Boys Soccer - Rules & Regulations

Rules & Regulations

Soccer Rules Changes 2017-18

By NFHS on May 12, 2017 

  • Corrections to the 2017 Soccer Rules Book
    • Page 23, 4-1-1i(3) – CHANGE 4-1-1h(1) to 4-1-1i(1)
    • Page 26, 4-1-1 Situation Q – RULING  a is illegal
    • Page 64, 13-1-2 – CHANGE reference 12-2-3 to 13-2-3
    • Page 77, State Association Adoptions 1.  CHANGE  (4-2-1h Exception 3) to (4-2-1h Exception 2)
    • Page 78, Comments on the Rules – CHANGE second reference in first comment 4-4-1e to 4-1-1e

4-1-1d: If visible apparel is worn under the jersey and/or shorts, it shall be a single solid color matching the predominant color of the respective garment. Visible arm compression sleeves shall be a similar length, all alike and of a solid color matching the predominant color of the jersey. Visible leg compression sleeves shall be of a similar length, all alike and of a solid color matching the predominant color of the shorts.

Rationale: Players often wear compression shorts which are longer than the short or jersey. They should be of the same color. This rule addition is needed to maintain consistency with current uniform rule requirements and color restrictions.

4-2-1 Exception 1: Deleted

Rationale: With the adoption of the change related to the use of headgear as opposed to only headbands, this exception is no longer necessary.

4-2-9: A soft padded headgear that meets the ASTM standard is permitted. 

Rationale: This allows for the newer headgear styles that are currently in the market to be used that are not just headbands.

5-1-3f: Unless otherwise prohibited by the state association, electronic communication devices may be used to communicate with crew members.

Rationale: This rule allows, but does not require, the use of common communication devices that are currently available and affordable. This will permit officials to utilize such equipment and improve communication allowing for a better officiated game, if permitted by the state association.

8-1-3: The ball shall be kicked while it is stationary on the ground in the center of the field of play and may clearly move in any direction.

Rationale: Requiring that the ball move forward on the kickoff is meaningless in the modern game.

10-1-3f: A goal may not be scored directly from a kickoff into the kicking team's own goal.

Rationale: This change retains consistency with the concept that a team cannot score against themselves from a free kick, as provided in 10.1.3 c, d and e.

13-1-2: All free kicks, with the exception of penalty kicks, may be taken in any direction. Free kicks are taken from the spot of the foul except for the reasons listed in 13-2-3, which are taken from the location of the ball when the referee stopped play. Free kicks resulting from fouls committed in the goal area are taken as described in 13-1-3 or 13-1-4.  Indirect free kicks for offside (13-2-2b) are taken from the spot where the offending player interfered with play, interfered with an opponent or gained an advantage by being in that position.

Rationale: The current rule also does not clearly identify where indirect free kicks for
offside are taken. This change makes it clear.

14-1-4: The ball shall be kicked while it is stationary on the ground from the spot or any place on the penalty mark. To be in play, the ball shall be moved forward. The player taking the penalty kick is permitted to use a stutter step or a hesitation move provided there is no stopping and there is continuous movement toward the ball. Failure to kick the ball as specified shall be considered a violation by the attacking team and the appropriate penalties shall apply. Stutter-stepping is not an interruption in movement.

Rationale: This addition of these sentences clarifies that the stutter step is allowed.


3-3-2, 4-1-1, 5-1-3c, 14-1-3


1. Risk Minimization
2. Referee Communication and Teamwork
3. Restarts

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.

Click on the link below to view the 2017-18 NISOA rules video.

Watch NISOA Video

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

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

Tape on Socks

On the left -- Legal socks ... white socks with white tape

On the right - Illegal socks - white socks with black tape

Approved Shin Guard Markings

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