Website Manager

Montclair United Soccer Club

Montclair United Soccer Club

MUSC General Game Rules

Montclair United Soccer Club
Town Program 2022-23 Season
General Game Rules

Coaches and Referees
All Divisions- Girls and Boys

These rules are adapted from earlier FIFA and MUSC rules. Revised October 07, 2022.

Game Length

  1. First through eighth grade games will be 25 minute halves, running time. A five minute break between halves.
  2. The referee will shorten the game time if schedule problems are encountered. That may include shortening the break and both halves. The referee will notify the coaches as to how the time will be shortened. No games will be lengthened.
  3. Due to our schedule constraints there will be no grace period for the starting of games. Encourage your players to be at the field at least 15 minutes before game time.

Team Size and Ball Size

  1. A team must field the minimum numbers of players from the team roster to play an official game. From season to season different divisions may play on different size fields requiring an adjustment in the number of players. That will be determined by the MUSC Town Committee prior to play commencing that season. The following are guidelines that might be adjusted according to the needs of a particular season's fields and enrollments.
    Division No. of Players Minimum Ball Size
    1st and 2nd Grade 6 3 3
    3rd and 4th Grade 8 6 4
    5th and 6th Grade 8 6 4
    7th - 9th Grade 11 9 5
  2. In the event that a team plays with less than a full compliment of players, the opposing team may field an equal number of players plus one with the consent of both coaches. Fair and even play should prevail.
  3. As additional players arrive, they may be added to the game at proper times for substitutions. The coach of the team(s) that is(are) inserting latecomers must make sure that the referee and opposing coach know that they are adding players. The opposing coach will then add the appropriate number of players during the same stoppage of play.
  4. All players should play a minimum of one half the game, regardless of skill level or attendance record at team practices.  All players should receive equal playing time over the course of the season. If players are recruited to play on a team due to a shortfall at the beginning of the game, those players must be removed when additional players arrive at the game. Coaches will not keep players from another team on the field or use them as substitutes when they have reached the full complement for their age group, or the same number of players as the opposing team for that game.
  5. In the event that a team cannot field the minimum number of players the coaches should then divide the players from both teams into two teams so that they can play an informal game. Do not penalize the players who have come expecting to play a game. You may recruit others, but you cannot recruit players who are not MUSC registered, or who are older than the age group of the game. For example. You may recruit a 3rd grader for a 4th-5th grade game, but not a 6th grader.


  1. The referee must be notified and give approval prior to any substitution.
  2. Substitutions are permitted on throw-ins by the team gaining ball possession. If the team gaining possession makes substitutions before its throw-in, the opposing team may also make substitutions at that time.
  3. Substitutions are permitted by either team before most restarts, i.e. goal kicks, penalty kicks, and other direct free kicks and on kick-offs following goals. Substitutions are not allowed on corner kicks.
  4. A substitution is permitted when play is stopped for an injury; but that substitution is limited to replacing the injured player only. Play will be stopped when a player is injured regardless of which team has the advantage of the play, at the time of the injury. The referee will put the ball back in play after the injured player has been attended to and substitution has or has not been made.

5.10.1 Build Out Line for 1st - 4th Grade games
The build-out line as defined by US Soccer promotes playing the ball out of the back in a less pressured setting.
The build out line is halfway between the center line and the penalty area line.
OFFSIDE The build out line on the attacking part of the field replaces the halfway line as the point behind which a player cannot be in an offside position. GOAL KICKS: The team not taking the goal kick must retreat behind the build out line on a goal kick. The team taking the goal kick may not take the goal kick until the opposing team has moved behind the build out line. The opposing team may not come past the build out line until the ball is in play.  1st and 2nd grade goal kicks are taken from the end line.
KEEPER SAVES (3rd and 4th grade)– NO QUICK RELEASE The opposing team must retreat behind the build out line on a keeper save. The keeper is permitted to wait until the opposing team does so and the 6 second limitation on keeper possession does not start until the opposing team retreats behind the build out line. The opposing team, having moved behind the build out line, may cross the build out line once the keeper releases the ball from in hand possession. The opposing team must always make a good faith effort to retreat behind the build out line on a keeper save. The keeper is permitted to release the ball from in hand possession before the opponents retreat behind the build out line. In such cases, the opponents may not challenge the ball until (a) the keeper has placed the ball at his or her feet or (b) the keeper has released the ball to a teammate and the teammate has had an opportunity to receive the ball without pressure. In such cases, the opponent need not retreat behind the build out line before becoming involved with play.
VIOLATIONS BY OPPOSING TEAM If an opponent violates the prohibitions above on a goal kick or keeper release, the referee must stop play and award an IFK at the spot of the infraction to the team entitled to the protections of the build out line rule.
Goal Kicks
   1. For 1st and 2nd grade divisions, the ball is placed at the top of the goal box, and the opposing players must move to the half way (mid line) line until             after the ball is kicked. 
   2. For 3rd and 4th grade, the ball is placed at the top of the six box, and the defensive players must stand on the opposite side of the buildout line, until the ball is played by another offensive player, or clears the 18 box. Offensive players are permitted to stand inside the 18 box. 
   3. For grades 5 - 9 standard Fifa rules apply. 

Headers:  Only permitted in COED division.

Corner Kicks

  1. All divisions will take corner kicks from the three-foot arcs at the regular corners.
  2. For first and second graders a miss-hit where the ball does not go inbounds will have an opportunity of a re-kick.


  1. Coaches must instruct players in appropriate throw-in techniques. Both feet must be on the ground when the ball is released, with the player out of bounds. Opposing players must give the player 2 yards clear space to throw-in the ball.
  2. Allowances will be made for instructional purposes during the game as follows:
    1st - 2nd graders: 3 attempts at throws. Possession will not pass to the opposing team for incorrect throw-ins.
    3rd - 9th graders: Possession changes for improperly executed throw-ins. No grace period.


  1. The key to off-side is the position of the players when the ball is passed forward.
  2. A player is in an off-side position when that player receiving the pass is ahead of the ball and there are fewer than 2 defenders (one defender may be the goalie) between the ball and the goal. Off-side position includes the player's head, body, or feet, not their arms.
  3. Off-side is called when a player is in an off-side position at the moment the ball is passed forward to the player by a teammate.
  4. A player may be in an off-side position when the ball is played forward, and yet not to be called for an off-side infraction if, in the judgment of the referee, the player did not affect the course of the play. Example: Left wing is playing close to the sideline, with only the goalie between him/her and the goal. The center forward captures the ball, takes a long shot and scores directly. Goal is good; no off-sides should be called.
  5. There is never an off-side call on a throw-in regardless of the attacking player's positions; nor is off-side called on the initial kick of a corner kick, or whenever the team in possession of the ball is in its own (defensive) half of the field. Also, off-side is not called if a player receives a ball that was last played by an opponent.
    1st and 2nd graders: Off-side will not be called. Referees will tell the players not to "hang" in the penalty area. Goals resulting from goal hanging will not be allowed. The restart will be a goal kick by the defensive team.
    3rd - 9th graders: Off-side will be called.


    1. The goalie must wear a jersey that contrasts in color from both teams. Pinneys are fine.
    2. Once the goalie gains control of the ball all opposing players must allow the goalie to clear the ball.
    3. The goalie may take as many steps as desired within the penalty area to clear the ball. If the goalie carries the ball over the line, then the opposing team will gain possession as follows:
      1st and 2nd grade: No Goalies
      3rd- 9th grade: Direct kick from the point where the goalie left the box carrying the ball. A direct kick is NOT a penalty kick. Players from the defending team may form a wall between the offensive player and the goal to help stop the ball from going into the goal area.
    4. If the goalie places the ball on the ground, it cannot be picked up again until it has been played by another player. If the goalie does pick it up, an indirect free kick is awarded.
    5. A goalkeeper may pick up any purposeful back pass from a teammate, as long as it is not a pass played by their teammates feet. Head, shoulder or thigh passes are okay to pick up. The goalie may receive throw-ins and headers from teammates and play those balls with their hands. Any pass to the goalie may be played with the goalies feet without penalty. The penalty for a pass back to the goalie is an indirect free kick from the place of the touch.

    Fouls in the Penalty Box

    Grades 1-2: Free kick from the half way (midfield) line

    Grades 3-4: When a foul in the penalty box is called on a defending player, a direct free kick will be awarded to the opposing team from outside the penalty box at the build out line, not from the point of infraction.  The defending team is allowed to build a wall to defend the goal. A foul by the attacking team will result in a free kick for the defending team from the point of the foul.

    Grades 5-9: When a foul in the penalty box is called on a defending player, a penalty shot will be awarded to the fouled player. Other infractions will be offensive player of choice. A foul by the attacking team will result in a free kick for the defending team from the point of the foul.

    Misconduct - Cautions and Expulsions

    If the player taking the penalty kick infringes the Laws of the Game, or a teammate of the player taking the kick enters the penalty area before it strikes the goalie or goal, the following should take place: If the ball does not enter the goal, the referee stops play and restarts the match with an indirect free kick to the defending team from the spot of the foul. A kick into the net would result in a no goal, and restart with a goal kick for the defending team.
    1. Montclair United follows FIFA regulations in regard to rule violations that result in direct and indirect free kicks for grades 3 through 9. Referees observe minor discretionary modifications designed to avoid unnecessary interruptions of play that would occur if all insignificant infractions were called. Most of these discretionary calls are in mid field.
    2. In cases of extremely dangerous or disruptive misconduct (including verbal or other abusive conduct), the referee will stop play and advise the coaches. This will include intentional fouling, slide tackling, spitting, swearing, abusive language or disrespect.  The referee may, at his/her discretion, have the player leave the field for 5 minutes.
    3. A second incident of any type from that same player during the course of the game will cause that player to be removed from the field for a minimum of 5 or more minutes. Any further incident will result in expulsion for the balance of the game. Coaches are then expected to talk with the player and his/her parents to explain the problem and seek corrective action before the next game. The referee must report the player's name on their game slip.
    4. If a player continues to exhibit improper behavior in other games which has been reported on the game slips of the referee then the Division Commissioner, or other officer of the club, will contact the player's parents. If the behavior cannot be corrected then that player will not be permitted to play in any remaining games.
    5. If parents or coaches are guilty of improper conduct then the referee will warn the coach(es) during the course of play as they pass by the coach. It is up to the coach to maintain the proper decorum on the sidelines. If a parent(s) does not refrain from improper behavior then it is the responsibility of the coach upon request from the referee to ask the person to leave so that the game can continue under the proper atmosphere.

    Team Etiquette

    1. Teams are to shake hands or high five after each game at the mid field line. Coaches are to participate and encourage sportsmanship.
    2. Teams and spectators are to be on opposite sidelines. Both teams should occupy one side of the field, with spectators on the other side.
    3. Coaches and referees MUST restrain spectators from standing behind the goals or end lines of the field. No coaching will be permitted from behind the goals.
    4. The teams playing the first game at each field are responsible for setting up the goals and checking the field for foreign objects.
    5. The teams playing the last game of the day at each field are responsible for taking down the goals and checking the field. Parents should assist with this.
    6. ALL teams should clean up any trash created by refreshments, spectators, etc. Do not leave garbage for teams in the last game to clean up.

    Cancellation of Games

    1. Assume all games will be played unless notified by Email from Montclair United Soccer club.  
    2. No teams are to independently cancel games.
    3. During the course of the day, games will be played even if it starts to rain, unless lightning is observed, or thunder is heard. In the event of lightning games are immediately suspended. Play may not be resumed until 20 minutes after the last roll of thunder or visible lightning. Commissioners or referees may/will cancel games or groups of games at the fields on game day.
    Copyright © 2024 Montclair United Soccer Club  |  Privacy Statement |  Terms Of Use |  License Agreement |  Children's Privacy Policy  Log In