Youth Soccer Dasher Board League Rules

Rules of Play for Boarded Fields

Laws of the Game

Our rules of play for indoor soccer are based on FIFA’s Laws of the Game, which apply except where otherwise stated in the Rules of Play.

References to Laws (i.e., Law 15) refer to the corresponding item in the Laws of the Game. References to Rules (i.e., Rule 15) refer to the corresponding item in the Erie Admirals Rules of Play.

Certain relevant sections of the Laws, as well as the United States Soccer Federation’s Advice To Referees on the Laws of the Game, have been cited herein for clarification or instructional purposes. The remaining text of the Laws has been omitted for the sake of brevity.

Additional information on the Laws of the Game and U.S. referee procedures are available at http://www.ussoccer.com

Note

Wherever an asterisk (*) is seen, this represents the following qualification:

“Unless covered by the special circumstances mentioned in Rule 8 – The Start and Restart of Play.”

1 – The Field of Play

The field of play is marked with lines, which belong to the areas of which they are
boundaries. See the diagram below for placements of field markings and objects.

2 – The Ball

The home team must provide one (1) match ball of appropriate quality, material, size,
and pressure for the given competition.

The choice of ball and any adjustment to its pressure is subject to the discretion of the
referee.

The suggested ball sizes by age group are:

  • 3-4 grade size 4
  • 5-6 grade and above over size 5

3 – The Number of Players

A match may not begin or continue if either team consists of fewer than the minimum
number of players.

A team will be penalized for allowing more than the maximum number of players on the
field at one time.

The minimum and maximum number of players by age group are:

  • 5-6 grade and below 7v7 (6 + keeper),
  • 7-8 grade and above 6v6 (5 + keeper)

“Mercy” Rule

A team losing by 5 or more goals is permitted to field one (1) additional player for every
5-goal increment in score by which the opponent leads. (Maximum of two (2) additional
players)

New Rule as of 12/05/16: For all youth and adult games, results of games cannot exceed
five (5) goals. For example, a score of 10-0 would be recorded as 5-0. A score of 10-3
would be recorded as 8-3.

Unlimited Substitution

There is no limit to the number of times a player may enter and exit the match.
Substitutions may be made at any time, except:

  • when play has been stopped by the referee to sanction misconduct
  • at the taking of a penalty kick
  • at any other time when so instructed by the referee

Substitution Procedure

To replace a player with a substitute, the following conditions must be observed:

The substitute enters the field of play:

  • only after the player being replaced has left the field
  • from within his own bench area
  • through the doors, and not by leaping over the dasher boards
  • All substitutes are subject to the authority and jurisdiction of the referee, whether called
    upon to play or not.

Use of Doors During Substitutions

The doors may be opened only at times when doing so does not endanger players or
interfere with active play.

If any likelihood exists of active play moving toward the general area of the door, players
and team personnel must refrain from opening it.

Jumping over the boards is not permitted.

Changing Goalkeepers

To change goalkeepers, the following conditions must be observed:

Substituting the goalkeeper may be done “on the fly” just as any other player enters the
field of play. Players do not have to notify the official of a goalie change.

Infringements

A direct free kick from the point where the ball is located when play is stopped is awarded
when a team is guilty of allowing more than the maximum number of players onto the
field, or for any other violations of Law 3.

Interference in play caused by incorrect use of the doors may be punished as dangerous
play at the spot of the interference.

4 – The Players’ Equipment

Safety

We strongly recommend that players do not use equipment or wear anything that is
dangerous to himself or another player, including any kind of jewelry, with the
exception of medical alert tags.

Any type of hard or plaster cast, or rigid medical implement such as a metal knee
brace, must be brought to the attention of the referee before the match begins and
be approved before the player can participate.

Metal braces, such as those worn on the knee, must be covered with a purposemanufactured
sleeve or other material that offers adequate protection against cuts or
other injuries that may occur due to contact with it.

No headwear, caps, or metal clips or other dangerous hair-control implements may
be worn unless medically required and approved in advance by league management.
Players with open wounds or visible blood on their body or uniform will not be permitted
to participate until the wound is properly covered and the uniform changed to the
satisfaction of the referee.

Basic Equipment

The basic compulsory equipment of a player is:

  • Shirt of a color that matches their teammmates shirt of alternate color to be worn in case of color conflicts with opponent shorts
  • stockings
  • shinguards (must provide a reasonable degree of protection)
  • shoes (flat soled or turf shoes…NO cleats or turf shoes with long studs)

4.1 – Shirt

Color

The shirt’s color must match that of all his teammates, except for that of the goalkeeper.
The goalkeeper must wear colors that distinguish him from the other players and the
referee.

Numbers

Shirts must be of a single, solid color contrasting that of the opponents
Numbered shirts are NOT required

Team Managers or Coaches are responsible for providing the game official the first and
last name of any teammate that receives a blue, yellow or red card at the end of matches.
Failure to provide accurate information will result in forfeiture and/or suspension from
league play.

In the event that a team manager is not present, each team must provide a team
representative prior to the match.

In case of color conflicts between opponents, and before the match begins, home team should change so that their color does not conflict with visiting team. If home team failed to bring their alternate jersey, colored bibs may be used (if available).

4.2 – Alternate-Color Shirt

If, in the opinion of the referee, the teams’ shirt colors do not adequately distinguish from
each other, the team managers from each team must mutually agree which team will
change to a shirt of contrasting color.

If the kick-off must be delayed because both the home and away team lack adequate
alternate shirts, the clock will be started at the scheduled time and any playing time lost
cannot be compensated.

Failure to change to an alternate color, and be ready to begin play, within 15 minutes of
the scheduled kick-off time may result in forfeiture of the match.
The League is not responsible for providing alternate shirts. Do not depend on FFSP, the league, or the Erie Admirals to provide such equipment.

4.3 – Shorts

Long pants are permitted as long as shinguards are worn.

4.4 – Stockings

Must be long enough to entirely cover the shinguards

4.5 – Shinguards

Must be covered entirely by the stockings
Must be purpose-manufactured of a suitable material (rubber, plastic, etc.)
Must, in the opinion of the referee, provide a reasonable degree of protection.

4.6 – Shoes

Shoes must be appropriate for an artificial-turf surface. Shoes with hard plastic or metal
cleats are not permitted. Shoes with multiple small rubber nubs (sometimes referred to as
“turf” shoes) are acceptable. Please do not wear turf shoes with “long” studs.

5 – The Referee

The Authority of the Referee

Each match is controlled by one or two referees who have full authority to enforce
League and facility rules, regulations, and policies in connection with the match to which they have
been appointed.

Among other duties, the referee will:

  • ensure that no unauthorized persons enter the field of play
  • take action against players, team officials, or associated individuals who fail to conduct
    themselves in a responsible manner; and may, at his or her discretion, expel them
    from the field of play or from the property.

The Number of Referees

For purposes of simplification, all mention of referees herein shall assume a single
referee, although the statements shall apply equally to both referees if a 2-referee crew is
present.

Decisions of the Referee

The referee does not stop play for doubtful or trifling offences.
The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play are final. The referee
may change a decision, though, upon realizing that it is incorrect, provided that he has
not already restarted play.

The referee’s record of the score — not the scoreboard — is official.

Application of the “Advantage” Clause

The referee shall refrain from penalizing offences when doing so would result in an
advantage being gained by the offending team. There is, however, no advantage when
Serious Foul Play has occurred.

Forfeits

In the event that a match has been forfeited, the players present may use the remaining
scheduled time for a scrimmage or to practice, but the referee is not permitted to
officiate any such unofficial competition.

See League Regulations for the circumstances that may result in the forfeiture of a
match.

6 – The Duration of the Match

Entering the Bench Area and Field Of Play

Incoming teams may not enter the field of play or bench area before a match until the
outgoing teams have been allowed two (2) minutes to vacate the same areas after their
match has ended. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary sanctions.

Periods of Play

The match lasts two equal periods of 26 minutes, unless otherwise mutually agreed
upon by the referee and the participating teams. Any agreement to alter the periods of
play (for example, to reduce each half to 20 minutes because of a late arrival by one
team) must be made before the start of play.

A scoreboard clock indicates the official time, unless it is not functioning or is turned off
by the referee in order to make allowance for time lost at the end of a match.

Half-Time Interval

Players are entitled to an interval at half-time of no more than two (2) minutes, although
this may be reduced or extended if agreed upon by both sides with the consent of the
referee.

Post-Match Exit Time

Teams are permitted no more than two (2) minutes to vacate the field of play and bench
area after their match has ended. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary sanctions.

Allowance for Time Lost

Due to the importance of maintaining the fixed time schedule for match kick-offs,
allowances for time lost can only be made under specific circumstances within the final
five (5) minutes of a one-goal or tied match, at the discretion of the referee.

Allowances may be made for time lost due to:

  • time-wasting
  • team or player misconduct
  • persistent infringement or tactical fouls
  • interruption of play by an outside agent
  • situations in which an injured player cannot be removed from the field
  • Time lost for treatment of minor injuries that do not prevent a player from being removed
    from the field, or for other common occurrences, cannot be compensated for.
  • In such situations, the referee may either reset the scoreboard clock, or turn it off and
    keep time for the remainder of the match on his watch.
  • Time may also be extended at the end of a half for the taking of a penalty kick or free
    kick.

7 – The Start and Restart of Play

Kick-Off

The home team decides which goal it will attack in the first half of the match. The visiting
team takes the kick-off to start the match.

The following procedure is to be observed:

  • all players are in their own half of the field
    the opponents of the team taking the kick-off are outside of the center circle until the ball
    is in play
  • the ball is stationary on the center mark
  • the referee gives a signal
  • the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves in any direction
  • A goal may be scored directly from the kick-off.
  • If a team is not ready to begin the match or cannot field the minimum number of required
    players after 10 minutes have passed since the scheduled kick-off time of the match, the
    team forfeits the match. (See League Regulations.)

Measurements / Distance

Opponents must be at least 5 yards away from the ball at the taking of free-kicks, kickins,
goal-kicks, corner-kicks, and kick-offs.*

*Special Circumstances

A free kick awarded to the defending team inside its own penalty area is taken from any
point within the penalty area.

An indirect-offence committed by the defending team inside its penalty area results in a
direct free kick to the attacking team taken from the point on the penalty arc that is
furthest from the goal (the “top” of the penalty arc).

If play is temporarily stopped while the ball is within the penalty area, play shall be
restarted with a dropped ball at the nearest point outside the penalty area from where the
ball was when play was stopped.

8 – Ball In and Out of Play

Ball Out of Play

The ball is out of play when:

  • play has been stopped by the referee
  • the entire width of the ball has crossed the entire width of the goal line or touch line
    whether on the ground or in the air
  • the ball has struck the perimeter or ceiling (overhead) netting
  • the ball has struck the netting above the dasher board walls

Ball Played into the Ceiling Net

It is an offence to play the ball directly into the ceiling net.

Play is restarted in the following manner:

When the ball has been played into the ceiling net, play is restarted with a direct free
kick for the opponent from the restart mark on the side of the field from which the ball
was played.

At no time will play be restarted using the center spot when dealing with ceiling balls.

Ball Played into the netting above the dasher boards

The ball will be placed on the white line encircling the parameter of the field just below where the ball struck the side netting.

Corner Kicks

A corner kick results when the ball hits the netting above the “frame of the goal”. The ball is placed on the corner marking. Players must back up to the start of the goalie box to allow play to restart. If the referee is required to back up opposing players, restart is subject to referee discression.

9 – The Method of Scoring

A goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the entire width of the goal line,
between the goal posts and under the crossbar; provided that there was no infringement
of the rules previously committed by the team scoring the goal.

A goal may be scored by means of the goalkeeper throwing the ball into the opponent’s
goal.

10 – Offside

Law 11 is not applied.

11 – Fouls and Misconduct

Fouls and misconduct are penalized as follows:

Direct-Offences (Direct Free Kick)*

A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the
following direct-offences in a manner considered by the referee to be careless,
reckless or using excessive force:

  • pushes an opponent
  • charges an opponent
  • jumps at an opponent
  • strikes or attempts to strike an opponent
  • kicks or attempts to kick an opponent
  • trips or attempts to trip an opponent
  • endangers an opponent who is outside the yellow lines on the field, or in the corner of the
    fields by attempting to challenge aggressively or competitively for the ball.

A direct free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of
the following direct-offences:

  • tackles an opponent to gain possession of the ball, making contact with the opponent
    before touching the ball
  • causes an opponent to collide with the dasher boards
  • holds an opponent with any part of his body
  • holds an opponent against the dasher boards in any manner
  • spits, in any manner
  • handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his own penalty area)
    places hands on opponent in an attempt to win the ball while opponent is facing dasher
    boards

Indirect-Offences (Direct Free Kick)*

A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player, in the opinion of the
referee, commits any of the following indirect-offences:

  • deliberately impedes the progress of an opponent (while not attempting to play to ball, or
    not being within playing distance of the ball)
  • prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands
  • plays in a dangerous manner
  • attempts an overhead (“bicycle”) kick or diving header
  • attempts a sliding tackle in the presence of an opponent

The goalkeeper is permitted, when within his own penalty area, to slide with his body
sideways or diagonally in the presence of an opponent, but only as necessary to play the
ball with his hands. He may not slide-tackle feet-first for the ball. He is permitted to
attempt to save the ball with his feet when his body is already on the ground, if presented
with a fast-moving shot.

A direct free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a goalkeeper, inside his
own penalty area, commits any of the following indirect-offences:

  • takes longer than six (6) seconds to release the ball from his hands after gaining
    possession of it
  • touches the ball again with his hands after it has been released from his possession and
    has not touched any other player
  • touches the ball with his hands after it has been intentionally kicked to him by a teammate

A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if, in the opinion of the referee,
a substitute:

  • interferes with play by leaning with their arms or body over the dasher boards
    touches a ball before it has completely crossed the touch line (the imaginary line going
    upward from the dasher boards in the bench area)
  • interferes with play or endangers players by opening a door on the dasher boards when
    active play is moving toward or is likely to move toward that area

11.1 – Disciplinary Sanctions

Cautionable Offences (Yellow Card)

A player is shown the yellow card and cautioned, and must leave the field to serve
a 2-minute timed-penalty if he commits any of the following offences:

1. is guilty of unsporting behavior
2. shows dissent to the referee by word or action
3. persistently infringes league or division rules
4. delays the restart of play
5. fails to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick or
free kick
6. enters or re-enters the field of play incorrectly, or without the referee’s permission
when serving a time-penalty
7. deliberately leaves the field of play in order to avoid punishment
8. deliberately causes an opponent to collide with the dasher boards
9. attempts to damage FFSP property

A player is shown the red card and expelled from the match if he commits any of
the following offences:

1. is guilty of serious foul play
2. is guilty of violent conduct
3. spits at an opponent or any other person
4. denies an opponent a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity* by deliberately
handling the ball (this does not apply to a goalkeeper within his own penalty area)
5. denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity* to an opponent moving towards the
player’s goal by an offence punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick
6. uses offensive, insulting or abusive language or gestures
7. receives a second caution in the same match
8. leaves the bench area to get involved in a fight or altercation on the field
9. deliberately damages FFSP property

*please see Rule Clarifications, Item 11.1, for special conditions
An adult player or team official who has been expelled must leave the facility and
FFSP property before the match may continue. Delay will result in the issuance of a 2-
minute bench penalty for delaying the restart of play, and further sanctions.
A youth player or team official 17 years of age or younger who has been expelled shall
remain seated on his team’s bench until the match has concluded and comply with the
referee’s orders or become subject to additional disciplinary sanctions.

11.2 – Time-Penalties

2-Minute Penalty for Cautionable Offence (Yellow Card)

The 1st cautionable offence by a player is additionally punished by a compulsory 2-
minute timed-penalty.

A 2nd cautionable offence by a player in the same match is punished by a compulsory 2-
minute timed-penalty.

Procedure:

the player provides his first and last name, as they appear on the team’s roster, to the
referee

the player is shown the appropriate card(s) by the referee

the referee notifies the player and his team of the time-penalty issued
the player leaves the field*

the penalty time begins when play is restarted

the team playsfor two (2) minutes with one player fewer than the number present on the
field at the time when the offence occurred

the player does not return to the field until two (2) minutes of playing time have elapsed
or a goal is scored against the team serving the penalty, and a signal has been given
by the referee

the referee gives a signal when the penalty time has expired

*A teammate may serve a time-penalty in place of a cautioned goalkeeper.

4-Minute Penalty for Expulsion Offence (Red Card)

An expulsion (red card) offence is punished by the issuance of a 4-minute timed-penalty.
The commission of a 2nd cautionable offence is punished with a 2-minute penalty and
not the 4-minute penalty compulsory for other expulsion offences unless simultaneous
bookable offences occur (see “Simultaneous/Accumulated Bookable Offences” below).

Procedure:

the player provides his first and last name as shown on the team’s roster

the player is shown the appropriate card(s) by the referee

the referee notifies the player and his team of the time-penalty issued
the player leaves the field, and if the player is an adult, the game is not restarted until he
has left FFSP property

the penalty time begins when play is restarted

the player’s team must play for four (4) minutes with one player fewer than the number
present on the field at the time when the offence occurred

the referee gives a signal when the penalty time has expired

Expulsion Offences (Red Card)

If the removal of a player for service of a time-penalty would reduce a team’s number of
players below the minimum specified, the service of penalties may be delayed in
sequence (“staggered”) by the referee.

For the purposes of the mercy rule, players serving penalty time are considered to be
active players.

Simultaneous/Accumulated Bookable Offences

If a player commits a 2nd cautionable offence,he shall be shown the yellow card, then
shown the red card and expelled from the match, and his team must serve a 2-minute
time-penalty.

(2nd yellow = expulsion + 2 minutes)

If a player commits two simultaneous cautionable offences, he shall be shown the yellow
card twice in succession, then shown the red card and expelled from the match, and his
team shall serve two (2) consecutive 2-minute time-penalties.

(2 simultaneous yellow = expulsion + 2 minutes + 2 minutes)

If a player commits a cautionable offence followed immediately by an expulsion offence,
he shall be shown the yellow card and then the red card and be expelled from the match,
and his team shall serve a 2-minute time-penalty followed by a 4-minute time-penalty.
(yellow + red = expulsion + 2 minutes + 4 minutes)

11.3 – Bench Penalties

A bench penalty may be issued to a team as punishment for general team misconduct,
for the conduct of its team officials, or for their failure to properly control individuals in the
bench area. Bench Penalties do not result in time-penalties for the offending team.
Offences that may be sanctioned with a bench caution include:

Dissent or unsporting behavior by players or team personnel in the bench area
Infringements of Rule 3(having too many players on the field, using the doors in a
dangerous or careless manner, etc.)

Offences that may be sanctioned with a bench expulsion include, but are not
limited to:

Use of offensive, insulting or abusive language, either by players or team personnel in
the bench area

12 – Free Kick

Distance

All opponents must be at least five (5) yards away from the ball until it is kicked. Failure
to yield the required distance is a cautionable offence.

13 – Penalty Kick

At the taking of a penalty kick, all players except for the goalkeeper and kicker must
stand outside of the penalty area and penalty arc. Opponents must stand at least 5 yards
from the spot of the penalty kick.

Additional time is allowed for a penalty kick to be taken at the end of each half, or at the
end of periods of extra time in competitions when extra time is played.

14 – Kick-In

A kick-in is taken, instead of a throw-in, to restart the match after the ball has wholly
crossed the touch-line, or touched the perimeter netting over the touch-line.
A goal may be scored directly from a kick-in.

Procedure:

The ball is placed no further than 2 yards into the field perpendicular to the dasher
boards, in line with the spot where the ball went out of play
All opponents must remain at least 5 yards away from the ball until it is kicked
The ball is kicked

The kicker may not touch the ball again until it has touched another player
In all other aspects, the kick-in functions in the same manner as the throw-in, described
in Law 15.

15 – Goal Kick

A goal kick may be taken from any point inside the penalty area.
The ball is in play once it is kicked and is outside of the penalty area.
A goal may be scored directly from a goal kick, but not into the kicker’s own goal.

16 – Corner Kick

The ball is placed on the corner mark.

17 – Miscellaneous

The Technical Area

The team’s section of the bench area is considered its technical area. Only registered
players, a coach or manager, are allowed in the playing area and bench. Teams in age
groups U8 through High School must be supervised by an adult 18 years of age or
older in the bench area unless permitted by league staff.

Coaches and team managers must inform the referee, if requested, of the first and last
name of all players, and vouch for the accuracy of this information under penalty of
disciplinary sanctions.

Players and team personnel in the bench area must not lean on the dasher boards
during play, as this can cause doors to disengage dangerously if collided into by an
active player. Players must also keep hands and arms inside the bench area and not
hanging over the dasher boards, where they can interfere with play.

Coaches or managers may not enter the field of play without permission of the referee. In
cases of injuries to players, the referee will assess the situation and will only summon
team personnel onto the field if, in his opinion, they are needed to provide medical
treatment.

Rule Clarifications

2 – The Ball

Rubber is not an accepted material, and felt-covered balls are not appropriate for
artificial-turf surfaces.

Kick-off time will not be delayed to add air or otherwise adjust a ball not properly
prepared in advance by the home team.

5 – The Referee

The Number of Referees

When a crew of 2 referees works a match, both referees shall function as a team with
equal authority shared between the two.

Decisions of the Referee

Doubtful means that there is doubt as to whether or not an offence occurred. In this
situation, the referee errs in favor of allowing play to continue, rather than stopping play.
Trifling means that an offence did occur but has had an insignificant effect on the
balance of play or the safety of players. For example, a player might deliberately attempt
handle the ball, but in doing so, touch it only so slightly with the tip of his finger that the
ball’s path is not changed. In this situation, the referee allows play to continue and does
not penalize the offence, because to do so would introduce an unnecessary stoppage in
play.

Application of the “Advantage” Clause

The referee shall make such decisions within the context of the match, considering such
factors as the age and experience level of the players, and not apply the “advantage”
clause blindly in situations when play is becoming violent or reckless, or when doing
might confuse very young or novice players unfamiliar with the concept of “advantage.”

11 – Fouls and Misconduct

Tackling

The fact the a player has played the ball in the course of a tackle is irrelevant if the
player has carelessly, recklessly, or with excessive force, committed any
prohibited actions in the course of his challenge.

It is entirely possible for a player to be guilty of a foul even though he made contact with
the ball before making contact with the opponent, if the player’s challenge was unfair
or dangerous in nature.

EXAMPLE: A player tackles the ball away from an opponent from behind. His foot first
touches the ball, but then follows through after touching the ball by kicking into the ankles
of the opponent. The player may be judged as guilty of a foul because his challenge was
careless or reckless, even though he “got” the ball.

Deliberate Handling of the Ball

The offence known as “handling the ball” involves deliberate contact with the ball by a
player’s hand or arm (including fingertips, upper arm, or outer shoulder).

“Deliberate contact” means that the player could have avoided the touch but chose not
to, that the player’s arms were not in a normal playing position at the time, or that the
player deliberately continued an initially accidental contact for the purpose of gaining an
unfair advantage.

Moving hands or arms instinctively to protect the body when suddenly faced with a
fast approaching ball does not constitute deliberate contact unless there is
subsequent action to direct the ball once contact is made.

Likewise, placing hands or arms to protect the body at a free kick or similar restart is not
likely to produce an infringement unless there is subsequent action to direct or control the
ball. The fact that a player may benefit from the ball contacting the hand does not
transform the otherwise accidental event into an infringement. A player infringes the Law
regarding handling the ball even if direct contact is avoided by holding something in the
hand (clothing, shinguard, etc.).

The rule of thumb for referees is that deliberate handling occurs if the player plays
the ball, but not if the ball plays the player. The referee should punish only deliberate
handling of the ball, meaning only those actions when the player (and not the goalkeeper
within his own penalty area) strikes or propels the ball with his hand or arm (shoulder to
tip of fingers).

Any use of the shoulder in playing the ball is considered as using the hand. This can
mean that even though the player leaves his hand/arm close to his body, he may have
moved the body so as to strike or propel the ball with the arm or hand, and the referee
must watch for actions of that sort. Propelling the ball forward using the front part of the
shoulder is considered handling, even when the main area of contact between ball and
body is the chest.

(This text was adapted from the USSF’s Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game)

Goalkeeper Possession

The goalkeeper is considered to be in possession of the ball by controlling it with any part
of his hand or arms. Bouncing the ball is not considered a release of possession.
Due to the nature of indoor soccer and the high frequency of shots in close
proximity to goalkeepers, officials will err on the side of caution when enforcing
the goalkeeper possession rule.

Goalkeeper Age-Rule

Youth goalkeepers may play on multiple teams per division.

Challenges Against the Goalkeeper

It is not an offence, in and of itself, to challenge for the ball when the goalkeeper is
attempting to handle it unless the player carelessly, recklessly, or with excessive force
commits any of the prohibited actions. For example, the referee may permit a controlled
poke at the ball with the foot, but will not tolerate a reckless attempt to kick it with power
at the same time that the goalkeeper is reaching for it. The latter shall be sanctioned as
either dangerous play (if no contact is made with the opponent), or kicking an opponent.

Dangerous Play

Dangerous play occurs when a player commits an act that either puts an opponent or
himself in unfair danger, or when a player unfairly denies the opponent a chance to play
the ball by putting himself in a dangerous situation. Some acts, such as attempting a
“high kick” or “playing the ball while on the ground” are not in of themselves illegal.
These acts are considered dangerous play only when, in the opinion of the referee, they
cause unfair danger or unfairly prevent an opponent from playing the ball.

The referee only stops play when an offence that fits these criteria has occurred.
Rule Clairification as of 2015-16: If a player plays the ball while on the ground and is
within 2 yards of an opponent, the act will be considered dangerous and an automatic
foul.

Sliding Tackle and Playing from the Ground

A sliding tackle is generally considered to be an attempt to play the ball that involves a
launching of the body forward, foot-first, plus contact with the ground of any part of the
body other than the feet. Simply lunging toward the ball from a static position is not
considered sliding and/or playing from the ground. *Please see Rule Clarification.
In general, playing the ball from the ground is not considered dangerous unless the act
prevents the opponent from making a fair challenge for the ball. The decision as to
whether a situation involving a player on the ground is considered dangerous is made
solely at the discretion of the referee. *Please see Rule Clarification.

Rule Clarification as of 2015-16: If a player’s knee touches the ground while lunging for
a ball, and is within 2 yards of an opponent, the act will be considered dangerous and will
be called as a foul.

If any player slides within 2 yards of an opponent, OR, lunges within 2 yards of an
opponent, and their knee subsequently touches the ground, the act will be considered an
automatic foul.

If the player’s act occurs more than 2 yards from any opponent, and the official does not
deem that a dangerous act has been committed, the official will tell the players to “play
on.”

Officials should take into consideration the close proximity of players in the indoor game,
and err on the side of the caution if there is doubt as to the danger that a player on the
ground creates.

Impeding the Progress of an Opponent (“Obstruction”)

“Impeding the progress of an opponent” is the official term given to the offence formerly
known as “obstruction.”

The new wording for the name of this offence helps to distinguish the legal act of
shielding the ball from an opponent using his body, which is not an offence when a
player is within playing distance of the ball, from the illegal act of using one’s body to
merely block an opponent from getting to the ball without actually attempting to play or
control it. Only the latter is considered to be “impeding the progress of an opponent.”
It is important for players, coaches, and spectators to distinguish the difference between
shielding and impeding, and to understand that a player within playing distance of the ball
(usually about 1-2 yards) is permitted to shield the ball as long as he does not commit an
offence (i.e., holding or pushing an opponent) in doing so.

Amount of Time Permitted to Restart Play

There is no set time limit within which a player must execute a restart after it has been
awarded. The referee will deal with time-wasting and/or delay in the same manner as
would be used in a normal (outdoor) soccer match. This may include the issuance of a
caution. But the referee may not punish time-wasting or delay by changing the type of
restart or its direction.

Given the faster pace of the indoor game, the referee will generally expect play to be
restarted in a somewhat faster manner than is customarily allowed in outdoor soccer, but
he will allow players to handle restarts in a conventional manner, provided that they do
not involve time-wasting.

Placing Hands Upon the Dasher Boards

Merely allowing one’s hands to make contact with the dasher boards is not, in and of
itself, an offence. The referee shall only consider this an offence if the player in
question gains an advantage in doing so by using the arms to block the opponent
from challenging for the ball, or by using the boards to gain unfair leverage against
an opponent.

The declaration by a player that he was placing his hands on the boards merely in
anticipation of a challenge from an opponent is irrelevant. But in situations where a player
places his hands on the boards as a necessary reflex for self-protection when moving
quickly towards them, the referee shall only consider this an offence if they continue to
maintain contact in an unfair manner.

Limited Contact Outside Yellow Lines and Corners of Field

New Guideline as of 2016-17: A new “Limited Contact” rule is officially in place for the
2016-17 Season for the areas of the field designated as outside of the yellow lines and in
the corners of the field.

This is NOT a no-contact rule, but merely a guideline to encourage players to show
caution toward their opponents near the boards and in the corners.

Officials will be asked to call a direct-kick foul for any competitive or aggressive contact
outside the yellow lines and in the corners. In some situations, officials will be allowed to
stop play and warn players that play too aggressively near the boards. The proper restart
for a stoppage of play where no “foul” occurs is a drop-ball to the team that was in
possession of the play prior to the stoppage.

11.1 – Disciplinary Sanctions

No Referee Discretion in Applying Time-Penalties

The 2-minute time-penalty will occur for all caution-able offences.

Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity

Giving consideration to the smaller size of the goals and other factors unique to indoor
soccer, the instructions and illustrations given in the Laws of the Game for judging an
“obvious” goal-scoring opportunity may not always be directly applicable to incidents
occurring in a FFSP indoor match. In general, in FFSP indoor soccer matches, the
referee will typically demand a stricter set of circumstances to be present before showing
the red card to a player and expelling him for the unlawful denial of an obvious goalscoring
opportunity. For example, an attacker’s chance to go forward to goal one-on-one
with the goalkeeper may not necessarily be considered an obvious goal-scoring
opportunity in every situation, although an opportunity to shoot toward an entirely
unattended goal most likely would.

The referee will also consider such factors as the perceived intent of the offender, the
score of the match, the age and experience level of the players, and other circumstances
in determining whether or not an expulsion is appropriate.

12 – Free Kick

Direct Free Kick or Indirect Free Kick?

HELPFUL HINT

All restarts at Family First Sports Park are taken as direct kicks. However, many
players ask the referee whether the restart is a direct or indirect free kick.
There are both Direct and Indirect-Offences at Family First, just as in any USSF
sanctioned outdoor match. For convenience and clarity purposes, we has chosen
to make all restarts direct.

The only difference between a “direct” and “indirect offence” at FFSP is that a restart for
an indirect offence committed in one’s own penalty area is a direct free kick from the top
of the penalty arc, as opposed to a penalty kick (which is awarded for a direct offence).
For clarification on what a Direct and Indirect-Offence are, please see Rule 11 under
Fouls & Misconduct.

Erie Soccer - Sanctioned Adult Soccer Leagues in Erie, PA © 2014