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3rd-4th grade

Rules For DYAA Recreational Soccer Teams


These rules apply to all age-levels:



1)     Parents and fans can cheer positively…no negatives…no coaching from parents on the sidelines

2)     Coaches can cheer positively…coaches may correct, but not by yelling and screaming negatives at a player.

3)     Neither parents, fans, players or coaches are permitted to ridicule or intimidate the refs…the refs control the game…the coaches facilitate the play…the players play the game…the fans enjoy the game…and EVERYONE supports the players, the teams, coaches and the refs. 

4)     Parents and fans must observe the game on the sidelines opposite from the players and coaches.

5)     Parents, fans, players and coaches are not permitted to observe the game from an end-line.

6)     Players, coaches, parents, fans and refs must comply with the DYAA Code Of Conduct.

7)     Coaches must give equal playing time to every player on their roster.


These rules apply to the 3rd/4th Grade League:


1)     Teams in the 3rd/4th grade league should have at least 3 or 4 practice sessions before the season opens.  After the season begins, teams in this league will typically practice once each week plus they play twice each week (as scheduled) on the ‘Small Junior Fields’ at Mingo Park.  Coaches can schedule more than one practice per week if they want.  Teams in the 3rd/4th league will also have all-league group training sessions several times during the season as scheduled by the league’s director.


2)     Objectives:  have fun…become familiar with the ball…develop a desire to play with the ball…motivate the kids to play and learn more about soccer, teamwork and good sportsmanship…further develop basic technique with throw-ins, stopping the ball with feet, thigh, chest…develop dribbling skills, changing directions, using both feet to dribble…teach passing…develop sense of field and team play…develop understanding of the rules…develop understanding of three lines of play…develop offensive and defensive strategies…develop set plays.


3)     Games will be on the small junior fields at Mingo Park.  Use a size 4 ball.  The game consists of two 25 minute halves and a 10 minute half-time break.


4)     Games will consist of 7 - 9 field players and a goalie.  The opposing coaches decide on an evenly balanced number of players based on how many players are available to play the game.


5)     If coaches agree, they may increase or decrease the number of field players on a side within the ranger (7 – 9 field players and a goalie), so long as both teams have the same number of players on the field at the same time, or both coaches agree on any imbalance in the number of players on the field.


6)     Coaches can make substitutions on a) any corner kick, b) their team’s throw-in, c) their  opponent’s throw-in if their opponent is subbing (but not if their opponent isn’t subbing, unless the ball travels a sufficient distance from the field and restart will be delayed at the discretion of the referee), d) goal kicks, e) kick-offs from mid field (following a goal) and f) 1:1 following an injury if the injured player leaves the field.


7)     Tennis shoes or soft-cleated soccer shoes are recommended.  Shin guards are required and must be under the socks (not with socks folded down).


8)     No exposed hoods, drawstrings, snaps, buckles, ballcaps, zippers or jewelry of any kind are to be worn by players in a game (except medical bracelet).  Final determination of “safe” apparel and equipment is at the discretion of the referee.


9)     Coaches are NOT on the field during the games.  The coach must instruct and direct their players from the sidelines in a ‘technical area’ that runs 10 yards on each half from the midline.  Any coach who comes onto the field to challenge or confront a referee or player will be sent off the field and out of the park for the remainder of that game and the entirety of the next game. 


10)  To begin play, opponents must be outside the center circle and on their half of the field.  Players from the kicking team must be on their half but are permitted inside the center circle. The ball may be played forward or backward on the kickoff but cannot be touched a 2nd time by the initial kicker until first touched by another player.  A ‘re-do’ is at the discretion of the referee, or an indirect free kick to the opposing team may be awarded. 


11)  To score, the ball must completely cross the line in the goal…do NOT run up the score against your opponent.


12)  If one team goes ahead by 4 goals, they must pull one player off the field.  If that team scores again (ie now up by 5 goals) they must pull a second player off the field.  If they’re scored on (ie now up by 4 goals) they can put one player back on the field.  If they’re scored on again (ie now up by 3 goals) they can put the other player back on the field so that both teams are again at full strength.   This same process will continue back and forth if one team goes up by 4 again.  If a team is more than 5 goals ahead, they do not need to pull any more players off the field, but they must introduce some internal team procedures such as:  players must score with their weak foot, etc.


13)  Referees are instructed to whistle all fouls, but all foul calls (or non-calls) are at the discretion of the referee. Offside will be called. 


14)  Free kicks, penalty kicks, goal kicks and corner kicks will be taken at this level.


15)  Although not required, it is recommended that the coach designate three lines of players – front line (strikers), middle (half backs) and back (full backs).  It is further recommended that all players be given opportunities to play in each of the lines throughout the season, thus helping each player develop a sense of the entire field and the responsibilities of the various positions.  Players should not be restricted from going to the ball UNLESS that player has been deliberately placed in a position because he/she had been dominating play and/or scoring too many goals at-will.  For example, even though your team is playing three lines, this does not, however, mean that the defense is supposed to stay back by the goal while the forwards advance and try to score.  It is perfectly acceptable (and strategic) to advance your team’s fullbacks up to midfield to apply defensive pressure on the opponent when your team is controlling the ball.  


In short, all three lines can and should advance up and down the field…and move back as their opponent re-gains control of the ball.  That’s where the “players should not be restricted from going to the ball” comes in. It’s hard thing to teach… but we want 3rd/4th graders to avoid     ending up in a mass of players all bunched up and kicking at the ball together. That’s why we begin to introduce the lines as early as in 1st grade.  In this age group, you can make great        progress teaching them to pass side to side, front to back, back to front…the 3 lines helps the player realize that soccer is a game of space…and passing…and teamwork.


16)  The time indicated on your schedule is the time when your GAME STARTS on the junior fields. Please be ready to begin your game promptly at that time.  Arrive at least 30 minutes before game time, allowing plenty of time for warm-ups.


17)  Coaches will designate when your practice sessions will be.


The most commonly invoked rules in soccer:


1)     If the defending team plays the ball over its own end line, the attacking team puts the ball back in play with a “corner kick.”


2)     If the attacking team plays the ball over the defending team’s end line, a “goal kick” is awarded.  A goal kick is taken from anywhere inside the goal area (small box) by any player on the defending team. The goal kick is ‘in play’ once it is kicked and clearly moves.  No opponents are allowed inside the penalty area until the ball is in play.


1)     No field player may deliberately touch the ball with their hands.  If the ball inadvertently touches a player’s hands it might not be called an infraction by the referee. When a “hand ball” is called, the opposing team is awarded a direct kick (ie. the team can score without the ball having to be touched by another player) at the point of the infraction. All handballs are at the discretion of the referee. Did the ball inadvertently hit the player’s arm/hand…or did the player’s arm/hand reach out and hit the ball?  Handball is a discretionary call by the referee. 


2)     In the event of an inadvertent (in the opinion of the referee) handball in the penalty area, the referee may allow play to continue.  A handball in the penalty area considered to be deliberate by the referee results in a penalty kick which is a free kick taken from the penalty spot.  In DSA at this age level, only a flagrant foul or handball in the box will result in a penalty kick. 


3)     When a player is taking a penalty kick, all other players must be outside the penalty area and behind the penalty mark.  For all other awarded free kicks, defending players must be at least 10 yards away from the where the ball is being kicked.  The team taking any non-penalty kick can be as close to the ball as they want to be.


4)     A player is in an offside position if, while in the attacking half of the field, he/she is a) not in possession of the ball, and b) closer to the opposing goal line than both the ball and the 2nd last opponent when a teammate last touches the ball.  Offside is only called when the offside player then a) plays or attempts to play the ball, b) interferes w/ an opponent or c) if the offside player gains any advantage from his offside position in the sole opinion of the referee.  An “indirect kick” (ie. the team can’t score without the ball having first been touched by another player) is awarded where the player is called for an offside violation.


5)     Remember that a player even with the 2nd last opponent is not in an offside position.


6)     “Direct kicks” are awarded at the site of the infraction for handballs, tripping, kicking, pushing, holding, violently charging, or impeding an opponent with contact.  A player kicking the ball while he/she is on the ground if other players are near the ball is considered to be creating a “dangerous play,” as is a player high-kicking in proximity of—but not making contact with--any other player. Restart is an indirect kick


7)     Flagrant and/or intentional CONTACT fouls shall result in direct kicks…flagrant and/or intentional fouls inside the PENALTY AREA shall result in a penalty kick.  Non-flagrant and/or unintentional fouls inside or outside the penalty box might not be called—at the discretion of the referee.  All fouls should be explained clearly AS PLAY ALLOWS


8)     A “dropped ball” is awarded at the spot of last touch whenever the ref is uncertain of possession,  after an injury stoppage, or when the ball strikes a ref—remains in play—and either changes possession, a goal is scored, or a goal scoring opportunity is created. The dropped ball is awarded at the spot it touched the ref to the team that last touched it before it struck the ref. If, when play was stopped, the ball was in the penalty area—or was last touched in the penalty area—the dropped ball goes to the defending goalkeeper.


9)     Slide tackling is not permitted.


10)  Intentionally heading the ball is NOT permitted, and the restart is an ‘indirect kick’ . 


11)  The keeper should not handle the ball with his/her hands if the ball was intentionally kicked back to him/her by a teammate.  If he/she does, an indirect kick is awarded to the opposing team from the point where the keeper handled the ball, or at a point on the goal area boundary closest to the infraction if it occurs in the goal area.  If the ball ricochets back to the keeper off a teammate, then the keeper is permitted to pick up the ball with his/her hands.




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