INDIANAPOLIS, IN (February 28, 2017) — A new rule allowing the kicking
of the ball in any direction to begin play in high school soccer is
among the rules changes approved for the 2017-18 season.
kickoff procedure is one of eight changes recommended by the National
Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Soccer Rules
Committee at its January 24-25 meeting in Indianapolis. All rules
changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
the ball had to be kicked forward from the center of the field to begin
play at the beginning of the game, after halftime and after each goal.
The new rule states that the ball may clearly move in any direction.
have been a number of rule changes in soccer (at other levels), so we
look to see if they are appropriate for high school competition,” said
Theresia Wynns, NFHS director of sports and officials and liaison to the
Soccer Rules Committee. “We want to ensure that the rules we consider
are what is best for the (high school) game and not difficult for
officials to implement.”
The change to the kickoff procedure in
Rule 8-1-3 requires a change in Rule 13-1-2, which now states that all
free kicks, with the exception of penalty kicks, may be taken in any
direction. The kickoff has been eliminated as an exception.
addition, Rule 10-1-3f states that a goal may not be scored directly
from a kickoff into the kicking team’s own goal. This change is
consistent with the concept that a team cannot score against itself from
a free kick.
Players are now permitted to use a stutter step or
a hesitation move when taking a penalty kick as long as there is
continuous movement according to a change in Rule 14-1-4.
Stutter-stepping is not an interruption of movement toward the ball.
change in Rule 4-2-9 permits a soft-padded headgear that meets the ASTM
standard to be worn. This allows, but does not require players to use
the newer headgear styles that are not just headbands. Wynns said
schools, students and parents are free to make their own assessments of
this equipment. Due to this rule change, Exception No. 1 to Rule 4-2-1
is no longer necessary and has been removed from the rules book.
addition to Rule 4-1-1d allows players to wear visible arm compression
sleeves and visible leg compression sleeves as long as they are a
single, solid color matching the predominant color of the jersey or
shorts. This addition to the existing rule is to maintain consistency
with current uniform rules requirements and color restrictions.
final change to Rule 5-1-3f allows officials to use electronic
communication devices if permitted by the state association. Wynns said
this change will permit officials to use devices currently available to
improve communication and allow for a better officiated game.
complete listing of all rules changes will be available soon on the
NFHS website at www.nfhs.org
. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the
top of the home page, and select “Soccer.”
According to the
2016-17 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, soccer is the
fifth-most popular sport for boys with 440,322 participants and the
fourth-most popular sport for girls with 381,529 participants. A total
of 12,054 schools offered boys soccer in 2016-17 and 11,676 schools
offered girls soccer. This press release was written by Bryce
Woodall, an intern in the publications/communications department at
NFHS. He is a senior at Franklin (Indiana) College studying public
About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)
NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership
organization for high school sports and performing arts activities.
Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based
interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students
succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by
building awareness and support, improving the participation experience,
establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping
those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes
playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level.
Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia,
the NFHS reaches more than 19,000 high schools and 11 million
participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.8
million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on
interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings;
sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for
high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations
for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music
adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach
training; and serves as a national information resource of
interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit
the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org