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FIFA Differences


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These games are played under the 2017-18 Rules of the              
                National Federation of State High School Associations.                                        
 NOTE: For a handy pocket sized guide to many differences from FIFA, go to FORMS and download Terry's Time  Bombs.
To get details go to  FIFA Differences

2017-18 NFHS Soccer Rules Changes

For EBAL & MVAL games, there is no scorers table, subs must report at the halfway line prior to entry to the field.

Either team may sub unlimited players on their Corner Kick, their Throw-In, or any Goal Kick.
Players Must be at the halfway line PRIOR to the dead ball.
If Team A is subbing, Team B may sub if their players are at the halfway line PRIOR to the dead ball.

Either team may sub from the bench after a goal is scored.
Players must report to the halfway line and be beckoned on.

Players being subbed between periods need not report to the halfway line to be beckoned on.

Cards and Substitutions:
If the carded player is to be replaced, the sub may come from the bench but must report to the halfway line and be beckoned on.
Any player at the halfway line prior to the stoppage may come on when a player is carded, once beckoned on.
If a goal keeper is Disqualified, a replacement goal keeper must report to the halfway line and be beckoned on
and a field player must be removed.  Subs are allowed if the game is stopped to card bench personnel.

Injury and Substitutions:
Unlimited substitutions from the bench are allowed for either team following injury stoppages
but the players must report to the halfway line and be beckoned on.
After a goal is scored, if the referee checks a player for injury, the player is not required to leave unless
the referee beckons on personnel to attend the player. If attended, they must leave.

Penalty kicks and Substitutions
 Penalty kicks are not substitution opportunities
but if an injury occurs or a player is carded at that time
the restrictions for Cards or Injury substitutions apply.

During a PK, the player may not interrupt his approach to the ball.

Offside decisions and definitions
These are now defined to be in agreement with other rule making bodies.

2013 Concussion Concerns
3-3-1c3: Any player who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion (such as loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion, or balance problems) shall be immediately removed from the contest and shall not return to play until cleared by an appropriate health-care professional.*

Symptoms may be  * headache * fogginess * difficulty concentrating * easily confused * slowed thought process * difficulty with memory * nausea * lack of energy, tiredness * dizziness, poor balance * blurred vision * sensitive to light and sound * mood changes, irritable, anxious, or fearful * apparent loss of consciousness


* CIF has determined that any player removed from a game for symptoms consistent with a concussion will NOT RETURN to a match that day.
CIF Bylaw 313
A student-athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury in a practice or game shall be removed from competition at that time for the remainder of the day
    NOTE: This supersedes the guidance from NFHS and from SMAC.

North Coast section - Any player who appears to exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors that might be consistent with a concussion will not be allowed to reenter the game.

2009 Shinguard issues  - from NCS:
In summary, the referee must know:

  • No 100% inspection of shinguards
  • Assume shinguards meet the standard
  • Require individual inspection only if the shinguard looks suspect
  • Know the requirements
  • In the absence of a NOCSAE label, the official's opinion is final
  • Card the coach for the first violation
  • Card players for subsequent violations

Harry Schrauth,
NCS Coordinator of Officials

From the NCS Rules Interpreter - 2008-09 NFHS Rules state:
4.1.1...shinguards must meet the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOSCAE) specifications....

Shinguards, as with all equipment, are under the direct responsibility of the coach, who should certify that all players are legally and properly equipped.
This would include shinguards.  It is not appropriate for an official to perform a 100% inspection of shinguards.  That is, no pregame line up and no pregame inspection of any equipment need be done. When a coach responds, "Yes", to the question, "Are your players legally and properly equipped?", that should be sufficient.

The game official becomes involved only at the point when he/she sees shinguards which may be undersized.  At that point, the official should inspect that player and their shinguards.

If detected prior to the start of the match, should the player's shinguards 1) not provide adequate and reasonable protection, or 2) are not professionally manufactured, or 3) are not age- and size-appropriate, or 4) altered to decrease protection, or 5) not worn under stockings, or 6) worn with the bottom edge higher than 2" from the ankle, then the player may not participate until the shinguard deficiency is corrected.  Any violation which occurs once the match start will result in a yellow card issued to the coach. Any subsequent uniform violation will result in a yellow card for the player involved and not the coach.

Please note, with the new ruling, shinguards must meet the NOCSAE standards, the presence of a NOCSAE label, while preferable, is not a requirement of the rule.  It is likely that in some cases, the label may have been removed.  The standards the referee are to enforce are stated in the above restrictions.  While a NOCSAE label gives an official a very visible number to work with, the absence of such a label does not prevent an official from determining if shinguards are in violation of the above standards.   It is the presence of the label on properly sized shinguards which will definitively determine if shinguards meet the requirement and resolve all questions.  The absence of labels will leave all decisions regarding shinguards up to the opinion of the referee.

As with all equipment, shinguards are assumed to be correct unless the official determines otherwise. Given that shinguards which have the NOCSAE label may not be readily available, it is incumbent on the involved official to make an informed decision when questionable shinguards do not have such a label.  Having already determined that the shinguards are suspect, and requiring a specific inspection, it is highly likely that the shinguards won't meet the standard.  Such a decision is fully within the official's authority, only the presence of a NOCSAE label, which meets the height requirement of that player can result in a change of the official's decision, in so far as adequate protection is concerned.

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