Rules of the game

The following is a comprehensive list of rules and regulations relating to 5-a-side soccer at Sofive


Must be submitted before the start of the season.

  • Players not listed on the roster from league start date, without a waiver on file, and not deemed active players within regular season, will not be permitted to appear in high stakes, playoff or Final matches.
  • Players can only play for one team in each league night. Playing on different nights is permitted.

Team Structure

  • There will be a maximum of 5 players per team on the field at any one time

    • Each team may field 4 outfield players and 1 goalkeeper on the field at any one time


Substitutions are unlimited during the game and may be made ‘on the fly’

  • Outgoing substitutes must leavethe field of play before the replacement enters the playing area
  • The oncoming players are activeimmediately and can receive the ball
  • Substitutes must stand outside the pitch perimeter and spectators must not enter the field of play under any circumstance

    • A substitution of the goalkeeper must be authorized by the referee.

Game Structure

The match will consist of two equal halves (2×20).  The first half will begin with one team taking a center; the second half will begin with the other team taking a center

  • After a goal has been scored the game will be re-started by the team who conceded the goal taking a center
  • Half-time will be a straight change around (as time permits, referees may grant a 2-3 min break)

    • If stoppage time is deemed appropriate by the referee, a maximum of 1-minute (cumulative) will be added.
  • Referees will each hold game time individually. It is the referee’s discretion to implement stoppage time.
  • Lateness to a scheduled match will result in a penalty against the offending team:

    • 5-minute lateness will result in a 1-goal deficit
    • 10-minute lateness will result in a 2-goal deficit
    • 15-minute lateness will result in a forfeited match

Field restrictions

There are two marked goal/penalty areas on the pitch

  • All players are allowed to enter and score inside the goal area.
  • The GK is not allowed to leave the goal area.
  • If the goalie comes out of the box to break up a play, a referee will penalize at his/her discretion
    based on whether the act persisted after warnings and occurred with intent.
  • Penalty kick will be given after warnings.
  • Pass back – passing back to the keeper is permitted, however they cannot pick up the ball
  • GK can throw over the half way line (no drop kicks)

General Play

There are no offsides  

A goal may be scored from any point within the field of play

  • Goalkeepers are not permitted to take penalties (except in penalty shoot-outs)
  • Goals cannot be scored directly from a sideline kick-in or directly from the kick–off

Re-Starting the Game

The goalkeeper must return the ball into play by throwing or kicking it out of his/her area

  • The goalkeeper has a maximum of 5-seconds to return the ball into play
  • Goalkeeper cannot pick up or touch a back pass with his/her hands
  • If theball goes out of play over the end line / board:

    • If the defending goalkeeper deflects the ball, a goal kick will be awarded
    • Otherwise, a goal kick or acorner kick will be awarded, depending on which team had the final touch
    • Corner kick will be played by the attacking team from the centre line
  • If the ball goes out of play over the side-board (& hits the net) a kick-in will be awarded depending on which team had the final touch

    • The kick-in will be played from the spot where the ball went out of play

Free Kicks and Penalties

Opposition players must be at least seven feet (2 steps) from where any free kick is taken

  • Fouls – Direct free kick
  • Ball hits the netting (top or side) – In-direct free kick
  • All other free kicks – In-direct

Penalty Kicks Procedure

  • A penalty kick will be placed seven feet from the top of the goal area directly in the center of the goal
  • The goalkeeper must begin bystanding on the goal line and may move only laterally before the kick is taken
  • There is no run-up to the ball. The kicker’s plant foot must be placed before the kick and remain stationary.
  • The rest of the playersmust be outsidethe boundaries of the penaltybox and behind the ball until the kick is taken

Player Safety and Fouls

Infringement of these rules will result in a Direct Free Kick:

  • A foul occurs if a player (in addition to the previously mentioned situations):

    • Holds an opponent
    • Plays in a dangerous manner
    • Impedes the progress of anopponent (“Obstruction”)
    • Prevents the Goalkeeper fromreleasing the ball from his/her hands
  • And a foul occurs when a player commits the following in a manner that the Referee considers careless, serious, reckless, or involving excessive force:

    • Kicks an opponent
    • Trips an opponent
    • Jumps at an opponent
    • Charges an opponent
    • Strikes or elbows an opponent
    • Pushes an opponent
  • Unsportsmanlike Conduct

    • Leverage: Using the body of ateammate or any part of the field to gain anadvantage
    • Encroachment: Entering the protected area of an opposing playertaking a Free Kick (afterinitial Warning)
    • Dissent: Referee Abuse
    • Other: Behavior which, in the Referee’s opinion, does not warrant another category of penalty(e.g., taunting, foul language)
  • Boarding

    • Unnecessary roughness on the boards will not be tolerated
    • ‘Boarding’ is not permitted, including the corners (‘Boarding’ is defined by double-teaming a player against the boards). Additionally, players may not grab onto the boards with both hands.
    • Any player that uses the corner for time wasting will lose possession of the ball – a free kick will be awarded to the opposing team
  • No slide tackles

Verbal Warnings will becontinuously given by the referee:

  • “Boards”: for someone to step away from the boards
  • “Corner”: for someone to give space or to get away from the corner
  • “Space”: to prevent Encroachment
  • “Time”: to prevent time wasting, quick restarts of play should always take precedence
  • Wearing any form of jewelry (including watches) is not permitted during play

Wearing any form of jewelry (including watches) is not permitted during play   

Sofive strongly recommends that all players wear shin guards, but this is only compulsory in regards to youth participants  

Sofive recognizes the US Soccer’s mandate pertaining to headers for age groupsU-11 and younger; these age groups shall not engage in heading in games – free kick will be awarded

**All coaches and players must read and sign Sofive’sliability waiver prior to playing**


The purpose ofthe rules of Sofive Soccer Centers is to provide a guideline to describe theway the game is played.
No one may intentionally violate the rules.

blue cards

  • A player who receives a bluecard must leave the field of play for 2 minutes

    • That team may substitute another player
    • If a team does not have any substitutes, then the team will playdown a player for 2 minutes
  • Unless otherwise providedabove and below, the Refereeissues a Blue Card for serious fouls andunsportsmanlike behaviour (by the player) as well as for the following actions:

    • Dissent: either towards thereferee or toward the opposition
    • Deliberate Handball or Handballby a Goalkeeper (outside goal area)
    • Goalkeeper Endangerment
    • Boarding
    • Encroachment

yellow cards

  • A player who receives a YellowCard must leave the field of play for 2-minutes
  • If a Yellow Card is issued it will result in a 2-minute man-down penalty
  • Cautionable Offenses: theReferee issues a Yellow Card for reckless fouls and for

    • Second Blue Card
    • Unsportsmanlike behavior by any non-player personnel
    • Provoking Altercation: Makingphysical contact with an opponent(e.g., pushing or poking),short of fighting, or throwing the ball in an unsportsmanlike fashion

red cards

  • A player who receivesa Red Card must leave the field of play immediately and must stay out for the remainder of the game
  • A Red Card resultsin a 5-minute man down penalty. Red Card suspensions will be issued per Sofive’s policies and at the discretionof Management.
  • Ejectionable Offenses:A player receivesa Red Card for fouls,which the Refereeconsiders violent or committed with excessive force, and for:

    • Repeated Warnings
    • Violent Conduct
    • Elbowing: Intentionallyelbowing an opponent
    • Vicious Tackling: A tackle from the side or from behind directlyinto one or both legs of an opponent, seriously endangering him/her
    • Fighting
    • Leaving Team Bench or PenaltyArea to engage in a confrontation with the opposition or a Game
    • Extreme Unsportsmanlike Behavior: Committing particularly despicable behavior, including:
      (i) Spitting at an opponent or any other person;
      (ii) Persistent use of extremely abusive language or behavior toward a Game Official;
      (iii) Bodily contact with a Game Official in Dissent


  • A player who is sent off may receive a suspension for future games
  • A player who receives a red card for violentconduct will be reported to Sofive management with the possibility of the offense escalating to alonger ban
  • Regardless of issuedcards, in the case of serious foul play or foul/abusive language, the suspension couldbe extended, should Sofive deem necessary
  • Teams that continue to havepoor player discipline may be removed from thecompetition
  • No reimbursement will be provided to a suspended / banned player or team


The Referee’s decision on all on-field matters is final and discussion will not be entertained either on or off the field. Further, there is not an appeals orprotest process.  

  • Dissent and bad mouthing will not be allowed.
  • The Referee’s jurisdiction on disciplinary matters will apply until players have entered the changing rooms
  • Players/Coaches repeatedly disputing decisions may be subject to further disciplinary action