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GGFSC Rec Soccer Rules and Guidelines

GGFSC Recreational Program Rules and Guidelines


All coaches, volunteers, and referees are encouraged to read FIFA’s Laws of the Game, US Youth Soccer modified rules, and the GGFSC modifications to those Laws (below). Updates to rules and policies may be made each season; the purpose of this document is to highlight changes and reminders that are most significant to you and your role as coach and/or referee. 


 

General Reminders for ALL Teams


Team Rosters: Only players appearing on each team’s official GGFSC Soccer roster are permitted to play in matches and to participate in practice. Players who wish to join a team following the publishing of team rosters must do so by registering with GGFSC Soccer, and will be placed according to Club policies and procedures. 


Team Officials – Registering, Background Check, CDC Concussion Awareness, SafeSport Training: All Team Officials (head coach, assistant coach, team manager, etc.) MUST register with GGFSC, pass a background check, complete CDC concussion awareness training, and complete SafeSport (abuse prevention awareness) training. Anyone in a position of trust or authority with the team is considered a Team Official. 


Practices - Frequency and Space: Teams are to practice on fields and at times assigned by GGFSC. Most teams will share a field with another team, and will receive half of a field. Our intent is that you practice on a field that matches the size you play on, as field availability allows. Please rotate the use of goals when there are more teams than goals available (i.e. team A uses it one night, team B the next). It is okay to practice just using cones! 


Playing Time: Every player should play close to equitable playing time (barring illness, injury, or disciplinary reasons). 


Sideline Behavior and Referee Abuse: Team Officials are responsible for their personal behavior as well as that of their team (spectators and players). Unacceptable conduct such as inappropriate language, aggressive actions, etc. toward anyone (referees, other Team Officials, players, spectators, etc.) will NOT be tolerated. Disciplinary action, including suspensions, may be issued for offensive conduct. 


Uniform Colors: Official GGFSC Rec Jerseys should be worn during games. The “home” team (the team listed first in the schedule) should wear WHITE, while the “away” team should wear BLUE. Goalkeepers should wear a sweater or pinnie that is NOT the same color as either team on the field.


Player Equipment: Shin guards are mandatory at practices and games. Soccer cleats are encouraged but not required; athletic cleats with an extra toe stud (e.g. baseball or football cleats) are strictly prohibited. Billed caps/hats should not be worn. All jewelry must be removed; covering earrings with tape is not permitted. Soft earring-hole placeholders are permitted at the discretion of each referee.


Coaches: Coaches in the GGFSC Recreation program shall be volunteers, primarily parents. Those interested in higher-level training for their athletes are encouraged to contact the club regarding our advanced programs. 


Inclement Weather: Absolutely no activities may occur outdoors in the presence of thunder and/or lightning. The field must be vacated and all parties take shelter (in a building or a car); a 30-minute wait period is enforced following each sign of thunder or lightning. The coach is responsible for ensuring that all players are accounted for in these circumstances. The referee determines whether a match is suspended, abandoned, or played; the coach is responsible in the absence of a referee (e.g. at practices). GGFSC will email and post to Social Media when all practices or matches are postponed or cancelled due to inclement weather or poor field conditions. 


Concussions: Any player suspected of suffering a concussion should be removed from play for evaluation and is barred from returning to play that day. The coach should submit a report to the club via email containing the date, the team name, the player’s name, and a brief summary. The player may return to athletic activity only when a licensed healthcare provider has provided written clearance to the club. 

 


 

GGFSC Rec Program-Specific Rules of the Game


Preschool and Kindergarten:


  • Practice length: practices should be no longer than 40 minutes.  

  • Game format: 4v4, two 15-minute halves (preschool), two 20-minute halves (Kindergarten).  

  • Coaches should be on the field. Refereeing (by coaches) should encourage flow of the game - excessive time should not be devoted to restarts and the technical aspects thereof.

  • All restarts (kick-ins, free kicks, corner kicks, kick-offs, goal kicks, etc.) are INDIRECT (may not score until another player from either team touches the ball). Again, at this age, coaches should emphasize the flow of restarts, not the technical aspects. Kick-ins should be used in lieu of throw-ins. Defending teams should give a few yards space during restarts (other than goal kicks - see below).

  • Goal kicks: on a goal kick, the defending team must retreat into their defensive half to permit the attacking team the opportunity to play out of their defensive area. They may enter their attacking half as soon as the ball is played.

  • “Free kicks” due to fouls or injuries should be handled by the coach as a free ball - on the restart, the coach should roll it into open space and let the players play it.

  • Player Positions: Positional play should not be emphasized at this age. 

  • Slide tackling is NOT permitted

  • Heading is prohibited in both practices and games

  • No Goalkeepers: at this level, players are prohibited from acting as a goalkeeper by standing in front of the goal; this is a tactic detrimental to player development and to the spirit of the game. 

  • Cherry-Picking: teams are to avoid employing a “cherry-picking” player to occupy space near the opponent’s goal and await long passes from teammates to exploit the lack of an Offside rule at this level; this is a tactic detrimental to player development and to the spirit of the game. 

  • Play Balance: in the event one or both teams do not have a full complement to field a team (4 players to start the match), the number of players on each team will be equalized for that particular game, by the team with more players either loaning team members, or playing down member so that the same number of players on each team are on the field against each other (e.g. 3v3), as long as minimum playing time per player is still achieved. Games should not be started with less than 3v3.

  • Please do not end the game with “everybody in”

  • Please keep sidelined players, equipment, and spectators at least 2 yards from the goal line. 



Grades 1 and 2


  • Practice length: practices should be no longer than 50 minutes.  

  • Game format: 6v6, two 20-minute halves.  

  • Coaches should act as referees and may be on the field.

  • All restarts (kick-ins, free kicks, corner kicks, kick-offs, goal kicks, etc.) are INDIRECT (may not score until another player from either team touches the ball). Consequently, no penalty kicks may occur.  

  • Goal kicks: defending team must start at least 10 yards away from the point of the kick to permit the attacking team the opportunity to play out of their defensive area, and may close that distance as soon as the ball is played

  • Player Positions: Coaches are expected to rotate players into different positions throughout each game and/or throughout the season. 

  • Slide tackling is NOT permitted

  • Heading is prohibited in both practices and games. In games, intentional heading results in an indirect free kick for the opposing team.

  • No Goalkeepers: at this level, players are prohibited from acting as a goalkeeper by standing in front of the goal; this is a tactic detrimental to player development and to the spirit of the game. 

  • Cherry-Picking: teams are to avoid employing a “cherry-picking” player to occupy space near the opponent’s goal and await long passes from teammates to exploit the lack of an Offside rule at this level; this is a tactic detrimental to player development and to the spirit of the game. 

  • Minimum distance a player may be from an opposing team’s free-kick (excluding goal kicks): five (5) yards  

  • Play Balance: in the event one or both teams do not have a full complement to field a team (6 players to start the match), the number of players on each team will be equalized for that particular game, by the team with more players either loaning team members, or playing down member so that the same number of players on each team are on the field against each other (e.g. 4v4), as long as minimum playing time per player is still achieved. Games should not be started with less than 4v4.


Grades 3 and 4


  • Practice length: practices should be no longer than 60 minutes (recommend 50 mins).  

  • Game format: 7v7, two 25-minute halves.  

  • Games are refereed by certified referees

  • No penalty kicks may occur. Direct free kicks may be awarded by referees as necessary.

  • Goalkeepers: To foster development of play out of the back field, punts and drop kicks are not allowed for 3rd/4th grade goalkeepers. Goalkeepers in possession of the ball will serve the ball out by throwing, rolling, or placing on the ground and kicking. Players should not play more than one half of the game in goal. Players who play one half in goal should play at least half of the remaining time in a field position. 

  • Goal kicks: the US Soccer Build-Out Line rules will be in effect. On a goal kick or when the ball is in possession of the goalkeeper, the defending team must retreat behind the dashed build-out line until the ball is played (by rolling, throwing, or kicking a placed ball). The ball must clear the penalty area before being touched by another player (NOTE: FIFA has recently changed this rule, but GGFSC will be keeping the old rule until the spring 2020 session).

  • Player Positions: Coaches are expected to rotate players into different positions throughout each game and/or throughout the season. 

  • Slide tackling is NOT permitted

  • Heading is prohibited in both practices and games. In games, intentional heading results in an indirect free kick for the opposing team. Unintentional heading may be whistled dead at the referee’s discretion in order to assess a player for a possible concussion. The restart shall be a drop ball.

  • Offside rules are in effect between the build-out line and the goal line.

  • Minimum distance a player may be from an opposing team’s free-kick (excluding goal kicks): eight (8) yards  

  • Throw-ins - two chances shall be given for a legal throw-in. After a second failed attempt, the ball will be turned over to the opposing team for a throw-in at the same spot. Additional attempts may be allowed during the first week of games, at the discretion of the referee.

  • Play Balance: in the event one or both teams do not have a full complement to field a team (7 players to start the match), the number of players on each team will be equalized for that particular game, by the team with more players either loaning team members, or playing down member so that the same number of players on each team are on the field against each other (e.g. 6v6), as long as minimum playing time per player is still achieved. Games should not be started with less than 5v5.



Grades 5 and 6 


  • Practice length: practices should be no longer than 60 minutes.  

  • Game format: 9v9, two 25-minute halves.  

  • Games are refereed by certified referees

  • Goalkeepers: Players should not play more than one half of the game in goal. Players who play one half in goal should play at least half of the remaining time in a field position. 

  • Player Positions: Coaches are expected to rotate players into different positions throughout each game and/or throughout the season. 

  • Slide tackling is NOT permitted

  • Heading is prohibited in both practices and games. In games, intentional heading results in an indirect free kick for the opposing team. Unintentional heading may be whistled dead at the referee’s discretion in order to assess a player for a possible concussion. The restart shall be a drop ball.

  • Offside rule in effect per FIFA Law 11

  • Penalty kicks are allowed per FIFA Law 14

  • Goal Kicks per FIFA Law 16

  • Minimum distance a player may be from an opposing team’s free-kick (excluding goal-kicks): eight (8) yards  

  • Play Balance: in the event one or both teams do not have a full complement to field a team (9 players to start the match), the number of players on each team will be equalized for that particular game, by the team with more players either loaning team members, or playing down member so that the same number of players on each team are on the field against each other (e.g. 8v8), as long as minimum playing time per player is still achieved. Games should not be started with less than 7v7.

 

GGFSC Rules Modification Chart


Grade Division

USYS Age Rules

Playing Format

Goal

keepers

Ball size

Referees

Duration of Match

(Law 7)

Offside Rule

(Law 11)

Fouls and Misconduct (Law 12)

Free Kick and penalty kick

(Laws 13, 14)

Goal Kick

(Law 16)

Preschool

U4

4v4

No

#3

Coaches

2x 15 min halves,

5 min halftime

n/a - encouraged not to “cherry pick”

No slide tackling, no heading

n/a - coach should “roll out” to an open area

Defending team starts at midfield

Kinder

garten

U6

4v4

No

#3

Coaches

2x 20 min halves,

5 min halftime

n/a - encouraged not to “cherry pick”

No slide tackling, no heading

n/a - coach should “roll out” to an open area

Defending team starts at midfield

1st-2nd grade

U8

6v6

No

#3

Coaches

2x 20 min halves,

5 min halftime

n/a - encouraged not to “cherry pick”

No slide tackling, no heading

All restarts are indirect. Min dist 5 yards. No penalty kicks.

Defending team must be 10 yards away

3rd-4th grade

U10

7v7

Yes, no punting or drop kicks

#4

Official refs

2x 25 min halves,

5 min halftime

Offside only within build-out line

No slide tackling, no heading

Min dist 8 yards. Direct kicks allowed. No penalty kicks

Defending team starts at buildout line

5th-6th grade

U12

9v9

Yes

#4

Official refs

2x 25 min halves,

5 min halftime

Full FIFA Law

No slide tackling, no heading

Min dist 8 yards. Penalty kicks allowed.

Full FIFA Law



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