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Soccer Rules (Outdoor)

What we bring
- Referee
- Soccer balls
- Team uniforms

What you bring
- Sneakers or cleats (cleats are recommended) 
- Shin guards (recommended)
- Please do not wear any jewelry

Game & Field Set-up
- Games consist of two 30 minute halves with a 3 minute half-time.
- Each team can use 1 timeout per half. Timeouts are for one minute and play clock begins at the end of one minute.
- For co-ed leagues, teams must have at least two (2) women on the field at all times.  The minimum number of players to field a team is one less than the maximum (example 5vs5 league, minimum to play is 4 players.  6vs6 league, minimum is 5 players) If a team cannot field the minimum number of players required a forfeit will be declared. 


Sub Policy
- If you do not have enough players for the evening, you may borrow players from other teams in the league, however;
- Borrowing a player awards the opposing team an automatic 1 goal 
- You may register a Non-Rostered Substitute player as a substitute without penalty. Non-Rostered Subs must be registered through our website prior to arriving at the field. Non-Rostered Subs will pay $10 to play and must show proof of registration to referee when arriving at the field.
- A registered Non-Rostered Substitute must have completed two (2) games to be eligible for playoffs
- You may not borrow players from other teams in the league during playoffs. 
- Teams that require more than two subs to field a team will automatically forfeit.  Opposing team may choose to offer players to compete in scrimmage game if desired.


Playoffs

- The number of teams that make the playoffs will vary by league size.  
- Regular season play identifies the teams that will make the playoffs as well as seeding for playoff schedule.  If regular season win/loss records result in a tie for a playoff spot or higher playoff seeding, the playoff tiebreaker rules are as follows:

- Head to head match ups. If still tied, then refer to:
- Highest point differential in head to head match ups - if still tied, then refer to: 
- Highest point differential through entire season.


Start of Play
- A flip of a coin decides which team will kick off. Each team must stay in its own half of the field and the defending players must be at least 5 yards from the ball when it is kicked. After a goal, the team scored upon will kick off. After halftime, the teams change ends and the kickoff will be taken by the opposite team to that which started the game. 
- Mercer County Club Sports Soccer follows the guidelines of NCAA Soccer with these exceptions: 

- Slide tackling is not allowed.
-  Rolling Substitutions are allowed freely.
- There will be enforced "off-sides" rule


Tie Game
- During Regular season if a game ends in a tie, a tie will be declared. 
- During the playoffs, overtime will be as follows:
- One 10 minute overtime period with "Sudden Death" winner declared upon first goal scored.  
- If a tie still exists at the end of 10 minute overtime, 3 vs. 3 penalty kick shootout will determine winner.  If shootout ends in a tie, multiple 3 vs. 3 shootouts will take place until a winner is determined.


Fouls and Misconduct


Slide tackling/playing from the ground: 
No slide tackling is allowed by any player on the field(see exception for goalkeeper) A player may not fall down and attempt to be a part of the play. A direct kick will be awarded to the opposing team for either infraction.


Direct free kick: Opposing players must be 10 feet from the ball. Direct free kicks are also known as one touch kick, since only one touch is required for a goal to be awarded. This kick should always be taken at the spot where the offense took place, and the ball should always be in a stationary position when taking the kick. A player can kick the ball straight into the goal from a direct free kick. However, when an offense worth of a direct free kick is committed inside the penalty region; a penalty kick is awarded instead. A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following 6 offenses in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force: kicks; trips, jumps; charges; strikes; or pushes. A direct free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following 4 offenses: holds, spits, deliberately handles the ball with hands, or tackling an opponent to gain possession of the ball making contact with the opponent before touching the ball.
 


Penalty kick: A penalty kick is awarded if any of the above 10 offenses are committed by a player inside his or her own penalty area, irrespective of the position of the ball. 

Indirect free kick: The ball must be touched by another player on the field before a goal may be scored. Opposing players must be 10 feet from the ball. The only exception to this is when an indirect free kick is awarded inside the penalty area  Here, the opposing players form a wall on the goal line. When a player is taking free kick inside his penalty area, the opposing players should stay outside the penalty area, at least 10 yards from the ball, till the ball is played or kicked. An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player, in the opinion of the referee, commits any of the following offenses: initiating a dangerous play; impeding the progress of an opponent (screens/blocks away from the ball); or preventing the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his or her hands. An indirect kick will also be awarded if the goalkeeper: takes more than four steps while controlling the ball with his/her hands before releasing it; touches the ball again with his/her hands after it has been released from her possession and has not touched another player; touches the ball with her hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him/her by a teammate; or wastes time

Free kicks: Free kicks are classified into two categories: "Direct" (from which a goal can be scored directly against the offending side) and "Indirect" (from which a goal cannot be scored unless the ball has been touched by a player other than the kicker before entering the goal). For all free kicks the offending team must be at least 10 yards from the ball or the goal line until the ball is kicked.


Penalty kick: A penalty kick is a direct free kick taken at the penalty mark. All players except the player taking the kick and the goalkeeper must stay outside the penalty area and be at least 10 yards from the ball.


Goal kick: When the ball has wholly crossed the goal line after being last touched by a player from the attacking team, it is put back into play by a kick from the goal area by the defending team.


Ball In and Out of Play: The ball is out of play when (a) it has wholly crossed the goal line or touchline, whether on the ground or in the air, or (b) when the game has been stopped by the referee. The ball is in play at all other times.


Corner Kick: When the ball has wholly crossed the goal line after being last touched by a player from the defending team, it is put back into play by a kick by the attacking team from the corner on the side the ball went out.



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