Rules and Regulations

This document lists the NASL rules as they currently exist. These rules were originally approved by the Board of Directors at the Board Meeting on February 6, 1992 as being a written representation of the "unwritten" rules that we had been using for years. These rules are, from time to time, modified by the Board of Directors.

League Philosophy:

We are playing soccer for fun. We are not overly competitive. The goal is for everyone to have an opportunity to play soccer to the best of their ability in a friendly and supportive environment. Please do not intentionally commit fouls. Please do not use "gamesmanship" to use the gray areas in the rules for your advantage. Please do not criticize other players and referees, even when they seem to play or referee poorly. Instead, please come to the game ready to play good soccer and allow yourself and everybody else to have a good time.

Laws of the Game:

The "Laws of the Game" as published by FIFA shall be the rules of play followed by this league with the following exceptions:
  • Sliding tackles are not allowed and shall result in a direct free kick unless they occur in the penalty area in which case they result in a penalty shot. A sliding tackle occurs when a player tackles the ball from another player when the tackler is not standing on his or her feet. The referee may whistle for a sliding tackle even if the player slips by mistake and makes the tackle. A player may leave his feet to block a shot or a pass if he is not within playing distance of the opponent who is shooting or passing. (The referee should use the same judgement that is required when determining whether there is a high-kicking foul -- it is only a penalty if someone else is near enough to be involved in the play.) The goalie may make a sliding tackle without penalty while inside the penalty area unless he endangers the opponent.
  • Unlimited substitutions are permitted per team during the course of a game. Substitutions are permitted, according to FIFA, at every stoppage of play (such as throw-ins, goal kicks, kickoffs, corner kicks, red or yellow cards and prolonged injuries). Substitutions are only allowed at the discretion of the referee in order that the substitutions do not unduly disrupt the flow of the game.

Game Attire:

Shirts - Players can not play in any game unless wearing the proper NASL shirts. If a player wears the wrong shirt, then the player's team will automatically forfeit. (The captain of each team will be assigned one extra shirt for use in the game in the event that someone forgets to bring a shirt.) The only exception to this rule is that players who are new to the league will have a few weeks to purchase a shirt. Goal keepers should not wear shirts that are similar in color to the NASL shirts.
Shinguards are mandatory and must be worn by all players.
Safety - Referees may, at their discretion, ensure that cleats, jewelry and other attire, do not pose a danger to anyone.

Rescheduling Games:

Sometimes games are cancelled due to soggy playing fields or other conditions. When half or more of the games are cancelled for a weekend, then we will try to cancel all other games that weekend. If any games are actually played, the outcomes of those games are ignored and all of that weekend’s games are replayed at the end of the season. The games will be rescheduled even if there are fewer than three cancelled weekends during the season and even if it is a game that was previously rained out.
If fewer than 50% of the games are cancelled, the cancelled games are considered to be a tie and all other games will be played normally and the outcomes of those games will stand as played.

Premature End of Game:

If a game has been started but is canceled due to rain or some other uncontrollable occurrence, then whichever team is ahead wins the game, providing that at least 50% of the game has been played. If the teams are tied then it is a tie. If less than 50% of the game has been played, then the game is canceled and may be rescheduled subject to our rescheduling rules. If a game ends because the referee refuses to continue due to unsportsmanlike conduct of players, then the Board of Directors will decide the outcome (which may be a forfeiture by both teams).

Red cards:

A player who receives a red card must leave for rest of the game and must miss the next game. The team may not replace the player for the duration of the game during which the red card offense occurred. In addition, there are special rules which may apply to future play in the league based on the severity of the offence and whether this is a chronic problem for the player.

A "5-game" red card is one caused by either:
- Fighting or attempting to fight
- Abusive or foul language spoken directly toward the referee or linesman
A "3-game" red card is defined to be a red card caused by either:
- Violent play
- Continued disruptive behavior after being sent off by the referee
A "1-game" red card is a red card that is not bad enough to be a 3 or 5 game red card.

Automatic Minimum Suspensions:
- If a player strikes or attempts to strike or threatens to harm a referee then he will be kicked out of the league.
- If someone receives a 1-game, 3-game or 5-game red card he will be suspended for at least that many games.
- All suspensions will be served immediately in consecutive games after the suspension has been communicated to the player. Suspensions may extend into the next season.
Repeated Red Cards:
If a player receives more than one card over the course of two consequtive seasons,
the penalties earned by the previous cards in those two seasons will be added to the penalties
from the current season and served again with each card. And each yellow card after the third yellow card counts like a red card.

For example:
  • Season 1:

  • - Yellow card - sit down for 10 minutes.
    - 1-game red card - Miss 1 game.
    - 1-game red card - Miss 2 games. (1 for this red card plus 1 for the prior red card)
    - 3-game red card - Miss 5 games. (3 for this red card plus 2 for the prior two cards)

  • Season 2:

  • - Yellow card - sit down for 10 minutes.
    - Yellow card - sit down for 10 minutes. Miss 6 games. (1 for 3 yellows plus 5 for 3 prior reds)
    - Yellow card - sit down for 10 minutes. Miss 7 games. (1 for this 4th yellow + 1 game for the prior 3 yellows + 5 games for the 3 red cards)

  • Season 3:

  • - Yellow card - sit down for 10 minutes. Miss 2 games. (1 game for prior 3 yellows, 1 for this yellow)
    - 5-game red card - Miss 7 games (5 games for this card and 2 games for the 4 yellows)

  • Season 4:

  • - Yellow card - sit down for 10 minutes. (only 2 yellows in current and past season)
    The above punishments are the minimum punishments. In every case, if behavior is sufficiently deplorable (such as intentionally causing injury to a player or repeatedly breaking the rules), the board of directors may, at its discretion, suspend the player from the league for any period of time that it deems appropriate.

Yellow cards:

If a player receives a yellow card he must sit down for 10 minutes. This cool-down period may extend over halftime into the second half but will not extend to the following game. It is allowable for a team to have 2 or more players than the other team during the cool-down period. If a team falls below 7 players due to the cool-down, that team will not forfeit.

Repeated Yellow Cards:

If a player receives 3 yellow cards over the course of the current season and the prior season, it will be treated like a 1-game red card with the consequences as described in the Red Cards section.
Every additional yellow card above 3 cards in the current and prior seasons will be treated like a 1-game red card with the consequences as described in the Red Cards section.

For example:
  • Season 1:

  • - Yellow card - sit down for 10 minutes.
    - Yellow card - sit down for 10 minutes.

  • Season 2:

  • - Yellow card - sit down for 10 minutes. Miss 1 game. (3 yellows in current and past season)
    - Yellow card - sit down for 10 minutes. Miss 2 games (1 game for prior 3 yellows, 1 for this yellow)
    - Yellow card - sit down for 10 minutes. Miss 3 games (2 games for prior 4 yellows, 1 for this)

  • Season 3:

  • - Yellow card- sit down for 10 minutes. Miss 2 games. (1 game for prior 3 yellows, 1 for this yellow)

  • Season 4:

  • - Yellow card - sit down for 10 minutes. (only 2 yellows in current and past season)

Referee Actions:

The decision of the referee is final and cannot be protested as it may apply to an interpretation of the Rules of the Game. Judgment calls cannot be protested. The actions taken by the referee in awarding or not awarding penalties, red cards and yellow cards may not be reversed.

Team Selection:

We believe that it is important to assign people to different teams each season. This helps to keep animosities from building up between teams and between players because the person who you are playing against this season may be a former or future teammate. Usually, players will volunteer to be captains and, subject to the agreement of the Board of Directors, those captains will pick the players for their teams at a meeting. If there is a problem finding volunteers or arranging for the picking meeting, then the Board may assign people to teams and try to make the teams as balanced as possible.

Addition of New Players During Season:

New players may be added to the league only by assignment through the league registrar. No captain may recruit players for his or her team (although they may recruit players for the league). If a team plays a game with a player that has not been assigned by the Registrar, the team will forfeit that game. People who wish to join the league should contact the Registrar. The primary responsibility of the registrar is to keep the league as balanced as possible. All the teams should have enough players to field a full 11-person team. All the teams should be as evenly matched as possible.

Dropping Players From a Team:

The captain may drop any player from his or her team who misses three games in a row, or who misses five games total. The player must then contact the Registrar in order to be placed on the waiting list. The Registrar will assign the player to a team when an opening is available.

Minimum Players Per Team:

A team must have 7 or more players on the field at the start of the game or that team will forfeit. Each team is responsible to set up its own goal and net before game is started. The game must begin no later than 15 minutes after the scheduled starting time. When one team forfeits, then the other team will receive credit for winning the game. If a team forfeits then any game that is played will not be considered to be a NASL game and, at the discretion of the captains, it is acceptable to allow anybody to play in that non-league scrimmage game.

Loaning players:

If a team has the minimum number of players required to start the game, but has less than 11 players, the captain of the opposing team must loan some of his or her players to the short handed team in order to attempt to have the same number of players on both teams. If there are an odd number of players, then the extra player may play on the team that has more regular players present. When players arrive late for a game, then they will be added to the game. If a player arrives for the short handed team and the addition of that player will result in the short handed team having more players than the opposing team, then one of the loaned players may be taken back by the opposing team. If a player arrives for the opposing team and the addition of that player will result in that team having 2 more players than the short handed team, then an additional player must be loaned to the short handed team. If a player is injured and that would result in his team having 2 fewer players than the opposing team, it is only necessary to loan a player to the short-handed team if the injured player is not going to return to the game. It is not necessary to loan players to the short handed team so that it has more than 11 players, although it is permissible to do so.
It is not permissible for the short handed team to use any players other than loaned players from the opposing team. It may not use players from other teams or other leagues -- even if the opposing captain "agrees." Abuse of this rule results in a forfeit by the short handed team.

Playing time per player:

Everyone pays so everyone plays. It is not necessary that everyone plays an equal amount of time, however we prefer that even the weaker players get their fair share, even if they do play less than the better players during close games. It is up to the discretion of the captain to handle the substitutions on his or her team. A guideline is that everyone should be guaranteed 45 minutes of play per game.

League Standings:

  • Each team is awarded 2 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, 1 point for a bye and no points for a loss.
  • If a team loses by forfeit, then that team gets zero points and the opposing team gets 2 points.
  • If a game is not played at all due to rain, then both teams receive one point.
  • At the end of the season we add up the points to determine which team wins for that season.
  • In the event that there is a tie between 2 teams and one team has a better record against the other team, then the team with the better record has the higher standing. In the event that there is a tie between 3 or more teams, then the team with the best record against all the teams with which it is tied has the higher standing.
  • At no time will the scores of the different games be taken into account because we do not want to reward teams for "running up the score."
  • If still tied use which team has the most wins.
  • If still tied use whichever team has the fewest cards with yellow cards counting as one point and red cards counting as three points.
  • If still tied go to penalty shots.

Disciplinary Committee Procedure:

The following process will be followed by the Disciplinary Committee when investigating an incident that is brought to the Disciplinary Committee due to possibly inappropriate behavior by a league member such as a particularly bad incident, a pattern of repeated misbehavior or other behavior contrary to the purposes of the league.
  1. The Chair of the Disciplinary Committee (or a designated Committee member who has been assigned the task of investigating the problem) will gather all the information which he or she believes is relevant to an issue. This should include reports about what happened from the referee and from at least one person on each team but preferably two or three. This must include discussions with the people directly involved in the problem.
  2. The Chair/Investigator will write down a summary of the information reported by each person.
  3. The Disciplinary Committee will meet to decide how to proceed based on the report by the Chair/investigator. If a Disciplinary Committee member was on one of the teams or is directly involved, he should be excused and the alternate member will take his place during the voting. The meeting can be in person or by phone or by email.
  4. The decision of the Disciplinary Committee will be made in accord with NASL Bylaws, Rules and Regulations.
  5. If necessary, actions by the Disciplinary Committee may be appealed to the NASL Board.
  6. The Board will hold a meeting and invite the person who is appealing a ruling or being disciplined to come to the meeting to explain his side or to present his argument in writing.
  7. At the meeting, the person will be told what seem to be the facts based on the report of the Disciplinary Committee and will be given an chance to explain his position.
  8. The Board may ask him any questions.
  9. He will then be asked to leave and the Board will consider the report by the Disciplinary Committee and the person's explanation and will vote to determine the action.
  10. All actions by the Board will be in accord with NASL Bylaws, Rules and Regulations.
  11. The decision of the Board is final.

    Suspension and Appeal Procedure:

    Red cards always result in at least a one-game suspension which cannot be appealed.
    If the Disciplinary Committee decides that more than a one-game suspension is called for, then the suspended players may appeal the extra game suspensions by contacting one or more board members by email, in writing or verbally within three days of being informed about the decision of the Disciplinary Committee. During the period after making the appeal the player does not need to serve the extra game suspensions until the board makes its decision.