Soccer Rules Changes - 2018-19

By NFHS on February 20, 2018 soccer Print

4-1-1a, b: a. The home team shall wear dark jerseys and socks (dark is defined as any color which contrasts with white), and the visiting team shall wear solid white jerseys and solid white socks. Prior to and during the game, jerseys shall be tucked into the shorts, unless manufactured to be worn outside.
b. Both socks shall be the same color, with the home team wearing socks of a single dominant color, but not necessarily the color of the jersey and the visiting team wearing solid white sock. If tape or a similar material (stays/ straps) is applied externally to the socks, it must be of similar color as that part of the sock to which it is applied.

Rationale: This change allows home teams to wear the school-colored jerseys at home. The change would provide the opportunity for teams to use an alternative color uniform for "special" events, if approved by the state association.

4-1-1d, e: d. If visible apparel is worn under the jersey and/or shorts, it shall be of similar length for an individual and a solid liked-color for the team.

Rationale: The previous rule caused financial hardships for some players and schools. The rule allows for the purchase of one set of cold-weather undergarments per player.

4-2-10 (NEW): In addition to the above permitted uses, state associations may on an individual basis permit a player to participate while wearing a head covering if it meets the following criteria:

1. For medical or cosmetic reasons – In the event a participant is required by a licensed medical physician to cover his/her head with a covering or wrap, the physician’s statement is required before the state association can approve a covering or wrap which is not abrasive, hard or dangerous to any other player and which is attached in such a way it is highly unlikely that it will come off during play.
2. For religious reasons – In the event there is documented evidence provided to the state association that a participant may not expose his/her uncovered head, the state association may approve a covering or wrap which is not abrasive, hard or dangerous to any other player and which is attached in such a way it is highly unlikely to come off during play.

Rationale: The addition of this exception allows for the participation of students who for religious reasons must maintain a covered head in all situations. The same is true for the student who for medical or cosmetic reasons needs to cover the head.

8-1-2: At the moment of the kickoff, all players, except the player taking the kickoff, shall be in their team's half of the field. Players opposing the kicker shall be at least 10 yards from the ball until it is kicked.

Rationale: This 2017 rule change allowing the kickoff to be taken in any direction has created difficulty for the player taking the kick to easily kickoff into his/her own half of the field without physically being in the opponent’s half of the field. This addition to the rule would permit only the player taking the kickoff to be in the opponent’s half of the field, in order to take the kickoff.

11-1-4: A Player is offside and penalized if, at the time the ball touches or is played by a teammate, the player, in an offside position, becomes involved in active play by:

  • a. interfering with play or with an opponent or;
  • b. 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. Indirect free kick at the spot of the infraction (even in own half), subject to the provisions in P 13.1.3

Rationale: This change better articulates the difference between being in an offside position and an offside violation. It also places the penalty language in a more logical place within the rule.

12-8-1f, 15 (NEW): 1. A player, coach or bench personnel shall be cautioned (yellow card) for:

f. unsporting conduct, including, but not limited to: 15. A player who commits an offense against an opponent within his/her team penalty area which denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the referee awards a penalty kick, if the offense was an attempt to play the ball. 12-8-2d3, 4 2. A player, coach or bench personnel shall be disqualified (red card) for: (NEW) d. committing serious foul play: 3. a player commits a foul, outside the penalty area, attempting to deny an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, and the goal is not scored; or 4. a player commits a foul, inside the penalty area, while not attempting to play the ball, and the goal is not scored.

Rationale: This change addresses the issues of denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity (DOGSO) that occur in the game that places a player and team in double jeopardy when applying a penalty.

13-2-1j (NEW): ART. 1 . . . Direct free kicks are awarded and taken from the point of the infraction (Except as in 13-1-3 and 14-1-1):

j. if a player, coach, or bench personnel enters or leaves the field of play without permission of an official and interferes with play or an official (12-8-1).

Rationale: This change emphasizes the importance of proper decorum and behavior from the benches.

13-2-3: ART. 3 . . . The following indirect free kicks are taken from where the ball was when the referee stopped play: (Subject to restrictions in 13-1-3 and 13-1-4.)

a. if a player, coach or bench personnel enters or leaves the field of play without permission of an official and does not interfere with play or an official (12-8-1);

Rationale: This change maintains a focus on the proper decorum and behavior of the benches.

18-1-g (NEW): A deliberate act is one in which a player chooses to act, regardless of the outcome of that action. This deliberate act is neither reaction nor reflex. A deliberate action may result in the opponent benefiting from the action (e.g., a deliberate, but misplayed ball that goes directly to an opponent). A reaction or reflex may result in that player benefiting from the action (e.g., a ball inadvertently contacting the arm and falling directly to the player's feet).

Rationale: This definition provides guidance for interpretation of rules that contain the word deliberate or phrase deliberate act.


Major Editorial Changes

4-2-4: Clarifies a religious medal or other religious items must be taped to the body


Points of Emphasis

  1. Denying an Obvious Goal-Scoring Opportunity
  2. Excessive Player Substitutions
  3. Referee Mechanics for Indirect Free Kicks