ball in and out of play.
The ball is out of play:
LAW 10. Method of scoring.
A goal is scored when the WHOLE of the ball has crossed under the crossbar, over the goal-line and between the goal-posts provided that the ball is not thrown, carried or purposely propelled by hand or arm of a player of the attacking team, except in the case of a goalkeeper who is within his own penalty-area.
The team scoring the greater number of goals will be the winner; if no goals are scored or an equal number of goals are scored, then the game will be a tie.
LAW 11. Off-side.
Off-side will be judged from the moment the ball is played NOT when the player receives the ball. A player who is level with the second last opponent or with the last two opponents is NOT in an off-side position.
LAW 12. Fouls and misconduct.
A player who intentionally commits any of the following nine offenses will be penalized by the awarding of a direct free-kick to the opposing team from where the offense took place.
If a player of the defending team intentionally commits one of the above offenses within the penalty-area, he will be penalized by a penalty-kick.
If a player commits any of the five following offenses, the opposing team will be awarded an indirect free-kick.
A player will be cautioned (yellow carded) for:
If a player is cautioned for entering or exiting the field without permission, the game will be restarted by an indirect free-kick from the place where the ball was when the referee stopped play.
If a player is cautioned for dissent, ungentlemanly conduct, or persistent fouls, the game will be restarted by an indirect free-kick for the opposing team from the place where the offense occurred.
A player will be ejected (red carded) for:
If play was stopped for giving of a red card, the game will be restarted by an indirect free-kick for the opposing team.
If a player is red carded, he will not be able to participate in the rest of the game and he may not be replace-d. Also, he will not participate in the next game.
To protect the goalkeepers, a caution will be issued for any and all fouls, intimidating actions, and obstructive movements by attacking players against the keeper.
In 7 v 7 games, all fouls will result in indirect free-kicks. For fouls committed inside the penalty area, the referee will place the ball at the nine yard penalty spot for an INDIRECT FREE-KICK ONLY. For all free-kicks, players must stay at least 6 yards from the ball.
LAW 13. Free-kick.
There are two kinds of free-kicks:
When a player is taking a free-kick inside his own penalty-area, all opposing players shall be at least ten yards from the ball and remain outside the penalty-area until the ball has been kicked out of the area. The ball will be in play when it has traveled the distance equal to its circumference and beyond the penalty-area.
When a player takes a free-kick outside his penalty-area, all opposing players will be 10 yards from the ball until it is in play unless they are standing on their own goal-line between the goal-posts.
If a player encroaches before the kick is taken, the referee will delay the kick until the players move.
The ball must be stopped when a free-kick is taken and the kicker may not play it a second time until someone else has played or touched it. If the kicker replays the ball, then an indirect free-kick by the opposing team shall be taken from where the offense occurred.
In order to distinguish between a direct and indirect free-kick, the referee will signal an indirect free-kick by holding one arm above his head until another player has touched the ball.
LAW 14. Penalty-kick.
A penalty-kick will be taken from the penalty mark. While the kick is being taken, all players, with the exception of the player taking the kick and the opposing goalkeeper, will be within the field of play but outside the penalty-area and outside of the penalty are. The opposing goalie must stand (without moving his feet) on his own goal-line, between the goal-posts, until the ball is kicked. The player kicking the ball must kick the ball forward the distance of the circumference of the ball and may not replay the ball until it has been touched or played by another player. A goal may be scored directly from a penalty-kick. A goal will not be nullified if, before going between the post and under the crossbar, the ball touches either or both of the goal-posts, or crossbar, or the goalkeeper.
For any infringement of the Law:
For the explanation of the taking of penalty-kicks to determine the winner of a game where there must be a winner, refer to Law 7 – Duration of Game.
LAW 15. Throw-in.
When the WHOLE of the ball passes over a touch-line, either on the ground or in the air, it will be thrown in from the point where it crossed the line. It will be thrown in by a player of the opposite team who touched it last. The ball can be thrown in any direction, but the thrower, at the moment the ball leaves his hands, must be facing the field and must have part of each foot either on the touch-line or on the ground outside the touch-line. The thrower must use both hands and must throw the ball from behind and over his head. The ball will be in play the instant it enters the field of play, but the thrower may not replay the ball until it touches or is played by another play. A goal may NOT be scored directly from a throw-in.
If a ball in thrown in improperly, the ball will be given to a player of the opposite team to make a throw-in.
If the thrower replays the ball before being touched or played by another player, an indirect free-kick will be taken by a player of the opposing team from the place where the infringement occurred.
A player may not be off-side from a throw-in.
LAW 16. Goal-kick.
When the WHOLE of the ball passes over the goal-line, excluding the portion between the goal-posts, either in the air or on the ground, having last been touched by a member of the attacking team, it will be a goal-kick. The goal-kick will be taken from a point within the goal-area in the half of the goal-area nearest to where it crossed the goal-line by a player of the defending team. The ball will not be in play until it goes out of the penalty-area, If the ball does not go out of the penalty-area, the kick will be retaken. The kicker will not replay the ball until it has been touched Or played by another player. A goal will NOT be scored directly from a goal-kick. players of the team not taking the kick must remain outside the penalty-area until the ball has been kicked out of the penalty-area.
If a player taking a goal-kick replays the ball after it has gone out of the penalty-area but before it is touched or played by another player, an indirect free-kick will be awarded to the opposing team to be taken from the point where the infringement occurred.
LAW 17. Corner-kick.
When the WHOLE of the ball passes over the goal-line, excluding the portion between the goal-posts, either in the air or on the ground, having last been touched by a player on the defending team, the attacking team will take a corner-kick. The whole of the ball will be placed inside the quarter circle at the nearest corner. The corner flag may not be moved and the ball will be kicked from that position. A goal MAY be scored directly from a corner-kick. players of the team not taking the corner-kick must remain 10 yards away from the ball until the kick has been taken. The kicker will not replay the ball until it has been touched or played by another player
If the kicker replays the ball before being touched or played by another player, an indirect free-kick will be awarded to the opposite team to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred.
For any other infringements, the kick will be retaken. A player cannot be off-side from a corner-kick.