Intramural Game Rules 


WSA 2nd / 3rd Grade Soccer Rules

Last updated Fall 2019

Law I – The Field of Play and Game Duration

The field of play is to be rectangular. The length must exceed the width. 

Field Areas and Markings

For new referees, the names of the parts of the field are very important, but knowing the exact measurements is something that you can work on later. 

Make sure you can identify the following field features:                     

IMPORTANT: The lines are part of the areas they describe. For example, the line that marks the boundary of the penalty area is considered part of the penalty area. So if the ball is on or above any part of that line, it is still in the penalty area. Likewise, the goal lines and touchlines are considered part of the field of play and not out of play.

You will encounter fields that are poorly or incorrectly marked. The general rule of thumb is; if it’s safe, go ahead and play. Don’t use missing or incorrect lines as an excuse to cancel a game. 

Cones can be used to mark corners (coaches are responsible for addressing this).  If you have a field that is not marked (or lines need to be replenished) report this to the Field Director of the WSA as well as your Assignor immediately following the game.  

Coaches are not allowed on the field.  They should remain on the touch line/sideline for the entirety of the game. Coaches are not allowed behind the end line/goal line.  Coaches should stay with their team/subs on one half of one side of the field. Coaches may only enter the field with approval of referee for an injury or at halftime. 

All parents should be on the opposite side of the coaches and substitutes.  

Game Duration

  • All games will consist of two, 20 -minute halves. 
  • Halftime will be 5 minutes, but can be 5 mins longer if it is hot. 
  • Start the clock when the kick off is put into play. 
  • Time should run for 20 minutes, there is no stopping the clock or added stoppage time at the end of the half or the game. 
  • Start the game on time. 
  • Call for team captains 5 mins before kick off.  
  • Flip a coin.  Winner of the coin toss chooses to kick off or to defend one side of field. In the second half the team that didn’t kick in first half, kicks off in the second half and the teams switch sides. 

Law II – The Ball 

The ball is to be spherical, made of leather or other suitable material, properly inflated, and the proper size. The referee approves the ball before the start of the game. 

Size of Ball for 2nd / 3rd grade)= Size 3

Law III – Number of Players

According to FIFA rules; a soccer match is played with two teams.  

WSA rule modifications require the following number of players for a match: 

Number of players for 2nd / 3rd grade = 6v6 (ideally no less than 5)

If there are not enough players to field one team, coaches are able to “borrow” players from the other team in order to have a game. Games should be played whenever possible, including with mixed teams as the objective is to have fun.  

Law IV – Players’ Equipment. 

The mandatory equipment of a player consists of:

  • WSA Jersey (with sleeves) / players can participate if they forgot or lost their jersey
  • Shorts (or sweats)
  • Soccer socks must be worn over shin guards
  • Shin guards must be worn in order to play (no exceptions)
  • Shoes (cleats are not mandatory, but if worn cannot have the single stud on the tip. These are considered dangerous).

A player may not wear anything dangerous to another player. 

  • All jewelry must be removed (no exceptions).   
  • Baseball hats are not permitted.
  • The goalkeeper must wear a color that distinguishes him/her from all other players and the referee (pinnies are acceptable to wear over the uniform). 
  • Team uniforms must be easily identifiable as one team and distinguishable from the opponent’s.  Pinnies can be used if needed. 

Law V – The Referee

  • A referee has the authority to enforce the Laws of the Game. 
  • A referee may refrain from calling a foul, if by doing so he/she would be giving an advantage to the team that committed the foul. At this time the referee may hold out both of his hands straight forward. This is a “Play On” or “Advantage” situation. 
  • The referee must stop the game if a player is injured.  The coach should be requested on to the pitch in order to deal with the injured player (referees do not tend to injured players).  Because there is no “stoppage time” at the rec level, time continues running.
  • If a player is slightly injured (crying) the play will stop when the ball goes out of play and the referee should instruct the coach to substitute the injured child temporarily in order to insure he/she is ok.
  • The appropriate re-start for plays stopped due to injury is a drop ball.  This takes place at the location where the ball was when play was stopped (if it did not go out of play).
  • On a drop ball, the players must wait until the ball hits the ground before touching it.  The proper restart for not doing so is another dropped ball.
  • The referee shall stop the game if the conditions become necessary to do so (see weather policy at the end of this manual). 
  • No yellow or red cards are given at the recreational level. If a player commits a foul in a manner that is dangerous to an opponent, referees should explain the foul committed as dangerous, and advise the player not to do so again.  If the player commits a similar foul again, referees should request that coaches substitute that player and also explain the nature of their fouls and advise them not to do so again. It is the responsibility of the coaches to ensure players learn how to play the game safely. Players can re enter the game thereafter. 

Law VII – Duration of the Game

  • While a standard soccer match (according to FIFA law) is played in 2 equal 45 minute halves, the breakdown of time for the WSA players is as follows:

2nd / 3rd grade): two 20-minute halves, totaling 40 minutes, running time. 5 minute half time break, up to 10 minutes if hot weather. 

  • The next game must start on time so the ref needs to insure games fit within the time slot.
  • If necessary, the referee should modify the match time to fit within the schedule.  The referee should inform both teams’ coaches of the decision to cut time due to a late start.

Law VIII – Start of Play (kick-off)

  • All players must be in their half of the field before the start of the game.
  • The team not kicking-off must be at least ten yards from the ball (outside the circle if there is one). 
  • The game is started on the referee’s signal, once the player kicks the ball and it moves forward or bacward into the field of play. 
  • The ball is in play as soon as it moves forward or backward, even if it moves slightly forward.  In other words, blowing the whistle does NOT mean the attacking team may approach the ball; however the ref should start their watch.  
  • The attacking and defending team must wait until the ball is kicked into the field of play. 
  • Good to know; the player who kicks-off cannot touch the ball again until another player has touched it.  The appropriate restart for this infraction is an IFK (indirect free kick) for the opponent where the foul occurred.

Law IX – Ball In and Out of Bounds 

  • The ball is out of play when it has wholly crossed the goal-line or touch-line, whether on the ground or in the air. 
  • On a throw-in, if any part of the ball passes over the touch-line, the ball is in play. In this case, the whole ball does not need to cross the touch-line completely.  

Law X – Method of Scoring 

  • A goal is scored when the whole ball has passed over the goal-line, between the goal-posts and under the cross-bar. 
  • At the rec level, most goalkeepers are still learning the game.  The referee should try to educate these young players at all times.  Let the keeper know that a goal can be scored when:
    • The keeper receives the ball while within the goal (behind the goal line)”
    • The keeper steps backwards into the goal after receiving the ball.
  • There are no direct free kicks in the 2nd/ 3rd grade league, therefore all free kicks are indirect, which means a goal cannot be scored without touching another player first.  Encourage the player taking the free kick not to shoot directly on goal but rather pass or send the ball forward for teammates. 

Law XI – Off-Side

  • There is NO offsides in 2nd/3rd grade soccer.  
  • For future reference, however, to be penalized for being offside, a player must, at the moment the ball is kicked by a teammate, be in an offside position, and become involved in the play.  This can be done by interfering with an opponent or simply gaining an advantage by being offside. 
  • In order to be in an offside position a player must meet ALL the following conditions:
    • be in the opponent’s half of the field
    • be ahead of the ball
    • have less than two players between himself and the opponent’s goal-line.
  • A player in an offside position can be penalized for offside even if the ball deflects off of a defender, goalkeeper, the goal posts or crossbar (even the referee!). 
  • A player is not offside if receiving the ball directly from a:
    • goal kick 
    • throw-in 
    • corner kick

Law XII – Fouls and Misconduct

Indirect free kicks (see definition below in Law XIII) will be awarded for the following infractions/fouls.  There are NO direct free kicks (a free kick directly into the goal) in 2nd/3rd grade soccer. 

  • kicking or attempting to kick an opponent 
  • tripping an opponent 
  • jumping at an opponent 
  • striking or pushing an opponent 
  • holding 
  • spitting
  • slide tackling from behind
  • slide tackling without making direct contact with the ball and interfering with the opponent.
  • handling (with hands) the ball deliberately (field players)
    • Note: Not all hand balls are fouls. The referee determines if the ball played the hand or if the hand played the ball. There is no foul if the ball played the hand. Again, this is “in the opinion of the referee.”
    • Good to know: At the rec level, if a player is shielding him/herself from the ball and it hits their hands, this should not be considered a “handball”.

Other fouls that should result in an indirect free kick:

  • playing dangerously (on the ground) 
  • obstruction (impedes the progress of an opponent)
  • prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball / running in front of the goalkeeper when they are trying to release the ball
  • when a player commits any other offenses not previously mentioned in Law 12 for which play is stopped.
  • Under the WSA modifications:  once a goal keeper touches the ball, the attacking team must retreat.  Otherwise a free kick is awarded to the defending team.

Goalkeeper fouls:

After making a save, Goalkeepers are only allowed to throw the ball back into the field of play. They may throw it over hand or roll it underhand.  They may NOT PUNT the ball. 

  • Takes more than six seconds to release the ball (be VERY generous with this rule at the younger ages, should simply ask the Goalkeeper to play the ball out)
  • Touches the ball again with his hands after it has been released from his possession and did not touch another player
  • WSA 2nd/3rd Grade Modification: players may pass back to goalies with any part of their body (except hands!) and goalies may then pick up the ball with their hands.  

Law XIII – Indirect Free-Kicks 

  • There are NO direct free kicks in 2nd/3rd Grade Soccer
  • All kicks will be indirect free kicks 
  • Defending players must be 10 yards away (about 5 paces on a small field) from a free-kick. 
  • A goal cannot be scored from an indirect free kick unless the ball is touched by another player before it goes into the goal.  Yes, it can be deflected off a player then be played. Deflections off the referee or the goal post/crossbar do not count. 

Law XIV – Penalty-Kicks

  • There are NO penalty kicks in 2nd/3rd grade soccer.  
  • Fouls inside the goal and penalty box area shall be awarded indirect free kicks on the edge of the penalty box near where the infraction occured.

Law XV – Throw-ins 

Throw ins are awarded when the ball goes outside the field of play by crossing the sideline.  The entire ball must go over the line to be out of bounds. 

The ball is awarded to the team that did not touch the ball last.  The team that touched the ball last before it went out of play becomes the defending team. 

Defenders must stand a few yards back of the thrower. 

The thrower, at the moment of delivering the ball must:

  • face the field of play
  • have part of each foot on the touch-line or out-of-bounds. 
  • have at both feet on the ground
  • use both hands and deliver the ball from behind and over his/her head using equal weight of both hands. 
  • Stepping on the touchline while throwing in is NOT illegal.   

Additional information:

  • A goal may not be scored directly from a throw-in.  
  • Both feet must remain on the ground at all times.  Jumping up in the air is illegal because one or both feet will not on the ground.
  • WSA 2nd/3rd Grade Modification: ONE re-try for an illegal throw and then after a second illegal throw, a throw in is awarded other team. 

Law XVI – Goal-Kicks and Build Out Lines 

When the attacking team kicks the ball over the goal line (but not scoring a goal), a goal kick is awarded to the defending team. The entire ball must be over the line to be considered out of play. 

Build Out Lines are the lines halfway between the center line and the goal line.  If Build Out Lines are not painted on the field, coaches may mark them with cones.  

When a team is awarded a goal kick, the defending team must retreat beyond the Build Out Line and await the goal kick.  

  • When taking a goal-kick, the ball may be placed anywhere within the goal area (6 yard box). 
  • NEW! The ball does not need to leave the penalty area before teammate can touch the ball. The kicker may pass the ball to a teammate in the penalty area who may then play the ball from their as a live ball. 
  • The kicking team can stand anywhere, including in the penalty area. 
  • The opposing/attacking team must stay outside the penalty area until the ball is played out of the penalty area. 
  • Opposing/attacking team may cross the build out line when the goal kick is first played, but must still wait for the ball to exit the penalty area before making a play on it.
  • If opposing/attacking team crosses the Build Out Line (before ball is initially played) or comes into penalty area too soon (before the ball leaves the penalty area), play is stopped and the goal kick is retaken. 

Law XVII – Corner-Kick 

  • When the defending team last touches the ball and the entire ball travels over the goal line (but not into the goal), a corner kick is awarded to the attacking team.
  • The ball is in play as soon as it is kicked and moves. 
  • Defending team should stand at least 6 yards (3-4 paces) from the corner to allow the corner kick. 
  • Shots taken from the corner kick that go into the goal directly or upon deflection count as goals. 

Law XVIII – Scoring

Scoring goals in 2nd/3rd grade soccer is for fun and for introducing the idea of competition.  The score is likely to be kept among the players but should not be a focus for coaches other than to attempt to keep the scoring balanced and in spirit of good sportsmanship for the benefit of all. If a team is scoring at will against an opponent, coaches should do their best to make the experience more balanced.  Possible solutions are to move players to other positions on the field, possible share players to balance teams levels and/ or encourage more passing before scoring. The idea is to have everyone leave the field happy and excited about the game just played. 

Golden Law !

Have fun! 

Please remind all coaches, parents, players and yourself before every game to just have fun.  Do not be afraid to make mistakes and simply do your best. We all appreciate your effort!