Soccer Updates

Laws of the Game


Interpretation  for  C.L.C.F.  SOCCER

The rules of soccer are basically simple.  However, the interpretation and application of the rules to playing situations can be complex.  They can also vary substantially from referee to referee.  What is most important in a game is that the rules are applied evenly to both sides.

The rules explained herein are interpreted in non-technical language.  The intent is to explain the rule, not to cite it exactly. For the exact wording of the rule, refer to the annual F.I.F.A. "Laws of the Game".  The Youth Referees trained by C.L.C.F. Soccer have been schooled in these interpretations.  Any questions regarding the rules as they are defined herein are to be directed to the C.L.C.F. "Rules Interpreter". 


These are not the titles of two opposing forces on a battlefield.  Referees and coaches are essential components of the same game, each with a very different job to perform. The best and most enjoyable games occur when players play, coaches coach, and referees officiate.  Avoid confusing the role you are playing in the game.


Unlike most other sports, penalties for infractions of the rules do not have to be called by the referee in soccer.  The decision to interfere with the flow of the game for an infraction is the prerogative of the official.  Because the infraction is not called does not mean that it did not occur or that the official did not see it.  The referee may have cited the "advantage rule" which allows the game to continue if the offended team has retained possession of the ball.

The decision to make the call or not rests entirely with the referee.  If the referee improperly cites a rule his/her call may be questioned through the proper channels, which may be as simple as politely bringing the referees attention to the possible error.  If the game has been stopped this must be done before the game has been restarted.  However, no call made, or not made, on the basis of the referee's judgment may be challenged.




  1. Rectangular, divided in half by a line. 
  2. Center circle of 10 yards radius for kick-off purposes only. 
  3. Penalty area:  18 yards out from the end line and 44 yards wide (18 yards from each goal post). 
    a. the Keeper has special privileges in this area; 
    b. All defensive penalty kicks must exit this area to be in play; 
    c. All offensive direct kicks within the area are penalty kicks.
  4. Goal area:  6 yards from end line and 20 yards wide (6 yards from each goalpost.  All goal kicks must begin in this area.
  5. Goal:  8 feet high by 24 feet wide.
  6. Corner arc:  1-yard arc centered on each corner for corner kicks.
  7. Lines:  All lines are in bounds.  The ball must be completely beyond the line to be out of bounds.  End line is also referred to as the goal line.  Sidelines are referred to as touchlines.

CLCF Under 10 and Under 12 Divisions provision:  all areas within the field are two-thirds regulation size.  The field used is one-half of the regulation field.  Fields for Under 8 are smaller.  The goal size is the same for all of these divisions, @ 6'x12'.





  • Instructional clinic - #3
  • Under 8 - #3
  • Under 10 - #4
  • Under 12 - #4
  • Under 14 and above - #5



Maximum:  11 on the field.  CLCF Under 8, Under 10, and Under 12 use either 6 or seven players per team.

Minimum:   7 of 11 on the field.  No game may begin with less than 7 players for each team.  If a team is reduced to less than 7 on the field at any time for any reason the game is terminated by the referee.  CLCF requires 4 of 6 or 5 of 7.  Teams must have a designated goalkeeper regardless of the number of players on the field.

Teams do not have to have an equal number of players on the field.  If one team must play shorthanded for any reason the opposing team may continue to play with a full roster on the field.

Substitutions:   In order to help guarantee half-game playing time for all substitutions are unlimited at any appropriate time with the explicit consent of the referee. Substitutions may take place at the following times:

  1. Prior to a your team's throw-in.    (CLCF allows at EITHER team’s throw-in)
  2. Prior to a goal kick.
  3. Following a goal.
  4. After an injury if the referee stops the game.        (Mandatory in CLCF).
  5. At half time, or at the beginning of a period.
  6. A player receiving a Caution (yellow card) must leave the field and be replaced until the next stoppage of play.
  7. A player ejected (red card) for any reason during the game may not be replaced.  The team must play shorthanded.  A player ejected prior to the beginning of the game or from the team bench may not play.  However, the team does not play shorthanded during the game.
  8. Illegal equipment:  A player wearing illegal equipment must leave the field and may not be substituted for.  He/she may reenter the field with permission of the referee at the next stoppage of play.
  9. Under 8 Division:  Players shall enter the game at the beginning of a new quarter only.  Injured players who leave the field may be substituted back into the game for the same player who replaced them.  The substitution must take place at a regular FIFA substitution time.
  10. Injuries with blood:  Any player who is bleeding from any cause MUST be removed from the field.  Once cleaned up and the bleeding stopped the player may reenter the field.  A uniform with blood on it must be changed before the player may reenter.
  11. Head injuries.  Any player who suffers an injury to the head MUST be removed from the field.  The player may reenter the game only after the coach has received permission to do so directly from a parent or legal guardian.
  12. Player position:   No player may play in the same position for more than half the game.  This includes the position of goalkeeper.  All players must ply for a minimum of half the game.  Enforcing this rule is not the responsibility of the referee.  Coaches are to police themselves and each other.


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