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American Youth Soccer Organization Providing world class youth soccer programs that enrich children's lives.

AYSO Region 161 - Port Huron MI

161 Administrators

Coach Administrator
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Jean Chapdelaine - Referee Administrator
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Simplified Laws of the Game

'Simplified' Laws of the Game
The following abbreviated laws (rules) are listed here for a 'quick read' for parents and players.  For complete Laws of the Game, visit    

The Laws of the Game are intended to provide that games should be played with as little interference as possible, and in this view it is the duty of referees to penalize deliberate breaches of the Law. Constant whistling, for trifling and doubtful breaches produces bad feelings and loss of temper on the part of the players and spoils the pleasure of spectators. Coaches should have their own copies of the Laws of the Game from their coaching classes.

The object of the game is for the players to get the ball into their opponent’s goal using any part of their body except their hands and arms. Only goalkeepers, while inside their own penalty area, may use their hands. The goalkeeper shall not be harassed or interfered with while attempting to put the ball in play.

As you read about The Laws of the Game here, please remember there are age level adaptations  (visit Small Sided Soccer)  

Although soccer is a game played in halves, all AYSO games are played in quarters to allow for substitutions to fulfill our Everyone Plays philosophy.  Quarter substitution stops are not breaks and should take a minimal amount of time. There is a 5 minute break during half-time.  In the event of extremely hot weather, the Referee may call for a water break as he/she feels necessary to keep players safely hydrated.

Game Information by Age Division

04U     4U Program

05U    20 minute game  (5 min quarters and 5 min half break) - 3v3  - Ball size: 3         No goalkeeper, No heading, No slide tackle, No Offside - Coach is allowed on field

06U     40 minute game  (10 min quarters and 5 min half break) - 3v3 - Ball size: 3        No goalkeeper, No heading, No slide tackle, No Offside - Coach is allowed on field

U08     40 minute game  (10 min quarters and 5 min half break) - 5v5 - Ball size: 3        No goalkeeper, No heading, No slide tackle, No Offside - Coach is NOT allowed on field (U8 and up)

10U     50 minute game  (12.5 min quarters and 5 min half break) - 7v7 - Ball size: 4     No heading, No slide tackle, Offside is called

12U     60 minute game  (15 min quarters and 5 min half break) - 9v9 - Ball size: 4        No heading

14U     70 minute game  (17.5 min quarters and 5 min half break) - 11v11 - Ball size: 5

19U     90 minute game  (45 min half and 5 min half break) - 11v11 - Ball size: 5

Player Substitutions During a Game

5U, 6U, 8U, 10U and 12U substitute ONLY after each quarter unless a player is hurt. If a player goes down and may be hurt, the referee should stop the game and allow for a substitution. The restart should be a drop ball at the point where the ball was when the referee stopped the game.
14U – 19U allow free substitutions on throw ins and goal kicks and after a goal is scored. NO substitutions are allowed during corner kicks or direct/indirect kicks.  If the opposing team is taking a throw in and they are not substituting, then a
team may not substitute. If the opposing team is making a throw in and wants to substitute, then both teams can substitute.
Especially at 5U-12U,  everyone must play a minimum of 2 quarters and no player can play all 4 quarters until everyone has played at least 3 full quarters.


Kickoffs are at the start of the first and third quarters and after each goal scored through 12U. They are done at halves for 14U and up and after a scored goal. Kicks are taken from the midfield line at the center of the field. Defenders must remain 10 ft away for 10U and under and 20 ft away for 12U and older.  Each team must remain in their half of the field until the kicked ball moves forward into the opposing teams half of the field. If a kick off is initially kicked backwards to another team player of the kicking team the kick is to be retaken since it was not legally put into play. A player taking a kick off, or any free kick, cannot touch the ball again until another player touches the ball (i.e. a player cannot free kick the ball to themselves).


(No goalkeeper in 5U, 6U or 8U games) The goalkeeper may play the ball with his or her hands, but only inside their own penalty area. The goalkeeper may not waste time putting the ball into play. The goalkeeper wears a different color jersey from his or her teammates.
AYSO does not allow  5U, 6U or 8U players to be designated as a goalkeeper. However, having a wide open net with no defenders within a designated area can also discourage players, especially when the game scores become lop sided. 5U, 6U or 8U players can play defense anywhere on the field and can shoot from anywhere on the field. No player can use their hands on defense, but there is no limitation of where on the playing field the ball can be legally touched by either the offensive or defensive team.

Ball Out of Touch

All of the ball must go completely past the outside edge of the touchline (sideline) or goalline (end line), either on the ground or in the air.


All of the ball must go completely past all of the goal line (end line) into the goal.


A throw-in is the restart after the ball has gone over the touchline (sideline).  A throw in is awarded to the team that DID NOT last touch the ball before completely crossing the touch lines (side lines). The entire ball must cross a line to be considered out of bounds.  The ball is thrown in at the spot it left the field of play. Both of the player's feet must be on the ground on or behind the touchline. The ball must be thrown from behind the head with both hands, one on each side of the ball.

5U and 6U players can retake throw ins until they get it right. 8U players should be given a couple chances to retake a throw in if needed.  10Uand up, the Referee will award a throw in to the opposing team if the throw in is not correct. A player taking the throw in cannot touch the ball until touched by another player.

Corner Kick

If the defensive team last touches the ball before crossing the goal line without a score being made then the offensive team is awarded a corner kick from the corner closest to where the ball left the field. There is an arc in each corner and the ball is kicked from the ground from inside the arc. The player taking the kick cannot touch the ball again until touched by another player. If the kicker touches the ball again before another player does then an IFK (Indirect Free Kick) is awarded to the opposing team. Defenders to the corner kick must be 10 ft away from the ball for 10U and below and 10 yards away for 12U and up.

Goal Kick

If the offensive team last touches the ball before crossing the goal line being attacked without a goal being scored then the defensive team is awarded a goal kick. Any player on the defensive team can take the goal kick. The ball must be stationary on the ground and inside the goal box. The ball is not in play until it is kicked DIRECTLY out of the penalty box. If a player on the team taking the goal kick touches the ball inside the penalty box then the goal kick is retaken because it was not put back into play. If a team defending against the goal kick touches the ball in the penalty area then retake the kick. It was not put back into play because it did not clear the penalty area directly by a goal kick.

Hand Ball

A hand ball occurs when, in the referee’s judgment, a player (other than the keeper inside their own penalty area) INTENTIONALLY plays the ball with any part of their arm or hand. A DFK (Direct Free Kick) is awarded when a hand ball foul is committed. The key is making a judgment that the hand ball is intentional. Incidental contact with a hand or arm should not be called. Did the ball play the arm or did the arm play the ball is what is considered. Using arms to protect oneself in a reflexive mode should not be called for younger players. It becomes more difficult to judge as players get older.


(No Offside called in 5U-8U - but players should NOT be allowed to camp in front of the net waiting for a ball to come to them) The purpose of the offside rule is to prevent a team from having a player “camp” in front of an opponent’s goal waiting for an easy score.  To make an offside call, the Referee must determine if a player is in an offside position when the ball is played to them by a team mate. For an offside position to occur all three conditions must occur:
1. the offensive player must be in the offensive half of the field AND 2. the offensive player must be closer to the opponent’s goal line than the ball AND 3. the offensive player must be closer to the opponent’s goal line than the NEXT TO LAST defender
For an offside penalty to be called, all the above must be true and the player in the offside position must GAIN AN ADVANTAGE by being in the offside position when the ball is played to them by a teammate. If the player is behind or even with the next to last defender when the ball is played and races past the defender to get to the ball first then this is part of the game and no offside is called. A player in the offside position cannot come back onside to receive a ball played to them by a team mate.
The referee's "moment of judgment" is the instant the ball is played, not when it is received. An indirect free kick is awarded the opposing team.  There is no offside offense if a player receives the ball directly from a throw-in, corner kick or goal kick.
Would you like to see more on the Offside rule?  Check out these Offside videos

Free Kicks

Usually direct free kicks (DFK) are not awarded below 10U because players seldom intentionally commit penal fouls (pushing, kicking, tripping, shoving, and dissent). Unless a player is seriously and intentionally committing penal fouls to gain an advantage, the referee will generally let the game continue.

Indirect Free Kicks (IFK) not called in U5-U8

Ball must touch another player on the field before entering the net for a score to occur. If a player kicks the ball directly into the opposing net on an IFK without another player first touching the ball, then a goal kick is awarded to the opposing team. An IFK is taken from the location of the offense. An IFK is awarded for various infractions as well as the following fouls: 1. plays in a dangerous manner 2. impedes the progress of an opponent 3. prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands 4. the following apply to the goalkeeper within his/her own penalty area: -controls the ball with his hands after he has released it from his possession and before it has touched another player -touches the ball with his hands after he has received it directly from a throw-in taken by a teammate -touches the ball with his hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him by a teammate -touches the ball with his hands after he has released it from his possession and before it has touched another player

Direct Free Kicks (DFK)

- not called in 5U, 6U and only called in 8U for an obviously intentional infraction

Player can score a goal directly from the kick without the ball having to touch another player on the field. A DFK is taken from the location of the foul and is awarded for the following offenses when committed by a player while the ball is in play (except when committed inside the offender’s own penalty area) : 1. kicks or attempts to kick an opponent 2. trips or attempts to trip an opponent 3. jumps at an opponent 4. charges an opponent 5. strikes or attempts to strike an opponent 6. pushes an opponent 7. tackles an opponent 8. holds an opponent 9. handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his own penalty area) 10. spits at an opponent

REMEMBER: Fouls are judgments and not clear cut and soccer is a nonviolent contact sport.  Aggressive play for the ball and not against another player is part of the game and incidental contact is part of the game.
•We don’t allow heading 04U-12U
•We don’t allow slide tackling 04U-10U
Remember the 7 most important words in the rules of the game  “If in the opinion of the referee…..”

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AYSO 161

P.O. Box 610224 
Port Huron, Michigan 48061

Email Us: [email protected]
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