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Rules of Play

Charlotte Junior Soccer Foundation, Inc.
Rules of Play


  1. Playing time for all and equal playing time a goal in all games. Coaches are strongly encouraged to manage games so playing time is distributed as equally as possible. This is recreational soccer -- it is about participation, development and fun, not winning and losing.
  2. All players must wear shin guards, and they must be underneath their socks.
  3. No watches, jewelry (including rings, necklaces, earrings or other body piercings) or loose items may be worn during games. Earring Exception: newly pierced ears with small posts can be taped, front and back, with the understanding that the player and parent(s) accept risks of injury. We highly recommend that ear piercing be done in the off season.
  4. Players must bring their own water bottle to all games and practices. No sharing of any personal equipment.
  5. Referees are to be used at all games. They will control the time and call the game. If a referee is not available, a coach/parent from each team shall share the referee duties, with each taking their own team’s defensive half of the field in U8 and older; a parent/coach from both teams taking over referee duties for one half a game in U5 /JKand U6/K.
  6. The referees’ calls are to be respected and accepted; coaches may politely ask referees for clarification of rules or calls at appropriate moments during games, but under no circumstances are coaches, parents, or players to dispute calls, yell at referees or engage in behavior (verbal or otherwise) contrary to the Charlotte Junior Soccer Code of Conduct.  Referees have the authority to suspend games and remove violators from the fields. Courtesy and respect for all is expected.
  7. Blowout Rules: Nobody likes to lose 6-0. If you’re up by 3, you need to implement a plan to take the pressure off. Games go from 3-0 to 5-0 very quickly, so do not wait. This can include moving better players back or subbing them out, playing with fewer forwards or requiring multiple passes before a shot. If your team goes up by 5 goals, try removing one player from the field, and if need be, another player. The other team can add players. It is your responsibility to stop blowouts.
  8. Heading: All Players age 12 and younger shall not head the ball directly from the air in any match or competition, nor shall these players practice heading the ball in any organized team setting. If a player age 12 or younger deliberately heads the ball in a match, the referee shall award an indirect free kick to the opposing team at the spot of the infraction. If the heading occurs within the penalty area, the referee shall move the ball outside the penalty area and award an indirect free kick to the opposing team (NCYSA August 2016).  U14-U18 players should only head the ball in practices and games if properly trained; headers per player per week limited to no more than 20 total headers; and not actively encouraged to head the ball in practices and games.
  9. Concussions: if there is ANY indication/suspicion of a concussion, the player will be immediately removed from the practice or game and will sit out for the remainder of the day. Follow the “when in doubt, sit them out” rule at all times. If a concussion is diagnosed by a health care professional, we strongly recommend that the player have medical clearance before returning to practice or game.
  10. Parents are to sit opposite their child’s team, across the field. No parent, sibling, or fan should be seated with the team or behind the team. No one should be seated or standing along the goal line or behind the goal, including coaches. Parents should be directly opposite their child’s team along the side line with the field of play in between. Please sit or stand at minimum 6 feet from the sideline and endline in order to give the referees safe clearance to run up and down the sidelines as needed. 




  1. Size 3 ball; play 4 quarters, with a halftime break.
  2. No deliberate off sides, cherry picking and goal tending.
  3. Substitutions mainly at quarters, halftime, and for injuries. Can sub at game stoppage during quarter with referee permission.
  4. One coach from each team on the field, away from play, not in penalty box, and out of the way.
  5. No coaches/parents/siblings/fans/dogs behind the goals.
  6. Score is not kept. Standings are not kept.

Rules for Moppets/Under 5/Junior Kindergarten

  1. Play is 3v3, all field players. Quarters are 6 -8 minutes long, with a short break (2 min) at the quarters and a 5 minute half.
  2. Kick-ins when the ball goes out of bounds; no throw-ins.
  3. No goalies.
  4. Fouls and other stoppages-award the other team the direct free kick. Keep stoppage time to a minimum. Keep the game moving.

Rules for Under 6/Kindergarten

  1. Play is 4v4, all field players. Quarters of 8-10 minutes with a short break (1-2 min) at the quarters and a 5 minute half.
  2. No keepers. Corner kicks introduced. No goal kicks.
  3. No Throw-ins. Kick-ins when ball goes out of bounds. Opposing players stand 3 yards back from the ball.
  4. Fouls-other team is awarded an indirect free kick (can’t go directly into the goal-must be touched by another player).

Rules for Division 1 Under 8/1st & 2nd Grade

  1. Play is 6v6, 5 field players and 1 goalie, as determined by the Division Coordinator. If a team has only 5 players, then play will be 5v5.
  2. Games are @50 minutes long, with 4 quarters of 10-12 minutes each. Short breaks (1-2 min) at quarters; five (5) minute break at half. These times may be adjusted as needed by the Division Coordinator or the referees.
  3. Indirect Free Kick for all fouls. No penalty kicks.
  4. Throw ins introduced, 2nd attempt allowed. Corner kicks are in play. Goal kicks introduced.
  5. Drop Back Rule: Opposing players must be behind halfway line during a Goal kick (not goal save).
  6. Goal Keepers introduced and must rotate each quarter-1 Q per player limit per game.
  7. Goal Keepers may move to the edge of the penalty box line to kick or throw the ball.




Rules for Division 2 (Under 10 ) - 3rd & 4th Grade

  1. Play shall be 8v8, 7 field players and 1 goalie, as determined by the Division Coordinator.
  2. Size 4 ball is used.
  3. Games are 55 minutes long, with 2 halves of 25 minutes each with 5 minute break at half (boys); 4 quarters of 12 min each with 1 min break between Qs and 5 min half (girls).
  4. Throw ins, second attempt allowed only in first few games.
  5. Coaches are NOT allowed on the field. Coaches must remain on the sidelines and no one (parents, friends, coaches, fans, dogs) can stand behind the goals or goal line.  Coaches must also stay on their chosen half of the field, in the coaches box, between the midfield line and the 18 yard line (i.e., the coaches may not cross midfield on the sidelines and encroach on the other teams sideline area.)
  6. Goalies must kick or throw the ball within a 5 count from anywhere within the penalty box. There is no limit on the number of steps or a requirement that the goalie dribble the ball. Goalkeeper: No player should play more than a half in any one game as the keeper.
  7. Drop Back Rule: Opposing players must be behind halfway line on a Goal kick.
  8. Offsides will be gently enforced after the second game of the season.
  9. Fouls will result in an indirect, direct or a penalty kick in conformity with FIFA rules except that ALL fouls in D2/U10 will result in an indirect kick unless the foul clearly saves a goal or is in the penalty area, in which case the referee MAY award a direct or a penalty kick at their discretion.
  10. No overtime or shoot outs during regular season.
  11. Substitutions are at own kick-ins, all goal kicks, and all kick offs.  Subs must stand at the midpoint sideline and wait for the referee’s signal to enter the field. Substitutions are only allowed during game stoppages as indicated above. To keep the flow of the game, please try to substitute as efficiently as possible. Excessive substitution is discouraged and may be restricted by the referee.
  12.  Score: We may keep score for tracking purposes and we will have a tournament or round robin at the end of the season.  3 points are awarded for a win and 1 point for a tie, if score is kept.

Rules for Division 3 (Under 12)/5th & 6th Grade -all of the above except for:

  1. Play shall be 9v9, 8 field players and 1 goalie, as determined by the Division Coordinator.
  2. Size 4 ball is used.
  3. Throw ins: proper form is enforced.
  4. For goal kicks:  opposing players must be out of the penalty/18 yd box. No drop back rule for U12 or older.
  5. Games are 65 minutes long, divided into two 30 minute halves, with a 5 minute break at the half.
  6. Goalies have 7 seconds to get rid of the ball.

Rules for Division 4  (Under 14)/7th & 8th Grade -all of the above except for:

  1. Play is 11v11 (10 field players plus goalie)
  2. Size 5 ball is used.
  3. Games are 70 minutes long, with two 35 minute halves, with a 5 minute break at the half.

Rules for Division 5 (Under 18/9-12 grade)-all of the above except for:

     1. Games are 80 minutes long, with two 40 minute halves, with a 5  minute break at the half.

All other FIFA rules apply. Link to FIFA:,1584,3,00.html.