Game Rules- Madison Soccer League, Rec
The players will need a drink (water is best), team shirt/pinny, shin guards, and appropriate cleats for each game. Soccer cleats do not have a toe spike as some other sports cleats do. Toe spikes are dangerous in soccer, and will not be allowed. If you need help finding appropriate footwear please contact your coach or a league member!
No large earrings/jewelry on the field. No caps with brims. Hoods should be tucked in. If a player has a cast on, please check with league members to make sure it is legal to play.
The goalie is allowed to use their hands inside the Penalty Area only. Use of hands outside of the Penalty Area results in an indirect kick (section 6).
If a player passes the ball backwards towards their goalie, the goalie may NOT use their hands. This is considered a “pass-back” and the goalie must use their feet as a fielder to control and return the ball. If hands are used the consequence is an indirect free kick (section 6) or a throw-in (section 4) depending on the age of the players and the size of the field.
Hand-ball is defined as “Hand to Ball contact” not Ball-to-hand. If a ball hits a player’s hand/arm/shoulder, it is not considered a hand ball. If the player uses their hand/arm/shoulder to move the ball on purpose to create an advantage it is considered a hand ball. This means that the referee makes a judgement call given their view at that time. Please, do NOT contest hand balls calls as they are difficult to make and you may have had a better vantage point than the referee at the time! Hand-ball in the penalty box results in a penalty kick (section 7) and a hand-ball outside of the box consequence is up to the referee (usually indirect kick, section 6)
Game Start and Restart
A kick-off is the way that any game starts or restarts after a goal. The ball is placed at the center point of the field, each team has their players standing on their own half of the field outside of the center circle. The starting team has one to two players standing inside of the circle to begin the game. When the whistle is blown, the starting team’s chosen member passes the ball to their team. As soon as the ball is kicked by the primary starter, the play is live and the other team may advance on the ball.
The two-touch rule applies during a kick-off. (section 8)
When the ball exits the field on a sideline, the referee will call for a throw-in.
The team that did not make the ball leave the field will be the team that executes a throw-in.
Proper technique for a throw in includes two feet on the ground upon release of the ball. This means that a dragging foot is legal as long as it stays on the ground through the release of the ball. No hopping!
The ball must also pass over the player’s head, not one handed or to the side.
Improper throw-ins result in an assisted redo attempt in the younger age groups. In kids 8 and older the expectations are higher- improper throw ins will result in the other team being given the ball for a throw-in.
You can NOT make a goal directly from a throw in, a player on the field must get the ball into the goal.
Corner Kicks/Goal Kicks
When the ball exists the field over one of the goal lines, the referee will call for a goal kick or a corner kick. If the defending team kicked the ball out, it will result in a corner kick. If the offending team kicked the ball out, it will result in a goal kick.
Corner Kicks are taken from the corner arc on the side that the ball exited the field on. A chosen player will wait for a whistle, then kick the ball anywhere they choose towards their teammates.
Goal kicks are taken from the edge of the Goal box. The Goalie may place the ball on the line of the goal box and will kick the ball outside of the penalty box. A chosen kicker can also do this kick. All other players are asked to back up and are not allowed to touch the ball before it exits the penalty box. If the ball is not kicked hard enough to exit the penalty box the referee will call for a redo. If any player other than the designated kicker/goalie touches the ball before it exits the penalty box, the referee will call for a redo.
Direct Kicks/Indirect Kicks
For both Direct and Indirect kicks, the referee will set the ball on a designated spot on the field (depending on the infraction).
Direct- A goal can be made directly from the kick.
Indirect- A goal can only be made if an additional player has interacted with the ball. You can not make a goal directly from the kick.
In general, a direct kick is the result of a contact foul or hand ball. Direct kicks are not allowed for age groups under 8. All kicks under the age 8 will be indirect.
Penalty kicks are only called if an infraction occurred within the Penalty box. This is a kind of direct kick (section 6).
The ball is placed on a spot designated by the referee and all players besides a designated kicker and the goalie exit the penalty box.
Goalie places both feet on the inside of the goal line, the kicker prepares to kick. When the referee blows the whistle the kicker is allowed to approach the ball and kick once. As soon as the kicker’s foot makes contact with the ball, the goalie may move their feet and attempt to block the ball and the remaining players are allowed to enter the penalty box.
If the ball goes in the net, it’s a goal. If the ball rebounds off the goalie, the ball is live and the remaining players may interact with the ball. The kicker may not touch the ball until another player interacts with the ball. (two touch rule, section 8)
Two Touch Rules
A player can not touch the ball twice in a row when putting the ball into play. This includes during all corner kicks, free kicks, throw ins, penalty kicks, the starting kick, etc.
During the starting kick, the player may not dribble the ball to a teammate or touch it more than once. One solid pass to their team or the referee will call for a redo!
During corner kicks, the kicker may not touch the ball twice in a row. Once they kick the ball, another player must come into contact with it before they are able to touch it again.
During indirect/direct/penalty kicks, the player is allowed to only touch the ball once. If they touch it a second time, the referee will call for a redo.
During a throw in, a player can not throw the ball and then immediately kick it. The ball must come into contact with another player first before they can interact with it again.
The only exception is in drop-ball restarts and are at the discretion of the referee.
This section is at the full discretion of the referee, the ref is always right!
Fouls are NOT called with normal bumping, shoulder-to-shoulder pushing, or body contact. Fouls are NOT called when a player trips during a tackle or falls down during normal play. Rather, a foul is generally only called when the contact includes a raised elbow or hand or if the offending player makes an obvious move on to the other player instead of the ball.
The obvious ones- no shoving, charging, striking, grabbing, shirt pulling, spitting, kicking, etc.
Fouls usually result in a direct or indirect kick. If the foul is deemed bad enough, the referee may Yellow or Red card the player
Yellow- Warning, 2 yellows = red
Red- Ejection for the remainder of the game due to extremely unsafe play. Team must play down a player
Fouls will be called differently depending on the age group of the players involved and is entirely up to the referee’s discretion!
Offsides is defined as “A player cannot be nearer to his opponent’s goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent.” In short, you cannot be closer to the goal than the opposing team’s defender when you receive a pass.
Yes, it’s confusing. Yes, refs all interpret this one differently. SO TRUST THE REF, THEY WILL DO THEIR BEST TO JUDGE OFFSIDES!
Teams under 10 aren’t required to play using offsides rules but instead are expected to follow Cherry Picking rules.
Cherry Picking- When a team places their forwardmost player extremely close to the opposing goal/goalie. This is also up for interpretation by the referee.
Cherry picking is not allowed in any age group.
Offsides is not called on the player’s own side of the field, or during throw ins, corner kicks, and goal kicks.
Upon infraction, the referee will grant an indirect kick to the other team.
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