Rules of the game




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


6-a-side Rule Variations


All rules and regulations for the playing of 6-a-side soccer at Sofive fall under accordance of the 5-a-side rulebook with the exception of the following:

    • Team Structure. There will be a maximum of 6 players per team on the field at any one time.


  • Each team may field 5 outfield players and 1 goalkeeper on the field at any one time.
  • For co-ed soccer only: there must be a minimum of 2 female players on the field at all times.


  • Field Restrictions. All players are allowed to enter and play the ball inside the goal area.
  • There are no restrictions to where the keeper can play the ball.
  • Outdoor games
    • If the ball goes out of play at the end line, the game is restarted with a corner from the halfway line.
    • If the ball goes out of play at the side line, the game is restarted with a kick in from the place the ball went out. The kick in must be played below waist height.
  • Goalkeepers are permitted to take penalties in 6-a-side games only.


Youth League and Youth Tournament Variations


All rules and regulations for youth leagues and tournaments at Sofive fall under accordance of the 5-a-side rulebook and the 6-a-side variations with the exception of the following:


    • Field restrictions — all players are allowed to enter and play the ball inside the goal area.


  • There are no restrictions to where the keeper can play the ball.
  • The keeper is only allowed to handle the ball in the goal area
  • Pass back — passing back to the keeper is permitted, however they cannot pick up the ball
  • Free kicks and penalty kicks


    • If the keeper picks up a pass back, a direct free kick will be awarded 2 yards outside the goal area
    • A foul on the attacking player in the goal area will be awarded a penalty
      • If a penalty is awarded then it will not count towards the foul count rule
    • A handball in the goal area by a defending player will be awarded a penalty




Rosters 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
    • For adult co-ed soccer only: minimum of 1 female on the field at all times




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

  • Outgoing substitutes must leave the field of play before the replacement enters the playing area
  • The oncoming players are active immediately 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 change of goalkeeper must be authorized by the referee


Game Structure


The match will consist of two equal halves (2×20) (*youth tournaments — 1×18 minutes running clock)

  • 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 minute break)
  • Referees will each hold game time individually. It is the referee’s discretion to implement stoppage time.
    • If stoppage time is deemed appropriate by referee, a maximum of 1 minute (cumulative) will be added.
  • 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

  • Only the defending goalkeeper is permitted to play the ball inside the goal area and only he/she may handle the ball in this area (line belongs to the goal area)
  • A defending outfield player can enter his own goal area but cannot deflect / play the ball in his own goal area. If he/she does so, the opposing team will be awarded a free kick.
  • An outfield player entering his opponent’s penalty area will be penalized. The game will be re-started from the goalkeeper
  • A goalkeeper gaining, or seeking to gain, an advantage by leaving his goal area or by playing the ball when it is outside the goal area will result in a free kick for the opposing team
  • If 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:
    • Verbal Warning
    • Yellow Card (team plays a man down for 2 minutes)
    • Red Card (player ejected, team plays a man down for 5 minutes)


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 side line 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
  • To avoid purposeful time wasting, a teammate receiving the ball from the goalkeeper may not return the ball directly to him – the ball must first be touched by another teammate or an opponent; a free kick will be awarded to the opposing team from the spot where the infraction took place
  • Goalkeeper cannot pick up or touch a back pass with his/her hands

If the ball 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 a corner kick will be awarded, depending on which team had the final touch
  • Corner kick will be played by the attacking team from the center line

If the ball goes out of play over the side-board, a kick-in will be awarded depending on which team had the final touch

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


Free Kicks and Penalty Kicks


All free kicks will be Direct

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

  • If a free kick is awarded on or near the goal area it must be moved seven feet backwards to allow defenders to be seven feet from the ball

Penalty kicks are awarded where the rules indicate or, in the referee’s opinion, an imminent scoring opportunity was nullified by the infraction.


Penalty kicks procedure


  • A penalty kick will be placed seven feet from the top of the goal area directly in the centre of the goal
  • The goalkeeper must begin by standing 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 (U9 age groups and younger, will be permitted a reasonable run-up to the kick)
  • The rest of the players must be outside the boundaries of the penalty box 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 previously mentioned situations):
    • Holds an opponent
    • Plays in a dangerous manner
    • Impedes the progress of an opponent (“Obstruction”)
    • Prevents the Goalkeeper from releasing 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
  • Unsporting Behavior
    • Leverage: Using the body of a teammate or any part of the field to gain an advantage
    • Encroachment: Entering the protected area of an opposing player taking a Free Kick (after initial 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 – free kick to opposing team
  • No slide tackles

Once a team has accumulated 6 fouls during a half:

  • A Penalty Kick will be awarded
  • All fouls thereafter (occurring in the defensive half) will be punished with a Penalty Kick
  • Fouls re-set at halftime


*Advantage rule will not be applied*

Verbal Warnings will be continuously 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

The wearing of 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 groups U-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’s liability waiver prior to playing**




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

Blue Cards

  • A player who receives a blue card 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 play down a player for 2 minutes
  • Unless otherwise provided above and below, the Referee issues a Blue Card for serious fouls and unsporting behavior (by a player) and for:
    • Dissent: either towards the referee or toward the opposition
    • Deliberate Handball or Handball by a Goalkeeper (outside goal area)
    • Goalkeeper Endangerment
    • Boarding
    • Encroachment


Yellow Cards


  • A player who receives a Yellow Card 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
  • Caution-able Offenses: the Referee issues a Yellow Card for reckless fouls and for
    • Second Blue Card
    • Unsporting Behavior by any non-player personnel
    • Provoking Altercation — making physical contact with an opponent (e.g., pushing or poking), short of fighting, or using the ball in so doing


Red Cards


  • A player who receives a Red Card must leave the field of play immediately and for the duration of the game
  • A Red Card results in a 5 minute man down penalty. Red Card suspensions will be issued per Sofive’s policies and at the discretion of Management.
  • Ejection-able Offenses: A player receives a Red Card for fouls, which the Referee considers violent or committed with excessive force, and for
    • Repeated Warnings
    • Violent Conduct
    • Elbowing: Intentionally elbowing an opponent
    • Vicious Tackling: A tackle from the side or from behind directly into one or both legs of an opponent, seriously endangering him/her
    • Fighting
    • Leaving Team Bench or Penalty Area to engage in a confrontation with the opposition or a Game Official
    • Extreme Unsporting 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 violent conduct will be reported to Sofive management with the possibility of the offense escalating to a longer ban
  • Regardless of issued cards, in the case of serious foul play or foul/abusive language, the suspension could be extended, should Sofive deem necessary
  • Teams that continue to have poor player discipline may be removed from the competition
  • 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 or protest 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