Girls Soccer - Rules & Regulations

Rules & Regulations

If multiple practies in a day are utilized (long day), they may not be scheduled on consecutive days. Practices are limited to alternating Short Days and Long Days.

1.  Short Day

(a) Maximum practice is 3 hours of physical activity plus a 30-minute recovery period.

(b) A 30-minute recovery period (rest in a cool environment and hydrate) must occur no later than 2 hours into practice. 

(c) Unrestricted and unlimited access to water throughout physical activity is strongly encouraged.

2. Long Day 

(a) Maximum of one practice is 3 hours of physical activity plus a 30-minute recovery period. 

(b) A 30-minute recovery period (rest in a cool environment and hydrate) must occur no later than 2 hours into practice.

(c) Minimum of a 3-hour break without physical exertion, in a cool environment, with rehydration before the second practice that day. 

(d) The longer practice, which is limited to 3 hours of physical activity plus a 30-minute recovery period, may be at any time during the day. When combined with an additional practice, there must be a 3-hour break between. 

(e) Maximum additional practice is 1.5 hours. 

(f) Unrestricted and unlimited access to water throughout physical activity is strongly encouraged.

3.  After ten (10) practices to the end of the season:

(a) Only one practice allowed per day.

(b) Maximum practice is 2.5 hours.

(c) A 30-minute recovery period is not required.

(d) Monitor weather and heat conditions and adjust appropriately.

(e) Unlimited access to water and hydration should be available.

Substitutions in high school soccer will now be permitted during a stoppage of play when bench personnel are cautioned or disqualified.

This addition to the listing of substitution opportunities in Rule 3-3-3 was one of two rules changes recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Soccer Rules Committee at its January 26-28 meeting in Indianapolis. These changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Substitutes from both teams who have already reported per Rule 3-4-1(d) may be beckoned by the referee and may enter when the clock is stopped for a caution or disqualification of bench personnel. The other opportunities for substitutions by players on either team who have reported include goal kick, player yellow card and player red card.

“Allowing substitutes who have already reported to enter the field of play (during a stoppage of play when bench personnel are cautioned or disqualified) is consistent with substitution procedures, game management principles and commitment to student participation,” said Mark Koski, director of sports, events and development and liaison to the Soccer Rules Committee.

The other rule change approved by the committee involves a revision in the goalkeeper’s uniform. While the goalkeeper’s socks do not have to be the same color as the socks of his or her teammates, the goalkeeper’s socks must be a different color than the opponent’s socks.

“Currently, the jersey of the goalkeeper must be distinctly different in color from his or her teammates and opposing field players,” Koski said. “To differentiate opponents, it is important that the goalkeeper’s socks be included in this rule.”

In addition to the two rules changes, the Soccer Rules Committee approved five Points of Emphasis for the 2015-16 season. Points of emphasis are developed by NFHS rules committees and should receive special focus and attention by officials, coaches, players, fans and other leaders within the high school setting.

Points of Emphasis developed by the Soccer Rules Committee for 2015-16 are as follows:

  • Recognize that Exertional Heatstroke (EHS) is the leading preventable cause of death among high school athletes.
  • Know the importance of a formal pre-season heat acclimatization plan.
  • Know the importance of having and implementing a specific hydration plan, keeping your athletes well-hydrated, and encouraging and providing ample opportunities for regular fluid replacement.
  • Know the importance of appropriately modifying activities in relation to the environmental heat stress and contributing individual risk factors (e.g., illness, obesity) to keep your athletes safe and performing well.
  • Know the importance for all members of the coaching staff to closely monitor all athletes during practice and training in the heat, and recognize the signs and symptoms of developing heat illnesses.
  • Know the importance of, and resources for, establishing an emergency action plan and promptly implementing it in case of suspected EHS or other medical emergency.

  1. FIGHTING/RECKLESS PLAY – Players, coaches, game officials and spectators must work together to model and demonstrate sportsmanship and fair play, to minimize risk and to maximize participation.

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.  (Home tape/stays/straps = white, Away tape/stays/straps = similar color of socks)

  2. Game officials are encouraged to effectively communicate with one another as well as with players and coaches throughout the game.


  1. Players opposing the kicker shall remain outside the penalty area until the ball has cleared the penalty area.
  2. According to the 2013-14 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, soccer is the fifth-most popular sport for boys at the high school level with 417,419 participants and the fourth-most popular sport for girls with 374,564 participants.

Printable Version -- Please print and place in your rulebook for future reference.

National Federation Experiment (2014-2015)
(1) All varsity regular season contests will be played in two forty-five (45) minute halves.  No overtime will be played.  (2) All subvarsity contests will be played in two forty (40) minute halves.  No overtime will be played.  (3) Penalty kicks could be used to determine which team would advance in a tournament bracket.
Rule 1-5-2 & 6-3-1  Scoretable
Schools shall provide a scorer and scoretable for all varsity contests.
Rule 4-2-1f  Soft and yielding caps may be worn during inclement weather.
Rule 5-1-1 Note Schools must use a single referee and two WIAA licensed assistant referees for all varsity duals (conference and nonconference).
Rule 7-1-3  Suspended Games
In the event a game must be suspended because conditions make it impossible to continue before one complete half has been played, the game will continue from that point unless both coaches agree to let the recorded score stand.  If at least one half of the game has been completed, the game is an official game.
Rule 7-1-5  Mercy Rule
Following the completion of the first half, anytime the score differential reaches ten or more goals, the coaches may mutually agree to end the game.  After 60 minutes of play, if there is a score differential of 10 or more the game shall end.
Rule 7-3-1  Contests Ending in a Tie
Overtime shall not be played at the JV or freshmen level.  Penalty kicks could be used to determine which team would advance in a tournament bracket.
WIAA Tournament Series - National Federation Experiment (2014-2015)
During the WIAA tournament series, all games will be played in two forty-five (45) minute halves, two (2) full ten (10) minute overtimes (no sudden victory) and then penalty kicks if the game is still tied.
1.  There shall be two 10-minute overtime periods (No sudden victory).
2.  The head referee shall choose the goal at which all of the penalty kicks from the penalty line shall be taken.
3.  Each coach will select any five players, including the goalkeeper, on or off the field (except those who may have been disqualified) to take the penalty kicks.
4.  A coin toss shall be held as in Rule 5-2-2(e).  The team winning the toss shall have the choice of kicking first or second.
5.  Teams will alternate kickers.  There is no follow-up on the kick.
6.  Following five kicks for each team, the team scoring on the greatest number of these kicks shall be declared the winner.
7.  Add one goal to the winning team score and credit the team with a victory.
8.  If the score remains tied after each team has had five penalty kicks:
a.  Each coach will select five different players than the first five who already have kicked to take the kicks in a sudden victory situation, wherein if one team scores and the other team does not score, the game is ended without more kicks being taken.
b.  If the score remains tied, continue the sudden victory kicks with the coach selecting any five players to take the next set of alternating penalty kicks.  If a tie still remains, repeat 7a.
Overtime shall not be played at the JV or freshmen level.  Penalty kicks could be used to determine which team would advance in a tournament bracket.

Rule 12-8  Misconduct
1.  Yellow cards received must be counted.  Once a player has accumulated five yellow cards during the regular season, they are suspended for the next game.  Three more yellow cards, they are suspended for two games.   At the start of the WIAA tournament series, a player will start with a clean slate if they have accumulated less than five yellow cards during the regular season, otherwise their yellow card count continues.  During the WIAA tournament series, once a player accumulates three yellow cards, they are suspended for the next game; three more yellows, suspended for two games, etc. Any yellow cards received by the coach will count toward the 24 card total.  All yellow cards issued in a varsity game must be reported to the WIAA.
2.  If a player receives a red card or a second yellow card resulting in disqualification, that individual is suspended for the next scheduled game.  These are minimum penalties.  All red cards must be reported to the appropriate head coach and to the WIAA.
Note:   Any team whose players, during the regular season, collectively receive a total of 24 or more yellow cards (including all second yellow/red cards) will be prohibited from participating in the WIAA State Tournament series.

Officials will be required to submit a game report to the WIAA  following the completion of any vasity dual or multischool tournament if any yellow or  red cards are issued.
Pre-Game Protocol (varsity only).  Ten-minutes prior to scheduled kickoff - coach and captain(s) meet with officials for pregame conference.  Five-minutes prior to scheduled kickoff:
1.  Official blows whistle and teams move to bench area.
2.  Teams lineup on the touch line and shake hands.
3.  National Anthem and/or player introductions.
4.  Play begins.
5.  No handshakes at end of game.  Officials leave the area immediately.
6.  Coaches must report to their school administration within 48 hours following a contest any player or coach ejection.  School administrators must then report the ejection to the WIAA via written communication within three (3) school days following the contest.  This written communication must also include a plan of action to prevent future ejections.  Officials will continue to provide electronic reports to the WIAA.


It is recommended that when a field clock is used, the clock shall be counted up from 0:00 to 45:00.

Soft or Padded Headgear in Non-Helmeted Sports Position Statement 

National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) 

Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) 

The NFHS SMAC has developed the following position statement regarding soft or padded headgear products in non-helmeted sports: 

The NFHS does not consider soft or padded headgear products as effective equipment in preventing a concussion in non-helmeted sports. As explained below, soft or padded headgear products may be worn in non-helmeted sports that allow for such optional equipment, but the intent of that equipment should be for reasons other than concussion prevention. Valid scientific research should be pursued to more definitively determine evidence-based efficacy regarding using such products to decrease the incidence of concussion. However, no currently available soft or padded headgear can prevent a concussion. 

The NFHS recommends caution in using soft or padded headgear devices to permit medical clearance of a student-athlete, if he or she would otherwise not be medically cleared to participate in sports. Currently, wearing such headgear as a condition to play in order to prevent another concussion is not scientifically or medically supported; therefore, a medical waiver for wearing this type of equipment in the case of hastening return to play after a concussion is inappropriate. However, this equipment may be used to cover lacerations and sutures, if these devices are deemed appropriate within the sport’s playing rules. 

Current design and recommended use of these devices do not address the proposed mechanism of concussive injury, that being acceleration, deceleration and rotational forces acting on the brain. Schools should refer to equipment standards from the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE), American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM), and the Hockey Equipment Certification Council, Inc. (HECC), when considering protective equipment for student-athletes, and monitor that the equipment is being used for mitigating the risk of injuries for which the equipment is designed. 

When considering the use of optional soft or padded headgear products in non-helmeted sports, athletes and coaches should take the time to read the qualifying statements provided with such products that address specific limitations, particularly those related to preventing serious head injuries. Wearing such products may provide a false sense of security in concussion protection to student-athletes, coaches and parents. Moreover, a false sense of security in concussion protection may increase the likelihood that players, coaches and parents will consider a given medical condition to be adequately addressed and may cause them to place less importance upon avoiding head impact, reporting concussion symptoms and recovering fully before returning to play. 

The NFHS SMAC will continue to monitor developments in soft and padded headgear and will consider adjustments to its position should valid scientific and clinical evidence arise. 

Approved June 2013 

DISCLAIMER – NFHS Position Statements and Guidelines 

The NFHS regularly distributes position statements and guidelines to promote public awareness of certain health and safety-related issues. Such information is neither exhaustive nor necessarily applicable to all circumstances or individuals, and is no substitute for consultation with appropriate health-care professionals. Statutes, codes or environmental conditions may be relevant. NFHS position statements or guidelines should be considered in conjunction with other pertinent materials when taking action or planning care. The NFHS reserves the right to rescind or modify any such document at any time. 

A proposal to create administrative rules related to soccer goals has been sent by the Safety and Building Division of the Wisconsin Department of Commerce to the state legislature for assembly and senate committee review.

The proposal to create administrative code chapter Comm 9, Movable Soccer Goals, is in response to 2009 Wisconsin Act 390, s. 167.21, Wis. Stats., which calls for rules to ensure that movable soccer goals are properly anchored or secured to reduce the possibility of goals tipping over or being pull down and resulting in injuries or fatalities.

The proposals developed reflect the Guidelines for Movable Soccer Goal Safety from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The rules would apply to new and existing goals located at public places, such as parks, as well as those located at private schools or private recreational facilities. Enforcement would be via a complaint to Safety and Buildings Division staff, but the expectation is that owners of movable soccer goals will voluntarily adhere to the rules once the information is made public.

There was previously a public hearing on the rules and the public can contact the legislative committees if additional input is desired. The rules would possibly be effective July 1, 2011.

Here is a like to the code proposal documents,

For additional information, contact Jim Quast, Safety and Buildings Division Program Manager,, 608-266-9292.

2012 Shinguard Requirement

Beginning with the 2012 fall season, the NOCSAE seal and height range shall be permanently marked on the front of the shinguard.  Equipment shall not be modified from its original manufactured state and shall be worn in the manner the manufacturer intended it to be worn.  



Effective in 2013

Beginning with the 2013 fall soccer season, the home team will be required to wear solid WHITE jerseys and socks and the visiting team shall wear dark jerseys and socks. This is according to a re- cent newsletter we received from the National Federation with the rule changes for next year. The only area of the jersey in which you may have color is the number, school name, or manufacturer logo. No colored trim.


The requirement for white jerseys is a change from the existing rule that allows a team to wear “light” jerseys at home. This will be a requirement for varsity teams only. Any light jerseys currently being used at the varsity level could be used for subvarsity teams.


This requirement is very similar to the change that was made in the sport of basketball in 2008. In addition, beginning with the 2012 fall season, the goalkeeper jersey will be required to have a number on the back and on the front of the jersey or short similar to a field playerʼs jersey. The number on the back must be a minimum of 6” in height and the front number 4” in height.


Beginning in the fall of 2012, only those names, patches, emblems, logos or insignias referencing the school are permitted on the team uniform. This rule addition prohibits players from wearing any names, patches, emblems, or insignias that represent any soccer club, soccer association or spon- sor(s) on their uniform. This rule clarifies that only names, patches, emblems or insignias that repre- sent their school are permitted.

updated 7/12

Approved Shin Guard Markings

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