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6 vs. 6 Soccer Rules

All games will be governed by the 2008-2009 National Federation of State High School Associations Rules Book (NFHS) with the following Berry College Intramural Sports modifications:

Players & Equipment

  1. Eligibility - See Intramural Handbook.
  2. Each Men’s and Women’s team shall consist of 6 players each (including 1 goalkeeper). Each team must have a minimum of 5 players in order to begin a game.
  3. Due to injury, a team may continue with less than the minimum number of required players as long as that team has a chance to win. An ejection that leaves a team with less than the minimum number of required players will result in a forfeit by that team.
  4. Each team is required to wear numbered shirts of one distinguishable color. Any team not dressed in like-colored shirts may wear the colored jerseys provided by Intramural Sports. Each goalie should wear a shirt that contrasts in color to that of the other players.
  5. Shoes: Regulation, rubber-soled cleats, plastic cleats, detachable rubber cleats that screw into the shoe, and tennis shoes are the only permissible footwear. Sandals, street shoes, hiking boots, combat boots, or metal spikes are not allowed. No player will be allowed to participate in bare feet. No steel cleats or shoes with detachable steel cleats that screw onto the shoes may be worn.
  6. Shin guards are recommended during play for personal safety.
  7. Players may wear soft, pliable pads or braces on the leg, knee, and/or ankle. Braces made of any hard material must be covered with at least one-half inch of padding for safety reasons. Under no circumstances will a player wearing a cast or splint be permitted to play.
  8. If eyeglasses are worn, they must be unbreakable. Each player is responsible for the safety of his/her own eyeglasses.
  9. Jewelry: No jewelry or any other item deemed dangerous by the Intramural Staff may be worn. Any player wearing exposed permanent jewelry (i.e. body piercings) will not be permitted to play.
  10. Headwear: Players may wear a knit or stocking cap (no caps with bills) during play. Bandanas which are tied with a knot are not permitted.

Game Format

  1. The field will be modified to 80 x 40 yards.
  2. Each game will consist of two 12-minute halves with a running clock. The clock will only stop for injuries. The game officials will be responsible for keeping the game clock.
  3. Game time is forfeit time. A team must have the minimum number of players to start a game. If there is an insufficient number of players, the opposing captain has the option of taking the win or waiting for the minimum number of players to show. In the event that he/she decides to wait, that decision is irreversible and game clocks will be adjusted accordingly. If a team decides to wait, it will be required to wait a minimum of 12 minutes and play will start as soon as the opposing team has the minimum number of players present.
  4. A coin toss at the beginning of the game shall determine which team has the choice of a goal to defend or kicking off first. The loser of the toss shall have the remaining option. Between halves, each team shall exchange ends and alternate the kickoff.
  5. Mercy Rule: A game shall be called if a team is ahead by five (5) goals with five minutes or less remaining in the game and ten (10) goals with 7 minutes or less.
  6. In the event that a score remains tied at the end of regulation play, the game will remain tied in regular season play. In a tournament game, a five minute sudden death extra period will be played followed by a shootout until a winner is determined. The shoot-out will proceed as follows:
    1. The referee shall choose the goal at which all of the penalty kicks shall be taken.
    2. Each captain will select any five different players on the field, including the goalkeeper, to take the penalty kicks.
    3. The winner of a coin toss shall have the option of kicking first or second.
    4. Teams will alternate kickers. There is no follow-up on the kick.
    5. Following five kicks for each team, the team scoring on the greatest number of these kicks shall be declared the winner.
    6. If the score remains tied after each team has had 5 penalty kicks, each team will select additional players (who were on the field at the end of regulation) to take kicks in a sudden death situation. Each team will alternate kicks until one team scores and the other team does not score, thus ending the game without more kicks being taken.
    7. No player may take an additional kick until all those players who were listed on the scoresheet and present have kicked.

Start of Play

  1. At the referee’s signal, the game shall be started by a player taking a place kick into his/her opponent’s half of the field of play (a forward pass). All players shall be in their team’s half of the field and all players of the team opposing that of the kicker shall be at least 10 yards from the ball until it is kicked.
  2. The kicker may not play the ball again on the kickoff until it has been touched or played by another player on either team. Penalty: Indirect free kick at the spot of the foul.
  3. After a goal is scored, the team scored against shall restart play by a kickoff.
  4. Between halves, teams will exchange goals to defend and the team who received first half will kick off second half.


  1. Substitutions will be permitted after a score and at any goal kick. A team may also make a substitution during its own throw-ins and corner kicks and for an injured player. No substitutions may be made during a penalty kick. Players in the field may switch positions.
  2. Substitutes must be recognized by the referee and must enter the field only after a player has left the field of play.
  3. A substitute must enter for a player that has been cautioned (received a yellow card). The cautioned player may reenter the field of play at the next legal opportunity.
  4. The goalkeeper may change positions with a player on the field during a stoppage of play or a substitution, provided the uniforms are legal and the official is notified prior to the change.


  1. A goal is scored when the entire ball passes legally beyond the goal line between the goal posts and under the cross bar, provided that it has not been carried, thrown, or propelled by the hand or arm. A ball on the goal line is not considered to have crossed the goal line.
  2. If a defending player, other than the goalkeeper, intentionally stops the ball with his/her hands or arms to prevent a goal from scoring, then a goal is awarded and no penalty kick is awarded. Penalty: At the discretion of the official, the offending player may be presented with a red card and ejected from the game.
  3. A goal MAY be scored during play directly from a:
    1. Kickoff
    2. Penalty Kick
    3. Corner Kick
    4. Drop Ball
  4. A goal MAY NOT be scored during play directly from a:
    1. Indirect free kick
    2. Throw-in
    3. Free kick into a team’s own goal
    4. Goal Kicks

Goalkeeper Play

  1. The referee shall remove without caution any player who intentionally charges and contacts the goalkeeper. Warnings will be issued to players dangerously charging but not contacting the goalkeeper.
  2. From the moment the goalkeeper takes control of the ball with the hands within his/her own penalty area, he/she has six seconds in which to release the ball into play. Possession includes holding, bouncing, or throwing the ball in the air and catching it again. After it has been released into play, the ball shall be played or touched by another player before the goalkeeper can touch it again with the hands.
  3. The goalkeeper in possession of the ball must not be interfered with or impeded in any manner by an opponent.
  4. On any occasion when a player deliberately kicks the ball to his/her own goalkeeper, the goalkeeper is not permitted to touch the ball with his/her hands. Penalty: Indirect free kick awarded to the opponent at the spot of the violation, unless in the goal area.
  5. A goalkeeper shall not touch the ball with his/her hands when receiving it directly from a throw-in by a teammate.
  6. The goalkeeper may not touch the ball with his/her hands or arms outside of the penalty box, but he/she may play the ball with any other part of the body.
  7. Goalkeepers may not punt the ball past midfield in the air.

Fouls and Misconducts

  1. There will be no offside penalty.
  2. A player shall be penalized if he/she:
    1. Handles the ball with his/her hands or arms. This does not apply to the goalkeeper within his/her own penalty area, provided he/she releases the ball within the prescribed six seconds.
    2. Trips an opponent, including throwing or attempting to throw an opponent by the use of the legs.
    3. Pushes or holds an opponent with the hand or with any part of the arm or body.
    4. Plays dangerously (kicks, strikes, attempts to kick or strike, jumps at an opponent, charges in a violent or dangerous manner, kicks dangerously high in front of opponent).
    5. Illegally obstructs an opponent by interfering with an opponent’s movement without the ball.
  3. A penalty shall also be assessed should two or more defensive players simultaneously make contact with the player who has control of the ball.
  4. A player or coach will be cautioned (yellow card) for the following:
    1. Entering the field of play without the permission of an official.
    2. Persistent infringement of any of the rules of the game.
    3. Verbal objection or action indicating dissent toward the official.
    4. Unsportsmanlike conduct, which will be at the discretion of the official.
  5. A player or coach will be ejected (red card) for the following:
    1. Exhibiting violent conduct or committing serious foul play including, but not limited to, deliberately handling a ball to prevent it from going into the goal or committing a foul against an opponent who is moving toward his/her goal with an obvious opportunity to score.
    2. Use of vulgar, profane, foul or abusive language.
    3. Fighting.
  6. An ejected player cannot be replaced by a substitute and that team must play short-handed.

Free Kicks

  1. Free kicks shall be classified as: Indirect - two touches in which a goal cannot be scored unless the ball has been played or touched by a player other than the kicker before passing through the goal. All free kicks may be kicked in any direction from the point where the infraction occurred, except the penalty kick, which must be taken from the penalty spot and kicked forward. All free kicks are indirect. Free kicks are awarded for the following:
    1. Handling the ball with hands or arms.
    2. Tripping an opponent, including throwing or attempting to throw an opponent by the use of the legs and slide tackling.
    3. Pushing and opponent with the hand or with any part of the arm or body.
    4. Holding an opponent.
    5. Playing dangerously (kicks, strikes, attempts to kick or strike, jumps at an opponent, charges in a violent or dangerous manner).
    6. Charging an opponent in a dangerous manner.
    7. A player playing the ball a second time before it has been played by another player at the kickoff, a free kick, a penalty kick, a corner kick, a goal kick, or by the thrower following a throw-in.
    8. Improper substitution.
    9. Persons other than authorized players entering the field.
    10. Dissension by word or action toward a referee’s decision.
    11. Unsportsmanlike conduct.
    12. To resume play after a player is ordered off the field for persistent misconduct or violent conduct.
    13. Illegal obstruction (interfering with an opponent’s movement without the ball).
    14. The goalie taking more than the allotted six seconds at any one possession.
    15. Charging the goalie or not allowing him /her to move with the ball.
  2. When a free kick is being taken, a player of the opposite team shall not approach within 10 yards of the ball until it is in play. A violation of this may cause player removal from the game. The ball must be stationary when kicked, and after being kicked, the kicker shall not play the ball a second time until it has been touched by another player.

Penalty Kicks

  1. A penalty kick shall be awarded when a foul, which ordinarily results in the awarding of a direct free kick, is committed by a defending player within his/her team’s penalty area.
  2. All players except the kicker and the opposing goalkeeper shall be within the field of play but outside the penalty area and at least 10 yards from and behind the penalty mark until the ball is kicked.


  1. A throw-in shall be awarded when the opposing team last touches or plays the ball before the entire ball passes beyond the touchline either in the air or on the ground.
  2. The ball shall be thrown in any direction from the point where it crossed the touchline by a player who is facing the field of play and has both feet on the ground on or behind the touchline. The thrower shall use both hands with equal force and shall deliver the ball from behind and over the head in one continuous movement.
  3. On a throw-in, the ball is playable by either team when it has left the hands of the thrower and any part of it breaks the plane of the touchline.

Goal Kicks

  1. A goal kick shall be awarded to the defending team when the entire ball crosses the goal line, excluding that area between the goal posts and under the crossbar, either in the air or on the ground, having last been played or touched by the attacking team.
  2. Players opposing the kicker shall remain outside the penalty area until the ball has cleared the penalty area.
  3. The ball shall be kicked from the ground from any point within the goal area by a player of the defending team. If the ball is not kicked beyond the penalty area, the goal kick shall be repeated.

Corner Kick

  1. A corner kick shall be awarded to the attacking team when the entire ball passes over the goal line, excluding that area between the goal posts and under the crossbar, either in the air or on the ground, having last been touched or played by the defending team.
  2. Players of the defending team shall be at least 10 yards from the ball until it has been kicked.
  3. The ball shall be kicked from the ground within the quarter circle, including on the lines, nearest where the ball left the field of play.
  4. After the corner kick, the ball may be played by any player except the one who executed the kick.

Stoppage of Play Due to Injury

  1. Play will stop when the ball is out of play or at a time deemed suitable by the referee.
  2. If the referee stops play, the game will re-start with a drop ball.
  3. Injured players must stay on the field and on the ground.
  4. Time will be stopped for medical attention, and play will resume as soon as the player is off the field.
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