Laws of the Game


Law 1 - Field of Play

U-6 U-8 U-10 U-12
Length (max) 30 yds 50 yds 80 yds 100 yds
Width (max) 15 yds 25 yds 40 yds 50 yds
A 0 12 yds 14 yds 18 yds
B 0 0 6 yds 6 yds
C 5 yds 5 yds 8 yds 10 yds
D 0 8 yds 10 yds 12 yds
Goals (max) 6′ wide 6′ x 18′ 7′ x 21′ 8′ x 24′

Law 2 - The Ball

U-19, U-16, U-14 5 26.5″ – 28″ 14 – 16 oz.
U-12, U-10 4 25″ – 26.5″ 12 – 14 oz.
U-8, U-6 3 23″ – 25″ 10 – 12 oz.
Note: ball may not be changed during match without authority of referee.

Law 3 - Number of Players

Law 3 requires a maximum of 11 players on the field and a minimum of 7. AYSO permits exceptions to this law for small sided games of all age groups. These exceptions are made for the development of the young players. Below are AYSO’s recommendations for small sided games.

U-19, U-16, U-14 11 15 7 YES
U-12 9 – 11 13 – 15 7 YES
U-10 7 – 9 10 – 13 7 YES
U-8 5 – 7 8 – 10 5 YES
U-6 3 – 4 5 – 7 3 NO
  • A player who has been sent off may not be replaced
  • Substitutes come under the jurisdiction of the referee. Region 515 AYSO teams may substitute during quarter breaks, or for injuries.
  • In AYSO, each team member must play a minimum of one half of the match.
  • One player on each team must be designated as goalkeeper.
  • In AYSO, play may be stopped at any time by the referee to attend to an injured player. A dropped ball is used to restart play if the ball was in play at the time of the stoppage.

Law 4 - Player's Equipment

  • Team members must be easily distinguishable from the opposing team and from the referee.
  • The goalkeepers must be distinguishable from all other players on the field (both teams).
  • Compulsory equipment consists of jersey or shirt, socks, shorts, shin guards, and shoes.
  • Shin guards must be worn completely covered by the socks.
  • Soccer cleats may not have a front toe cleat, and cleats must not have sharp edges.
  • Player uniforms and equipment should be inspected prior to the beginning of the match for conformity with the Laws and for safety violations.
  • Casts or splints, jewelry, watches, and articles of adornment are not allowed.
  • Knee braces are allowed, but must be adequately padded to eliminate the possibility of it causing injury.
  • Footwear is required but need not be specifically designed for soccer as long as it presents no safety hazard
  • Additional articles of clothing are permitted during cold weather as long as the wearer’s team affiliation remains recognizable.

Law 5 - The Referee

Authority of the Referee
Each match is controlled by a referee who has full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game in connection with the match to which he or she has been appointed. The referee has the safety of the players as his or her main concern.

Power and Duties

  •  Enforces all Laws of the Game.
  • Controls the match together with the assistant referees.
  • Ensures game ball used meets the requirements of Law 2.
  • Ensures that the players’ equipment meets the requirements of Law 4.
  • Keeps time and record of the match.
  • Stops, suspends, or terminates the match because of outside interference of any kind.
  • Stops the match if, in his opinion, a player is injured or runs the risk of injury.
  • Ensures that any player bleeding from a wound leaves the field of play. The player may only return on receiving a signal from the referee, who must be satisfied that the bleeding has stopped.
  • Allows the game to continue and not call a foul if he or she thinks it would be an advantage for the team that was fouled to allow play to continue. This is called ‘the advantage clause’.
  • Punishes the more serious offence when a player commits more than one offence at the same time.
  • Takes disciplinary action against players guilty of cautionable (yellow card) and sending-off (red card) offences (Law 12). He or she is not obliged to take this action immediately but must do so when the ball next goes out of play.
  • Takes action against coaches or other team officials who fail to conduct themselves in a responsible manner and may at his or her discretion, expel them from the field of play and its immediate surroundings. Yellow cards and red cards are not required to be shown for these instances.
  • Acts on advice of assistant referees regarding incidents which the referee has not seen.
  • Ensures that no unauthorized persons enter the field of play.
  • Restarts the match after it has been stopped.
  • Provides the appropriate authorities with a match report which includes information on any disciplinary action taken against players, and/or team officials and any other incidents which occurred before, during, or after the match.

Decisions of the Referee
The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play are final! The referee may only change a decision on realizing that it is incorrect or, at his or her discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee, provided that he or she has not restarted play.

Law 6 - Assistant Referees

Two assistant referees assist the center referee in controlling the match.

Assistant referees’ duties, subject to the decision of the center referee are to indicate

  • when the entire ball goes in and out of bounds of the field of play (Law 9).
  • which side is awarded a corner kick (Law 17), goal kick (Law 16), or throw-in (Law 15).
  • when a player is offside (Law 11).
  • when a substitution has been requested.
  • when an infraction has been committed out of view of the referee.
  • when offences have been committed whenever the assistants are closer to the action than the referee.
  • whether a goalkeeper has moved forward before the ball has been kicked during a penalty kick, and whether the entire ball crossed the line.
  • ensures that the players’ equipment meets the requirements of Law 4.

The assistant referee may enter the field to help control the 10 yard distance during free kicks. The referee may relieve an assistant referee of his or her duties in the event of improper conduct by the assistant referee.

Law 7 - Match Duration

U-19 45 min (see note) 5 – 10 min 95 – 100 min
U-16 40 min 20 min 5 – 10 min 85 – 90 min
U-14 35 min 17.5 min 5 – 10 min 75 – 80 min
U-12 30 min 15 min 5 – 10 min 65 – 70 min
U-10 25 min 12.5 min 5 – 10 min 55 – 60 min
U-8 20 min 10 min 5 – 10 min 45 – 50 min
U-6 15 min 7.5 min 5 – 10 min 35 – 40 min
Note: the U-19 match lasts two equal periods of 45 minutes, unless otherwise agreed between the referee and the two participating teams.
  • Allowance is made for all time lost through substitutions, injuries, wasting time, or any other cause at the discretion of the referee.
  • AYSO games are paused by quarters in order to insure everyone plays. Substitutions for AYSO are made at quarters only or during an injury.
  • The referee is the sole timekeeper of the match (Law 5).

Law 8 - Play Start/Restart


  • A coin is tossed and the team which wins the toss decides which goal it will attack in the first half of the game.
  • The other team takes the kick-off to start the game.
  • The team which won the toss take the kick-off on the second half of the game.
  • For the second half, both teams switch fields and attack the opposite goals.

Kick off is a way of starting or restarting play

  •  after a goal has been scored.
  • at the start of the second half of the match.
  • at the start of each period of extra time, where applicable.
  • a goal may be scored directly from a kick-off.

Kick off procedure

  • All players are in their own half of the field.
  • Opponents of the team taking the kick-off are at least 10 yards from the ball until it is in play.
  • The referee gives a signal.
  • The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward.
  • The kicker may not touch the ball a second time until it has been touched by another player.
  • If the kicker touches the ball a second time before any other player, and indirect free kick is awarded to the other team.
  • After a goal is scored, a kick-off is taken by the team who was scored on.
  • Any other infringement from the kick-off procedures requires the kick-off to be retaken.

Dropped Ball

  • When the referee stops play for any other reason not in the Laws of the Game, a dropped ball is the way of restarting play.
  • The referee drops the ball at the place where it was located when play was stopped.
  • Play restarts when the ball touches the ground.

Law 9 - Ball In/Out of Play

The ball is out of play when

  •  it has wholly crossed the goal line or touch line whether on the ground or in the air.
  • play has been stopped by the referee.

The ball is in play at all times, including when

  •  it rebounds from a goalpost, crossbar, or corner flag post and remains in the field of play.
  • it rebounds from either the referee or an assistant referee when they are on the field of play.

Law 10 - Scoring Method

Goal Scored
A goal is scored when the whole ball crosses over the goal line, between the goal posts, and under the crossbar.

Winning Team
The team who scores the greater number of goals during a game is the winner.

Competition Rules
For matches ending in a tie, provisions involving extra time, or other procedures approved by the Board are made that determine the winner of a match.

Law 11 - Offside

Offside Position
It is not against the rules for a player to be in an offside position.

A player is in the offside position if

  • he or she is nearer to the opponents goal line than both the ball and the second to the last opponent.

A player is not in an offside position if

  • he or she is on their own half of the field.
  • he or she is even with the second to the last defender.
  • he or she is even with the last two opponents.

Offside Offence
A player in the offside position is penalized if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by a teammate, the player, in the opinion of the referee, is involved in the play by

  • interfering with play.
  • interfering with an opponent.
  • gaining an advantage by being in that position.

No Offside Offence
There is no offside offence if a player receives the ball directly from

  •  a goal kick.
  • a throw-in.
  • a corner kick.

Note: for an offside offence the referee awards an indirect free kick to the opposing team to be taken from the place where the offence occurred.

Law 12 - Fouls/Misconduct

Offside Position
A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following six 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 an opponent.
  • charges an opponent.
  • strikes or attempts to strike an opponent.
  • pushes an opponent.

A direct free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following four offenses
• tackles an opponent to gain possession of the ball, making contact with the opponent before touching the ball.

  • holds an opponent.
  • spits at an opponent.
  • handles the ball deliberately, except for the goalkeeper in the penalty area.

A direct free kick is always taken from where the offence occurred.

Penalty Kick
A penalty kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the above offences in his or her own penalty area

  • interfering with play.
  • interfering with an opponent.
  • gaining an advantage by being in that position.

Indirect Free Kick
An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a goalkeeper, inside his or her own penalty area, commits any of the following five offences

  • takes more than six seconds while controlling the ball with his hands before releasing it from his or her possession.
  • touches the ball with the hands after receiving it directly from a thrown – in taken by a teammate.
  • touching the ball with the hands after it is deliberately kicked by a teammate to the goalkeeper.
  • touching the ball with the hands after releasing it from his or her possession, without it having touched another player.

An indirect free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player, in the opinion of the referee

  • plays in a dangerous manner.
  • impedes the progress of an opponent.
  • prevents the goalkeeper from releasing ball from his hands.
  • commits any other offence, not previously mentioned in Law 12, for which play is stopped to caution or dismiss a player.

Note: an indirect free kick is taken from the place where the offence occurred.

Law 13 - Free Kicks

Coming soon!

Law 14 - The Penalty Kick

Coming soon!

Law 15 - The Throw-In

Coming soon!

Law 16 - The Goal Kick

Coming soon!

Law 17 - The Corner Kick

Coming soon!