NIAGARA REC SPORTS CO-ED SOCCER RULES
Games are played rain or shine.
(COVID Rules supersede other general rules)
TEAM AND PLAYER REQUIREMENTS
ROSTER SIZES & SPECIFIC TEAM NUMBERS
- Each League will be broken out into divisions.
- A maximum of 50 participants will be allowed in each division.
- Teams may borrow players from their own group ONLY if they are short and the opposing team captain agrees to it before the game begins.
- Players are NOT permitted to play for other teams outside their group on that evening of play.
- Each Sport will have specific mandatory roster requirements, for example:
- Softball (a maximum of 12 players per team, 4 teams in each division, totaling 48 participants).
- Soccer 9’s (a maximum of 12 players per team, 4 teams in each division, totaling 48 participants).
- Beach Volleyball (a maximum of 8 players per team, Max 6 teams in each division, totaling 48 participants).
- Ultimate Frisbee (a maximum of 8 players per team, max 6 teams in each division, totaling 48 participants).
- Bring and use your own antibacterial hand sanitizer.
- If you feel sick after arriving, please remove yourself from the game and review the Covid Screening Tool..
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Game day wellness checks “COVID Screening Tool ” must be completed at home by all players prior to participation.
- There will be no physical touching such as handshaking, high fives, fist/elbow bumps or huddles.
- Only registered players are allowed on or near the player’s bench. Family members and coaches need to stay on the spectators side and maintain 6 feet of distance.
- At half time teams can switch sides, however, must maintain a safe distance.
- Players will take kick-ins, instead of throw-ins.
- When placing the ball for a free-kick, corner or sideline kick in, please use your feet to place the ball.
- Players should limit handling the ball if at all.
- Shin pads must be warn by all players. If a player is not wearing shin pads he/ she will be asked by the referee to leave the field and the player may not return until shin pads are on.
- Games will consist of 2- 35min halves with a brief rest between halves.
- There are no offsides for coed soccer.
No Slide Tackles
- No slide tackling by outfield players. Goalkeepers are not permitted to slide outside of their penalty area. A direct free kick will be awarded to the opposing team and potentially a foul awarded to the siding player (at the referees discretion).
- A slide tackle in the box will be a direct free kick unless the referee deems it a foul at which time a penalty kick will be awarded.
- Players can slide if there is no other player in the vicinity of the sliding player. He/ she may do his to score or stop a goal, to stop a ball from going out of bounds. If any other player is around it will be deemed a slide tackle, this call is 100% up to the referees discretion.
- All players must be registered with NRS and sign the waiver form in order to be eligible to play in the league.
- Team captains are responsible to ensure all team members (including themselves) are registered and eligible to play.
- 9 vs 9
- Teams will consist of 8 outfield players and a goalkeeper.
- The goalkeeper can be Male or Female; the gender of the goalkeeper does not affect the make up of outfield players.
Pulling the goalie
– Any player can play the goalie position but there must always be a designated goalie wearing a different colour jersey/ shirt (different from their team and the opposing team) to indicate they are in fact the goalie. The goalie is permitted to play anywhere on the field but only when in their own goalie box are they granted goalie privileges (ie using their hands to play the ball).
– If a team wishes to “pull the goalie” there must still be one player wearing a different colour shirt signifying they are playing the goal position at all times.
– Substitutions of the goalie can be made on the fly or if there is a stoppage of play. Goalie Substitutions can be made from either the sideline or at the teams goal area.
- A maximum of 5 outfield male players are allowed on the field
- A minimum of 1 outfield female players shall be on the field at all times.
- There is no maximum number of female players
- A min of 6 players (including the goalie) are needed to play, one outfield player must be a female or the team will forfeit.
- If a team fails to meet the minimum player requirements the game will be stopped by the referee, the opposing team will by given 3 points for a win and a score of 2-0 (if more goals were scored during the game that number will stand), the team failing to meet the min player requirements will be given 0 goals.
- Players ejected by the referee must be replaced by a team substitute
- Ejected players must not take any further part in the game and must leave the park so they are not seen or heard by anyone on or around the field they were ejected from.
- Substitutions will be made at any time on the fly, the only time play will stop for a substitution will be for a goalkeeper change.
- Substitutions will be made at the sideline at the center line.
- Substitutions may not hinder play or give the substituting team any advantage in any way, offensively or defensively.
- Teams is required to bring one game ball to play with each week.
- Nets and flags are in boxes at each park, the referee will open the box for the teams to access the nets and flags before the start of the first game.
- Teams playing the first game of the evening must put up their own net and set up the flags.
- Teams playing the last game of the night will take down their own net and flags and place them neatly in the box at the parks.
- Nets are to be taken down as soon as the game is over BEFORE players go to the bench to remove equipment etc. The referee will then lock the boxes.
- Teams must wear same coloured and numbered uniforms.
- Players shall not wear anything which endangers themselves or other players. The referee will make this decision.
- Basic compulsory equipment shall consist of shorts, socks, shin guards, footwear, and a numbered shirt.
- Goalkeepers must wear colors which are distinguishable from all outfield players and the referee.
- It is referees discretion to allow the goal keeper to wear any headware or not. NRS recommends caps not be warn.
- A player who is asked to leave the field of play because of defective or dangerous equipment may not re-enter the field of play until the referee is satisfied that the equipment is permissible.
- Metal cleats are not allowed
- Each Team is to bring an alternate Jersey to every game as there are some similar team colours in each division.
- A team colour list can be found on the website, there are some teams that have similar or identical colours. Alternate shirts will be a must for these games.
- The alternate shirts don’t have to have numbers on them but your regular set does.
- If you are playing a team with the same or similar colour as make sure you have the alternate shirts as one team must switch.
- If neither team wants to change, the first team listed on the schedule will have to change shirts to an alternate colour.
- If that team does not want to change they will automatically loose the game 0 – 2.
- Shirts must be warn at all times by all players on the field.
- Colours that are close such as Navy Blue and Black the referee may make one team change as they are too similar, this will be the referees decision.
Team Roster – Player Eligibility
- A roster list can be found on the website under the regular season schedule.
- If your name is not on the team roster you are not eligible to play in the league.
- Team captains are responsible to ensure all team members (including themselves) are registered and eligible to play.
- To be eligible to play in the league each player must
- Register online and complete all 3 steps (via a link given only to the team captain)
- Completely fill out, sign the waiver a part of the registration process.
- Final step is to pick your league and team.
- If completed correctly you will see the players name on the team roster. If the player is not on the team roster they did not complete registration fully and will have to re-register.
- Once players have completed the above they are added to the team roster on the team roster page and they are eligible to play in the league.
- Anyone not on the team roster page is not eligible and playing illegally.
- Teams caught playing with unregistered players. The player(s) will be removed form the field immediately and the team will automatically lose their current game and the next game on the schedule. (The teams can still play this game minus the illegal player(s) but it will be a loss on the schedule.)
- If teams are short at the game they can borrow players from another team ONLY if the opposing team captain agrees to it BEFORE the game begins. Borrowed players must be registered with another team in the NRS league. Outside players are not allowed and must fully register with the team before playing
Process for challenging player eligibility
- All players must carry some form of picture ID and be ready to show the referee or the opposing team captain if asked.
- The team captain of the team challenging the eligibility of an opposing team’s player(s) must pull up the team rosters on the phone and approach the opposing team’s bench and speak to the team captain regarding the player in question with the roster.
If the team captain refuses to do so the team will get an automatic loss and the player in question will be removed from the field immediately.
- The team captain (of the team in question) must verify the player in question is in fact on the roster and ID must be shown by the player to verify they are in fact the person listed on the roster on the website.
- If the player is found not to be on the team roster and/ or does not show ID to prove they are who they say they are, notify the referee and they will be removed from the game and the offending team will take a loss for that game.
- Teams have until the beginning of their game to register players. All registrations are time stamped in our back end.
Duration of the Game
- The game shall be divided into two equal halves, the length of which shall be 35 minutes. The half-time interval shall be 5min max.
- If for any reason, a game is terminated before full-time, the local organizers shall decide the outcome of the game.
- If a game is cancelled due to lightening or any other reason the game shall be considered complete if 40min has been played.
Start of Play
At the beginning of the game, choice of halves and the kick-off shall be decided by the toss of a coin.The team which wins the toss shall decide which goal to attack in the first half. The other team will take the kick-off. At a kick-off, all players shall be in their own half of the field of play. All players opposing the team taking the kick-off shall be not
less than 6 yards (5.5M) from the ball until it is kicked-off. The game shall be started by
the referee giving a signal. The ball will be in play when it is kicked forward into the
opponent’s half of the field.
For any infringement of this rule, the kick-off shall be retaken.
Should the player taking the kick-off play or touch the ball a second time before it has
been played or touched by another player, a free-kick shall be awarded to the opposing
After a goal has been scored, the game shall be restarted by a kick-off, to be taken by
a player of the team against which the goal was scored
After the first half of play, the teams shall change halves and the kick-off shall be taken
by a player of the team opposing that which started the game.
For any stoppage not mentioned elsewhere in these rules, the referee shall restart the
game by dropping the ball at the place where it was when play was stopped, unless
play was stopped in the penalty-area. In this case, the ball shall be dropped on the
penalty-area line at the point nearest to where the ball was when play was stopped.
The ball shall be in play as soon as it touches the ground.
A goal may be scored directly from a kick-off.
Ball In and Out of Play
The ball is OUT of play:
When the whole of the ball has crossed the goal-line, or touch-line, whether on the
ground or in the air.
When the play has been stopped by the referee.
The ball is IN play:
At all other times including when it rebounds into play from a goal-post, a cross-bar, or
a corner flag post, or referee and remains in the field of play.
Method of Scoring
A goal is scored when the whole of the ball has crossed over the goal-line, between the
goal-posts and under the cross-bar, provided it has not been thrown, carried or
intentionally propelled by hand or arm, by a player of the attacking team, except by a
goalkeeper from within his own penalty-area.
The referee shall be the sole judge as to whether a goal has been scored.
During the course of play, should any outside agent prevent the ball from passing into
the goal or assist the ball into the goal, play shall be stopped. The referee shall restart
the game by dropping the ball.
NRS Soccer has both direct and indirect free kicks
Direct Free Kick
A direct kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following seven offences in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force:
- Kicks or attempts to kick an opponent
- Trips or attempts to trip an opponent
- Jumps at an opponent
- Charges an opponent
- Strikes or attempts to strike an opponent
- Pushes an opponent
- Tackles an opponent
A direct kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following three offences:
- Holds an opponent
- Spits at an opponent
- Handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his/her own penalty area)
Indirect Free Kick
An indirect kick is awarded to the opposing team if a goalkeeper, inside his own penalty area, commits any of the following offences:
- Touches the ball again with his/her hands after he/she has released it from possession and before it has touched another player
- Touches the ball with his/her hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him/her by a teammate
- Touches the ball with his/her hands after he/she has received it directly from a throw-in by a teammate.
An indirect kick is also awarded to the opposing team if, in the opinion of the referee, a player:
- Plays in a dangerous manner
- Impedes the progress of an opponent
- Prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his/her hands
- Commits any other offence, not previously mentioned with the direct kick rule, for which play is stopped to caution or send off a player
For any infringement of the rules when the ball is in play, the referee may
award a free-kick to the non-offending team. The free-kick shall be taken from the
place where the infringement occurred, unless the free-kick is awarded to the attacking
team within its opponents’ penalty-area. In this case, the kick shall be taken from that
part of the penalty-area line which runs parallel to the goal-line, at the point nearest to
where the offence was committed.
At the taking of a free-kick, the ball shall be stationary and all opponents shall be not
less than 10 yards from the ball until it has been kicked. The ball shall be in play
when it is kicked and moved.
A player taking a free-kick within his own penalty-area shall kick the ball into play
beyond the penalty-area. The ball shall be in play when it has been kicked and moved
and has passed outside the penalty-area. All opponents shall be outside the penalty area
and not less than 10 yards from the ball until it has been kicked. For any
infringement of this rule, the free-kick shall be retaken.
A player taking a free-kick shall not play or touch the ball a second time until it has
been played or touched by another player. For any infringement of this rule, a free-kick
shall be awarded to the opposing team.
A goal may be scored directly from a free-kick
A penalty-kick shall be taken from the penalty-mark. All players, with the exception of
the defending goalkeeper and the player taking the kick, shall be outside the penalty area
but within the field of play, not less than 6 yards (5.5M) from the ball until it has
The goalkeeper shall remain on his own goal-line facing the kicker, and between the
goal-posts, until the ball has been kicked.
The player taking the penalty-kick must kick the ball forward. The ball shall be in play
when the ball is kicked and moves forward. The player shall not play or touch the ball a
second time until it has been played or touched by another player.
If necessary, the time of play shall be extended to allow a penalty-kick to be taken.
For any infringement of this rule:
By a member of the defending team, the kick shall be retaken if a goal has not been
By a member of the attacking team, if a goal is scored it shall be disallowed and a freekick
awarded to the defending team, to be taken from the place where the infringement
By a member of both teams, the kick shall be retaken whether a goal has been scored
If, after the kick has been taken, the ball or the goalkeeper is interfered with by an
outside agent, the kick shall be retaken.
Fouls and Misconduct
NO SLIDE TACKLES ALLOWED
A player who, in the opinion of the referee, intentionally commits any of the following
offenses (but not limited to), shall be penalized and a free-kick will be awarded to the opposing team:
Spits at an opponent
Kicks or attempts to kick an opponent
Trips or attempts to trip an opponent
Jumps at an opponent
Charges an opponent
Strikes or attempts to strike an opponent
Holds an opponent
Pushes an opponent
Handles the ball deliberately, (except a goalkeeper from within his own penalty area)
Tackles an opponent to gain possession of the ball, making contact with the opponent
before touching the ball
Should a player commit one of the above offences within his own penalty-area, a penaltykick shall be awarded.
2-5min Penalties, Red & Yellow cards
If an offense is committed the referee has the option to do one of the 4 based on the severity of the offense (at the referees discretion).
1. Award a Free kick.
2. 2 or 5 minute penalty
3. Yellow Card
4. Red card
- Players can be given both a yellow card and a 2 or 5 minute penalty.
- If a goal is scored while playing short the team can go back to full strength but the player serving the penalty must stay off until the penalty is over.
A red card will result in a min 1 game suspension.
Continual red cards or any conduct that jeopardizes the safety or well being of another player, staff member or spectator, including foul language and/ or personal and/ or racial remarks/ threats will result in permanent suspension from the NRS soccer season and potentially any/ all future NRS events and leagues. No refund will be given NRS reserves the right to decide what type of conduct is worthy of suspension.
Yellow Card – Indicates a formal “caution” for any of the following 7 offenses:
- “unsporting behavior” – this includes hard fouls; holding an opponent or deliberately handling the ball for the purpose of preventing an opponent from gaining possession of the ball; faking an injury; saying things that are designed to confuse or distract an opponent; harassment (such as jumping around, shouting or making gestures to intentionally distract an opponent; jumping in front of a corner kick, free kick or throw-in; worrying the goalkeeper or trying to prevent him from putting the ball into play; & adopting a threatening posture), gaining an unfair advantage by leaning on, climbing on the back of, or holding a teammate or the goal; blatant cases of holding and pulling an opposing player or his uniform; any action designed to deceive the Referee; and behavior which in the Referee’s judgment is unsporting or causes an unfair advantage,
- dissent by word or actions,
- persistently breaking the rules,
- delaying the restart of play,
- defenders failing to stay the proper distance away from the kicker on a corner kick, free kick or throw-in (see “Corner Kick” & “Free Kick”),
- entering or re-entering the field without the referee’s permission
- deliberately leaving the field without the referees permission.
A player who receives 2 Yellow Cards in one game is given a Red Card & ejected.
A player who receives 4 yellow cards throughout the season will be suspended for min one game. Repeat offenders will be dealt with accordingly including potential suspension from the league.
Red Card – A player must be shown a Red Card and “sent off” (i.e., made to leave the field) for the 7 offenses listed below. A player shown a “Red Card” & sent off may not be replaced during that game (i.e., his team must play a player “short” for the rest of the game; ). The 7 offenses for which a player must be shown a Red Card and sent off are:
- serious foul play (includes any use of excessive force or brutality against an opponent when challenging for the ball. Examples include a dangerous slide tackle from behind, or an “over the top tackle” in which a player raises his foot so the cleats could hit a player, or a two footed tackle that takes down the opponent. FIFA has broadened this definition by saying that “Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force and endangering the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play. For current rules visit www.fifa.com, Laws of the Game. The above quote is from Questions and Answers, Additional Instructions for Referees). The rules now include “Decision 4”, which says: “A tackle, which endangers the safety of an opponent, must be sanctioned as serious foul play”.
- violent conduct,
- spitting at anyone,
- deliberately touching the ball with a hand in order to prevent a goal or to deny an obvious goal scoring opportunity (such as to prevent a “Breakaway”…. this does not apply to the goalkeeper within his own Penalty Box)
- fouling an opponent to prevent an obvious goal scoring opportunity (e.g., holding to stop a breakaway),
- using offensive, insulting or threatening language and/or gestures,
- or receiving a second yellow card in one game.
Anyone sent of the field or serving a suspension is not permitted to be in the park before, during or after the game is being played. Players sent off are to leave the park immediately.
Player suspensions are handled by Niagara Rec Sports and suspension duration is decided on a case by case basis. As Niagara Rec Sports is a recreational sports league we take red cards very seriously and suspension duration will reflect this.
When the whole of the ball has crossed the touch-line, either on the ground or in the
air, there shall be a throw in from the point where it left the field of play, by a member of the team opposing that who last touched the ball. The player taking the Throw-in shall face the field of play and throw the ball from on or behind the touch line. The ball will be in play immediately after it enters the field of play. If the player taking the throw-in plays or touches the ball a second time before it has been played or touched by another player, a free-kick shall be awarded to the opposing team.
When the whole of the ball has crossed the goal-line, either on the ground or in the air,
excluding that portion between the goal-posts, having last been played or touched by a
member of the attacking team, a goal-kick shall be awarded to the defending team.
The ball shall be kicked into play from a point within that half of the penalty area
nearest to where the ball crossed the goal-line.
At the taking of a goal-kick, all opponents shall be outside the penalty-area until it has
been kicked into play. The ball shall be in play when it has traveled directly beyond the
If the player taking the goal-kick plays or touches the ball a second time before it has
been played or touched by another player, a free-kick shall be awarded to the opposing
A goal may be scored directly from a goal-kick.
When the whole of the ball has crossed the goal-line, either on the ground or in the air, excluding that portion between the goal-posts, having last been played or touched by a member of the defending team, a corner-kick shall be awarded to the attacking team.
The corner-kick shall be taken from within the corner-arc nearest to where the ball
crossed the goal-line.
The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves.
If the player taking the corner-kick plays or touches the ball a second time before it has been played or touched by another player, a free-kick shall be awarded to the opposing team
- A goal may be scored directly from a corner kick
There are no off sides
Overall Standings Tie Breakers
- If there is a in the standings based on points the following will be used as a tie breaker.
- Total Most Points (3 points for a win, 1 for a tie)
- Plus minus
- Goals for
- Goals against
- Head to Head (if applicable)
- If everything is equal a coin toss
There can be no ties in the playoffs, if the game is tied at the regulation teams will go directly into penalty shots immediately after the final whistle is blown.
Penalty Shots (Playoffs only)
- Penalty shots will begin directly after the regular time expires.
- Anyone on the bench or field can take a shot (teams don’t have to sub a player on the field just so they can take a penalty shot).
- Best of 5 rounds will alternate Guy, Girl, (or girl guy) until there is a winner.
- If still tied after 5 rounds penalty shots will continue one round at a time until there is a winner.
- Everyone (of their specific gender) must shoot on the team before starting the order over goalies included.
- This is the only time where goalies gender counts as a Male or Female and to follow the above penalty shot rules.
Yellow cards will carry over from here on until the last game of the Playoffs. This goes for all games including the friendly. 4 yellow cards total = min 1 game suspension. (2 yellows in one game = a red).
Team captains are responsible for bringing a first aid kit to each game.
Players must have played in at least 2 regular season games in order to be eligible to play in the playoffs.
Alcohol, Smoking and Drugs
There is to be no consumption of Alcohol or drugs including smoking cigarettes or marijuana at the parks and especially on the benches at the games. Any person breaking this rule will be asked to leave the park and the team can potentially forfeit the game.
Physical altercations are not allowed under any circumstances. Any player(s) involved in any physical altercation will be banned from the league at the discretion of Niagara Rec Sports.