Rule 2: Game Play

Untitled Document

Rule 2: Play

Start of Game

  • Before play begins, a coin is tossed and the team that wins the toss will have the choice of which goal to attack. The second half play will begin with a kickoff by the team that did not kickoff to start the game.
  • After the referee has given a signal, the game shall be started. The ball is in play when it is kicked in any direction. If the ball is not properly touched, the ball will again be placed on the kickoff mark and the kickoff will be retaken.
  • The kicker may not touch the ball again until it has been touched by another player.
  • A dropped ball is a way of restarting the match after a temporary stoppage. Play may also be restarted with an indirect free kick if, in the opinion of the officials, one team had clear possession of the ball when the stoppage occurred.


  • The duration of the game shall be two (2) equal halves of twenty (20) minutes. Halftime shall not exceed five (5) minutes.
  • The addition of time will be at the discretion of the official.
  • Time shall be extended to permit the taking of a penalty kick awarded before the sounding of the final whistle to end each half.
  • Regular season games may end in a tie.
  • During playoffs, the following overtime procedures will be used:
    • A five (5) minute sudden-death overtime period will be played.
    • If teams are still tied at the end of overtime, the best out of five penalty kicks will win.
  • Teams will decide which player takes the penalty kicks and take turns on goal with the other team.
  • If still tied at the end of five attempts, each team will continue to select one player at a time to kick until the score is no longer tied.


  • A goal is scored when the whole ball has passed over the goal line, between the goal posts and under the crossbar, provided that no infringement of the rules has been committed previously by the team scoring the goal. If the official's whistle sounds before the ball passes fully into the goal, the goal shall not be allowed.  
    • A goal may be scored directly from a corner kick, but only against the opposing team.
    • A goal may be scored if a goalkeeper throws, punts, or dropkicks a ball into their own goal.
    • A goal cannot be scored directly from a kick-in; it must touch a member of either team before crossing the goal line to be counted as a goal.
    • Goals may be scored directly from a direct kick, but must be touched by another player on an indirect kick.
    • When females shoot, it will count as two (2) points, a male is only one (1) point, except in the case of penalty kicks or a shoot-out situation. In a penalty kick or shoot-out situation both a female and a male goal will count as one (1) point.
    • A goal cannot be scored directly from the kick-off.

Mercy Rule

  • If a team is ahead by seven or more goals with two minutes remaining in the second half, the game shall be called. If a team takes the lead by seven goals during the final two minutes of the second half, the game shall be called.

Ball In and Out of Play

  • The ball is out of play when:
    • It has completely crossed the goal line or touch line whether on the ground or in the air
    • The official sounds his/her whistle
  • The ball is in play at all other times, including when:
    • It rebounds from a goalpost or crossbar and remains in the field of play
    • It rebounds off of the official when he/she is on the field of play
  • There will be no whistle to restart play except:
    • When a team asks the official for five (5) yards
    • When play has been stopped to caution or eject a player
    • For a penalty kick o When a goal is scored
    • The ball is out of play when it touches the ceiling or net (the restart will be an indirect kick for the opponent from the spot of last touching).

Fouls and Misconduct

  • Free kicks shall be classified under two types:
    • Direct - from which a goal can be scored directly against the offending side. All direct kicks awarded in the penalty area shall merit a penalty kick
    • Indirect - from which a goal cannot be scored unless the ball has been touched by a player other than the kicker before passing into the goal.
  • Offenses for which a Direct kick shall be given are:
    • Kicking or attempting to kick an opponent Tripping or attempting to trip an opponent
    • Jumping at an opponent
    • Charging an opponent (A fair charge is one in which a player makes non-violent shoulder to-shoulder contact with an opponent, with the arms and elbows close to his/her own body, at least one foot on the ground, and the ball within playing distance
    • Striking or attempting to strike and opponent
    • Pushing an opponent
    • Holding an opponent
    • Spitting at an opponent
    • Slide tackling an opponent
    • Intentionally handling, carrying, striking, or propelling the ball with a hand or arm
    • Using foul or abusive language directed towards a player or an official
    • Handling by the goalkeeper outside the penalty area
  • Offenses for which an Indirect free kick shall be given are:
    • Playing the ball a second time before it has been touched by another player at the kickoff, kick-in, a drop kick, a free kick, or a corner kick.
    • Obstructing the progress of an opponent Playing in a dangerous manner (i.e. high kick, playing on the ground)
    • If the goalkeeper takes more than six seconds while controlling the ball with their hands before releasing it into play
    • If the goalkeeper touches the ball with their hands after receiving it directly from a kick-in taken by a teammate
    • If the goalkeeper touches the ball with their hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him/her by a teammate A player prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his/her hands A player commits any offense for which play is stopped to caution or dismiss a player
  • When a Direct or Indirect free kick is being taken, all opposing players shall be at least five (5) yards from the ball until it is kicked unless they are standing on their own goal line.
  • If a Direct or Indirect free kick is kicked directly into a team's own goal, a corner kick is awarded to the opposing team.
  • Treat all free kicks to be taken in the goal area by the defense as a goal kick
  • An Indirect kick to be taken in the goal area by the offense shall be taken from the top of the goal area line

Penalty Kick

  • Awarded for any infringement of the rules, within the penalty area, that would require a direct free kick (including kicking the ball so that it touches the ceiling).
  • A penalty kick shall 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 shall be within the field of play but outside the penalty area and at least five (5) yards from the penalty mark.
  • The opposing goalkeeper may only move laterally on his/her own goal line between the goalposts, until the ball is kicked.
  • The player taking the kick must kick the ball forward.
  • Should the ball hit the goalposts or crossbar and rebound into play, the player who kicked the ball must not play it again until it has been touched by another player. Penalty: Indirect free kick
  • The ball shall be deemed in play directly after it is kicked.

Kick-In: When the ball passes completely over a sideline, it shall be kicked in from the point where it crossed the line by a player of the team opposite to that of the player who it last touched.

  • A player shall:
    • Place the ball on the ground on or behind the sideline and proceed to take the kick following the rules of an indirect free kick. The ball shall be in play immediately after it has crossed over the line and may be played by any player except the one who executes the kick-in. Five (5) yards shall be given, the same as all free kick situations.
  • If the ball is improperly kicked into play, the restart shall be taken by a player of the opposing team.
  • If the ball fails to enter the field of play, it shall be kicked again.
  • If an opponent interferes with or in any way impedes the actions of the thrower/kicker while the kick-in is being taken, the official will administer a yellow card for unsportsmanlike conduct.
  • Goalkeepers cannot handle a ball that is kicked-in directly to them by their own team.
  • A goal cannot be scored directly from a kick-in. It must touch a member of either team before crossing the goal line to be counted as a goal.

Drop Ball 

  • Drop ball occurs:
    • When the ball is caused to go out-of-bounds by two opponents simultaneously.
    • Following a suspension of play for an injury or other situation in which no team has clear possession of the ball.
    • A foul by both teams occurring simultaneously.
  • The spot of the drop ball is where the ball becomes dead unless this is in the goal area, in which case the spot is the nearest point on the goal line in the field of play.

Goal Clearance 

  • A goal clearance shall be awarded to the defending team when the ball crosses the goal line, having last been touched by the attacking team.
  • A goal clearance shall be performed by the goalie throwing or rolling the ball outside of the penalty area.
  • Players opposing the kicker shall remain outside the penalty area until the ball moves out of the penalty area.
  • A goal clearance must clear the penalty area and enter the field of play or the goal clearance will be retaken.
  • After the goal clearance leaves the penalty area, any player except the one who executed the goal kick may play the ball.

Corner Kick 

  • When the ball is last touched by the defending team and goes over the goal line, a member of the attacking team shall take a kick from the corner of the court.
  • Players of the team opposing that of the player taking the corner kick shall not approach within five (5) yards of the ball until it is in play.
  • After the corner kick is first touched, any player except the one who executes the corner kick may play the ball.
  • Corner kicks are direct free kicks.

Slide Tackling 

  • Slide tackling shall be defined as player sliding in a way that endangers another player, i.e. sliding while trying to take the ball from another player's control or fighting for possession.
  • Slide tackling is prohibited, and any player in violation of this rule will be issued a sportsmanship infraction.
  • Depending on the severity of the slide tackle, a major or minor misconduct may be given.
  • Sliding is not a violation of the soccer rules, as long as it does not endanger any other players on the field.

NOTE: See Policy and Procedure for more information on eligibility, captain's responsibilities, participant's responsibilities, league definitions, registration information, roster information, rescheduling requests, defaults, forfeits, sportsmanship, honor code policy, protests, and post season scheduling and eligibility.