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Rec Rules


I. General Rules

  1. Except as specifically altered by this document, games will be played according to the Laws of Soccer of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), US Soccer Federation (USSF), and US Youth Soccer (USYS).  Local rules are approved by NRFC's professional staff.
  2. Notice of game cancellations due to inclement weather or poor field conditions will be posted on the NRFC website in the "Field Status" portion of the main page at least 1 hour before the scheduled start of the game and or practice.  After a game has begun, the referee has the authority to suspend the game.  At any time that lightning is seen at the fields, games are to be suspended immediately.

II. Field of Play

  1. NRFC will determine appropriate field sizes and designate a field for each game. In the U4-U6 and U7-U8 age groups, teams will compete in two small-sided games at one time. The fields will be set in a 20 yard wide by 30 yard long fashion to facilitate coaching and refereeing.
  2. Team members and spectators must remain at least 3 feet away from sidelines to allow players to appropriately kick-in or throw-in the ball, depending on age group. Spectators are not encouraged to sit in the center area between fields. This area is designated for coaches, assistant coaches, and players only.
  3. No coaches, spectators, or players are allowed behind either goal line, with the exception of the coach or assistant coach in the U4-U6 and U7-U8 age groups

III. The Ball

  1. U4-U6 uses size 3.  U7-U8 age groups will use a size 4 ball
  2. U9-U12 age groups will use a size 4 ball
  3. U13-U14 age gr5ups will use a size 5 ball

IV. Duration of the Game

  1. U4-U6 age group - 4x8 minute quarters with 2 minutes between quarters and 5 minutes for halftime
  2. U7-U8 age group - 4x10 minute quarters with 2 minutes between quarters and 5 minutes for halftime
  3. U9-U12 age group - 2x20 minute halves, with 10 minutes for halftime
  4. U13-U15 age group - 2x30 minute halves, with 10 minutes for halftime
  5. The referee will start each game at the scheduled time according to his watch. Any delay in the actual start of play will be subtracted from the first period's time

V. Players

  1. It is the goal of NRFC to set team and squad sizes that will promote learning of the game and assure adequate playing time. Fewer on-field players in the younger age groups assure a better learning environment and fuller participation.
  2. In all age groups, the coach will ensure that all players are receiving equal playing time regardless of the score of the match and without emphasis on wins or losses. This is to ensure that each player is given equal opportunity to live, learn, and play the game.
  3. Following is the required number of players for a game.
    U4-U6:  3v3 with no goalkeeper (Maximum roster size of 7)
    U7-U8:  4v4 with no goalkeeper (Maximum roster size of 7)
    U9-U12:  7v7 with goalkeepers (Maximum roster size of 11)
    U13-U15:  8v8 with goalkeepers (Maximum roster size of 11)
  4. Each player is required to play a minimum of a half of each game, unless there is an injury or disciplinary action.  Coaches will ensure that this rule is followed.  Coaches should attempt to play all players approximately equally and in a variety of positions.  If a coach decides not to allow a player to participate due to an injury or for disciplinary reasons, he must tell the player and the player's parent.
  5. No player may play goalkeeper for more than one half of the game
  6. Substitutions
    i.  In the U4-U8 age groups, free substitutions are allowed.  Coaches are not required to wait for a break in play or for the referee to substitute players into the game.  It is the responsibility of the coach to ensure that the correct number of players are on the field.  Players coming off the field must be off before the substitute goes onto the field.  Players may be substituted onto either of the two fields on which the team is playing
    ii.  In the U9-U12 age group, either team may substitute on any dead ball.  Substitutes should enter the field at the halfway line.
    iii.  In the U13-U15 age group, substitutes shall enter and leave the field at the halfway line when recognized by the referee.  Substitutions may be made as follows
    A.  at halftime
    B.  after a goal
    C.  before a goal kick by either team
    D.  on a throw-in for your own team
    E.  for a cautioned player
    F.  when an injured player must be replaced, substitution for both teams is allowed
    G.  Substitutions are not allowed on free kicks, corner kicks, or penalty kicks

VI. Player Equipment

  1. Any item that poses a potential danger to any player may not be worn. The referee will decide if any item is a potential danger. The player, guardian, or coach must abide by a decision of the referee regarding safety.
  2. All players, including goalkeepers, must wear shin guards during practices and games.
  3. Players may not use shoes with metal or fiberglass studs. Rubber or plastic molded cleats or tennis shoes are acceptable.
  4. The use of safety or sports glasses for players who wear glasses is strongly recommended. If glasses must be worn, a safety strap must also be worn.
  5. Hard casts are not allowed.
  6. No player will be permitted to wear jewelry during a game - bracelet, necklace, ring, watch, earrings, hair barrettes, etc. Only soft fabric bracelets, headbands, or hair bands are allowed.
  7. Hats are not allowed on players other than the goalkeeper unless they are worn for medical or religious reasons.

VII. Coaches

  1. After the start of play, the coach is not allowed on the field unless invited by the referee, except for the U4-U6 and U7-U8 age groups.
  2. In the U4-U6 and U7-U8 age groups, one coach or assistant coach is allowed on each field for providing direction to the players and to referee the game. The coach may not physically move any of the players on the field
  3. Only the coach and assistant coaches are allowed to coach from the sideline. All coaching must be positive in nature. Ridicule, intimidation, or verbal abuse of one's own players or the opponents is not allowed and may result in a caution (yellow card) or ejection (red card) as deemed appropriate by the referee.

VIII. Referees

  1. Referees will be used for the U4-U6 to U13-U15 age groups. For the U4-U6 and U7-U8, additional support will be provided by the coaches for the respective teams.
  2. The referees will emphasize safe and fair play, considering the age and ability of the players.

IX. Fouls and Misconduct

  1. Sliding tackles are not permitted in age age group, with the exception of the U13-U15 age group
  2. There will be NO HEADING of the ball in any age group except the U13-U15 age group
  3. Any intentional contact or charging the goalkeeper in the penalty area is prohibited. When the goalkeeper has one hand in contact with the ball, he/she is considered to be in possession of the ball, and opponents must not intentionally challenge.
  4. Coaches are responsible for the conduct of their players, assistant coaches, parents, and friends. All participants will conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike manner. Foul or abusive language, taunting, and like behavior will not be tolerated no matter against whom it is directed.
  5. A red card issued to a player or coach means an immediate ejection from the game. Anyone ejected from a game, whether a player, coach, or spectator, shall leave the property on which the game is being played. The referee will report the incident to the NRFC Director of Referees who will in turn notify the NRFC Board, who may take further action.
    Red Card Offenses:
    1.  Serious foul play
    2.  Violent conduct
    3.  Spitting at an opponent or any other person
    4.  Denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball
    -does not include the goalkeeper in this rule
    5.  Denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player's goal by an offense punishable
         by a free kick or a penalty kick
    6.  Using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures.
    7.  Receiving a second caution in the same match
  6. A yellow card is a severe warning to a player or coach. Two yellow cards in one game will result in immediate ejection from the game. The referee will follow the same procedure as in the case of a red card.
    Exception:  In the U4-U6 age group, and U7-U8 age groups a 2nd yellow card will result in a 5 minute suspension.  The 3rd yellow card will result in the player being ejected from the game.
    Yellow Card Offenses:
    1.  Unsporting Behavior
    2.  Dissent by word or action
    3.  Persistent infringement of the Laws of the Game
    4.  Delaying the restart of play
    5.  Failure to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick, throw in or free kick
    6.  Entering or re-entering the field of play without the referee's permission
    7.  Deliberately leaving the field of play without the referee's permission
  7. Dissension by word or action to the decisions of the referees is considered unacceptable behavior and may result in the issuance of a yellow card. The rules of soccer extend the referee's authority to players (on and off the field), coaches, and spectators -before, during, and after the game. The referee is empowered to stop a game in case of serious disorder. In this event, he/she will report the incident to the NRFC Director of Referees who will in turn notify the NRFC Board, who may take further action. The referees have been instructed to issue one warning in the case of sideline disruption and may end the game if the inappropriate behavior continues.
  8. Any player, coach, or spectator ejected from a game, either as a result of receiving a red card or two yellow cards, will have to meet with the NRFC's Board or Board's representative prior to participating in any further league activity. The Board will rule on the incident. This procedure applies to any parent ejected from the game or any coach involved in a game suspended as a result of the inappropriate behavior of parents or spectators associated with his team.

X. Injury

  1. Referees will immediately stop play in the event of a serious injury. In the case of a minor injury, play will be allowed to continue as long as it is safe to do so. Play will be stopped when the ball is out of play or in a position that stopping play would not disadvantage either team. The age of the players will be considered as to whether play should be stopped
  2. Play involving players up to 8 years old will stop immediately when a child is hurt. This applies to all injuries, even minor ones.
  3. The referee will not stop the clock to allow treatment or removal of the injured player.
  4. After an injury, play will usually be restarted with a drop ball. If one team was clearly in possession of the ball, the referee may resume play by awarding an indirect free kick to that team.
  5. In case of any injury requiring medical attention, the coach must promptly notify the NRFC Board.

XI. Free Kicks and Penalty Kicks

  1. U4-U6 age groups - Indirect Kicks only
  2. U7-U8 age groups - Indirect Kicks only
  3. U9-U12 age groups - Indirect and Direct kicks. Fouls occurring within the penalty area requiring a Direct Kick will be taken as a penalty kick.
  4. U13-U14 age groups - Indirect and Direct kicks. Fouls occurring within the penalty area requiring a Direct kick will be taken as a penalty kick.
  5. Encroachment: On all Direct and Indirect Kicks as well as on all corner kicks, opponents must be the following distance from the ball:
    U4-U6:  3 yards
    U7-U8:  3 yards
    U9-U12:  8 yards
    U13-U15:  8 yards

XII. Throw Ins

  1. U4-U6 age groups - Player is given unlimited attempts until successful or until coach selects another thrower
  2. U7-U8 age groups -Referee will give one warning for first foul throw per team and permit a second chance. All foul throws thereafter will mean loss of possession

XIII. Goal Kicks/Punting

  1. U4-U6 age groups - Kick taken near the end line next to the goal. All opponents 5 yards away.
  2. U7-U8 age groups - Kick taken from the end line next to the goal. All opponents 5 yards away.
  3. U9-U12 age groups - Kick taken from edge of goalkeepers 6 yard box. All opponents at midfield until the ball is played. The ball is not in play until it leaves the penalty area.
  4. U13-U15 age group - Kick taken from the edge of the goalkeepers 6 yard box. Opponents are not restricted to their defensive half of the field before ball is in play

XIV. Offside

  1. There is no offside rule in effect in any of the U4-U6 and U7-U8 recreational leagues that we offer due to the 3v3 and 4v4 formats of play and field sizes
  2. Offside will be called in the U9-U12 league. If play is in front of the opposition build out line, then players must also be behind the opposition build out line before the pass is played to be deemed onside.  If play is beyond the opposition build out line, then players must be behind the ball in order to remain onside.

XV. Miscellaneous

  1. Pass back rule: If a player deliberately kicks the ball to his own goalkeeper, the goalkeeper is not permitted to touch the ball with his/her hands. Should the goalkeeper touch the ball with his/her hands, the opposing team is awarded an indirect free kick from the point where the ball was touched.
  2. To ensure enjoyable and balanced games, whenever a team gains a lead of 5 goals, that team is required to reduce its playing strength by one player until the goal spread drops below five. If the goal spread exceeds five, the leading team must reduce its playing strength by one player for each additional goal they score. One player may return each time the goal spread is reduced until the goal spread is less than five and both teams are at their original strength. It is the coach's responsibility to ensure that this rule is followed. If this rule is applied, coaches should still ensure that players have equal playing time.

XVI. Misconduct of Players

Players, like parents, coaches and supporters, are also expected to behave in a manner consistent with good sportsmanship. Incidents involving poor sportsmanship but not penalized by the referee by a "red card" will be handled according to FIFA's laws of the game. Additionally, if a player is shown a "red card" by a referee before, during, or after a game, the referee's report will be forwarded to the Commissioner who will keep a file of such infractions and make notifications as appropriate. The automatic League sanction for receiving a "red card" is disqualification from playing the next game. If a second "red card" is received in the same season, the player will automatically be disqualified from playing in League scheduled or sanctioned games for 2 weeks from the date of the (second) infraction. The 2 week disqualification may be appealed to the Disciplinary Board (Executive Committee). The Commissioner will be responsible for notifying the effected player, manager, and coach that a 2 week suspension is in effect.

XVII. Mandatory Reports to the League

Issues of field conditions, refereeing, team tardiness, and most issues of behavior should be taken to the on-field supervisor of NRFC.  In addition to reports received from referees, other grievances or incidents demand a written report filled out online using our Grievance/Incident Report form found under the Recreation tab.

XVIII - Player Game Check In

Each coach should assign one parent to be a manager for his or her team. The manager should have a roster with uniform numbers for each player on their team available at every game. The manager should also have a copy of the roster available should the opposing team request it. The manager should help the coach ensure that each player plays roughly half of each game. If a player does not play at least half the game, the coach should provide an explanation to the recreation liaison.

North Carolina Youth Soccer Association defines a recreation team as one:  that does not use tryouts, invitations, recruiting or any like process to roster players selectively to any team on the basis of talent or ability.  The system utilized for rostering the players must be a fair and balanced distribution of playing talent among all teams participating.  Every child must play at least one-half of each game except for reasons of injury or discipline.  NCYSA strives to promote an emphasis on PARTICIPATION, not COMPETITION.

XIX - Interactions with Officials

Coaches should not berate or argue with officials during or after a game.  If a coach has a problem with a referee, he should address it with the officiating coordinator, and with the opposing coach, to assure a two-sided view of a complaint.

Parents are not permitted to discuss calls or argue with officials at anytime before, during or after a game.  If a parent has complaints about an official, they should notify their coach who will then address it with the officiating coordinator.

Note:  if not enough players show up to meet the number of play specified, game play may continue by reducing the number of players. 

North Robeson Football Club

2180 McMillan Ave 
Lumberton, North Carolina 28358
Phone : 910-616-3872
Email : [email protected]
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