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Northern Balt Rec/Hereford

Northern Baltimore Rec/Hereford Zone Rules

Special Note#1:         Under 7, 8, 10, 12 and 14 Coed age groups will be called U7, U8, U10, U12 and U14 Coed.


            Special Note#2:         All rules herein are based on the current FIFA Laws of the game:

                                                Exceptions have been made, in order to meet our local community requirements.


            Special Note#3:         The rules apply to all age groups, with exceptions to the U7 and U8 teams. For the U7 and U8 groups, goalkeeper errors, illegal dan.lohrs@uslsoccer.comthrow-ins, and other errors in the same nature shall be warned and the play will resume with a warning. For repeated errors, the referee will apply the rules and give the ball to the opposite team to restart the game.



Length of Game


Halves (min.)

Halftime Breaks (min.)

















Clock stops only in case of a major injury. You must complete each game and vacate the field as soon as possible, but no later than the start of the next game. Games will be shortened in length accordingly to allow the next scheduled game to begin promptly at its scheduled beginning time.


Size of teams

U-7 through U-14 teams shall be limited to a maximum of 14 players on each team. U-7, U-8,  U-14, U12 BOYS and U12 Girls play 7v7 (6 on the field plus a goalie). U-10 Boys and Girls play 8v8 (7 on the field plus a goalie). Both U-12 Boys and Girls and U-14 have the option to play 8v8 IF, both coaches agree to this PRIOR to the start of the game and inform the referee Prior to the start of the game.


Tie Games

Score remains a tie without overtime during regular in-season games. Separate rules will be published specific for the tournament.


Opposing Teams

Opposing teams shall line up on opposite sides 3 feet away from the halfway touchlines. No teams, parents or coaches are permitted behind the goal area or next to the touchlines, next to the penalty areas. The coach of each team should provide one line person to assist the referee on that team’s side.  The referee will determine the line person’s responsibilities.

Only one coach from each team in the U7 age group shall be allowed on the field during play; however, coaches are restricted from entering either penalty area. Coaches should make every effort to stay close to the sidelines as much as possible and not to interfere with the game.  For all age groups, no person (coach nor parent) is allowed at the end of the field near, or behind, the goalkeeper area.



Goalkeepers will be allowed unlimited steps while in possession of the ball in the penalty area, within the 6-second time limit. Goalkeeper substitution must be reported to the referee. While the goalkeeper has the ball, everyone must leave him/her alone so he/she can clear the ball. Goalkeeper is penalized with an indirect kick if he/she commit any of the three offenses inside his/her penalty area:

1-    Controls the ball with his/her hands for more than six seconds, before releasing it from his/her possession.

2-    Touches the ball again, a second time, with his/her hands after releasing the ball and before it has touched another player.

3-    Touches the ball with his/her hands after it has been deliberately kicked (kickback or passback), or throw-in, to him/her by a teammate.


Special situation: If an indirect kick occurs inside the goal area box, the ball is placed on the nearest point of this goal box line. This rule applies to all age groups, with the exception of U7 and U8 groups that get one warning to the keeper. 



Substitutions for all age groups may be made during the following situations: half-time, after a goal is scored, prior to a goal kick, on your possession of your throw-in, your opponent’s throw-in ONLY IF THEY ARE SUBSTITUTING or in case of injuries. If the game is stopped because of an injury, the injured player must be replaced and/or vacate the field of play. If not replaced, the player can re-enter any time after play is re-started with the referee’s permission. The opposing team may also make one substitution prior to the re-start from an injury.

Entry and exit of substitution players shall be from the halfway line.

U7, and U8 age groups will have a liberal substitution policy; they may substitute on the fly.




Safety Measures

The referee determines the safety of the field, goals, ball and player equipment. The following measures are to be observed to ensure safety of the game.

1-    Fields are to be marked, clear and free of any unsafe materials.

2-    Penalty mark is 12 yards from the goal line.

3-    Goal posts are to be stable (anchored) and not allowed to move. Nets should not interfere with the goalkeeper.

4-    Corner flag height is to be no less than 5 feet.

5-    Players on the field must wear shinguards at all times. The shinguards must be covered entirely by calf/knee high socks.

6-    Players with a cast must be accompanied by a clinical or parental release before being permitted to play. Cast must be wrapped in foam, towel or bubble wrap. The referee makes the final decision to permit a player with a cast to play.

7-    Players wearing eyeglasses are to use flexible frame tie (i.e. rubberband or framelace).


            Rules and Guidelines to Remember


Players may not handle the ball. However, if the ball strikes any part of the hands to the shoulders the referee can consider it a handball. Girls only, may fold their arms across the chest to protect themselves from a high ball. All players may protect themselves during a free kick at close range, provided they do so before the kick is made.


  1. Players may not hold, push, pull, strike, kick, jump at, tackle, trip, knee, or charge violently into an opponent.  These offenses, including handballs, are considered serious offenses and shall result in a DIRECT FREE KICK; if violation occurs in the penalty area it will result in a PENALTY KICK.  A goalie handling the ball outside the penalty area will result in a direct kick and he/she will receive a yellow caution card.  


  2. Any dangerous play, offside, kickback/pass back, obstruction, delays, unsafe tackling (endangering the safety of other players), and removing jersey during play, and unsportsmanlike conduct, results in an indirect kick. To learn more (Off-side):


  3. An indirect kick will be awarded to the opposing team if a player makes a throw-in, goes after the ball and touches the ball before it touches any other player.  


  4. Referees will not tolerate profanity or misconduct by players, coaches, parents, or players on the sideline that endanger the safety or compromise the fairness of the game. By the referees’ discretion, the subject person with the misconduct or offense will be immediately ejected from the game area and asked to leave the field area immediately before the restart of the game. If the altercation continues, the referee will determine the match to be a forfeit.


  1. Clearance during a free kick: In a free kick, all opponents must stay clear of the ball by a minimum of 10 yards, with the exception of an indirect kick inside the goal box, where the ball must be placed nearest the spot of the infringement at least 6 yards from the goal line.  Defending players may stand within the 10 yards, provided they stand between the goal posts on the goal line. In a free-throw, all opponents must stay clear no less than 6 feet from the point the throw-in is taken.


  1. Slide tackling is NOT allowed in the League (for all age brackets)


  2. During a penalty kick, both teams must be out of the penalty area with the exception of the goalkeeper and the kicker. The goalkeeper must have portions of both feet on the goal line. The goalkeeper may move from side to side on the goal line, but may not move forward until the ball is kicked. For U8 the ball will be placed at the top of the penalty box. There are no Penalty kicks in U7.


  1. Under 7 and under 8 goal kicks will be taken from the top of the PENALTY BOX (in place of the goal box) so the ball does not have to “clear the box”.


  2. Lying on the ball or playing the ball while on the ground and near other players will be considered a dangerous play.


  1. The ball must go completely across the goal line for a goal to be scored or completely across the end or sideline to be out of bounds.  Any part of the ball above the line means the ball is still in play.  Play the whistle.


  1. For the U14 Coed age group ONLY, a female player only must make the penalty kick if the goalkeeper is a female; however, if the goalkeeper is male, a female or male can take the penalty kick.  Each team is required to have 2 female players on the field at all times.


  1. There are no offside calls on U7 or U8 age groups. Coaches will be monitored and reported for abusing this No Offside rule. Coaches are to avoid “Cherry picking” strategy by placing a designated scoring player, standing in the offside and waiting for the ball to arrive. This will teach them a bad habit of not checking back to the ball. 


  2. A referee reinforces the laws of the game to ensure safety and fairness of the game. Referee calls are final, not subject to challenge, explanation, or questioning. Referees, and assistant referees, communicate his/her calls using a whistle and universal non-verbal hand signs. Coaches, parents, and players need to be familiar with the rules of the game to understand the referee’s non-verbal communication and calls during play. Professionalism by coaches, parents, and players is required at all times and interference with the referee’s work is not allowed. The goal of the recreation Council is to develop our youth in the fundamentals and skills of the game of soccer, by example of positive behavior.  This includes respect, sportsmanship, and fair play at all times for our youth.    


Number of players required allowing a game to start


            7 v 7:  Teams must have six players to start and continue/complete a game (8v8 must have 7)

1- A team showing up for a game without enough players may look, with the informed consent of the other team/coach, for additional players registered in the same league and in the same, or younger, age bracket, to complete the minimum number of players (6) per team required to start a game. 
- The opposing team has the option to agree/not agree for the borrowing team to add additional players. The opposing team has the additional option to ask the incomplete team to forfeit the game.

- In the event of a forfeit, both teams are to re-mix and re-organize into to equal teams and let the children play a scrimmage for that day.   

Home Team

Home team is responsible for alternate colors for jerseys in case of duplicate colors.  In addition, the home team coach is responsible to provide proper home field, including visible lining, corner flags and goals with nets. Home teams are responsible to ensure the safety and stability of the goal posts (with sandbags or nailed to the ground), nets are to be intact and away from the goalie’s feet, fields are clear, intact, and safe (no ankle twisters). Games are immediately suspended if the goals or fields are not safe.



Soccer Balls and Fields

Age Group

Ball Size



U8, U10, U12


K, U7




Ejection from game

Any player, parent, or coach ejected from a game shall be suspended for the next scheduled/played game as well. A player, coach or parent ejected on two occasions in the same season shall be suspended for the remainder of the season.  A Yellow Card is a warning per violation.  A player receiving a Yellow Card must be substituted, and may return on the next available substitution.  A Red Card is a send off (ejection) that requires the individual (player or coach or parent) to leave the area immediately before the restart of the game and may result in next game suspension. There is no substitution for a red-carded player. All red cards are to be reported to the referee coordinator and all four commissioners within 24 hours of offence (email notification OK)



Standings will not be kept, as the tournament is by blind draft.                                                        



Only Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks Staff may cancel games because of inclement weather. Check the Hereford Zone Website for the game status: http:/  Seventh District may also check for game cancellations.


To find out information about any game cancellations, the coach must contact his/her commissioner by email or phone. Commissioners will contact the Rec. Council offices and will inform the coaches.  Coaches will then contact each parent and inform him or her of the cancellation. Parents must not contact the Rec. Offices or the commissioners. It is always a good idea for the coach to contact the opposing team’s coach to confirm the cancellation.


No coach-to-coach re-scheduling or cancellations are allowed, and there will be no officially scheduled make-up games.  Coaches wishing to schedule a make-up scrimmage will coordinate location and time through the appropriate commissioner(s).  Referees are to be paid when they show up for a scheduled game, and not cancelled through proper channels.



There will be a tournament this year for all age groups, except for Clinic and U7 on November 1, 2014. There is no Rain date. The tournament format will be a blind draft, single elimination, win and advance style.

Only the overall tournament winner in each age bracket will receive a trophy, runner-up receives a medal.


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