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Laws of the Game
Updated: 9/16/2008
(subject to last minute changes)



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LAW I: THE FIELD OF PLAY
  • Length of field: 180 Feet (55 Meters)
  • Width of field: 82 Feet, 8 inches (25.2 Meters)

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LAW II: THE BALL
  1. Size five soccer balls will be used for all adult games and U-14 through U-19 games.
  2. Size four soccer balls will be used for all youth games U-12 and younger.
  3. Metro City Soccer will provide all game balls.

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LAW III: NUMBER OF PLAYERS, PLAYER'S GENDER AND SUBSTITUTIONS
  1. Adult and U 14 (and older) shall have five field players and one goalkeeper. U 14 (and older) boys teams may not have girls playing. Coed and U 12 (and younger) teams shall play 6 players on the field at a time and one goalkeeper.
  2. Minimum number of players to start will be four. Teams with fewer than four players have 13 minutes from scheduled start of game to field the minimum team or such team will forfeit game. Teams with minimum players receiving a red card will forfeit. Exceptions are; Time penalties, injured players.
  3. There will be a two-minute time penalty for too many players on the field.
  4. "Men's Divisions" means only Men players can participate, "Women's Divisions" means only Women can participate. "Coed Divisions" means Both genders can participate.
  5. Unlimited substitutions allowed as follows: During play a player must be within the touch line in front of their team box area for the designated "Home" or "Visitors" side depending on which side their team is on BEFORE a substitute can enter. NO jumping into the other teams player box and NO jumping or slamming the gate.
  6. A goalkeeper may be substituted during play (following the rules above) provided that the new goalkeeper is wearing colors that distinguish them from all other players and the referee. However, if a team prefers to have a stoppage in play to allow the substitution, the referee must first be notified and at normal stoppage of play the referee will allow for play to be stopped during the substitutions at the first dead ball possible.
  7. Only player, substitutes, and no more than TWO coaches are allowed in the players boxes.
  8. All adult players including U16 boys must have a current Metro City Soccer player's pass present in order to play.
  9. All adult and youth teams may add an extra player when they are down by 6 goals. The extra player must be removed when the differential returns to 4.
  10. Teams are allowed to add new players (not to exceed 15) to their rosters at anytime excluding the last game of their session. A player of the same division may change teams up to the third game of the session.

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LAW IV: PLAYERS EQUIPMENT
  1. Shoes must be worn. All types are allowed including outdoor plastic molded cleats (no metal cleats). All shoes must be clean and free of debris.
  2. Teams MUST wear matching uniforms. Players not wearing the correct attire shall not play until the correct uniform is worn. Non-compliant teams are subject to forfeit.
  3. Unique numbers are required on all uniforms.
  4. When two team colors are the same, the home team will change colors.
  5. Goalkeepers must wear clothing that distinguishes them from all other players and the referee.
  6. Shinguards are REQUIRED and must be covered by socks.
  7. NO CASTS are permitted on the playing field at any time.
  8. Splints shall be padded a minimum of 1/8" neoprene (or equivalent). All must be approved by the referee prior to game time.
  9. All cuts or open wounds must be bandaged before entering the field of play. All players with an open wound must leave the field and may not return to the field until the wound is completely covered.
  10. All jewelry must be removed prior to the start of the game.

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LAW V: THE REFEREES
  1. One or two referees will be on the field of play.
  2. The referee(s) may reverse their decision provided play has not been restarted.
  3. The referee shall refrain from penalizing in cases where a player is satisfied that by so doing they would give an advantage to the offending team.
  4. A player either by word or action that dissents a call shall immediately receive a time penalty (blue card); A warning shall not be given in those situations where the dissent will be seen or heard by spectators; Any use of profanity directed at a referee or a player shall result in an immediate send off (red card) a blue card in this situation is not acceptable.
  5. Referees are under no obligation to explain or discuss with anyone any calls during or after the game.

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LAW VI: DURATION OF THE GAME
  1. All games shall consist of two periods of twenty-three minutes.
  2. Half time shall be two minutes in length.
  3. The clock shall be stopped for serious injuries.

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LAW VII: STARTS & RESTARTS
  1. The ball is in play when it travels half its circumference.
  2. The HOME team will get the starting kickoff. The VISITING team will get the second half kickoff.
  3. The ball is out when the whole of the ball crosses the perimeter wall (this includes any ball that strikes the protective netting). A DIRECT free kick shall be taken at the touch line by the team opposite of the player who touched the ball last.
  4. When the ball makes contact with the building structure (ceiling area), a DIRECT free kick shall be taken by the non-offending team at the middle of the yellow line closest to where the ball was played, and a two-minute administrative team penalty shall be given. This law applies to contact made with the legs/feet and not the head of a player.
  5. When play is stopped in any extraordinary circumstance and one team has a clear possession of the ball, a DIRECT free kick shall be given to that team at the point the ball was when play was halted.
  6. A player has five seconds to put the ball legally into play after it has been judged ready for play by the referee.
  7. A player leaving the halfway line after the whistle, but before the ball is in play, possession is lost and given to the other team.

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LAW VIII: METHOD OF SCORING
  1. A goal is scored when the whole of the ball crosses over the goal line and under the cross bar. Only if it has not been thrown, carried, and/or intentionally propelled by the hand or arm by a player except in the case of the goalkeeper.
  2. Goals are scored from kick offs, kick ins, corner kicks, and keeper throws.
  3. A team scoring the greater number of goals during the game shall be the winner.
  4. In the event of a tie score in a championship game, a five-minute sudden death over time period will be played. If neither team scores during this overtime, then there will be a five shot shootout which players participate from each team shooting alternatively. The ball is placed at the yellow line nearest the attacking goal. If, before each team has taken its five scoring opportunities, one has scored more goals than the other could score, even if it were to complete successfully all of its remaining shots, the shootout ceases and the winner is declared.

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LAW IX: THREE LINE VIOLATION
  1. When the ball is played across the three yellow lines in the air towards an opponent's goal without being touched by another player or without touching the perimeter wall, floor or referee, a DIRECT free kick shall be awarded to the opposing team at the first yellow line.

  2. When a team has only three field players on the field the three-line violation is waived.

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LAW X: FOULS
  1. MAJOR OFFENSES DIRECT FREE KICK AWARDS
    1. Kicks or attempts to kick an opponent.
    2. Trips or attempts to trip an opponent.
    3. Jumps or attempts to jump at an opponent.
    4. Charging an opponent in a violent or dangerous manner.
    5. Charging an opponent from behind.
    6. Strikes or attempts to strike another player, official, or spectator.
    7. Holds an opponent.
    8. Pushes an opponent.
    9. Obstructs an opponent.
    10. Charges an opponent into the perimeter wall (called "boarding").
    11. Player charges an opponent when the ball is not within playing distance.
    12. Slide tackles an opponent. Back knee sliding on the floor.
    13. Straight legged tackles.
    14. Playing the ball while sitting, laying, or being on the ground.
    15. Handling the ball. Denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity will result in a "Shootout".
    16. Verbal abuse or taunting other players.
    17. Charging the goalkeeper.
  2. MISCONDUCT
    1. A player shall be cautioned if;
      1. They persistently infringe the laws.
      2. They show by word or action dissent at any referee decision.
      3. They are guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct.
      4. They receive a second two-minute time penalty.
      5. They are guilty of a "breakaway" foul, (See XII: 7).
      6. They intentionally shoots at the opposing goalkeeper after the whistle has sounded.
      7. They fail to go directly to the penalty box.
      8. They interfere with an opponents direct entry into the penalty box.
      9. They intentionally foul to deny a scoring opportunity.
      10. Boarding (charging an opponent into the perimeter wall).
    2. A player shall be ejected if:
      1. They are guilty of violent conduct of serious foul play.
      2. They use foul or abusive language and/or gestures.
      3. They persist in misconduct or serious foul play.
      4. They receive a 3rd two-minute penalty.
      5. They leave the bench during a confrontation to engage in misconduct.
      6. They engage in misconduct after the conclusion of the game.
      7. They persistently violate Metro City Soccer policies.
    3. The referee may caution or eject a player or coach on the bench for any action listed above.

  • GOALKEEPERS
    1. Punting: (hand to foot) For all age groups of 10 years and below, the goalkeeper may put the ball into play by punting it. The rule prohibiting punting of the ball by the goalkeeper remains in effect for all other divisions.
    2. Drop Kicking (hand to floor to foot): For age groups of 12 years and below, the goalkeeper may put the ball into play by drop kicking it.
    3. Any live ball (i.e. a ball saved by the keeper) can be put into play by throwing, drop kicking or dribbling the ball.
    4. Fouls which are committed against the goalkeeper but are, in the opinion of the referee, inadvertent in nature, shall be punishable by awarding a DIRECT free kick against the offending team.
    5. Any foul committed by the Goalkeeper on an attacking player during a Shoot-out shall result in a Penalty Kick (a single kick from the top of the arch).
    6. A goalkeeper is considered in control of the ball anytime they are holding the ball or is in contact with the ball while they are on the ground within their own penalty area. A goalkeeper cannot be charged nor the ball played at this time.
    7. You may not hinder or obstruct the goalkeeper when they are releasing the ball.

  • GOALKEEPERS RESTRICTIONS
    1. Once a goalkeeper has gained possession of the ball with their hands or feet within the penalty area, the ball must be released within five seconds.
    2. After releasing the ball, they cannot handle the ball again until it has been played by an opponent or after a stoppage of play. NO bouncing the ball prior to release.
    3. At No time may a goalkeeper handle the ball that has been passed by a teammate, unless passed by the head or chest.
    4. A goalkeeper who gains possession of the ball outside the penalty area shall not be able to bring it back into the area and handle the ball until played by another player or a stoppage of play.
    5. All deliberate handballs committed by the goalkeeper outside the penalty area shall be judged to be severe in nature and a two-minute penalty shall be awarded. Situations where the goalkeeper first handles the ball legally within the penalty area but their momentum carries them outside the penalty area while handling the ball shall not be deemed "severe in nature" and a time penalty shall not be awarded.

  • TIME PENALTIES
    1. Time penalties fall into three categories:
      • Five minutes (Red card)
      • Four Minutes (Yellow card)
      • Two minutes (Blue card)
    2. A five-minute penalty is awarded at the time of an ejection. A teammate of the ejected player must serve the entire penalty, unless a goal is scored against that player's team. The ejected player will not return to the match.
    3. When a coach is ejected, they must leave the players box and may not communicate in any way with their players. Any communication while leaving the players box and continuing any abusive action will result in immediate removal and suspension from the facility.
    4. When an equal number of players from both teams are ejected in a single incident, the field strength of neither team shall be reduced.

  • TWO MINUTE TIME PENALTIES
    1. Can be assessed at the discretion of the referee for any of the following:
      1. Illegal substitution(s).
      2. Illegal equipment.
      3. Any major offenses (see X: 1).
      4. Whenever a penalty kick is awarded. MANDATORY
      5. Whenever a player is cautioned. MANDATORY
      6. Delay of the game.
      7. Unsportsmanlike conduct.
      8. Encroachment of free kicks.
      9. Referees crease violation.
      10. Bench misconduct.
      11. A foul within the Penalty arch or goal for which he receives a Time Penalty will result in a shootout.(See law XII)

      12. BREAKAWAY FOUL
        • The last (or second to last) defender shall be cautioned if they foul an attacker who is on a clear "breakaway" towards the goal (judgmental call by the referee). The offending player shall be given one; two-minute penalty and a shoot-out shall be awarded to the attacking team.

      13. RELEASE OF PLAYERS FROM THE PENALTY BOX
        1. At the expiration of their full penalty time.
        2. After a goal is scored against their team. Except when an equal number of players from both teams are serving time penalties, neither player is released from the penalty box.
        3. Only one player can come out per goal.
        4. When three or more players are in the penalty box:
          • Four players must still be on the field.
          • Time for the third player begins when the time from the first player expires.
        5. When equal numbers of players from each team are ejected in a single incident no penalties will be served.

      14. DELAYED TIME PENALTIES
        1. In instances where the referee would want to penalize a player for an infraction by means of a two minute penalty while at the same time wanting to apply the advantage clause of LAW V, the referee will acknowledge the foul and signal that the advantage is being continued by raising a blue card above their head and maintaining that signal until:
          • The offending team gains possession of the ball.
          • The referee stops play by whistling any other stoppage.
          • A goal is scored during the blue card advantage, upon which the offending players' penalty will be recorded. No time penalty will be served if the offending team scores a goal.
        2. If a game ends while the penalty is being delayed, a penalty kick will be awarded.
        3. Breakaway foul (see above).

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LAW XI: FREE KICKS
  1. The following shall apply to all restarts:
    1. The ball is in play when it travels half its circumference.
    2. The player taking the free kick cannot play the ball again until another player has touched it and cannot play the ball off a wall or referee rebound.
    3. Opposing players shall give an automatic 15 feet from the ball when a kick is taken.
    4. If opponent refuses to give the automatic 15 feet from the ball and the kick is delayed, a two-minute penalty shall be given to the opponent for unsportsmanlike conduct.
    5. A player has five seconds to put the ball legally into play after it has been judged ready for play by the referee. Failure to do so will result in a DIRECT free kick awarded to the opposing team at the point of the original kick.
    6. All free kicks are DIRECT.

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LAW XII: SHOOTOUT
  1. A shootout is awarded for the following fouls committed by a defender in his defensive half of the field: A) A foul within the Penalty arch or goal for which he receives a Time Penalty; B) A foul from behind against an attacking player, between himself and the goal; and C) Any foul where he is the last player on his team between the attacking player with the ball and the goal.
  2. Time shall be extended at the end of a period to allow the taking of a penalty kick.
  3. All players except the goalie and the kicker must be behind the yellow line until the ball is kicked into play. Note:Defensive players must be within the center circle .

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LAW XIII: KICK INS
  1. When the whole of the ball passes over the perimeter wall (or the fields' protective netting) it shall be kicked in from the point where it crosses the touch line in any direction. It will be kicked by a member of the opposite team that touched the ball last.
  2. A goal CAN be scored directly from a kick in.

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LAW XIV: GOAL THROWS
  1. When the whole ball passes over the end perimeter wall (or hits the protective netting) between the corner marks after being last touched by one player of the attacking team, it shall then be thrown directly into play by the goalkeeper of the opposing team from any point within the penalty area.
  2. A goal can be scored directly from a goal throw as long as it does NOT travel through the air over the three yellow lines. (refer to Law IX:1)

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LAW XV: CORNER KICKS
  1. When the whole of the ball passes over the end perimeter wall (or the fields protective netting) between the marks after being last touched by one player of the defending team, it shall be kicked directly into play on the corner spot nearest to where the ball went out of play. This shall be performed by a member of the opposite team.
  2. A goal CAN be scored directly from a corner kick.

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LAW XVI: SPECIAL CO-ED SOCCER RULES
  1. These leagues are meant to be recreational and Metro City Soccer will strive to keep it that way. Referees will enforce the following special rules:
    1. There must be three women on the field at all times, excluding the goalkeeper. Exception to the rule will be A) if a woman is serving a two-minute penalty or B) A team plays down one player with only two women or C) a women gets injured.
    2. On a penalty kick, kick-in, or free kick against a woman goalkeeper, a woman must take the kick.
    3. A women player may score at any location of the field with the exception of the 3 line rule.
    4. MACHO RULE: If the referee feels that a man attempts through action, to threaten or intimidate a woman, the MACHO RULE will be called. A male player may NOT kick the ball forcefully into a woman above her waist.
    5. In regard to a female goalkeeper, the MACHO RULE shall not apply.
    6. Minimum number of players to start a match is four.
    7. Minimum number of women to start a match is two. (Refer to rule A).
    8. NO more than three men will be on the field at any time,not counting the goalie. .
    9. There can be any number of women on the field at any given time with a minimum of two women. Exceptions see "A" above.
    10. "Live Play"; no male player can score until the play is "live".Only Female plays. Play becomes "live" if the ball is intentionally played by a female in her attacking half of the field (beyond the midfield line) and play remains live until the ball is "cleared" by completely crossing back over the midfield line. If the ball is not "cleared" and goes out of play, if a foul has occurred or if a three line violation is called, the play remains "live". If the ball is not "live" and an own goal is scored by the defending team, play restarts with a corner kick. If play is "live" the goal counts as one point.
    11. Goal Count; All goals shall be counted as 1 point, whether scored by a male or a female player.

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LAW XVII: TIE BREAKER RULE
  1. In the event there is a tie in a championship game there will be a shootout to determine the winner of such game:
    1. The Referee chooses the Goal at which both teams take the Shootout.
    2. Both teams have five (5) Shootout opportunities, with players from each team kicking alternately.
    3. The visiting team will be the first to shoot.
    4. All other players except the shooter and goalkeeper must stand behind the halfway line with the defending players in the center circle.
    5. The ball is placed at the shootout line nearest the attacking goal.
    6. The Goalkeeper has at least one foot on his goal line and may not move off of it until after the Referee whistles the shootout to begin.
    7. At the whistle the shootout begins, the shooter has five (5) seconds (or until the goalkeeper obtains control of the ball) to score, using any legal manner available.
    8. The Referee acts as the official time keeper.
    9. Any foul committed by the goalkeeper will result in a penalty kick.
    10. If, after both teams have taken five (5) shootouts, neither has an advantage, the shootout continues, alternating one player at a time, until both teams have taken an equal number of shootouts and one team scores when the does not.
    11. No player may take more than one shootout for every set of five (5) shootouts of his team.

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