Salem Youth Soccer League Rules and Regulations

Updated 2023 Rules

These rules are based on the official rules of youth soccer as set forth in the United States Youth Soccer Association Rules and are meant as a guide for players and parents unfamiliar with the game of soccer. However, the United States Youth Soccer Association Rules remain the final authority in the event of any discrepancy. The Salem Youth Soccer League (SYSL) hopes your child or children have a fun and learning experience in America’s fastest-growing sport. Please remember to stress good sportsmanship and work with the coaches. We hope the following information is a helpful guide to understanding soccer. The Salem Youth Soccer League is supported and sponsored by area merchants, businesses, and organizations.

I. Code of Conduct For Parents

Being a parent of a soccer player is unlike being the parent of any other sport in the United States. This is true for one simple reason; referees are instructed to maintain order and will not tolerate dissent from coaches, parents, or players.

A. If your child is unable to attend a practice or a game, please have the courtesy to call the coach and inform him/her.

B. Stress good sportsmanship from your son or daughter.

C. Treat the referee with respect, regardless of the call made. Dissent from parents and other spectators will not be tolerated by the referees. Referees are instructed to stop games if dissent during the game continues. Forfeiture of the game may result. Continued dissent will result in you and your child being removed from active participation in the SALEM YOUTH SOCCER LEAGUE.

D. Treat your son’s or daughter’s coach with respect. Remember he/she is a volunteer and is devoting the hours necessary to improve your child’s soccer skills.

E. Help maintain a climate of enjoyment among all participants and spectators. DO NOT harass or criticize the play of any player, especially your own, on or off the field. DO NOT harass the coaches on the field or the spectators in attendance.

F. Offer support and praise to all members of your child’s team regardless if you won or lost.

G. Profanity or vulgar language will not be tolerated by spectators or players. Remember if you remain calm after viewing the game, the players on the field will remain calm and focus on playing soccer.

H. Don’t try and “coach” the players from the sidelines during the game. Screaming directions accomplishes nothing. If you yell at all, yell encouragement to the players on the field. In actuality, most of the players hear very little of what is yelled at them during a match.

I. Exhibit exemplary conduct in both practices and games.

J. Feel free to offer feedback to your child’s coach concerning potential problems and ways to improve. If you have any questions about the coaching methods of a particular coach, talk with that individual away from the ears of the players

II. Eligibility and Affiliation

A. Any community within the jurisdiction of SYSL must meet SYSL standards of play and player regulations.

B. Player eligibility is determined by the player’s age as of December 31st for that seasonal year.
1. A player who has not reached the age of fifteen (15), fourteen (14), or thirteen (13) as of December 31st will be eligible to play U-14/15
a) Anyone already in High School is not eligible to participate.
2. A player who has not reached the age of twelve (12) or eleven (11) as of December 31st will be eligible to play U-12
3. A player who has not reached the age of ten (10) or nine (9) as of December 31st will be eligible to play U-10
4. A player who has not reached the age of eight (8) or seven (7) as of December 31st will be eligible to play U-8
5. A player who has not reached the age of six (6) or five (5) as of December 31st will be eligible to play U-6

C. A player may play for ONLY one (1) team per division that is part of the SYSL in any given season (Spring / Fall). There will be no cross rostering of players in the same age division.

D. A team may pull up to three (3) players from a younger division to help fill a roster.

E. There will be no more than three (3) carded players per team.

III. Practice

A. Practice may begin on July 25th.

B. Coaches will work with the league scheduler for scheduling practice days/times

C. Coaches can schedule scrimmages during their set practice time.

IV. SYSL League Play

A. Number of Games:
Each team will be scheduled 10 games.

B. Divisions & Game Length:
1. U6 – 4 X 10 minute quarters #3 ball (7v7)
2. U8 – 4 X 10 minute quarters #3 ball (7 v 7)
3. U10 – 2 X 25 minute halves #4 ball (9 v 9, min 6 players)
4. U12 – 2 X 30 minute halves #4 ball (9 v 9, min 6 players)
5. U14/15 – 2 X 35 minute halves #5 ball (11 v 11, min 7 players)

C. League Standings:
League standings will be kept on point basis as follows:
1. Win….. 3 points
2. Tie…….1 point
3. Loss… 0 points
4. Forfeit.3 points with a 5 goal differential

D. Game Play:
All SYSL games will be played under USSF laws and rules of the game of soccer.
1. All players that are present for a game shall play in each half given they are not injured or deemed ineligible by the referee.
2. No player shall play goalie in both halves of a game.

E. Rosters:
Communities entering more than one (1) team in an age group shall have no more than 75% of 1 gender on the team roster. All teams will be split up evenly by age. Team Rosters will be submitted to the president of SYSL by midnight July 31.

F. U8/U10 Modifications:
U8/U10 divisions have to follow the U8/U10 GAMES – MODIFICATIONS TO THE RULES. These modifications are set forth by the US Youth Soccer Association and Failure to follow these rule modifications will lead to a forfeit by the offending team/s.
1. There is no punting or drop kicks in U8/U10.
2. Build-out-line: A horizontal line is drawn from sideline to sideline 14-yards in front of each goal. Build-out lines will encourage possession and play out of the back. When a goalkeeper has the ball in hand or there is a goal kick the opposing team remains behind the build-out line until the ball is put into play. If the ball is put into play before the opposing team being behind the build-out-line the ball is live.
a) For U10: This line also indicates where offside can be called, as teams cannot be called for off-side between the midfield and build-out-line.

G. Field Location:
Home teams will supply a field properly marked as stated in the USSF laws of the game, and a game ball, which meets USSF standards and is approved by the referee.

H. Required Field Sizes:
1. U8

2. U10

3. U/11-12’s

4. U14/15

I. Start of Match:
A twenty (20) minute grace period, beyond the scheduled match time, will be given to each team to field a team ready to play the match. If the twenty (20) minute grace period has expired, the team not prepared to play the match will forfeit the match. A minimum of 7 (seven) players is required to play in U14/15. U10/U12 a minimum of 6 (six) players, one of which must be a goalie for each respective age bracket.

J. Ineligible Players:
Any team who rosters and/or plays a player whose age, registration, affiliation or any other reason is ineligible to play, automatically forfeits the current match and all other matches said player or players had roster and/or have had participation.

K. Match Positions for Teams / Spectators:
Competing teams and their spectators will be located on opposite sides of the field
1. Teams will be a minimum of 5 (five) yards from the touch line and within 20 (twenty) yards of the midfield line.
2. Spectators will be a minimum of 5 (five) yards from the touch line and not on the same half as the team.
a) There must be no spectators behind either goal.

L. Substitutions:
Substitutions are unlimited and may be made following USSF laws of game.
1. The referee must give permission for any substitution to enter the field of play and the player must enter and exit the field at the midfield line only.
2. If a team is given an opportunity to substitute, the opposing team should also have that right to substitute.
3. The referee must be notified of any change in the goalie position.
4. Upon receiving a yellow card the coach may request to substitute the player. Another player may immediately replace the yellow carded player.

M. Player Uniform / Equipment:
If the opposing team has the same color jersey, the home team must have on hand an alternate color pennies at games to change into.
1. Numbers must appear on the back of all players’ jerseys.
2. The goalie must wear a jersey of such distinction that he or she can be distinguished from all other players on the field of play. This is a decision of the referee that cannot be disputed.
3. All players must wear shin guards while on the field of play.
4. All other attire and equipment will be checked by the referee prior to the start of the match and his or her rulings are final. All attire must conform to USSF laws and regulations of the game of soccer.
5. Any player participating wearing a cast, braces, or any other type of support must satisfy the referee and notify the opposing coach. The referee’s decision is final and cannot be disputed.

N. Rescheduling Match:
All matches, including those rescheduled, must be played before the end of the current season. If for any reason a match must be canceled or rescheduled, the team requesting the change must notify the opposing team, and submit a schedule change request via the link provided on the SYSL website ( under the “Schedule Changes” tab at least twenty four (24) hours before the scheduled starting time of the match. Both coaches need to work together to find an agreeable date, time, and location. Failure to notify the SYSL scheduler, and opposing team as required prior to the match results in a forfeit and the forfeiting team is responsible for all referee fees due for said match. All parties must agree to the rescheduling. If not, the party requesting the change is to forfeit and will pay all ref fees.

O. Score Reporting:
A link for a score reporting form will be emailed to all communities/coaches prior to the start of the season. All scores must be reported using this form.
1. If there is a discretion about a score, the SYSL representative responsible for inputting the score will reach out to both coaches for agreement on the score.
a) If agreement cannot be made:
(1) If the referees can be contacted, their report of the score will be used and is final.
(2) If the referees cannot be contacted, the closer score will be used.
(3) If there is still discretion due to the win going for both teams, a score of 0-0 will be final.
2. No score will be recorded for U6 or U8 games.

P. Officiating:
Each community is responsible for ensuring that referees are scheduled for all matches during league play and will follow USSF laws for refereeing.
1. U8: The coaches are the referees of the games. Two coaches per team are allowed on the field during the game.
a) Coaches are encouraged to help players during games.
b) The fouls to be called include:
(1) Handballs
(2) Striking or spitting
(3) Foul or abusive language
(4) Incorrect throw-ins (one extra try will be allowed)
(5) Tripping
(6) Holding or pushing with hands, arms, or legs
c) All fouls will be an indirect free kick. There are no direct kicks.
d) There are no penalty kicks.
e) There will be no off side
f) Slide tackling and headers are not allowed.
2. U10: There will be 1 or 2 referees per game and they must be at least 12 years old.
3. U12: There will be 1 or 2 referees per game and they must be at least 14 years old.
4. U14/15: There will be 1 or 2 referees per game and they must be at least 16 years old.
5. Referees fees are paid by the Home team for each match

Q. Weather Conditions:
In inclement weather, the coach of the home team must contact the opposing team to discuss conditions of the playing field. This should take place in a timely manner to assess the field and notify the referees. The referee is the judge at match time and his or her decision cannot be changed or challenged. If during the match the referee determines the weather may be a threat to safety or other reasonable concern, he or she may postpone or cancel the match. The games will be stopped immediately following the first sighting of lightning or when thunder is heard.
1. Any match canceled prior to the completion of the first half must be replayed in its entirety.
2. Any match canceled after completion of the first half will stand

V. Forfeitures

A. Any team forfeiting a match means a loss for that team by a score of 0-5. Forfeitures result:
1. When a team fails to show for a scheduled match within league guidelines.
2. When a team fails to field the required minimum number of players (III H), one of which must be a goalie, for a scheduled match.
3. When a coach plays an ineligible player either by age, registration or other reason.
4. When a coach removes a team from the field of play during a match without the referee’s permission.
5. The forfeiting team’s scores will be recorded as zero (0) and that team will be responsible for all referee fees for that game, unless canceled and notified more than 24 hours in advance.

VI. Discipline and Punishments

A. Each community is responsible for the conduct of its coaches, players, officials, and spectators.

B. RED CARDS – PLAYERS and COACHES: If a player or coach receives a RED CARD from a referee and is consequently sent off (disqualified) from a League or Tournament match, he or she will be suspended from further play as follows:
1. Soft RED CARD (two YELLOW CARDS) – They must sit the remainder of the match
2. Straight RED CARD – Suspension from the team’s next two (2) scheduled matches
3. Procedure:
a) RED CARDS must be reported to the SYSL President immediately following the conclusion of the game.

C. Yellow Cards – Team Representatives: Rostered coaches and managers may also be issued a formal caution (Yellow Card) for any inappropriate actions.

D. The referee and all other officials must be treated with respect before, during, and after every match by all those who attend. Each team and its officials, players and spectators are bound to uphold this ruling and as such, all coaches, officials and players are subject to severe disciplinary actions by SYSL for failure to ensure the safety and courteous conduct towards referees and all other officials conducting league business.

E. All referees have full power and jurisdiction granted them by USSF and will be treated as such and their decisions are not to be disputed other than through the SYSL.

VII. SYSL Fall Classic Tournament Rules

See the separate Tournament Rules Document

VIII. Amendments:

A. These Rules and Regulations can be changed and amended at any time by the majority vote of SYSL and Community Representatives. Changes will be communicated immediately to all communities. Further input and discussion can be considered at the next scheduled meeting.