Soccer Rules Changes - 2016-17

By NFHS on September 01, 2016 soccer Print

4-2-9 NEW: A soft-padded headband is permitted.

Rationale: This information is not included in the rules. It is mentioned in a situation.

11-1-4: A player is offside and penalized if, at the time the ball touches or is played by a teammate, the player is involved in active play and interferes with play or with an opponent or seeks to gain an advantage by being in that position. A player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent, who deliberately plays the ball (except from a deliberate save), is not considered to have gained an advantage.

Rationale: The addition of this information aligns NFHS with other rules codes.

14-1-4: Once the kicker starts his/her approach toward the ball, he/she may not interrupt his/her movement. Failure to kick the ball as specified will be considered a violation by the attacking team, and the appropriate penalties shall apply.

Rationale: As the rule is currently written, even though the attacking team has committed the infringement, it penalizes the defending team if it successfully stops a penalty kick. If the penalty kick is unsuccessful, the defending team should be awarded the ball as the attacking team has incorrectly taken the penalty kick. The current interpretation that the ball has not been put into play so a re-kick must take place is difficult to justify because rarely does the referee blow the whistle in time to prevent the kick from being taken. Thus the ball moves forward and is considered in play under all other interpretations of the
rules. Trying to rationalize this rule to the defending team's players and coaches is very difficult considering they have just prevented a goal even though their opponents committed a violation. Finally, changing the restart in this case to an indirect free kick or the other appropriate penalties aligns NFHS rules with other rules codes.

18-1-1 NEW o: GAINING AN ADVANTAGE BY BEING IN THAT POSITION-A player who plays a ball that rebounds to him/her off a goal post or the crossbar after having been in an offside position, or a player who after being in an offside position plays a ball that rebounds to him/her off an opponent, who has not deliberately played the ball or made a deliberate save.

Rationale: Gaining an Advantage by being in that Position is in Rule 11-1-4, but it has never been defined. This new definition aligns NFHS with other rules codes.

18-1-1 NEW u: INTERFERING WITH AN OPPONENT – Preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or movement of challenging an opponent for the ball.

Rationale: Interfering with an Opponent is in Rule 11-1-4, but it has never been defined. This new definition aligns NFHS with other rules codes.

18-1-1 NEW v: INTERFERING WITH PLAY – Playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a team-mate.

Rationale: Interfering with Play is in Rule 11-1-4, but what it means has never been defined. This new definition aligns NFHS with other rules codes.



1-2-1; 1-2-10;1-4-2; 1-5-1; 1-6; 4-1-1h2; 4-1-2


  1.     Rough Play
  2.     Team Member Equipment Check
  3.     Referee Checking for Injury After a Goal
  4.     Ball Holders