General Rules & Regulations

  1. All players are required to play a minimum of 1/2 of each game (preferably 3/4 of each game), provided that player arrives on time, properly equipped, and is not under disciplinary suspension. A player that arrives during the first quarter must play at least two quarters, and a player that arrives during the second quarter or halftime must play at least one quarter. If a player is recovering from illness or injury, the child may play less than 1/2 with the Referee's permission.

  2. If a child is injured during a game, the Coach has the option of replacing the child or playing with one less player while the child receives attention. If a substitute is used, the injured player may not return to the game until the next quarter (unless they return to replace another injured player). If no substitute is used, the injured child may return to the game during that quarter with the Referee's permission. If a substitute is used, it is the injured child who is given "credit" for that quarter for the purposes of the 3/4 rule.

  3. Except for short sided games (U-6, U-8 and U-10), a minimum of 7 players are required to play a game. If a team starts a game with less than the normal number of players, the Coaches of the two teams may determine how best to proceed. Options include trading players from the team with extra players to the short-sided team, or having both teams play with short sides. The former method is strongly preferred. If the short side option is chosen, the teams should, if possible, play with equal numbers of players, but in no event shall one team play with more than one additional player (e.g. if one team has 8 players, the other team plays with 9). Late arriving players may be added with the Referee's permission to maintain the 1-player advantage until the teams are at full strength. In such circumstances the 3/4-game play rule often cannot be achieved for the opposing team, and substitutions should be managed to provide roughly equal playing time for all players (no more than 1 quarter difference in playing time for any two players).

  4. A player who receives a red card during a game will be suspended from further participation in that game and also from the next scheduled game. For the game in which a player receives a red card, his/her team shall play a player short for the remainder of that game. A player who receives a second red card within the same season shall be suspended for the balance of that season and, at the discretion of the Regional Commissioner, for subsequent seasons.

  5. If a Coach or spectator is unable to refrain from making derogatory remarks to players, other Coaches, Referees or other spectators, or uses foul or abusive language, the Referee may suspend the game until that Coach or spectator leaves the field. If an unruly player, Coach or spectator refuses to leave the field, the Referee may terminate the game. Any Coach who is ejected from a game is suspended from participation in the next scheduled game, even if that game is a tournament game. A Coach who is suspended may not attend the game, even as a spectator. Such a coach may be suspended indefinitely or permanently at the discretion of the Regional Commissioner.

  6. In unusual circumstances it may be necessary to discipline players for activities or behavior detrimental to the objectives of AYSO. The Regional Commissioner may suspend a player from participation in games, or may drop the player from participation in the AYSO program, due to extreme aggressive behavior, continued infringements of AYSO rules, or parent/spectator behavior which is judged detrimental to the league. Striking a Referee, Coach or other AYSO official will result in a minimum two-year expulsion from AYSO.

This handbook is not intended to be a complete summary of all Regional Rules and Bylaws. Complete rules are contained in the FIFA Laws of the Game, as modified for AYSO, together with the AYSO rules and regulations.

In addition, there are specific rules of play listed in each seasonal handbook for each age group division; they also contain rosters.