INDIANAPOLIS, IN (February 26, 2019) — Rules related to improperly
equipped players and procedures for dropping the ball are among eight
rules changes in high school soccer for the 2019-20 season.
rules changes were recommended by the National Federation of State High
School Associations (NFHS) Soccer Rules Committee at its January 28-30
meeting and subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
there are not any substantial revisions to the rules this year, I
believe coaches and players will be pleased with the changes we have
made,” said Theresia Wynns, NFHS director of sports and officials
Rule 4-3 will now specify that an
improperly equipped player will not require teams to play shorthanded.
The improperly equipped player will be asked to leave the field when the
ball is not in play if the issue cannot be resolved immediately on the
field, and the player may be replaced.
offending player is properly equipped, he or she can report to an
official. If the player was not replaced, he or she may re-enter the
game at a dead ball. Infringement of the rule will not cause the game to
be stopped unless a referee determines the situation is dangerous.
rule was changed because the penalty for an improperly equipped player
was more severe than the punishment for illegal equipment. The rule
change ensures both infractions are handled equally.
regard to the dropping of the ball in Rule 9-2-3, any number of
players, including the goalkeeper, may now contest a dropped ball, and
the referee cannot decide who may contest a dropped ball or determine
Two new articles were added to
Rule 9-2 to further clarify a dropped ball. Article 5 states the ball
should be dropped again if it touches a player before hitting the ground
or if it leaves the field after hitting the ground without touching a
player. Article 6 states that if a dropped ball enters the goal without
touching at least two players, the play must be restarted with a goal
kick if it entered the opponent’s goal or a corner kick if it entered
the team’s own goal.
Rule 9-2-1c was amended to
remove the provision that if a team is in clear possession of the ball,
the game will not be restarted with a drop ball. The rule now states
the only time a game will not be restarted with a drop ball following
temporary suspension of a player, injury or unusual circumstances is
when the goalkeeper is in possession of the ball.
change to Rule 9-3 eliminates free kick opportunities by replacing an
indirect free kick with a drop ball if the ball was not in the goal area
and in possession of the goalkeeper during cases of temporary
suspension due to injury or an unusual situation.
addition was made in Rule 3-4-3 to state that the clock should be
stopped when the leading team makes a substitution within the last five
minutes of the second period. The new rule is meant to prevent coaches
in the lead from wasting time and running the clock when no plays are
The final change was to Rule 5-3-1d that now allows officials to call out “play on” with an underswing of one or both arms.
game is in pretty good shape,” Wynns said. “There will be a few changes
this particular year, but the rules revisions that have been made will
not change the game for the most part.”
A complete list of soccer rules and changes can be found on the NFHS website, www.nfhs.org
under “Activities and Sports”.
to the 2017-18 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, soccer
is the fifth-most popular sport for boys with 456,362 participants in
12,393 schools across the country. Soccer is the fourth-most popular
sport for girls with 390,482 participants in 12,007 schools.