AAYSA Rules Modifications

Within the AAYSA League Rules there are the following modifications to the Laws of Soccer in order to make it a learning environment for youth players, help ensure there safety, and provide for a healthy playing atmosphere. Some of these changes are as follows:

  • We modifiy the size of the pitch (playing field) and the number of players at any given age group.
  • We modify the length of time that a match is to played for.
  • At U8 and U9, goal kicks are taken from the edge of the penalty box (the bigger box)
  • From U8 - U12, Slide Tackling is not allowed to limit injury.
  • GIRLS U18: The goalkeeper may not punt the ball past midfield. In the event the goalie punts the ball past the midfield line, the opposing team receives an indirect free kick at the point the ball passed the midfield line. A ball drop-kicked by the goalkeeper is not considered to be a punt even if it crosses the midfield line in the air.
  • Substitution rules have been changed to allow for increased playing time for all participants.
  • Playing Time Rule: Div 1 is 25% minimum play time, all others are 50% play time (note 50% doesn't mean equal play time).
  • Opponents (Teams and thier Spectators) are to be on the opposite side of the field from each other. Coaches and Referees are to be sure this is done prior to the beginning of any match.
  • Heading Rules: AACO REC is enforcing the heading policy from US Soccer.  The modifications of the rules about bringing the indirect kick and drop ball out to the top of the penalty area is a AAYSA and AACO REC rules interpretation change. Regarding the US SOCCER ON HEADING:  See the statement below regarding heading please use this rule when you do AACO REC Games. 

    For Ages U12 and above there is no restrictions

    For Ages U 11 and Under - If a player purposely heads a ball, an indirect kick at the spot of the infraction will be awarded to the opposing team.  If it was headed purposely in the penalty area, the ball will be placed at the top of the 18 yard box (penalty area).

    If a player accidentally heads a ball, a drop ball will occur at the spot of the infraction.  If a player accidentally heads a ball in the penalty area, the drop ball will occur at the top of the 18 yard box (penalty area).

·       See AAYSA RULES for additional modification and overall league rules.

U14/15 Age Group

The U14/15 age was created so that 8th graders who fall outside the calendar year age bracket can still play with 8th graders.  U15s who are 9th graders should play in the high school age group, U18.  We will make some exceptions for a few 9th graders to play U14/15 when clubs have no where else to put them, but only on a case by case basis.


Laws of Soccer

The following links will help you understand the laws of soccer.

·       Summary of Laws: http://worldsoccer.about.com/od/soccer101/a/Soccer-Rules.htm

·       FIFA Full Laws: http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/footballdevelopment/refereeing/81/42/36/log2013en_neutral.pdf

Is Soccer a Contact Sport?

From: Coaching American Soccer

Soccer IS a Contact Sport

There is some measure of concern associated with a neophyte soccer parent who states that they are pleased that their child is playing a sport with “little contact,” or worse, “no contact.” One can only guess that this really means that they are pleased that, subconsciously or otherwise, their child is not playing a “collision sport” like American football. Let there be no misunderstanding: Soccer is a contact sport. With up to 22 players running around competing for space and the ball in the full-sides outdoor game, the chance for either intentional or unintentional bodily or other physical contact is extremely high. Essentially, there are three types of contact in soccer: 1.) Legal Contact, 2.) Illegal Contact, and 3.) Accidental Contact.

Legal Contact

Legal contact in soccer is nominally described as being “shoulder to shoulder” between two opponents, as one player comes into the other, or “charges,” to challenge for the ball. The most common instance of this is two players running side-by-side, usually as they both pursue a moving ball in front of them. Shoulder-to-shoulder contact may also occur with opponents facing one another, such as in a front block tackle, or from behind, such as when one player screens the ball from the opponent. Each of these examples, when performed properly, represents a “fair charge” in soccer. FIFA’s Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees states that, “The act of charging is a challenge for space using physical contact (emphasis added) within playing distance of the ball without using arms or elbows.”

The expectation during the performance of a fair charge is that both players will have at least one foot on the ground and that excessive force will not be used. In other words, the player making the challenge cannot just slam into an opponent who is in mid-air or barrel into him at whatever speed, even if the contact is shoulder to shoulder. A fair charge can result in a player being put to the ground, however, if one player loses his balance, timing catches an opponent on the “wrong foot,” or if another player is simply bigger or stronger. The mere fact that contact has occurred and a player winds up on the ground does not make the contact illegal.

Illegal Contact

Illegal contact in soccer starts with the fouls identified in Law 12 of the FIFA Laws of the Game, “Fouls and Misconduct,” and escalates from poor challenges during the common run of play to truly inappropriate behavior. The illegal contact in Law 12 includes kicking, tripping, jumping (at, into, or on), (improper) charging, striking, pushing, (improper) tackling, and holding an opponent. The Law states that, “A direct free kick is to be awarded to the opposing team if a player commits… [one of these] offenses in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force.” It is also illegal to charge properly, but with the ball not within playing distance. Referees must use their judgment to determine the severity of the penalty to be applied.

FIFA’s Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees states that, “‘Careless’ means that the player has shown a lack of attention or consideration when making a challenge or that he acted without precaution.” (This results in the simple award of the free kick.) Further, it states that, “‘Reckless’ means that the player has acted with complete disregard to the danger to, or consequences for, his opponent.” (This is supposed to bring a yellow-card caution in addition to the free kick.) Finally, it states that, “‘Using excessive force’ means that the player has far exceeded the necessary use of force and is in danger of injuring his opponent.” (This is supposed to bring a red-card ejection in addition to the free kick.)

Illegal contact can run the gamut from a mistimed slide tackle, one that misses the ball and happens to take down the opponent, all the way to assault. All of this verbiage is well and good unless you are on the receiving end of the illegal contact and run the risk of being severely hurt. As such, coaches need to teach their players three major concepts: 1.) Legal and illegal contact; 2.) Respect for the opponent; and, 3.) How to try to avoid injury at the time of contact.

Accidental Contact

Sometimes, there is player contact in soccer that does not fall neatly into the categories of being legal or illegal. This type of contact can be characterized as just plain bad luck or misfortune. This can occur in any sport with multiple players, moving at speed in the same space, and it is no different in soccer. Unfortunate collisions can happen: Two players go up together for a head ball and one winds up heading the other player. A player running at full speed is concentrating on the ball and never sees the opponent. Two opponents equidistant from each other, both going for a “50-50 ball,” collide. A player lands awkwardly after legs get entangled. A player jumps over another player on the ground who unexpectedly stands up. Two players on the same team run into each other. There is other accidental contact that does no involve another person: A goalkeeper puts his wrist into the goalpost trying to make a save. A player gets hit with the ball when there is insufficient time to react. A player steps in a hole or trips on a rock. All of these examples are most unfortunate, but they are real instances of another aspect of the game.

All forms of contact in soccer must be recognized, understood, mitigated when possible, and the risks ultimately accepted if one wants to play or coach the sport.

© Copyright 2011
John Harves
All Rights Reserved


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