Tournament Rules

Tournament Rules 2020


Match Laws

All games will be played in accordance with the FIFA laws of the game, except as specifically superseded by tournament rules.


Team Acceptance

The tournament committee reserves the right to accept or reject any team application. Once accepted by the tournament committee, the application fee is non-refundable. All accepted teams are required to have a current roster, medical waivers, and laminated player and coach pass. The Tournament Director and Committee reserve the right to decide all matters pertaining to the tournament and their judgment is final.



Age groups accepted are boys and girls U8-U18/19. All teams and players must be registered with a member association of USSF: state association, AYSO or US Club Soccer for the current year and possess player passes and rosters.


Roster and Player Documentation

  • All teams must participate with player passes and team rosters. No pass- no play. Laminated players’ passes are required. A temporary or photocopy of non-official rosters or player passes will not be accepted. Players who wish to participate in the tournament must be listed on the official roster.
  • All players must have a current medical release form- (information sheet required for online check-in).
  • Out-of-state teams must have an approved Permission to Travel form (not required for US Club). Any team that does not have the items listed above will not be allowed to play in any matches. Bring your roster and player documentation to each game. They may be inspected at any time during the tournament by referees or tournament officials


Any team that does not have the items listed above will not be allowed to play in any matches. Bring your roster and player documentation to each game. They may be inspected at any time during the tournament by referees or tournament officials.


Guest Players Guest players must meet all requirements for individual team players. Guest players must have a guest player roster form validated by the appropriate registrar, and a current medical release form. Players must play on their own team if their team is playing in the tournament, they are not eligible to play as a guest player with another team. All teams will comply with the tournament rules and the Tournament Director’s decisions are final. Guest player passes must be the same type as the guest team.


Division Standings and Advancement

For the purpose of determining bracket standings and semifinal match participants, the following point system will be used: Win=6 points, Tie=3 point, Loss=0 points, Shutout= 1 point, Goals=1 point per goal up to 3 points for a total available of 10. Any Forfeit will be recorded as 3-0 and awarded 10 points for a win.



Ties will stand at the end of regulation play for the preliminary round and consolation matches. In standings after the preliminary group round matches, bracket winners and/or runner-ups will be determined as follows:

  1. Head-to-Head competition.
  2. Goal Differential (max 3 in any game)
  3. Most goals scored (max of 3 per game)
  4. Least goals allowed
  5. Penalty kicks from the penalty mark (will be played prior to the semi or final match)
  6. In the event of a bye or forfeit, tie-breaking rules 2, 3, and 4 will be based on the matches played among common opponents.


Any team that forfeits a match cannot advance to semi-final and final match, nor be champions on points.


*Ties after regulation play for championship matches. Semi-Final games go straight to Penalty Kicks*


Teams will be given a five (5) minute rest and immediately proceed with two (2) successive five (5) minute overtime periods. There are no “Golden Goals.” If the teams are still tied at the end of the two overtime periods the winner will be determined by using penalty kicks. Only the players on the field at the end of the second overtime period will be allowed to participate in the penalty kicks. The process for penalty kicks will be as follows:


  • All participating players will immediately meet at the center of the field.
  • A coin toss will determine who kicks first.
  • The referee will decide which goal will be used.
  • Five players will be selected from each team to participate in the first round.
  • With teams alternating, each team will take 5 kicks. The team scoring the most goals will be declared the winner.
  • If the teams remain tied after the first round, the remaining participating players from each team will take their kicks. Teams will alternate and the first team to score with the opposing team not scoring will be declared the winner.
  • No player may kick a second time until all eligible teammates, including the goalkeeper, have kicked once. Exception: if one team is playing short and uses all eligible players on the field, then both teams may start over.
  • Each team may select any of their participating players on the field to serve as the goalkeeper. The keeper may be changed at any time by one of the participating players. In the event that the goalkeeper becomes injured, a player not currently on the field may replace him.


All decisions by the referee are final and binding. No protests will be allowed.


Awards for first and second place will only be given in championship divisions; none will be awarded in consolation games.


Special Gameplay Rules and notes

  • Per the new USYS Guidelines, heading is not allowed in U12 and younger games. The referees will treat a deliberate header as they would a dangerous play – indirect free kick for the opposing team.
  • There will be a build-up line for U10 and under. This line will also be used as the offside line.
  • Head Injuries: The referee will stop play if there is a suspicion of a head injury. If play is stopped because of the suspicion, the coach MUST remove the player. If there is a suspicion of a concussion a medical trainer must deem the player fit to re-enter the game NOT a coach or parent.



All age groups will have unlimited substitutions and players may re-enter the game. The substitute must wait until the player is off the field before entering the field (unless the referee waves him/her on). No substitutions will be allowed for players sent off.


Anyone who is being substituted needs to leave at the closest point of the touchline/goal line. If the halfway point is the closest point, please go off there. If you are injured or the safest point to exit the field is not the nearest, then the referee will indicate so and you can leave at the halfway point. This change is trying to eliminate the practice of wasting time by substituting a player who is on the opposite side of the field.


Substitutions will be allowed as follows:


  • Throw-ins by either team.
  • Before a goal kick by either team.
  • After a goal by either team.
  • For an injured player.
  • At halftime.
  • Before either overtime period.
  • Red card infraction, the player must leave the playing field and the team must play short.



A maximum grace period of five (5) minutes will be allowed after the scheduled kick-off time. A team must have the minimum players required present to begin a match. A match forfeited will be scored 3-0 and the winning team will be awarded 10 points. It is requested the teams be present thirty (30) minutes prior to the scheduled start time to aid in the timely start of play.


Inclement Weather/Game Delays

Coaches and players must appear at the field ready to play as scheduled, regardless of the weather. Failure to appear will result in a forfeit of the match. Only the Tournament Director may cancel or postpone games. At the sight of lightning, all games will cease and play shall not resume until the Tournament Director determines that a minimum of thirty (30) minutes has passed with no visible lightning.


Additionally, the Tournament Director may reduce the length of a match due to weather or field conditions. Should a preliminary match in progress be terminated due to weather or field conditions, the match will be considered official if, at least the first half has been played and the score at that time shall stand, even if the score is a tie. For other matches, rescheduling attempts will be made as fairly as possible, considering referee and field availability and normal progress of the competition. As a last resort, PK’s may be used to decide winning teams in the semi-final or final matches. There will be no refunds given if all or a portion of the tournament is cancelled or cannot be rescheduled by the Tournament Director for any reason.


Player Equipment

  • Shin Guards must be worn by all players.
  • Game balls will be provided by the home team.
  • With the exception of medical ID, no rings, watches, earrings or other jewellery of any kind may be worn. All medical ID medals must be taped to the body. The referee, prior to the match must approve any protective device or cast worn by a player. The cast must be padded and wrapped. No equipment changes may be made after the referee’s equipment check without his/her permission.
  • When the color of the jersey is similar or identical, the designated home team will change jerseys. The team listed first on the schedule is the home team. Each player must have a different jersey number.
  • Goalkeepers must wear a different colored jersey to distinguish them from all other players and the referees.


Player, Coach and Spectator Conduct


All coaches, players, and spectators are expected to conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike manner. Any player, coach, or team supporter sent off during this tournament will be reported to the team’s home state association. Matters involving referee assault or abuse will be reported immediately to the team’s home state association as required by USSF Policy 531-9. Any player sent off (red card) from a match will not be replaced and not allowed to play in the remainder of the match. Two (2) yellow cards in one match are equivalent to a red card and the above rule applies. If a player is sent off for violent conduct or verbal abuse the tournament director can increase the ban to the next game after receiving the referee’s report.


If any coach, assistant coach, athletic trainer or representative of the team on the sidelines is found to be guilty of misconduct but the referee cannot distinguish who committed the infraction, the highest-ranking team official will receive the Yellow/Red Card.


Any coach or team supporter sent off during a match must immediately leave the vicinity of the field. Anybody sent off for serious verbal or physical altercation will result in the player, coach or team supporter being expelled and subject to be banned from the tournament facilities. If a Coach or team supporter refuses to leave the facility as directed, the Referee has the right to declare a forfeit and the other team will be granted a 3-0 win.


Spectators must sit on the opposite side of the field as their team and remain at least 2 yards behind the touchline. All spectators must remain between the 18-yard line on their team side of the field. No coach or player may stand on the sideline between the 18-yard line and the goal line. Coaches are responsible for the conduct of their players and sideline team supporters on his/her team. Coaches not taking responsibility for their sideline’s misconduct may be cautioned and/or ejected. In accordance with FIFA rules, only players will be shown a card (yellow or red) when being cautioned or sent off.



The Tournament Director and Committee reserve the right to decide all matters pertaining to the tournament and their judgment is final. No protests are allowed.


General Rules

  • No tents allowed within 15 feet of the playing field. No tent stakes, ropes or string may be used. The tournament may require that tents or other items or spectators be moved at their discretion.
  • No pets, No firearms, No alcoholic beverages allowed around field areas or stadium area.
  • Weather Updates will be online and on Facebook
  • The Tournament Director, Tournament Committee, James Island Youth Soccer Club and their volunteers will not be responsible for any expenses (including team entry fees) by any team or club if the tournament is canceled in-whole or in-part for ANY reason. The Tournament Director and tournament committee can not be responsible for inclement weather and there will be no refunds given.


Goal kick

In the past, the attacking team could not touch a goal kick until it had left the penalty area. Now, an attacking team may enter the penalty area as soon as the ball is in play. For the ball to be in play it must have been kicked and clearly moved. This change is meant to speed up the play of the game.

Does this change affect the buildout line?

No, the ball is considered in play when it has been kicked and has clearly moved. Players must still remain behind the build-out line until the ball is considered in play. If a team chooses to take a goal kick or free-kick quickly, they are doing so at their own risk as the normal build outline rules still apply.


Dropped ball

If the ball touches the referee or another match official and goes into the goal, team possession changes or an attack for the opponents begins, a dropped ball is awarded.

If play is stopped inside the penalty area, the ball will be dropped for the goalkeeper (no other player participates).


If play is stopped outside the penalty area, the ball will be dropped for one player of the team that last touched the ball at the point of the last touch of the ball. In all cases, all the other players of both teams must be 4.5 yards away from the dropped ball.


In all cases, all the other players of both teams must be 4.5 yards away from the dropped ball.


Free Kicks

When there is a ‘wall’ of three or more defenders, attackers are not allowed within 1 yard of the wall. If an attacker is inside that 1-yard area when the kick is taken, the defending team is given an Indirect Free Kick from the spot of the infraction.


Indirect Free Kicks

Once the kick has been taken and it is clear that a goal will not be scored from the kick, there is no more need for a signal.


Quick Free Kicks and Red/Yellow Cards

If a free kick is taken quickly, before an official has the chance to issue a Yellow or Red Card, and a goal-scoring opportunity is created, the referee can award the Yellow Card/Red Card at the next convenient point.


Kicking Objects

If you kick an object at the ball, an opponent or a match official the other team will receive a Direct Free Kick from the spot of the infraction.


Goal Celebrations

If a goal is disallowed, any Yellow Card given for an ‘illegal’ goal celebration still stands.



The following ‘handball’ situations, even accidental, will be a free-kick

  • The ball goes hits a player’s hand or arm and goes into the goal off an attacker.
  • A player gains control/possession after the ball has touched their hand/arm and scores, or creates a goal-scoring opportunity
  • The ball touches a player’s hand/arm where the player has tried to block the ball by extending their arms away from their body.
  • The ball touches a player’s hand/arm when it is above their shoulder (unless the player has deliberately played the ball which then touches their hand/arm)


The following ‘handball’ situations will not usually be a free kick:

  • The ball touches a player’s hand/arm directly from Their own head/body/foot, if the player has not made themselves unnaturally bigger The head/body/foot of another player who is close/near if the player has not made themselves unnaturally bigger
  • The ball touches a player’s hand/arm which is close to their body and has not made their body unnaturally bigger
  • If a player is falling and the ball touches their hand/arm which is between their body and the ground to support the body (not extended to make the body bigger)


The goalkeeper cannot score by throwing the ball into the opponent’s goal. If a goalkeeper attempts to play the ball by legal means on a throw-in or a deliberate pass from a teammate (heading, kicking) but the attempt is misplayed, the goalkeeper can play the ball with his/her hands.


Penalty Kick

If an attacking team’s player is injured on the play they may have a quick treatment/assessment and then take the kick The goalkeeper cannot be touching the goalposts, crossbar or nets and cannot move until the ball is in play. The goalkeeper only needs to have one part of one foot on the goal line when the kick is taken. If an offense occurs between when the penalty is declared and before the kick is taken, the offender may receive a Yellow Card/Red Card but the penalty kick will still be taken.


Player’s Equipment

Players may wear multi-colored or patterned undershirts if the undershirts are the same pattern or color as the main shirt.


Verbal Offenses

All verbal offenses will be penalized with at least an Indirect Free Kick.