Recreational Rules – Division 3 to 6

Division 3-6 DMCV Sharks Recreational Soccer League Rules

  1. Field of Play

Goals: width = 8 yards, height = 8 feet (7yards and 7 feet for Div. 5 & 6).

Field dimensions: width = 50-80 yards, length = 80-120yards (40-50 and 60-80 for Div. 5 & 6).

Penalty area: 18 yards out to the side of each goal post along goal line and 18 yards out from goal line (14 yards for Div. 5 and Div. 6). Goal area 6 yards out to the side of each goal post along goal line and 6 yards out from goal line.

Markings: half line, center spot, center circle with a 10 yard radius (8 yards for Div. 5 and Div. 6), 4 corner arcs with 1 yard radius, touch lines and goal lines, penalty spot 12 yards (10 yards for Div. 5 and 6) out from the center of the goal.

Flags: corner flag at each corner at least 5 feet tall.

*The Home team chooses a side of the field for their coaches, subs, and parents. The Away team uses the opposite side of the field, unless specified differently by the Director or Division Coordinator.

  1. The Ball
  • Size 4 ball (U8-U12), Divisions 4-6, Size 5 ball (U14) Division 3
  • Ball should be slightly soft to encourage contact with body.
  • Game ball provided by Home team.
  1. Number of Players
  • No more than 11 players (7 players for Div. 5 & 6, 9 players for Div. 4) from each team on the field one of whom must be the goalkeeper. A minimum of 7 players (5 players for Div. 5 & 6, 6 players for Div. 4) on each team is needed to start the game. After a 10 minute grace period the game will be forfeited.
  • Home team is the first team listed on game schedule.
  • Unlimited substitutions allowed with the Referee’s permission when the game is stopped for injury, throw-in (offensive team only), if the offensive team subs then the defensive team can also sub, goal kick and kick off. · Goalkeeper change needs referee’s permission.
  1. Player’s Equipment
  • Jersey with number, shorts, socks, shin guards (mandatory), shoes (no metal cleats and no toe cleats).
  • No rings, earrings (cannot tape over), bracelets, necklaces, jewelry, or hard hair clips – any object, which is dangerous, to another player or themselves, is not allowed on the field. No casts or splints even if padded.
  • In case of color conflict the Home team needs to change shirts or put on pennies.
  • Socks must be worn outside of the shin guards and completely cover them.
  • Goalkeeper shirt must be different color than those of all field players.
  1. Referees
  • Protect the players. This is their first duty.
  • Enforces the rules and briefly explains rule violations to player.
  • May change decision as long as play has not been restarted.
  • Report any coach’s misbehavior to your assignor/coordinator.
  • If a game gets out of control, the referee will end the game and leave the area ASAP; call assignor at the end of the day to report.
  • Keep game time – ensure that games start and end on time.
  • The coaches or parents of each team will each referee half of the game if there is no official referee.
  1. Assistant Referees (AR aka ‘Linesman’)
  • If club assigned AR’s are not available, the Referee may ask the coaches to furnish a volunteer AR (parent or spectator). The volunteer may only signal when the ball goes completely across the touchlines by raising their flag straight up in the air.
  • The referee should talk to the volunteer AR’s before the game and explain their duties to them.
  • The center referee has the final word on any decision.
  1. Duration of the Game
  • The game is to be divided into two 45-minute halves (35 mins/ Div. 3, 30 mins/Div. 4, 25 mins/Div. 5, 20 mins/ Div. 6),a 5-minute half-time break. The game must end before the next game’s start time.
  1. Start of Play

Coin Toss: Before the game a coin toss is held between the home and away team captains. The away team calls the coin toss. The coin toss winner gets to choose goal to attack.

Kickoff: Game starts with a kickoff at the center spot by the team that lost the coin toss. The team kicking off must be on their side of the half line. All defenders must be on their side of the field and outside the center circle.

  • Second half starts with the other team taking the kickoff and the two teams have switched sides of the field.
  • Kickoff cannot be taken until the referee blows the whistle.
  • Play starts whent the ball is kicked and goes in any direction.
  • The player taking the kickoff cannot touch it a second time until another player touches it.
  • A goal can be scored directly from a kickoff
  • Drop Ball: When the referee stops the game for an injury, a non-player on the field, or any other unusual cause, the game is restarted with a drop ball.
  • The ball must touch the ground before it can be played. Since the referee put the ball in play the first player to touch it can touch it more than once. A goal MAY NOT be scored directly from a drop ball.
  1. Ball In and Out of Play
  • The ball is out of play when the whole ball crosses the outside edge of the touchline or the goal line or the referee stops the game.
  • The ball is in play at all other times; even if it bounces off the referee, corner flag, goal posts and crossbar, as long as it does not go out of play first.
  1. Method of Scoring
  • A goal is scored when the ball legally goes completely over the goal line, between the goal posts and under the crossbar.
  • A goal cannot be scored directly from a throw-in, an indirect free kick or a drop ball.
  1. Offside: The offside violation will be called for U8 and older.

“Offside position” and “Offside” are not the same. It is not against the rules to be merely in an offside position. It is against the rules to be “offside”. A basic principle from the earliest days of soccer is that attacks have to go through the other team — you cannot station a player behind the other team and pass the ball over everybody to him/her. A player commits the offside infraction if she is (a) involved in active play while (b) in an offside position.

  1. a) A player is in an “offside position” if he/she is all of these things:
  • In the opponents’ half of the field, and
  • Ahead of the ball (closer to the opponents’ goal line than the ball), and
  • Ahead of the second-last defender (usually, the last defender is the keeper, and the second-last is the deepest fullback) and
  • He/She is not directly receiving a throw-in, corner kick, or goal kick (those three are exempt).
  1. b) A player is involved in active play (participating is a term often used) if she does any one of these:
  • Interferes with play (such as receiving a pass or trying for the ball), or
  • Interferes with an opponent (such as getting in their way or challenging for possession), or
  • Gains an advantage as a result of being in that offside position (such as getting the rebound off a goalkeeper’s save, or being in the right spot to capitalize on a defender’s miss-kick).

An important feature of offside is that the offside position and participation in play are judged at the moment the ball is played by an attacking teammate.

  • If an attacker is in an onside position when the ball is passed forward, and he/she then runs past the defense to get it, that is not offside even if she is beyond the second-last defender when she reaches the ball.
  • If an attacker is in an offside position when the ball is passed, and then runs back into an onside position (such as into her own half) to collect it, that is offside, because offside position was determined when her teammate played the ball.
  • You cannot be offside when the opponents have control of the ball – offside position is judged at the moment a teammate plays the ball. Therefore, if the goalkeeper, after controlling the ball with his hands, accidentally throws it to an offside opponent, there is no offense.

Both conditions — position and participation — must be met.

  • It is not an offense merely to be in offside position — the player in offside position does not commit any offense if she just stands there and stays out of play.
  • However, if the conditions are met, it is an offense even if the offside player did not intend anything wrong — this infraction is based on simple geometry and participation in active play, not mind reading by the referee. Offside is restarted with an indirect free kick from the spot of the infraction.
  1. Player Fouls and Misconduct

A foul must be done by a player, against an opposing player, on the field of play, while the ball is in play.

Ten penal fouls (generally involve contact) – Game is restarted with a (1) direct free kick if the player committed the foul outside his penalty area, or (2) a penalty kick if he committed the foul in his penalty area. (Referee should explain all infractions to the offending player – Div. 5 & 6 only)

  • Intentionally kicking or tripping an opponent or attempting to kick or trip an opponent

(Opponent does not need to fall down)

  • Jumping at an opponent
  • Charging (running into) an opponent
  • Striking or attempting to strike an opponent (automatic sendoff)
  • Pushing an opponent without attempting for the ball
  • When tackling an opponent to gain possession of the ball, making contact with the opponent before touching the ball.
  • Spitting at an opponent
  • Deliberately handling the ball with hand or arms (not to be called unless the player is trying to contact the ball)
  • Holding an opponent

Seven non-penal fouls – restart with an indirect free kick

  • Intentionally heading the ball. No heading is permitted for players U12 and younger.

*If ball is headed in the 18 yard box, by a player on the defensive team, the ball needs to be moved to the closest corner of the box for an indirect free kick.

  • Dangerous play (for example: high kicking near an opponent’s head; playing the ball while lying on the ground when an opponent is near; trying to head a low ball that an opponent is trying to play with their foot)
  • Impeding the progress of an opponent when not playing or attempting to play the ball (previously called obstruction)
  • Interfering with goal keeper releasing the ball into play.

Goalkeeper violations:

  • Touches the ball with hands after receiving it directly from a throw-in taken by a teammate.
  • Touches the ball with hands after a teammate intentionally played it to him with his foot.
  • Releasing a ball (after he has it in control) and picking it up again.
  • Takes more than 6 seconds to release the ball into play.

Advantage rule: Referee should not call a foul or misconduct on the defending team in the attacking part of the field if allowing play to continue would be to the advantage of the attacking team (i.e. “a breakaway”). The referee may call the foul if the advantage does not happen within 2 to 3 seconds. Must give card for misconduct at next stoppage or not at all. 

Misconduct – 2 kinds, a caution and a sendoff

Caution (must show player the yellow card) – Referee should warn player first about behavior if at all possible.

  • Player enters or leaves field without permission.
  • Player continually breaks rules
  • Player argues with the referee
  • Unsporting behavior
  • Delaying the restart of play
  • Failing to respect the required distance at a corner kick or free kick or throw-in

Send off (must show player the red card)

  • Violent conduct (in general, any violent act committed when not competing for the ball)
  • Serious foul play (a foul involving excessive force while competing for ball)
  • Denying an opponent an obvious goal scoring opportunity by a foul
  • Denying a goal by handling the ball
  • Using offensive, insulting, abusive, or threatening language and/or gestures.
  • Spits at anyone
  • Receives a second caution
  1. Free Kick

Free kick is given due to a player breaking a rule while the ball is in play and causing the referee to stop the game

  • Direct free kick – can score directly. Referee indicates by pointing in the attacking direction of the team taking the kick.
  • Indirect free kick – a player besides the kicker must touch the ball before a goal can be scored. Referee indicates by holding arm straight up until the kick is taken and touched by another or goes out of play.
  • Opponents must be 10 yards (8 yards for Div. 5 & 6) from the ball when the kick is taken.
  1. Penalty Kick

Penalty kick is given if a player commits one of the penal fouls within his or her own penalty area.

  • Referee indicates by pointing toward penalty spot.
  • The ball is placed on the penalty spot,12 yards (10 yards for Div. 5 & 6) from the goal.
  • The goalkeeper must have both feet on the goal line and can move laterally on the goal line, between the goal posts, before the ball is kicked. He may not move forward.
  • All other players, except the kicker, must be behind the penalty spot, and outside the penalty area and the penalty arc.
  • If someone on the defending team encroaches into the penalty area before the kick is taken and the kick scores, the goal counts. If the shot misses, the shot is retaken. If someone on the kicking team encroaches and the shot is made, then it must be taken over. If it misses, the opposing team gets an indirect free kick from where the player encroached.
  • If someone from each team encroaches, the kick is retaken in any case.
  • The ball must be played forward and the kicker cannot strike it again before another player touches it.
  1. Coach/Sideline Misconduct
  • Referees will issue a warning to the coaches if they or their sideline become loud and disruptive.
  • After the initial warning, if the unfavorable sideline behavior continues, the referee will approach the coach and give an additional warning and time-limit for gaining control of the sideline.
  • If the unwarranted behavior persists, disruptive parents and coaches will be asked to leave the game.
  • If the referee cannot regain control, the game will be called off.
  1. Throw-In

A throw-in is taken to restart play when the ball goes over touchline. Opponents must be at least 2 yards from the throw-in location. Restart for bad throw-in is throw-in to opponent. For Div. 5 & 6 for the first two weeks of the season, the referee should allow a re-throw after explaining how to do it correctly.

  • Part of each foot has to be on ground, on or behind the touchline, prior to release of the ball.
  • The thrower at the moment of delivering the ball must face the field of play.
  • Throw must be started with the ball behind the head.
  • The ball must be thrown, not dropped.
  • The player must face the direction of the throw.
  • The thrower cannot play the ball again until another player touches it.
  • A goal cannot be scored directly from a throw-in.
  1. Goal Kick

During play, if the attacking team propels the ball over the goal line, but not into the goal, play stops. The Opposing team puts the ball back into play using a Goal Kick.

  • Goal kick may be taken from any part of the goal area, by any member of the opposing team.
  • Opponents must remain outside the penalty area until the ball leaves the penalty area.
  • Ball must go outside of penalty area directly from kick to be in play.
  • If ball is touched inside penalty area, by either team, kick is retaken.
  1. Corner Kick

If the defending team propels the ball over the goal line, but not into the goal, play stops. The opposing team puts the ball back into play using a Corner Kick.

  • Kick taken from quarter-circle in corner area.
  • Corner flag or cone cannot be moved.
  • Ball is in play once it is kicked.
  • Kick is taken from corner nearest the spot where the ball went out of play.
  • All opponents must be at least 10 yards (8 yards for Div. 5 & 6) from the corner arc.
  • Kicker cannot play ball again unless touched by another player (either team).
  • A goal can be scored directly from a corner kick.
  1. Common Sense
  • Do what is fair and right.
  • No league standings are to be kept.
  • Team officials and players are encouraged to shake hands with opponent before and after the game.


soccerloco - Proud Uniform Supplier of the DMCV Sharks | Shop Now