The following guidelines are in place to maintain a safe and positive environment for the players participating in the League. Everyone is encouraged to support the players, referees and coaches in the effort while enjoying the game.
League games are played and officiated according to the Laws of the Game published by FIFA and as recommended by US Youth Soccer, with the below modifications.
Standings are kept in all league games. The league will look to schedule games so that each team plays each other in a single league qualifying match which will count toward standings during the course of the season.
Points are for league matches are awarded as follows:
Win – 3 points
Tie – 1 point
Loss – 0 point
Forfeit – 0 points
Forfeits: A team will forfeit the game after a 10-minute grace period if they have fewer than 6 players on the field. In the event of a forfeit, teams will play a scrimmage after balancing the squads. Teams may not compete with more than a one-player advantage. If a club has more than one team competing in the league, the only instance where a player can play on another team within the same club is if the secondary team has already forfeited the match due to low numbers.
Mercy rule: Coaches are expected to monitor and manage the games so the score does not exceed a 6-goal differential. The league is focused on player development, and as such, coaches have a responsibility to manage the game and not “run up scores
League Games & Officiating
The league season consists of 9v9 games on Saturdays and possibly Sundays (as well as select weekday nights for any makeup games).
All league matches will count toward standings, and all matches will utilize a 2- man referee system if possible.
All referee fees are paid by the respective home team Recreation Department.
Players must currently be of intermediate or middle school age to participate unless granted a waiver by the league.
Standards of Play and Game duration
League games that count toward standings are 9v9. Teams that might be short on players on game day may compete with 6 players. It is highly encouraged that the opposing team competes with the same number of players, but this is done by the mutual agreement of the coaches of both teams at the field. Teams may not compete with more than a one-player advantage.
All league games will consist of (2) 30-minute halves. There will be a 5-minute break between the halves. If weather conditions are such that both teams agree to play quarters (excessive heat), both coaches must consult with the referee, who has the authority to make this adjustment.
Offsides and FIFA rules regarding a player passing the ball back to their own goalkeeper will be enforced.
All league games will use a size 4 soccer ball
All players must wear shin guards.
Players are not permitted to wear regular glasses on the field. Only approved sport glasses may be worn on the field of play. New Jersey state law requires players to wear approved sports glasses, if they must wear glasses as part of the activity.
Teams may substitute any number of players, only when play is stopped for: their own throw-in; goals; goal kicks; injuries; and misconduct. When a team is substituting on their own throw-in, the opposing team may substitute as well, as long as the substitutes are at the midfield line. Subbing is mandatory by a team if one of its players receives a yellow card. All players entering the field during a substitution must line up at the center line and wait for the referee to signal them onto the field.
All players should play a fair amount of the game, unless they receive an infraction from the referee requiring them to leave the field. It is highly encouraged that all coaches participating in the league allow each of their players to play at least half of the game. Managing a player’s playing time in the interest of winning a game, and not developing the player, is highly discouraged.
Soccer cleats are recommended for all players, but not required. Shoes may not have metal spikes.
No watches, barrettes, or jewelry of any kind may be worn by the players, including necklaces, hard or soft bracelets, earrings & posts. Hard casts must be padded and approved by the referee. Hair may be tied up with soft bands.
In order to foster a safe atmosphere for the players, the following rules apply to the run of play for all league games:
Consistent with the USSF mandates on heading the ball, and since the league is comprised of players falling within mandated restrictions on heading, there is no deliberate heading of the ball in games. Determining whether a player deliberately headed the ball is at the discretion of the Referee.
Heading results in an indirect free kick from the area of infraction for the opposing team.
Sliding is allowed, but there is to be no slide tackling of another player on the field. Slide tackling a player will result in an automatic yellow card and removal from the game.
The referee will stop the game for any on-field injuries, and waive the coach onto the field if needed. If a coach enters the field to attend an injured player, the injured player must leave the field of play and a substitute allowed to enter.
Coaches for all teams must have a first aid kit, ice and emergency contact information for the players on their team at every game.
1. Yellow Cards
Players issued a yellow card for physical or verbal behavior in a game are required to leave the field of play for 10 minutes.
2. Red Cards
Players issued a red card for physical or verbal behavior in a game are required to leave the field of play and may not return to the game. Players receiving a red card are required to miss the next game of league play for their team. Any player who receives two red cards during the course of the season is suspended from all remaining league games immediately following the second offense. Said player may be allowed to participate in games against teams from the same club only, if their club allows for such exception.
With respect to possible rainouts, clubs who are hosting games on their fields will make the call as to whether their fields will be closed during inclement weather.
Once a determination is made that fields will be open or closed, the hosting club's point of contact for the league (designated with an * on the contact sheet) is the contact who will both share and receive this information on behalf of their club, and forward it along to their respective coaches.
Any games cancelled due to inclement weather will be rescheduled on a mutually agreed date between the teams at least one week prior to the finals. If a game is deemed unplayable or stopped by the referee due to inclement weather, the score as of the time of
stoppage will be recorded as the final score only if the first half has been completed. If a game has been started but the first half is not completed, the match will be rescheduled.
Tie-breakers (for Regular Season Standings)
If there's a tie between teams going into seeding for the league finals, placement will be determined by the head-to-head match between those teams in the regular season. If those teams tied in their regular season match, the tie breaker will be determined by the team’s goal differentials over the course of the entire season.
Tie-breakers (for Finals)
If a finals match is tied at the end of regulation time, (2) 5-minute overtime periods will be played. The match will end if either team scores in the overtime period(s) – “golden goal”, or “sudden death” is in effect during the overtime periods of all final matches.
If the game is still tied at the end of the overtime periods, kicks from the penalty mark will be used to decide the outcome. FIFA rules apply, and standard procedures apply (i.e. alternating shootout, five players for each team selected from the players on the field at the end of the second overtime period). If neither team has advantage after five shots, penalty shots will continue utilizing all players on the field (one-by-one per team), until one player scores and his opponent misses, breaking the tie. Players off the field (subs) are not eligible to participate in the penalty kicks.
If the match is still tied after all field players including the GK have taken kicks, the match will end as a tie and the teams will share the title for that finals match.
Coach, Player & Spectator behavior
Referees and league officials have the authority to disqualify players, coaches and/or spectators for infractions such as verbal abuse and dissent. Any coach, player or spectator displaying inappropriate behavior or interfering with the run of play will be asked to leave the field and its immediate surroundings for the duration of the match. Examples of interfering with the run of play include: excessive sideline coaching by spectators, and addressing a referee or any member of the opposing team in a negative manner. The game will be suspended until the offender departs. Such offenders may wait in the parking lot, but if they return to the field or refuse to leave, the game will be abandoned and
the police notified, if necessary.
Spectators are to watch games from the opposite side of the field from the coaches and players, and to position themselves at least 10 feet outside the touchline and between the penalty areas.
The use of cell phones on the sidelines by players during games is discouraged. In the event of an emergency, parents are encouraged to contact the coach.
All participants in league events (players, coaches, spectators) are expected to help keep the grounds of the hosting club clean by disposing of trash in designated areas and generally leaving the area better than you found it.
Any lost and found items should be directed to a hosting club representative. Any queries regarding lost items by a player, spectator, or coach should be directed to their club representative first, who can make contact with a representative from the host site.