Rules of Play
2023 – 2024 Season
All current international rules shall be in effect, except as specified otherwise in these rules.
United League – Players shall be organized in the following divisions by age. Each division shall be comprised of players who on or before August 31 of the current year are:
Under 6 Division – 4 or 5 years of age (grade K in school or pre-school)
Under 8 Division – 6 or 7 years of age (grades 1 & 2 in school)
Under 10 Division – 8 or 9 years of age (grades 3 & 4 in school)
Under 12 Division – 10 or 11 years of age (grades 5 & 6 in school)
Under 14 Division – 12 or 13 years of age (grades 7 & 8 in school)
Exceptions to placement in a particular division may be made only pursuant to RYS By-Laws.
The High School Division shall include all players in high school.
Number of games
– The number of games played in each division shall be set by vote at an RYS meeting.
– U8 plays 4v4 or 5v5; U10 & U12 play 7v7; U14 & HS play 9v9. Exceptions may be made
on a per-game basis depending on the number of players present, provided both coaches and
the referee agree.
– Teams should be present and ready to play 15 minutes prior to game start time. If, at game
time, a team is not ready to play, the referee will declare a forfeit. All forfeits shall be
reported to the respective Division Director on the same day.
– In each game, two 25 minute periods shall be played. (Two 45 minute periods for HS.)
– In play-off games (if any), if the score is tied at the end, there shall be one five minute sudden death period. If still tied, a shootout according to current FIFA rules will determine
– Off-sides shall be called in U10, U12, U14, & HS games. In all other divisions, goalhanging should be discouraged by coaches and called out by referees.
– Each player must play a minimum of half a game.
– Whenever possible, teams and coaches should be on one side of the field, and spectators on
the other side.
– In the case of an improperly executed throw-in, the error should be explained to the player
by the referee, and a second throw granted. If, on the second chance, the throw-in is still
executed improperly, the opposing team shall be awarded the throw-in.
– See “Standard Rules of Play” for other game play guidelines.
– All make-up games shall be scheduled by the coaches through the Facilities Coordinator.
– The home team coach shall suggest at least two possible dates. If none of the suggested
dates are acceptable to the opposing team, then the Facilities Coordinator will assign the
– Make-up games should be played within two weeks of the original game date.
– Standings shall not be kept in any divisions.
– Play-off games (if any), shall be held in a round-robin manner.
Travel teams shall abide by the rules of the leagues in which they participate.
– Each player (except the goal keeper) must wear a shirt or pinnie the same color as the rest of
the team, shorts, socks, cleats (non-metal only), and shin guards that are covered by the
socks. Warmer clothing may be worn underneath the uniform, so long as it does not pose a
– Goal keepers must wear a shirt that is a different color than either team’s shirts.
– No jewelry of any kind is allowed, except for properly secured medical tags.
– No casts of any kind are allowed.
– Mouth guards are strongly recommended.
– The home team shall supply the game ball and should bring two to each game (properly
inflated and in good condition). Sizes: Regulation #3 ball for U8, #4 for U10 & U12, #5 for
U14 & HS.
– A referee shall be provided by RYS for each game played in Raynham (except for U8
games, which may be officiated by a coach from each team if a referee is not assigned).
– Referees shall abide by FIFA rules.
– Referees shall be the sole authority for applying and enforcing the rules fairly and equitably.
– In the event no referee arrives, the coaches of the two teams shall appoint an acting referee
and play the game on schedule.
– Any disputes must be forwarded to the RYS Board of Directors within 48 hours of the game.
– No protests of referee decisions concerning game play will be considered.
– When a player or coach is ejected by a referee, there will be an automatic suspension from
the next game played. All such suspensions must be reported to the RYS Board, which will
review the case and take any further appropriate action.
– Any player who takes part in a fracas will be suspended one or more games, as determined
by the RYS Board.
– Any player who engages in inappropriate conduct before, during, or after a game, may be
banned from participation in RYS activities.
– In the event of thunder, lightning, or other dangerously inclement weather, it is the referee’s
responsibility to stop the game immediately and ultimately call the game off if play cannot
be resumed safely in a reasonable amount of time.
– If the referee does not call the game, and a team refuses to continue playing, it shall be
considered a forfeit.
– If the game is called off, it shall be replayed in its entirety at a later date.
– The Facilities Coordinator shall have the responsibility to assess the playability of fields and
determine when fields are unplayable.
– In the event of field closure, the Facilities Coordinator shall update the field hot-line as soon
as possible (at least one hour before playing time).
– Any conditions or circumstances not covered by these rules will be subject to the discretion
of the RYS Board of Directors.
Standard Rules of Play
This is a general summary of rules established by soccer governing authorities and leagues. It may not be entirely inclusive, is subject to interpretation by RYS and its referees, and is subject to change.
Game start – At the beginning of each game, choice of ends is decided by a coin toss, with the visiting team calling the toss. The team winning the toss selects which end to defend in the first half, and the other team gets the ball.
The game starts with each team in its own half of the field and the defending players eight yards from the ball until it is kicked forward. (U14, HS – ten yards). The first player may not touch the ball again until it touches another player. Any infringement results in a re-start.
Play starts in this manner after each goal is scored with the team that gave up the goal getting the
At half-time, teams switch ends. The team that did not kick off in the first half kicks off in the
Ball out of play – The ball is out of play when it has completely crossed the goal line or touchline, either in the air or on the ground. The ball is out of play also when the referee stops the play by blowing the whistle. Play is then restarted in the correct manner. Goal posts, crossbars,
corner flags, and referees are considered part of the field of play.
Throw-ins – When a player puts the ball out of play over the touch line, a throw-in is awarded to the team opposite of the player who last touched the ball. The thrower must step outside the field of play. Using both hands, the thrower must deliver the ball from behind and over the head
with at least part of both feet touching the ground. The thrower cannot play the ball again until another player has made contact with the ball.
Goal kicks – When the attacking team puts the ball out of play over the goal line, a goal kick is awarded to the defending team. All attacking players must leave the penalty area. The defending players do not have to leave the penalty area. The ball is placed anywhere in the goal
area and kicked by any defending player. No player may touch the ball until it has left the
penalty area. If the ball is touched too soon, the kick is retaken.
U8, U10, U12 only – The ball must touch the ground or a player before it crosses the half line. If
not, the opposing team is awarded an indirect kick at the point it crossed the half line.
Corner kicks – When the defending team puts the ball out of play over the goal line, a corner
kick is awarded to the attacking team. The ball must be placed within one yard of the corner.
The corner flag must not be removed. The defending team players must remain eight yards from
the ball (U14, HS – ten yards).
Free kicks – A free kick is awarded when the referee stops play because a player has committed
a foul. The ball is awarded to the opposing team. The players on the team that committed the
foul must remain eight yards from the ball until it is kicked (U14, HS – ten yards). The kicker
may not touch the ball again until another player has touched it. A direct free kick means that a
goal may be scored directly from the kick, while an indirect free kick means that the ball must
touch another player before a goal can be scored. Direct free kicks are awarded for tripping,
pushing, striking, kicking, holding, charging from behind, playing dangerously, spitting, and
abusive language. All others shall be indirect.
EXCEPTION: A foul in the defending penalty area by the defending team results in a penalty
Penalty kick – A penalty-kick is awarded for a foul committed by the defending team in their
own penalty area. All players except the goalkeeper and the player taking the kick must be out
of the penalty area and at least eight yards from the ball (U14 & HS – ten yards). The
goalkeeper stands on the goal line and may move back and forth along the goal line, but not
forward until the ball is struck. The ball is placed at the top of the penalty area (U14 & HS – a
mark 12 yards from the goal line). The ball is in play immediately after it has been touched.
Drop ball – A drop ball restarts all other stoppages in play. A drop ball is done by the referee
with a player from each team standing on either side. The referee directs the ball towards the
ground evenly and neither player plays the ball until it strikes the ground. If either player
touches the ball before it strikes the ground, the drop is done over.
Goal-keeper possession – If the goal-keeper has possession of the ball, players are not permitted
to kick at it. Possession means having hands in contact with the ball. The goal keeper is allowed
up to six seconds to put the ball in play from a save or a goal kick.
Other play stoppage – Play stops immediately in the event of a player injury, or at any other
time deemed necessary by the referee. Play restarts using the appropriate method.
Substitutes – May be made freely at the following points in the game: (1) Goal, (2) Half-time,
(3) Goal kicks, (4) Stoppage in play for an injury, (5) Team’s own throw-in. Substitutions are
not allowed on free kicks, penalty kicks, or corner kicks.
Fouls and misconduct – The referee generally will stop play when a foul is committed and
restart with the correct method. Fouls include, but are not limited to, dangerous play, pushing,
striking, tripping, holding, swearing, or deliberately putting a hand on the ball (except the goal
keeper in his/her own penalty area). The referee will issue penalties, warnings, and ejections, as
appropriate, depending on the severity of the foul. The referee may allow play to continue if the
result of a foul does not disadvantage the attacking team or is to the benefit of the attacking team.
Goal scored – When the ball properly and wholly crosses the goal line, between the goalposts
and under the crossbar, a goal is awarded.