Rules of Play

Beginning this fall NSL will implement the FIFA rules pertaining to player substitution at any stoppage in play. 
The player wishing to enter the game must be at the center line. At a stoppage in play the Center Referee will signal for the player to enter. 
Once the player that is being subbed off leaves the pitch, the substituted player can enter the pitch.
Unlike FIFA there will not be a limit on player substitution.

            Soccer Field Dimensions

                  ***SOCCER FIELD DIMENSIONS - BY AGE****

Field Width
(MIN to MAX)

Field Length
(MIN to MAX)

9U 40 yds to 50 yds 55 yds to 65 yds
10U 40 yds to 50 yds 55 yds to 65 yds
11U 40 yds to 50 yds 70 yds to 80 yds
12U  40 yds to 50 yds 70 yds to 80 yds
13U 50 yds to 60 yds 100 yds to 110 yds
INT'L 70 yds to 80 yds 110 yds to 120 yds


                ****SOCCER GOAL DIMENSIONS - BY AGE****


Goal Size

9U 6'H X 12'W
10U 6'H X 12'W 
11U 6.5'H X 18.5'W
12U  6.5'H x 18.5'W
13U 8'H X 24'W 
INT'L 8'H X 24'W  


Substitution Rules

Beginning this fall in NSL, substitution will be allowed at any stoppage in play. The player wishing to enter the game must be at the center line. At a stoppage in play, the Center Referee will signal the player to enter the field at the appropriate time. 

Team sizes

9U & 10U now play 7v7              7v7 Mondified Guidelines (rules)

11U & 12U now play 9v9            9v9 Modified Guidelines (rules)


Refer to the 7v7 and 9v9 Guidelines (rules) above.  Deliberate heading is not allowed at 11U and younger. Deliberate heading is allowed at 12U taking into account the clarification below.

Clarification:  Coaches and parents must stress to their 11U and younger players that they are not allowed to deliberately head the ball.  If a player is playing up in an older age group (ex: 10 year old playing with a 12U team), please note that players who are 10 and younger should not be heading the ball regardless of the age group in which they play.  This requires education and support from the coach and parent to instruct the player accordingly.

Referees should enforce these restrictions by age group according to the specified rules.  Referees will not be assessing the age of individual players on the field; they will enforce the rules for the age group.

For Player Wellness Information and the New USSF Concussion Initiatives click on this link: 

Player Wellness and USSF Concussion Initiatives

Roster Size for 13U-18U

Although 13U-18U rosters may carry up to 22 players only 18 may play in a game. Any additional players over the 18 may stay on the team bench as long as they are not dressed in uniform.  

Club Passes

Club passes are unlimited for the 9U-13U age groups. Players may be written on the roster prior to the game and must have a passcard and be age appropriate to the team.

Important Club Pass Announcement for 14U and above

Upon review of the spring 2016 season the NSL League will be making the following changes to the current club pass system for 14U ages and above.  For the fall 2016 season and beyond, club passes for 14U-18/19U age groups will now be increased to a maximum of 6.  Previously the rule had been a maximum of 3 only.   Please note that all existing rules still apply to the club pass program for these ages which includes the following; a player may play up an age group at any level. An age appropriate player may play down an age group only at the same level as they currently play or a higher one.  Players must be written on the roster prior to the game and a copy of the roster given to the opponent BEFORE the match begins


USSF Player Development Initiatives

For the New USSF Modified Rules for 6U-12U please click on the link below:

USSF Player Development Initiatives


USSF Rule Changes 2016

For USSF Rule Changes for Fall 2016 please click on this link:  USSF Rule Changes 2016

U.S. Officials' summary of changes/clarifications to the 2016/17 LOTG: LOTG Summary for Leagues

Highlighted Rule Changes for Fall 2016:

     1. A player injured by a Red Card or Yellow Card foul can be assessed quickly and stay on the field.

     2. The ball must clearly move to be in play for all restarts.

     3. The ball can be kicked in any direction on a kickoff.

     4. If a player commits an offense within the penalty area which denies an obvious goal scoring    opportunity and the referee awards a penalty kick, the offending player will only be cautioned, unless:

              a. The offense is holding, pulling or pushing, or

              b. The offending player does not attempt to play the ball or there is no possibility 

                   for the player making the challenge to play the ball, or

              c. The offense is one which is punishable by a red card regardless of where it is on the field.


Full layout of the Laws of the Game from The International Football Association Board.