Indoor/Outdoor Soccer Rules & Regulations

Please ensure that you read and understand the Houston Sports & Social Club General Rules. They can be found here.

Houston Sports & Social Club General Soccer Rules

ROSTER/WAIVERS:

There is no maximum number of players allowed on a soccer team roster; however players must be registered with Houston Sports & Social Club and must sign the Houston Sports & Social Club waiver to be able to participate. Please refer to the Houston Sports & Social Club General Rules for rules regarding roster adjustments and additional detail regarding waivers.

PLAYER ELIGIBILITY:

            Please refer to the General Rules for details regarding player eligibility.

SPORTSMANSHIP:

Houston Sports & Social Club expects all participants to play with the highest level of sportsmanship. Rude or demeaning behavior to referees, the opposing team, and/or your own team members will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Unsportsmanlike behavior may result in that player being ejected from the game. An ejection may result in further suspension from participation in current and/or future Houston Sports & Social Club sports. An ejected player is required to leave the premises immediately. Refusal to leave the premises may result in a team forfeit and/or suspension.

Any disputes or complaints regarding the referee’s handling of a game or ejection can be addressed with the league after the day of play in which the incident took place. On the day of the incident, the referee’s decision will be considered final and disputes will not be addressed by the league.

FORFEITS:

If a team does not have the minimum number of players by game time (see section I below), a $50 forfeit fine will be assessed and given to the opposing team in the form of a bar tab, unless the team has enough players to play an officiated exhibition game (minimum of 3 players). If a team e-mails info@HoustonSSC.com by 8am the day of the game for weekday leagues or 4pm Friday for weekend leagues, stating that they will not be able to field a team, no fine will be assessed. This will allow notifications to reach the opposing team’s members and will allow the opposing coach to inform his team of the impending forfeit.

            Please refer to the General Rules for additional details regarding forfeit fines.

BEVERAGES AT FIELDS:

Houston Sports & Social Club promotes responsible drinking; however, some fields do not allow alcoholic beverages. If this is the case, Houston Sports & Social Club staff members will be monitoring to ensure that there are no visible signs of alcohol present. If a fine is assessed against Houston Sports & Social Club for a player’s negligence in following the rules of the field, that player will be responsible to reimburse Houston Sports & Social Club for any fines or additional costs associated with the violation. A player may be suspended for such violations. No food or beverages on the field during plays.

EQUIPMENT:

All players must wear shin guards. NO cleats are allowed at Pitch25 Indoor leagues. Metal spikes are not allowed in outdoor leagues.

Outdoor: The ball must be regulation #5, properly inflated, and in good playing condition.  

Indoor: A #4 ball is recommended but in the event neither team has a size #4 ball, a size #5 ball may be used to play an official game. If a #4 and #5 ball are present, the #4 ball will be used as the game ball.

Houston Sports & Social Club does NOT provide balls.

Indoor soccer: No cleats of any kind (plastic, rubber, metal, artificial grass, multi-ground, firm ground and soft ground) are allowed at Pitch 25. Only rubber turf shoes and indoor shoes are permitted. 

TEAMS:

7v7 Outdoor: There will be a maximum of 7 players on the field at any time for a given team. There will be no more than 4 males on the field at any time. Teams will be allowed to play a legal game shorthanded with as few as 5 players, including at least 2 females.

5v5 Indoor: There will be a maximum of 5 players on the field at any time for a given team. Teams will be allowed to play a legal game shorthanded with as few as 4 players.There are no gender requirements. An exhibition may be played with 3 players.

SCORING:

All goals are worth 1 point.

REGULATION GAMES:

Games will be divided into two 20 minute halves separated by a halftime not to exceed 3 minutes. The referee will maintain a running clock, with the only exception being during prolonged injury time-outs. If the referee deems that a player is employing unsportsmanlike delay tactics such as kicking the ball far out of bounds, the referee may stop the clock at their discretion. A game will be considered a completed game after the 2nd half of play has started.

Ties during the regular season remain as a tie. Ties in the playoffs result in one overtime sudden death period followed by sudden death shootout if necessary.

Games will have a 5-minute grace period (with the exception of the first game of the night, which will have a 10-minute grace period) for teams that do not have the minimum number of players to start. If a team has the minimum number of players (see Section I) to start, the grace period allowance will not apply. If the grace period expires and a team does not have the minimum number of players required, that team will be charged with an official forfeit and teams can use the remaining time to play an exhibition game. A forfeit will be scored as 5-0 for outdoor soccer 7-0 for indoor soccer.

If however, the opposing team wishes to allow the team to play with less than the minimum amount of required players, the game may be played as an official game. The opposing team’s captain must notify the referee that they want to play an official game despite the other team’s inability to field the minimum number of players. The referee will assume the game is a forfeit unless there is a specific request by the team captain to this effect.

GOAL BOX

7v7 Outdoor: There are no goalies, i.e. no player is allowed to touch the ball with their hands in the field of play. A goal box will be marked off at each goal. The goal box will extend 4 paces/yards out and 2 paces/yards to the side of each goal post. Players cannot enter the goal box at any time. If a defender is determined to have been in the goal box and deflects or touches the ball, a penalty kick will be awarded. If an offensive player is determined to have been in the goal box and deflects or touches the ball, the opposing team will receive a goal kick. If the referee determines that a player unintentionally enters the goal box and the does not interfere with the play, no penalty will apply, however if a player is found to be intentionally or repeatedly entering the goal box, the referee can enforce a penalty as described above at their discretion.

If the ball comes to rest in the goal box, the play will be dead and the defending team will receive a goal kick.

5v5 Indoor:  Players may enter the goal box but may not attack the goalkeeper.

Goalkeeper: The goalkeeper may use his hands while remaining in the goal box only on a scoring attempt. Once the goalie has gained control of the ball, he/she will have no more than 5 seconds to return the ball to play as counted down by the referee. The goalie may not throw the ball past the half field line without it coming into contact with the ground or a player.  

Goalkeeper Penalties:

Illegal Handling: Bringing the ball from outside of the Penalty box to his hand within it, or receiving the ball again after a Goal Kick or Goalkeeper kick-In without the ball’s having first touched another player  

Pass Back: Handling the ball, having been passed deliberately and directly to him from a teammate; except that he may handle a ball which a teammate passes to him by the head, chest, or knee and without “trickery” (the use of a wall or foot to flick the ball to a head, chest, or knee before making the pass)

5-Second Limit: Controlling the ball with either his hand or foot inside of his Penalty box for over five (5) seconds.

Outdoor: If a penalty occurs within 7 paces/yards of the goal box, the ball will be moved back 7 paces/yards from the goalbox so that players can line up on the front edge of the goal box and maintain the required distance from the indirect free kick.

Indoor: If a penalty occurs within 4 paces/yards of the goal box, the ball will be moved back 4 paces/yards from the goalbox.

KICKOFF:

The team captains will meet the referee at the center of the field prior to gametime. Team captains will play rock, paper, scissors (best out of 3). The winner will have the first choice to kick-off or choose a goal to defend.

During a kickoff, all players from each team must remain on their side of the field until the ball is kicked. The ball will be placed in the center of the field and the referee will blow their whistle to signal the start of play. On the kickoff, the ball must travel backwards (away from the opposing team’s goal) and must make one full rotation before a teammate touches the ball. Failure to do so will result in a free kick for the opposing team at the center of the field.

INDIRECT KICKS:

All free kicks for indoor and outdoor soccer will be indirect. This means that a goal may NOT be scored directly from a free kick, i.e. the kick must be touched by a second player before entering the goal.  The ball must make one full rotation before a teammate touches the ball. No defending player is allowed to be within 7 paces of a ball prior to a kick.

An indirect-free kick will be awarded on any stoppage of play including throw-ins, goal kicks, corner kicks, fouls, etc. The only exception is for a penalty kick which will be a direct kick from 15 paces/yards out to an open goal. Penalty kick rules detailed below.

OUT OF BOUNDS

Outdoor: A ball is considered out of bounds if it completely leaves the field of play. If a ball is touching the out of bounds line it is still in play.

Indoor: A ball will be considered out of bounds when hitting the net or unpadded wall above the indoor padding. The ball will be considered live if it hits the padded gray wall.

For balls that cross either sideline, an indirect kick will be awarded to the opposing team. The ball must be placed in the field of play within 1 pace/yard of where it crossed out of bounds.

If the ball crosses the endline, a corner kick or goal kick will ensue depending on whether the offense or defense last touched the ball. Goal kicks will be kicked from the endline, adjacent to the goal. Corner kicks will be kicked from the corner of the field on the side of the goal that the ball crossed out of bounds. Corner kicks are indirect.

SUBSTITUTIONS

7v7 Outdoor - Substitutions can only occur during any stoppage of play. All substitute players must notify the referee when entering the game.

5v5 Indoor - Substitutions is on-the-fly, including the GK. Referee may delay a re-start to allow a GK change to occur smoothly (Referee Discretion). Players leaving the field must be at/thru the door before entering player may step on the field. Exiting player is responsible for ensuring the door is in place. Violation will result in an indirect kick. 

FOULS & CARDS

The common foul will result in a free indirect kick to the opposing team from the spot of the foul. The referee may at their discretion award a penalty kick and/or yellow and red cards.

There are no offsides rules in effect.

Sliding tackles are NOT allowed under any circumstances. A clean slide tackle will result in a foul and award of a free indirect kick to the opposing team. A dangerous slide tackle that is reckless or endangers the safety of other players will result in a yellow or red card, and an indirect kick to the opposing team. Sliding in the absence of a nearby player is permitted if, at the referee’s discretion, it does not endanger any other players (e.g. to keep the ball from going out of bounds). Sliding is defined as going down to the ground to get a ball with one or both legs.

Penalty kicks can be awarded in 4 scenarios:

  1. Outdoor: A defender touches or deflects a ball while in the goal box, or
  2. Indoor/Outdoor: A “breakaway” foul is committed that in the discretion of the referee stopped a scoring opportunity that would have likely resulted in a goal if not for the foul.
  3. Indoor: A penalty occurs while in the goal box.
  4. Indoor: A defensive players commits handball penalty while in the box.

Penalty kicks can be taken by any player. The player taking the penalty kick will place the ball 15 paces/yards from the goal and wait for the referee’s whistle to shoot at the open goal. If a player’s penalty kick does not make it into the goal or past the endline, the play will be dead and the opposing team will be awarded a goal kick.

Yellow cards can be issued by the referee at their discretion for dangerous play, excessive contact, or unsportsmanlike behavior. A yellow card is a warning and results in a 2 minute cooling off period for the offending player. The player will be sent off the field and the team must play down a player (Outdoor Only: of the same gender) until the first opportunity to substitute after the 2 minute cooling off period has expired.

Red cards can be issued by the referee for extreme or repeated acts of misconduct. If a player is issued a red card, their team must play down a player (Outdoor Only: of the same gender) for the remainder of the game. Any player receiving a red card must leave the playing field immediately and may be asked to leave the facility. If the player does not leave or continues to cause a disturbance, their team may receive a forfeit at the discretion of the referee. All red cards will be reviewed by the league and may result in further suspensions or expulsion from the league. Any red cards issued for violent, threatening, or abusive behavior will result in a minimum 1 game suspension.

If a player receives 2 yellow cards in the same game, it will result in a red card being issued.

All yellow and red cards will be reported to Houston Sports & Social Club and may result in disciplinary action. In the event of a card being issued, the offending player must give the Houston Sports & Social Club representative their name.

Fighting is not allowed under any circumstances. The referee can stop the game at any point and call a forfeit or double forfeit if they deem necessary.

OTHER RULES:

If a rule is not otherwise stated here standard soccer rules hold.

 

PLAYOFFS

SEEDING

Playoff seedings will be determined by the best overall records. In the event that 2 teams are tied with the same record, head-to-head matchups will determine higher seedings whenever possible. When head-to-head matchups cannot clearly determine a higher seed, or when 3 or more teams are tied, tiebreakers will be determined in the following order:

  1. Head-to-head matchups (for 2 way ties when possible)
  2. Highest team point differentials for the season
  3. Lowest team total points allowed for the season
  4. Rock, paper, scissors (Best 2 out of 3)
  1. Overtime Rules (Playoffs Only)

If regulation game ends in a tie during a playoff game, the game will proceed to 1 sudden death overtime which will consist of one 5 minute period. If a goal is scored in overtime, the game will immediately end. If neither team scores during overtime, a shootout will commence.

Shootout Rules (Playoffs Only)

Each team will select 5 players (at least 2 females only in outdoor). The players chosen do not have to be playing at the end of regulation.

Team captains will play rock, paper, scissors (best 2 out of 3). The winner will choose whether they want to shoot first or second.

The referee will select the goal used for the shootout. Teams will alternate turns placing the ball down 15 paces/yards from the goal and waiting for the referee’s whistle to shoot at the open goal. All goals in shootout are worth 1 point (including females).

If a winner is not determined after the first 5 players from each team have taken their shot, each subsequent round will be sudden death, i.e. if 1 player makes their shot and the other misses the game is over.

No player can shoot twice in the shootout until all team players have kicked at least once.