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NJ Play Sports Men's/Women's OUTDOOR Soccer Rules

Outdoor Soccer Rules

Set Up

  • 7v7 (6 players plus a goalie) or 8v8 (7 players plus a goalie)

  • Team must have at least 5 players to start a game

  •  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 players 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.

  • NO sliding (whether a player is near or not) - Goalies are allowed to slide feet first in the box, but any contact with opposing players will result in a penalty.



  • 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.

  • 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 field when leaving. This is very important. If we don’t clean up, we risk losing field permit.

Forfeitures / Game Time

  • Please avoid forfeiture. Both your teammates and opponents count on you to have a full team and competitive game. Since there is a non-stop, running clock, each time will start precisely. 

Game Cancellations

  •  Leagues may be canceled 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 canceled, NJ Play Sports will notify all players via email.


Play Time

  •  Two 24 minute running halves with a 1-2 minute half time.  



  • Team Shirts must be worn by all players. 

  • NO metal cleats permitted on field. We strongly recommend purchasing turf soccer shoes or 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. 


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 the opening kick-off. The ball must be touched by another player in order to score

  • The opposing team must be 5 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 the referee's permission to  substitute. No need to wait for game stoppage. All players not in the game must stand in designated areas, off of the field.

  • There is no off-sides rule.


Fouls and Misconduct 

  • All free kicks are direct. 

  • 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 an indirect 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 allowed and will result in a free kick. Second violation will result in a penalty. Multiple violations will result in ejection from game.

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

  • Any player who is yellow carded must sit out for 4 minutes. Team is not allowed to substitute in another player during this time. The referee will notify penalized player when they are able to return.

  • If, within this period, the opposing team scores, the team may go back to playing full strength and player who was penalized is allowed back on the field, only if approved by the official.

  • If a goalie is issued a yellow card, the team can sub another player out on their behalf, only if approved by official.

  • 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. 



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 the referee. 

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

  •  A penalty kick from the top of the key will be awarded if a foul or an intentional handball occurs in the goalie's marked box.


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. 

  • Registered players who have met all roster requirements for participation are allowed to play on multiple teams in the playoffs. Playoff Substitute player exceptions will not be made if a player chooses to play on a specific team during a conflicting time slot in the playoffs. These considerations must be made prior to to roster deadline.



Shootout Specifics

  • Each team selects 5 players

  • 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 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 referee will automatically be ejected from the game without a warning.

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

  •  Red card or ejection will be used for fouls/abusive language (even aimed at own team members), taunting, and serious foul play. Such offenses will be documented by NJ Play Sports staff. If a red card is issued the team has to play down a player. All players who are ejected from the game (including actions after the card is issued) may be asked to leave the site. Refusal to leave may result in the game being ended and/or forfeited, regardless of time remaining.

  • If a player is ejected, an automatic suspension will be enforced for one or more subsequent games. This includes any double headers or picking up for other teams. 

  • Excessive ejections or dangerous play may result in expulsion from the league. Should a player off the field receive an ejection, the team will still have to play down a player of that sex for the remainder of the game.




  • 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.