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Unofficial Overview

17 Laws of the Game – An Unofficial Overview
There are seventeen rules or "Laws" in socce
r. Most of the rules get modified for
youth soccer but can vary from league to
league. Here is an unofficial quick
reference of the laws. You will need to
contact your league administrator for a
"list of rules and modifications" for your
area. To see the official FIFA LAWS
Law 1 - Field Dimensions:
Modified for youth to promot
e lots of touches. Fields
can be 20' wide X 30' long for micro soccer and up to 70' wide X 110' long for
11v11 games.
Law 2 - Balls size
: Ball sizes for youth play grow as the age group increases. A
#3 ball is used for players the youngest players usually up to around U9. A #4
usually for players U10 to U12. U13 and
up will tend to use the full sized #5. Ball
sizes for certain age groups may be modified by local leagues.
Law 3 - Number of players:
From 3 players for the youngest leagues to 11-a-
side for the oldest. Again number of players for certain age groups may be
modified by local leagues.
Law 4 - Player's equipment:
Shin guards with socks that completely cover Shin
guards. No jewelry or tape coveri
ng jewelry and no baseball cleats because
baseball cleats have a fr
ont (tip toe) cleat that st
icks out. Soccer “boots” have no
such tip toe cleat.
Law 5 – Referees (Referee or Center ref):
The referee has total control of the
game and, unlike other sports the soccer refe
ree has the latitude to make calls or
not to make calls. The referee's main c
oncern is the safety of the players and
flow of the game. The ref enf
orces all the rules of the game but may elect NOT to
stop play due to valid rules violations if
no advantage is gained by a team/player.
Law 6 - Assistant referee (AR):
In 11v11 games there are two assistants
running the sidelines helping the referee control the game.
Law 7 - Duration of the game:
The official time is
two 45-minute halves. With
youth leagues it can range from two 20 min. halves up to 45. Some leagues have
4 12-minute quarters which is the
time recommended for micro soccer.
Law 8 - Start of play:
The kick off is taken at the center spot and is determined
by a coin toss. The ball has to move forw
ard to start the half.
Each player must
be in his or her half of the field and at
least ten yard away from the ball. If a
referee has to do a drop ball, the play resumes when the ball hits the ground.
Law 9 - Ball in and out of play:
The ball is out of play when it COMPLETELY
goes over the goal line or touch-line (i.e. si
delines). It doesn't matter whether it's
in the air or on the ground.
Law 10 - Method of scoring:
The ball must COMPLETELY go across the line
into the goal.
Law 11 - Off sides:
One of the most complicated laws of the game. Most
leagues don't apply off sides till they start playing 11 V 11. The basic concept is
that a player must have at least one def
ender (not including the goalkeeper)
between him and the goal WHEN the ball is pl
ayed to him. Also to be offside the
player must be in the opponent’s side
and looking to gain an advantage. If a
player is in an offside position and
the ball is NOT played to them or no
advantage is gained the offside infrac
tion is NOT called (See Law 5 above)
Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct:
Soccer is a contact sport and there will and
can be contact especially for winning 50/50
balls, fighting for balls in the air,
tackling or dislodging a ba
ll from an opponent, etc. At t
he youth level most fouls
are due to pushing, holding or tripping and
body blocking/charging in an attempt
to try to get a ball that is clearly po
ssessed by an opponent or unfairly contacting
an opponent to prohibit them
from gaining possession
(i.e. again gaining unfair
advantage). However, if no advantage is gai
ned or dangerous action occurs (i.e.
cleats in the air, knocking a player out of
the way to get to a ball, charging a
player to dislodge a ball) by the contact no foul is called. These result in a free
Another foul that occurs often is
a handball. A ball may not be intentionally
influenced or redirected using any part of
the arm/hand. If so a
foul is called and
possession changes to the other team.
A ball MAY hit an arm/hand innocently
and play continue if the player does not tr
y to redirect/influence the ball. The key
to watch for with a “handball violation” is
did the player move his/her hand/arm to
the ball to influence it (hand to ball – foul
called) or did the ball innocently touch
his/her arm/hand (ball
to hand – no foul).
Law 13: Free kicks -
There are two types. A direct
and indirect. At the youth
level most free kicks are classified as
indirect. This means a goal may not be
scored until the ball has been played or t
ouched by a second player of either
team. Direct means a goal may be sco
red dir3ectly from the free kick.
Law 14: Penalty kick -
If a player commits a foul
in their own penalty area (18-
box) a Penalty kick will be awarded. The ki
ck is taken twelve yards out from the
goal with the shooting player being one-
on-one with the goalie. The ball is “live”
after the shot.
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