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Official NHSSC Soccer Rules

Section One – Players

  • Teams should consist of at least 12 players, with at least four of each gender. There is no maximum number of players a team may have on its roster.
  • The maximum number of players on the field is eight (Including the Goalie) with at least three of each gender.
  • The minimum number of players on the field is five. 
  • Teams may play with a reduced number of players with each gender, provided that they instead play short by that same amount. For example if the team only has two female players available, they may only play 7 players. Of, if they only have 1 female player, they must play no more than 6 total players. Less than 1 player of a particular gender is a forfeit.
  • Players may be substituted for each other at any time, but the player in the field of play must leave the field before a substitute can enter.
  • All players must be registered to play on a particular team. Unrostered substitutes are not permitted. Teams found to have played with an illegal player shall forfeit the game.

Section Two – Equipment/Field

  • The NHSSC shall provide all field equipment, except for shin guards.
  • All players are required to wear shin guards.
  • All players should wear their NHSSC provided shirts to each game. Goalies may wear a unique jersey to identify themselves as a goalie.
  • Mouth guards are recommend to be worn, but are not mandatory.
  • Metal cleats are not allowed.
  • Teams may bring their own soccer balls for practice, but all games will be played using NHSSC soccer balls.

Section Three – Game Times/Start of play

  • Each game will be divided into two 20 minute halves, with a five-minute halftime.
  • Scheduled game times are forfeit times.
  • Each team is allowed one 1-minute time-outs per game.
  • The NHSSC Official on site will flip a coin, to be called in the air by one of the team captains present.  The winning captain will choose one of the following options:
    • Choice of offense of defense
    • Choice of field side to start the game
  • Possession will automatically go to the opposite team to start the second half. 
  • Teams will switch sides to start the second half.
  • There will be no stoppage play at the end of the game. 

Section Four- Boundaries

  • When a ball goes out of play on the sidelines, the opposing team will be awarded a throw-in.  The player taking the throw-in must keep his/her feet outside the sideline, with feet flat on the ground and the throw must be executed with the ball over the thrower’s head with two hands.
  • Corner Kicks will be used when the balls travels beyond the goal line by a defensive player.
  • Goal kicks will be awarded if the ball travels beyond the goal line by offense.
  • The referee will blow the whistle when the ball is out-of-bounds, to signal a goal kick, corner kick, or throw-in. 
  • There will be no offside calls for 8 on 8 play.

Section Five - Scoring

  • A goal is awarded when the ball has completely crossed the goal line prior to the horn or whistle sounding.

Section Six – Keeper Play

  • Only the goalie may touch the ball with their hands.
  • Goalkeepers have 10 seconds to put the ball back into play after gaining control. 
  • The goalie may not play the ball with his/her hands when intentionally last played directly by a teammates foot (Results in an indirect free kick)
  • Once the goalkeeper has released control of the ball, they cannot touch it again with his hands until it has been touched by an opponent (Results in an indirect free kick)
  • There is no penalty for the goalie sliding within his/her own goalie’s box, as long as there is no endangerment to themselves or to any other players.

Section Seven - Fouls

  • Safety and Fun are the primary concerns of all NHSSC leagues. Players must play under control at all times.
  • There is no contact allowed –pushes, trips, etc. 
  • There is no slide tackling allowed.
  • A foul will be called for any unintentional or inadvertent contact.  All fouls result in the opposing team awarded a direct kick at the spot of the foul. Play will begin as soon as the referee spots the ball. A foul in the Penalty box with result in a penalty kick.

Section Eight - Penalties

  • A Misconduct Penalty will be called for intentional fouls, or malicious play. This includes, pushing, tripping, kicking, or any action to harm another player. All misconduct penalties will result in a direct kick for the opposing team. 
  • The First Misconduct Penalty for a player will result in a Yellow Card. If a player is penalized with a yellow card, that player must serve a 2 minute penalty. The Player must serve the full 2 minutes regardless of a goal being scored. The referee will notify the players when the penalty has been served. 
  • A second Misconduct Penalty will result in a Red Card. A red card may also be given out for a serious infraction. When a player receives a Red Card, the player must sit out for the duration of the game, and the team cannot replace that player during the game.

Section 9 - Penalty Kicks

  • A Penalty Kick is conceded when a defending player fouls another player inside the penalty box.
  • Penalty kick, when deserved, must be taken even if time has expired.
  • During a penalty kick the only two players inside the penalty box are the penalty taker and the goalkeeper. All other players must be positioned 10 yards behind the penalty area.
  • After the balls is kicked and contacts either the goalie or the goal, the balls is live and can be played by any player, including the player who took the kick

Section Ten – Misc.

  • The team with the most goals at the end of the game will be declared the winner.
  • Wins will count as two points in the standing, and ties will count as one.
  • There will be no overtimes in regular season play.
  • Teams highest in the standings will be entitled to participate in the playoff round for the NHSSC Championship Cup. The NHSSC reserves the right to decide how many teams are invited into the playoffs, any means of breaking a tie in the standings, and the playoff schedule.



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