WINDHAM YOUTH SOCCER ASSOCIATION
RECREATIONAL PROGRAM RULES
UPDATED SPRING 2006
No jewelry---earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets, etc. Except that religious or medical items that are not determined to be dangerous to the player or other players are ok if taped to the body.
Shin guards on every player FULLY COVERED BY SOCKS.
Cleats are not required. If wearing cleats, no metal or composite studs are allowed. Sneakers or other footwear are ok as long as referee feels they're safe.
No hats except for goalkeeper unless very, very cold. Gloves ok for all.
Mouth guards are recommended but not required.
All players (except the keeper) must wear the same color shirt or jersey. The keeper must wear a different color to make it clear they are the keeper. Note---all 2 nd /3 rd grade, 4 th /5 th grade, and 6 th /7 th /8 th /9 th grade teams must play with a keeper at all times (designated ball handler). Peewee and K-1 st grade divisions do not play with goalkeepers.
Ball size- Size 3 – Peewee, K/1 st grade Division
2. Players and Substitutions
Every player will play at least ½ of the game . Equal playing time is a fundamental rule in our recreational leagues. Additionally, the goalkeeper position should be rotated amongst the team to give all players an opportunity to learn this position.
Either team may make substitutes after a goal has been scored. Substitutes by either team may be made anytime the ball is out of play (throw-ins, goal-kicks, corner kicks, or injury.) Substitutes will enter the field at the MID-FIELD line and must be at MID-FIELD when the ball goes out of play . The referee will summons the player(s) onto the field.
3. Ball in and Out of Play; Goal Scoring
The ball is out of play when it COMPLETELY crosses the touch (side) or goal (end) lines on the ground or in the air. The ball is out of play when the referee has suspended play for any reason.
The ball is in play when it moves and is touched by another player. It does not have to go a full rotation. On a throw-in, the ball is in play once it is on the pitch (playing field) and has touched a player. See “in play” rules for other types of kicks.
A goal is scored when it COMPLETELY crosses the goal lines between the goal posts and under the crossbar on the ground or in the air.
4. No Hands, please
Most people who know nothing about soccer still know that you aren't supposed to use your hands unless you're the goalie.
First, the rule for a handball includes using any part of the body from the tips of the fingers to the shoulder.
Second, the proper way to look at this soccer rule is that a player cannot “handle” the ball. A ball that is kicked and hits a player's hand or arm is not a handball. This means that the referee must use his or her own judgment to some extent in determining whether or not a handball is accidental contact or a purposeful attempt to gain an advantage.
There is also a situation in which the goalie cannot use his/her hands. This is sometimes called the back-pass rule. Goalkeepers cannot pick up a pass that came directly from one of their teammates. In this case, the goalkeeper must use his feet. Infraction of this soccer rule will result in an indirect kick from the point of the infraction.
A throw-in is taken when the ball crosses a touchline (sideline) and leaves the field. The two basic soccer rules for a proper throw-in are to have both feet on the ground and to throw the ball with both hands over the head. A goal cannot be scored directly from a throw-in (without touching a player).
6. Corner Kicks & Goal Kicks
A corner kick or goal kick is taken when the ball leaves the field across the end line – you know, the end of the field.
If the offensive (attacking) team kicks it out, play is restarted with a goal kick. If the defensive team kicks it out, play is restarted with a corner kick.
The goal kick is taken from anywhere inside the “goalie box” as it is affectionately called. Any player, not just the goalkeeper, can take it. A team may not score on itself directly from a goal kick (without touching a player).
The corner kick is taken from – yes, you guessed it – the corner nearest to where the ball left the field. A team can score directly from a corner kick (without touching a player).
You may be confused at times in youth soccer games to see a goal kick retaken. This is because the FIFA soccer rules state that the ball is not back “in play” until it leaves the penalty area, the large box outside of the “goalie box”. No one can touch the ball until it leaves the penalty area, and if the ball is not kicked properly to leave the area, the kick must be retaken.
The common rule of thumb on fouls is “If it looks like a foul, it probably is”.
A player cannot kick, trip, jump at, charge, strike, push, hold, spit, or swear at an opponent. Soccer can be a physical, contact sport when two opposing players both want the soccer ball and no parent likes it when little Johnny/Mary loses the ball and ends up on the ground!
“Foul!” cries the parent. “Little Johnny/Mary was pushed!”
What you need to know as a parent is that bumping or going shoulder-to-shoulder while competing for a ball is not a foul until the hands or elbows come up. This is a bit of a judgment call and not all referees will call it the same way. Some soccer rules are actually not black-and-white.
SLIDE TACKLING IS NOT ALLOWED in Windham Rec. Soccer.
Remember though, the referee is ALWAYS right .
8. The Advantage Clause
A clause in the law that directs the referee to refrain from stopping play for a foul if a stoppage would benefit the team that committed the violation. In the game of soccer, there are times when a foul is definitely committed but it is in the best interest of the team that got fouled for the referee to allow play to continue. This is called advantage. The referee will usually give a signal of an outstretched arm with his/her hand up and yell “play” or “play on” to acknowledge seeing the foul but applying the advantage clause.
For example, the attacking team is at midfield and a player on the opposing team illegally handles the ball. But it goes back to an attacking player who kicks the ball up the field to a teammate who scores. To blow the whistle and stop play would actually hurt the attacking team by allowing the opposing team to set up their defense.
9. Direct and Indirect Free Kicks
The simple difference between the two is this: On a direct kick you can score by kicking the ball directly into the goal. On an indirect kick you cannot score. Another player must touch an indirect kick before it can go into the goal – that is the kicker and a second person. On all kicks, the defending team must stay a minimum of 6 yards from the ball.
As a parent on the sideline, you can tell whether the kick is direct or indirect by looking at the referee. For an indirect kick, the referee will hold one arm straight up in the air until the second person touches the ball. No arm up, it's a direct kick.
There are many soccer rules around what causes a direct or indirect kick.
In general, a direct kick comes from a contact foul (for example--kick, trip, jump at, charge, strike, push, hold) or handball. Everything else is indirect (for example—offside, dangerous play). Any infractions from within the goal area (“goalie box”) will be taken on the line of the goal area closest to where the infraction took place (not inside the box).
Note—In Windham Rec. soccer, all infractions result in indirect kicks for pre-k, K-1, 2-3, and 4-5 teams (no direct or penalty kicks).
10. Penalty Kick
A penalty kick results from a contact foul or handball by the defending team within the penalty area – the large box on either end of the field. So it's a type of direct kick also. In Windham rec. soccer, this is only applicable for the 6 th /7 th /8 th /9 th Coed Divisions.
The ball is placed on the penalty spot, 12 yards in front of the center of the goal.
All players must remain outside the penalty area and the penalty arc until the ball is kicked. The goalkeeper must have both feet on the goal line until the ball is kicked.
If after the ball is kicked, it rebounds off of the goal or the keeper and stays on the field, the ball is “live” and is in play. The only condition is that the kicker cannot be the first to play it again if it goes off the post or crossbar.
11. Two-touch Rule
A player cannot touch the ball twice in a row when putting the ball in play. You will see this called many times in youth soccer. It applies everywhere. You will see it frequently on kick-offs or direct and indirect kicks. If a kid barely hits the ball and decides to take another swipe at it, that is a two-touch.
This also applies to throw-ins. A kid cannot throw the ball in and then kick it. Nope. No way. No can do .
12. Goalkeeper and Goal Kicks
The goalkeeper can only handle the ball within his/her own penalty area so long as a player on his/her team has not kicked it directly to him/her. The keeper must release the ball within 6 seconds after picking up or catching the ball.
In Windham Rec. soccer, for the 2 nd /3 nd grade division the defensive team must retreat to their half of the field on a goal kick. Peewee and K-1 st grade divisions do not have goalkeepers so this does not apply.
13. Yellow and Red Cards
Cards are not used in Windham rec. soccer. Serious foul play will bench the player for the rest of the game. A player benched for serious foul play may be substituted.
We decided to leave the best for last. This is without a doubt the least understood rule by parents and coaches alike.
There is no offside rules for 5th grade and below in Windham rec. soccer-only the coed division. You may be off the hook for now. However, if you are a coach you still need to know this rule so you can begin teaching your players not to be offside.
The first thing to know is that you cannot be offside on a corner kick, goal kick, or throw-in - don't ask why. Just accept it for now and go on. The explanation is too long.
Also, it is not an offense for a player to simply be in an offside position. The player must be involved in or affecting active play as determined by the referee to be called offside.
Definition: A player is in an offside position when the ball is kicked if: he is nearer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second-to-last opponent and is deemed by the referee to be involved in or affecting the play.
Clear yet? Try this. An offensive or attacking player can't be ahead of the ball and involved in the play unless there is a defender between him and the goalkeeper. Or, you can't hang out at the other team's goal waiting for the ball.
A few other buts: you can't be offside if you are standing on your half of the field. Also, the offside rule applies when the ball is kicked, not when the player receives the ball.
To be honest with you, this can be a hard rule to understand. Don't get too hung up on it. Trust the referees, as they're always right . Download a copy of the referee and coach's guide from the WYSA website ( http://www.windhamyouthsoccer.com ) or get the handbook(s) from the Soccer Maine website (http://www.soccermaine.com).
If you really want to learn the offside rule, either attend a referee clinic or buy a video on soccer rules. The video will show you several examples of real situations and will logically detail why they were either offside or not offside. It would be a great idea for your local league to purchase one and show parts of it at a coaches' meeting or clinic. The more people that understand soccer rules the better.
A copy of the SoccerMaine zero-tolerance policy can be found both on the SoccerMaine website and the Windham Youth Soccer Website.