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NJ Play Sports Co-ed Soccer Rules


NJ Play Sports General Rules (All Programs) 



  • The scheduled start time of your game is when the clock will start. 
  • We allow a 10 minute grace period. This grace period is for teams still getting ready, teammates running late, etc. "(Please keep in mind that the game clock will be running during the grace period)"
  • After 10 minutes the game is officially ruled a forfeit. If the teams still want to play after the grace period is up, the referees and site managers will still run a game, but the game will still count as a forfeit for the standings.
  • If an official is late or doesn’t show up, teams have a choice to self-officiate, mutually agree upon an official (team member or spectator), or allow a Site Manager to officiate the game. Games will not be rescheduled and will count as an official game.
  • Games are rescheduled or refunded/credited in the event that NJ Play Sports specifically cancels a game. Reschedules and refund/credits do not apply in events outside of NJ Play Sports control (ie: excessive rainouts, forfeits, etc.) 
  • All subs must fill out a waiver in order to participate in games. At least 50% of the players on the team must be on the roster. You may have no more than 1 bench player available, if you are inviting subs/guest players to the game. 
  • Rosters: Each team can have as many players as they choose as long as they meet the league fee and gender specific qualifications. The roster deadline for every league is the night before the last regular season game. Once the last regular season game is played, no changes may be made to the schedule. 
  • *NJ Play Sports does reserve the right to make an exception for extreme cases, in order to avoid forfeits. 
  • Roster Checks: Roster checks will be conducted before the start of every game. Substitutes are allowed during the regular season.


If you know you may not be able to field a full team, please let us know at least 48 hours in advance and we will try our best to reschedule your game and avoid a forfeit: 

● Call: 973-358-5729 

● Email: 


2 Forfeit offenses = elimination from playoffs

3 Forfeit offenses = removal from league




NJ Play Sports is a community of social adult sports enthusiasts. We do encourage safe and healthy competition. Overly competitive players who are deemed to be excessively aggressive may be removed from the game and league without refund. 


NJ Play Sports has a zero tolerance policy in regards to abuse of any kind. Help us keep our community safe!


Set Up

• 8 participants on the soccer field maximum, including 6 men (maximum) and 2 women (no maximum number of women) 

• 5 players, including 1 woman required to start a game (can start game with 4 men/1 woman) 

• Game time is forfeit time 

• Two 24-minute running halves with 2 minute halves

• No off-sides 

• Any soccer ball that goes out of play on the side lines is thrown in.

• NO slide tackling - Goalies are allowed to slide feet first in the box, but any contact with opposing player will result in a penalty.

• All free kicks are direct kicks. 

• Any unsportsmanlike behavior may result in that player or team being suspended or removed from participating in all NJ Play leagues in the future. 



• NJ Play will provide a Soccer referee for each game. No volunteer refs are required.

No-Show Officials:

• Teams have a choice to self-officiate, mutually agree upon an official (team member or spectator), or allow a Site Manager to officiate the game. Games will not be rescheduled and will count as an official game.


Play Time

• Two 24 minute running halves with a 1-2 minute half time. The clock stops only for official time-outs, including injuries and called time-outs. Any purposeful delay of games will cause stopping of clock, at referee's discretion.


• Each team shall field no more than 8 players, consisting of 6 men (maximum) and 2 women (no maximum number of women) at a time. 

• Teams unable to field a full team may play with no less than 5 players (4 men, 1 woman). If a team has less than 5 players, a forfeit will be awarded. 

• Teams must start at game time if the minimum numbers of players required are present. 

• Waivers must be signed by ALL players participating before the start of the game. Players will NOT be able to participate without signing this waiver. 





• Team Shirts will be provided by NJ Play. 

• NO metal cleats permitted on field. We strongly recommend purchasing turf soccer shoes our outdoor rubber cleats.

• Shin guards are strongly recommended.


Scoring/ Wins, Losses, and Ties 

• Win – 3 points 

• Loss- 0 points 

• Tie - 1 point 

• Regular season games ending in a tie will be recorded as a tie. Sudden death will be used in playoffs. 


Game Cancelations

• Leagues may be cancelled due to dangerous weather conditions, facility constraints or other unforeseeable reasons. NJ Play will not cancel games unless absolutely necessary, so you should always assume games are on unless you receive notification. If the games are cancelled, NJ Play Sports will notify all players via e-mail.


Soccer Rules

• Players will be carded or ejected for any unsportsmanlike conduct, with referee's discretion.

• Games being with a kick-off from the center mark 

• Goals cannot be scored from opening kick-off. The ball must be touched by another player in order to score

• The opposing team must be 3 yards away from the ball for all kick-offs. 

• The referee will have two captains shoot odds/evens or rock/paper/scissors prior to the game. The winning captain will have the option of choosing sides or the ball for kick-off. 

•  In the second half, teams change directions and possession. 

• Unlimited substitutions of players are allowed. Teams do not need referee's permission to  substitute. No need to wait for game stoppage. All players not in the game must stand in designated area, off of the field.

• There is no off-sides rule.


Fouls and Misconduct 

• Dangerous plays: A player can not intentionally kick, trip, jump at, strike, hold, push, charge from behind or violently charge an opponent. Violations can result in carding or ejection from game.

• Swearing, gesturing, or arguing with the referee or any player is prohibited.

• Intentional handball will result in a direct free kick. However, a hand ball should not be called if player is instinctively trying to protect themselves from injury or the player did not deliberately touch the ball but the ball hit his/her arm/hand.

• Slide tackling is not be allowed and will result in a free kick. Second violation will result in a four minute penalty. Multiple violations will result in ejection from game.

• Referees will explain to a player why the foul was awarded. 


Free Kicks/Penalties 

• Free kicks are direct. 

• Any opposing player(s) must be 5 yards away (or ½ the distance to the goal if foul occurs in close proximity to the goal) from the ball when the free kick is taken. 

• Free kicks are taken from the spot where the foul occurred and will be appointed by referee. 

• The kicking team must wait for the referee to signal that the ball is back in play. 

• If a yellow card is given, his or her team will play down one player for 4 minutes or until a goal is scored against his or her team. During the penalty, the penalized player must be off the field for the full 4 minutes. A team cannot play more than 2 players down at a time. If 3 or more penalties occur within 2 minutes, the 3rd penalty starts after the first penalty ends, etc. All offending players must sit out until their penalty is up. 

• A penalty kick from the top of the key will be awarded if an intentional hand ball occurs in the goalie's marked box.

• If a player receives two yellow cards in one game, they will be ejected and their team will need to play one player short for the remainder of the game. 

•  Fighting and arguing with the referee results in a red card. The player will be ejected from the game and their team will play one player short for the remainder of the game.


• The ball must wholly cross the goal line to be considered a goal. 

• After a goal is scored, the ball returns to the center, and the ball starts with the team scored upon. 


Playoff Games

• Playoff games will follow the same format as the regular season. If teams are tied at the end of regulation in playoffs sudden death five minute overtime will be used. If neither team scores after the sudden death overtime period, teams will go into a penalty shootout. 


Shootout Specifics

• Each team selects 5 players (3 men max, 2 women) 

• A coin toss will decide which team shoots first. 

• Both teams shoot at the same goal. 

• Teams alternate taking direct penalty shots. If tied after the first round of penalty shots, the second round will be sudden death. (i.e., 1st player from Team A scores and 1st player from Team B misses: Team A wins). Players who shot in the 1st shootout are not eligible to shoot again until all remaining players present have shot. If and when 1 team begins to utilize players for the second time, the other team may “recycle” players as well. Therefore, some players on the team with more people present may or may not shoot. 



• Any player/team involved in a fight will be suspended from all of NJ Play Sports activities. Any teams will be forced to forfeit remaining games. 

• Any excessive contact or collision will result in a foul and possible ejection. 

• Any player abusing the official will automatically be ejected from the game without a warning.

• NJ Play Sports reserves the right to ask any offending player to leave the field and premises. 

• Please do your part to keep the field clean after games and use the trash cans provided. Do not leave drink bottles, tape, etc. on the field when leaving. This is very important. If we do not clean up, we risk losing our field permit. 



  • Ranking Points (Win: 3, Tie:1, Loss: 0)
  • Win Percentage 
  • Head to Head
  • Power Index (Strength of Schedule Metric)
  • Points Against
  • If none of the above tie breakers resolve seeding issues there will a coin toss to break the tie


Forfeiture Penalties/Notification 

• First Offense: Loss of game.

• Second Offense: Loss of game and removal from the playoffs. 

• Third Offense: Removal from the rest of the schedule. 

• If you know in advance that your team is going to forfeit a game, you must contact us by 3 pm at If your decision is not made until after 3 pm, you should still try to reach us and we will make efforts to contact the other team. If we can reach them in time to keep them from showing up, no extra penalty. 

• Once NJ Play Sports receives notification of forfeiture, it is final, and the other team will be notified.



• NJ Play's ultimate goal is for you to have fun. Please keep this in mind while participating. While games may become intense, please maintain sportsmanship. Any behavior or abusive language to another player or referee, and is considered unacceptable by the referee, may result in suspension or ejection from a game or the league.


Player Protests 

In the event that a team feels that the referee or site management does not acknowledge or incorrectly assumes a written rule in the NJ Play Rule Book the captain can protest said rule. The captain is protesting the fact that the rule exists or is different from what the referee is applying to the game. They are NOT protesting the interpretation of said rule or protesting any judgment calls on the field.

When a team protests a rule they must declare they are officially protesting the rule, the game will pause while the site manager and/or team captain confirm the rule exists or that the rule is being read correctly. If the rule exists or was being read incorrectly this is considered a successful protest (see below). If the rule does not exist or was being read and applied correctly on the field, this is considered a failed protest (see below).


Successful Protests:

Protest must take place on site before the next play begins, no alterations to the game can take place after the next play begins.

Play will continue using the accurate rule

Failed Protests:

Soccer: A 2 minute yellow card must be served