STP 2016 - Guidelines (U10-U18)
- RMA and STP
- One thing is constant - CHANGE - for 2016. You DO need an RMA clearance for all matches during STP.
- STP Rules Summary
- The rules of competition for the Spring Training Program are basically the same as the rules that were used during the LWYSA Fall recreational session in 2015. In addition, we have highlighted a few rules that you should pay particular attention to. If you have further questions, please feel free to seek out a referee mentor at the field. They will usually be wandering around in a referee uniform or will be wearing a black warm-up jacket. Or, you can send an email to Ask_a_Ref. We'll normally get back to you in 24-72 hours.
- U18 Coed Rules
The STP program includes weekly play on U18 "coed" teams. You should be aware that these are VERY loosely organized, strictly recreational matches, that will include players from U15 through U18. Each week, the "teams" may even be different and players swap around. You should be flexible and cooperate with the coaches when they make requests. As a referee, your number one role is to protect the safety of the players, so you must make certain that challenges that are even a little too hard are dealt with. That said, in years past these games have been a joy, with very few issues and all players participating in a true spirit of recreational fun.
- Blow-Out Rule
If at any time one team has 5 goals more than the other, the referee shall permit the team that is behind to add an additional player to the number playing on the field. The referee should do this quietly and not "draw attention" to the fact this is happening. Do this by going to the coach and privately telling them them may send on another player.
- Duration of the Match This is unique to STP: READ CAREFULLY!
All U10 and older matches are played with two 25 minute halves. HOWEVER, all matches starting at 4:45 MUST end no later than 5:45 and all matches starting at 6:00pm MUST end no later than 7:00pm. This is a requirement of Marymoor Park (related to traffic flow and safety). In addition, in some cases some other user group may be renting the fields beginning at 7:00pm and may even have a game scheduled to begin at 7:00pm. If you see teams gathering on the touchline, then end the game just before 7:00pm so that the field can be CLEARED of players by 7:00pm. Therefore, if a match starts late, the referee must reduce the length of the halves to accommodate this requirement.
EXAMPLE: If a match does not start until 5:00, then there are only 45 minutes before 5:45. Since players are entitled to a 5-minute half time, that leaves only 40 minutes of play time. The referee should therefore play that match with two twenty minute halves and a five minute half time.
- Jewelry Notes
Every season, players show up to play wearing items that they are not permitted to wear. Referees are REQUIRED to enforce these rules. Coaches are obligated to tell their players and parents about them. EARRINGS MAY NOT BE WORN! If the player cannot remove the earrings, they cannot play - period. Taping is not acceptable. FIFA has also made clear that leather, rubber bands, string bracelets may not be worn as they are considered jewelry. This refers to the many types of bracelets (such as the "Live Strong" and similar rubber bracelets, as well as friendship bracelets) which appear to be safe, but have resulted in multiple reports of broken fingers. When in doubt, consult a referee mentor. There is usually one around somewhere during STP.
Beginning at the U-10 age, the offside law IS enforced. We understand that this law can be confusing to some young players. But the Spring Training session is a great place to begin teaching them so they are ready for fall.
Beginning at the U-10 age, there are no free re-tries for an improperly taken throw-in. If a throw-in is improperly taken, the other team gets the ball.
- Restart After Injury or Other Unusual Stoppage
If the referee stops play for an injury, while the ball is still in play, then the match is restarted with a "dropped ball", in accordance with the Laws of the Game. This is a change from previous year in which Washington State had a special rule and indirect free kicks were awarded. Washington State is now in line with the rest of the world. If has to blow their whistle to stop play for an injury (or to deal with other 'unusual circumstances' - like animals on the field, siblings, burst ball) the restart is a dropped ball. If one team is in clear possession, the other team - in a show of good sportsmanship - should let them have the ball. But YOU - as a referee - cannot REQUIRE that. (Exception: In LWYSA, if the ball was in possession of the goalkeeper when you stopped play - then the dropped ball goes back to the goalkeeper, who may not be opposed. You MAY enforce this. It is an LWYSA rule.)
Substitutions may take place only after permission is given by the referee. Substitutions may occur on any "dead ball". See the Rules_of_Substitution for a complete explanation.
- Rosters, Player Cards
Referees need not collect or inspect team rosters. There are no player cards associated with STP.
As of 3/22/2016 - there are no restrictions in place on heading during U10 matches. Some of you may have read about the US Soccer Federation's recommendation that heading not be permitted in U10 and U11 matches. As of this writing, Washington Youth Soccer has not taken a position on when, how, or if, the US Soccer Federation recommendation will be implemented. Therefore, as referees, we must uphold our current rules of competition, which DO permit heading in these matches.
- U10 Field of Play
- During the Spring Session, you may arrive at the field and find that it is not "completely" marked. Coaches will need to put out markers so that players know where the sidelines are, where the edge of the penalty area is, and where the goal area is. Referees should have available a diagram that will give you the "official" dimensions. Yes, a penalty area is a very large area. Do the best you can to safely mark the edges of these important areas.
The above diagram shows 1/2 of the normal field of play for U10 matches. Note that some coaches may insist on shrinking the length of the field. If both coaches agree, go along with it and help them help the kids have fun.
- Penalty Area Notes
The goalkeeper may use their hands anywhere within the penalty area.
If the defense commits a foul that would normally result in a "Direct Free Kick" and they are inside the penalty area, then the ball is moved out to the top of the penalty area (14 yard line) and a Direct Free Kick is taken from there. It is NOT awarded as a penalty kick. (WSYSA rules forbid "penalty kicks" in U-10 and younger play.)
The above diagram indicates how the referee should reposition the ball for if a "direct free kick" foul is committed by a defender in a U10 match.
- Goal Area
The only purpose for the goal area is to indicate where a ball can be placed during the taking of kicks. If the defending team is taking a goal kick, the ball may be placed anywhere within the goal area. If the attacking team has been given an "Indirect Free Kick" (such as for "dangerous play") then the ball may be placed no closer to the goal than the top of the goal area (6 yard line).
- How High Is The Goal
The "official" height of the goal is 6 feet for U10 (Yes, the diagram above says 8'. It is in error. Soon as your webmaster can find his graphic program, he'll fix it), 8 ft for all older players. However, from a practical standpoint, the referee can't change the height of the crossbar if a goalpost is provided, and 6 feet may be very difficult to judge when flags or other markers are used. So, if an "official" goal is in place, then use it. During STP, goals are normally marked by coach-provided flags. The height of the goal is considered to be the top of the flags provided. If flags are not used (a coach forgot them), then the top of the goal is considered to be as high as the outstretched hands of the standing goalkeeper. Remember, that it is up to the referee to make the determination of whether a shot on goal was "too high" to count. As long as the referee is left to make the decision, and the sidelines don't argue about it, the players will normally accept the decision and play on.
- Notes from Previous Years
- Each year, many of the same issues seem to come up. Please read the following and be prepared for these situations, as reported to us in previous years:
Having said all of the above, rather harshly, let me also point out that the vast majority of our evaluations are positive. Overall, an excellent job is being done. Now let's pay attention to the details we, as referees, a charged with tending to. I think 3/4's of of the negative feedback we've received will go away if you just tend to the above.
- U10 Player Safety: Sliding into the goalkeeper is wrong on two counts. Players can't slide to win the ball in U10. By definition, that is dangerous play. Also, sliding into a goalkeeper is wrong at ALL levels of play. USE YOUR WHISTLE. Do it loud and clear the first time you see it and you won't have to worry about it the rest of the game.
- U10 Handballs - Deliberately handling the ball is a DIRECT FREE KICK. If anybody tells you otherwise, they are wrong. For fouls, we enforce the laws of the game, as written, beginning at U10. Handball=DIRECT FREE KICK.
- Offside: Offside IS enforced beginning at U10 in LWYSA. We're getting lots of reports that our U10 refs are forgetting to enforce offside or that coaches are trying to tell you it isn't or shouldn't be. OFFSIDE IS ENFORCED AT U10.
- Earrings: When you do your pre-game inspection, make sure the players take them out. Taping is not acceptable. If they can't be removed, the player can't play. As a referee you have NO DISCRETION AT ALL on this and you MUST enforce it. This is not new. It is well documented for years. It is a law of the game at ALL levels of play, including the World Cup. We're getting the usual people pleading for exceptions. There are none made. I hope that's clear.