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TVSRA Assigning web site.

The next level!

Read the WCISOA qualifications

NOTE: This does not list any Section or League specific differences, additions or exceptions. There
are certain NFHS Rules which allow for State Association discrimination. The North Coast Section is
treated as a State Association.

(August 20, 2003, updated July, 2008)
(Please review the current Comparison of Rules)

(There are many editorial comments by the author of the original document, the late Michael D. Cotleur, Esq., but the substance is correct. Note that many of the ruling numbers may have changed, I have made an attempt to keep the content current.))
1.4.2 (p. 12) Nets are Mandatory. In USSF, they are optional [Law 1, p. 7]

P.R. 1.4.1 (C) (p. 12): NF now permits padded goalposts! (This is strictly limited to pads designed expressly for that purpose by the same manufacturers of the
schoolís goal posts.) There is no similar USSF/FIFA requirement. Indeed, IFAB 2 to Law 1 (p. 10) indicates this would be illegal.

1.5.1 (p. 13) It is a Mandatory Caution to a Coach, player or bench personnel leaving the technical area.
USSF has No similar mandatory caution stated. (See Law 3, IFAB # 2, p. 14; and p. 38, which notes that most games may not even have a TA.)

1.7.1 (p. 13) Field conditions are up to school officials until the opening whistle.
USSF: Solely up to the assigned referee, from when we arrive at the field, until we leave.  (Law 5; IFAB # 1, p. 17)


2.2.5 (p. 14) requires the ball to carry the official NFHS Authenticating Mark (if your host school does not provide them, you are supposed to write this up in
your post-game report). USSF has No such requirement. Certain FIFA matches do require FIFA "ID" (Law 2, IFAB # 1, p. 12)


3.1.1 (p. 14) Team Captain, with duties listed (no such authority in USSF; see ATR ∂ 19.4)

3.1.2 (p. 15) Cannot play with < 7 players (contra, USSF ATR, ∂ 3.17, permits you to continue the game with less than 7); but both NF and USSF presume
the referee has determined that the reason for this is quickly resolvable.

P.R. 3.1.3 (B) (p. 15) Players can be added to the roster at any time! In USSF, players not named before the start of the game cannot play (Law 3,
"All Matches," p. 13; see also ATR ∂ 3.1).

3.2.1 (p.16) Winner of coin toss has options! In USSF, winner Must choose which goal to attack (Law 8, "Preliminaries," p. 20); loser gets ball/kickoff.

3.3.1 (p. 16) Substitutions: Unlimited, both teams, when injured player treated on field, if unattended, subs are always allowed for injured players;
 USSF has no such provision; and local playing rules usually address this )  No Coaching instructions at this time by EITHER coach.!
If you determine injured player lost consciousness, he cannot return to play w/o written OK from doctor; no such thing in USSF.

3.3.1 (d)(4), (e)(4), (f)(2) If a player is substituted at a Penalty Kick for injury, Caution, or Soft Red, his sub cannot take the kick. No such USSF requirement.

3.3.1 (e)(1) (p. 16) Cautioned player MUST leave. USSF put out Position Paper in 2002 making such requirement Illegal in USSF-sanctioned matches.

3.3.2 (b) (p. 17) Team with Corner Kick  may sub at that time, if subs already checked in (again, FIFA/USSF doesnít address the elements of "unlimited subs,"
but many local playing rules do NOT permit subs on CKs).

3.3.3 (p. 17) Both teams, with players previously checked in, may sub on one teamís Throw-In or  Corner, provided the team with the ball has requested a substitution. 
 (Not usually permitted in USSF-sanctioned youth matches).

3.3.4 (p. 17) IMPORTANT! A substitute becomes a player when beckoned on to the field! In USSF, the player Must first come off the field, before the sub is permitted by t
he referee to enter; so there should Never be more than 11 players from one team on the FOP, at any time (Law 3, "Substitution Procedure," p. 13); see also ATR ∂ 3.4!).

P.R. 3.3.5 (A) (p. 19)  Player sent off for other than Misconduct, including equipment repair, may return during play with referee permission.
In USSF, s/he may return during play (see ATR, ∂∂ 3.18 and 5.8).

3.4.1 (a & b) (p. 19) IMPORTANT Ė SUBSTITUTION PROCEDURE! Although all subs must first check in with nearest official, NF permits subs to enter w/o referee approval
(indeed, often w/o awareness!) after a score, or at the start of a new period. No one enters in USSF, unless the referee first signals (ATR ∂ 3.4). By the way, USSF procedure
also requires the player to have "checked in with the nearest official" in advance of the sub opportunity Ė see esp. ATR ∂∂ 3.4 and 3.5, last sentence of each!

3.5.1 (p. 20) IMPORTANT! If GK and player switch w/o referee approval, ref  Warns both at next stoppage. In USSF, Mandatory Caution to both (Law 3, "Infringements/Sanctions," p. 14).


4.1.1 (p. 22) Shinguards may not be altered, must meet NOCSAE requirements and must start no more than 2" above the ankles.
USSF merely requires that they "provide a reasonable degree of protection" (Law 4, p. 15).

4.1.1 (a) (1 & 2) (p. 22) Home team required to wear white (visitors, dark) jerseys; and home is to change, if color conflict. No Such Requirement in USSF.

4.1.1 (a)(3) (p. 22) Both socks same color, and one dominant color (no such USSF requirement).

4.1.1 (b) (1) (p. 22) Jerseys must have numbers. No such USSF requirement.

4.1.1 (j) Except for uniform of the goal keeper, jersey, shorts, and stockings of teammates must be of similar color, design, and pattern. USSF, uniforms must be alike.

4.2.1 (c) (p. 24) Casts must be padded; and accompanied by written OK from doctor. USSF has no such requirement; see ATR ∂ 4.2, for USSF standard.

4.2.1 (g) (p. 24) Braces with exposed metal must be  covered. Covers must be manufactured for that purpose.
Not required in USSF; further, referee discretion as to whether a brace is dangerous (see ATR ∂4.2)

4.2.3 (p. 25) Sweatbands, both head and wrist, OK. USSF has no similar provision

4.3    Each head coach shall be responsible for ensuring that each of his/her players are properly equipped.
        PENALTY: An improperly equipped player shall be instructed to leave the field of play when the ball next ceases to be in play.   The head coach shall be cautioned
(yellow card) for improperly equipped player.
    2007- DELETE 5-2-2-d-3  (Official) Examine the uniform and equipment of each player to see that it complies with the rules.

USSF - Coaches never have any responsibility for player equipment, the players do. 
Coaches are never cautioned for this.  Referees always must inspect and pass on player equipment.


5.1.1 (p. 27) NF may use Dual or 3-whistle system; both Verboten in USSF !

5.1.3 (p. 28) Referees may wear a black cap. Striped socks required. USSF bans hats at high level games; ATR 5.1. USSF garb is described in Instructional Materials
for Entry-level classes (USSF web site, in re Law 5 (c)).

5.2.2 (d & f) (pp. 28-29) Prior to game, referee must ask both coaches if their teams are properly equipped; and must address both teams on "Good Sportsmanship."
No similar USSF requirement; see USSF "Guide To Procedures (FRARAFO) " manual for pregame duties. (b) (p. 29) Referees are required to use approved NF signals (pp. 92-93). USSF has no such signals for fouls or infractions, or clock management; and opposes
the use of these NF (or other highly visible) signals (see ATR ∂ 5.4). (f) (p. 29) IMPORTANT! For "Soft Reds" (discussed infra), referee MUST simultaneously display both cards (Yellow and Red), telling the coach he may bring in a sub! 
In USSF, there is no such animal; anyone given a Red, his team plays short (unless it was shown to a player or named sub Prior to opening kickoff; see ATR ∂ 3.14);
AND the cards are displayed in sequence (ATR ∂ 12.30).

5.3.1 (e & f) (p. 29) IMPORTANT! Referee must notify both coaches of all cards issued; No such requirement in USSF.


6.1.1 (p. 31) Must have two ball holders to start the game (no such USSF requirement).

6.2.2 (p. 32) Must have a visible timing device (no such USSF requirement).


7.1.1 (p. 33) Either two halves or four quarters, total of 80 minutes. USSF/FIFA is 90 minutes; youth games have "sliding scales" of lengths based on age.

7.1.3. (p. 33) Game is official if half is completed. In USSF, abandoned matches are replayed, unless competition authorities decide otherwise
(Law 7, "Abandoned Match," p. 19).

7.1.5 (p. 33) State Assn. may establish a "goal differential" by which a game is cut short. No such thing in USSF.

7.2.1 (p. 34) Halftime Interval is only 10 minutes, unless coaches mutually agree; in USSF/FIFA, 15 minutes (may be down to 5 minutes in some local youth leagues).

7.3.1 (p. 34) State Assn. may allow overtime, but not to exceed 20 minutes maximum. Not addressed by FIFA/USSF; up to competition authorities
(see Law 7, "Periods of Play," p. 19)

7.4.1 (p. 34) Clock must be stopped for: PK; all Cards; after goal scored; and "encroachment" (not sure why this is here, since it is by definition a Card anyway).

In USSF, we do not "stop" time, we ADD it (see ATR 7.2)

RULE 8: START OF PLAY (no differences with USSF)
In agreement with FIFA, the Kickoff can be taken in any direction


9.1.2 (c) (p. 35) IMPORTANT! Play stops after the referee whistles. This is a subtle, but sometimes critical, difference with USSF, where it is stated that play stops "when
the referee decides to stop, not when he blows the whistle" (see ATR ∂ 9.1) For example, assume a defender fouls an attacker in his PA, and the referee signals for a PK;
however, the referee then observes his ARís flag for Offside, before the restart. In that scenario, in NF, the restart is PK; in USSF, it is IFK "coming out" (for the Offside)
(See also ATR ∂12.32).

9.1.3 (p. 36) A second (restart) whistle is Mandatory for: PK; after sub; after misconduct, injury, encroachment. For USSF, a signal (not necessarily a whistle)
is "required" only for KO, restarting for PK, after a substitution, and after stopping the restart in order to set a "ceremonial wall" for a FK (see, e.g., ATR ∂ 5.4).

9.2.1 (a & d) (p. 36) A Drop Ball is used to restart after simultaneous touches (ball into touch) or fouls. In USSF, this is Not permitted (see ATR ∂ 9.3
USSF does not allow the player who first touches the ball to score directly.  NFHS does not have such a restriction.

9.2.3 (p. 37) There must be two opposing players at a drop ball. In USSF, there is no requirement for Any player to be present (ATR ∂ 8.5)

9.3.1 (p. 37) If, when a referee stops play for injury or "unusual situation," and one team is in "clear possession," they restart with IFK. No such USSF provision.

RULE 10 (SCORING) - Nothing significantly different, for referee purposes

RULE 11 (OFFSIDE) Ė Nothing significantly different, for referee purposes


P.R. 12.2.1 (C) (p. 50) Player moving hand to protect themselves from a ball, "deliberately handled." In USSF, this action is NOT enough in itself for a foul (see ATR ∂ 12.9).

P.R. 12.3.1 (A) (b) (p. 51) IMPORTANT! ("Location of Foul!") A GK inside his PA, who reaches out to grab an opponent legitimately off the field in the normal run of play,
commits a "foul," which is then a PK
(see also P.R. 12.8.1 (A), p. 56). In USSF, this can never be a foul Ė contact was off the field (see, e.g., ATR ∂∂ 12.1 and 12.6 (b).)

12.6.1 (p. 52). "Dangerous Play" includes being dangerous to oneself or a teammate. In USSF, there are three required elements: dangerous to someone; opponent nearby;
 and (big difference!) opponent disadvantaged from playing by it (see ATR ∂ 12.13).

12.7.4 (p. 53) IMPORTANT! If a player commits trickery on a passback, it is treated no differently than if s/he merely kicked the ball back, and the GK used his hands: i.e.,
no Card, and IFK from spot of handling (if no handling, no infraction!). In USSF, the player committing the trickery is automatically Cautioned; the restart is at the spot of
the trickery; and it is irrelevant whether the GK ever handles the ball (see ATR ∂ 12.28.1, bottom of page).

12.8.1 (p. 54) IMPORTANT! NF requires us to issue cards to coaches and "bench personnel." In USSF, Cards may be shown only to players and named substitutes
(see ATR ∂ 3.14).

12.8.1 (d) (p. 55) NF permits issuing a Caution for "Incidental use of vulgar or profane language." No such critter in USSF: itís either OIAL, and therefore Red Ė or nothing
(see ATR ∂ 12.31) - unless itís also Dissent!

12.8.1 (f) (p. 55) Bans use of tobacco at the game site while the refs have jurisdiction. In USSF, we can deal with players smoking (ATR ∂ 12.28.1, top of next page),
but not other refs! However, note that most of our (USSF) venues have "local rules" banning tobacco.

12.8.3 (p. 55) IMPORTANT! NF permits (requires!) us to issue Red Cards as well to coaches and "bench personnel (see 12.8.1, supra); cannot do this in USSF/FIFA..

P.R. 12.8.3 (E) (p. 58) A player Fouling (non-handling) to "DOGS Opportunity" must be sent off, even if a goal is scored.
In USSF, if the goal is "scored directly" the player Cannot be sent off (see ATR 12.39!)

12.8.4 (p. 56) IMPORTANT  A coach may be disqualified for team or bench Misconduct. To the contrary, the ATR states coaches may not be issued cards, and
are to be disciplined for their own actions (∂ 5.10).


13.2.1 (f) (p. 60) BONUS TO LOYAL READERS! This is an obvious error, and should be deleted from NF rules (see page 71).

13.2.2 (l) (p. 60) Thereís that "clear possession" IFK again! No such thing in USSF.


P.R.14.1.3 (A) (p. 63) Such encroachment is a "Mandatory" Caution.  In USSF, only the second offense is Cautioned (ATR ∂ 14.12).

14.1.4 (p. 62) Once a player starts movement to take a PK, s/he may not stop. In USSF, "deceptive maneuvers" are now permissible (see ATR 14.9, NOTE at end).


15.1.5 (p. 64) If a Throw-in never enters the field, give it to the opposing team! In FIFA/USSF, hogwash: bad throws are retaken; and only illegal throws go to the opposing team.

RULE 16: GOAL KICK (no difference)

RULE 17: CORNER KICK (no difference)


In NF, any rostered, non-disqualified player may be selected to participate (whether or not on the field at the end of play!), in any order as long as the first five do not kick until
all others have had a kick. After the first 5, itís "semi-sudden victory," in that it goes one more kick for each team at a time, until one scores when the other doesnít. If the
score remains tied after 10 kicks, the coach may select any five to start Round 3 (see "Tie Game Procedure," p. 72).

In USSF, only players on the field at the end of the game may participate (ATR ∂ 19.1). If a team is short-handed due to injury or disqualification, the other team must
"reduce to equate" before the start of the kicks (ATR ∂ 19.2; N.B. this is also the sole mention of a team captainís functions). Further, effective this year for the first time,
FIFA/USSF now allows the winner of the coin toss to choose to kick first or second ("KFTPM Procedure," p. 36), as is done in NF. Finally, all players except the kicker and
both GKs must remain in the center circle the entire time. (id.)

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Revised:10/28/2016 1608:51:39 -0800.