New substitution opportunity in high school soccer

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (February 17, 2015) — Substitutions in high school soccer will now be permitted during a stoppage of play when bench personnel are cautioned or disqualified.

This addition to the listing of substitution opportunities in Rule 3-3-3 was one of two rules changes recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Soccer Rules Committee at its January 26-28 meeting in Indianapolis. These changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Substitutes from both teams who have already reported per Rule 3-4-1(d) may be beckoned by the referee and may enter when the clock is stopped for a caution or disqualification of bench personnel. The other opportunities for substitutions by players on either team who have reported include goal kick, player yellow card and player red card.

“Allowing substitutes who have already reported to enter the field of play (during a stoppage of play when bench personnel are cautioned or disqualified) is consistent with substitution procedures, game management principles and commitment to student participation,” said Mark Koski, director of sports, events and development and liaison to the Soccer Rules Committee.

The other rule change approved by the committee involves a revision in the goalkeeper’s uniform. While the goalkeeper’s socks do not have to be the same color as the socks of his or her teammates, the goalkeeper’s socks must be a different color than the opponent’s socks.

“Currently, the jersey of the goalkeeper must be distinctly different in color from his or her teammates and opposing field players,” Koski said. “To differentiate opponents, it is important that the goalkeeper’s socks be included in this rule.”

In addition to the two rules changes, the Soccer Rules Committee approved five Points of Emphasis for the 2015-16 season. Points of emphasis are developed by NFHS rules committees and should receive special focus and attention by officials, coaches, players, fans and other leaders within the high school setting.

Points of Emphasis developed by the Soccer Rules Committee for 2015-16 are as follows:


·      Recognize that Exertional Heatstroke (EHS) is the leading preventable cause of death among high school athletes.

·      Know the importance of a formal pre-season heat acclimatization plan.

·      Know the importance of having and implementing a specific hydration plan, keeping your athletes well-hydrated, and encouraging and providing ample opportunities for regular fluid replacement.

·      Know the importance of appropriately modifying activities in relation to the environmental heat stress and contributing individual risk factors (e.g., illness, obesity) to keep your athletes safe and performing well.

·      Know the importance for all members of the coaching staff to closely monitor all athletes during practice and training in the heat, and recognize the signs and symptoms of developing heat illnesses.

·      Know the importance of, and resources for, establishing an emergency action plan and promptly implementing it in case of suspected EHS or other medical emergency.

2.     FIGHTING/RECKLESS PLAY – Players, coaches, game officials and spectators must work together to model and demonstrate sportsmanship and fair play, to minimize risk and to maximize participation.

If tape or a similar material (stays/straps) is applied externally to the socks, it must be of similar color as that part of the sock to which it is applied.  (Home tape/stays/straps = white, Away tape/stays/straps = similar color of socks)

Game officials are encouraged to effectively communicate with one another as well as with players and coaches throughout the game.

5.     GOAL KICK
Players opposing the kicker shall remain outside the penalty area until the ball has cleared the penalty area.

According to the 2013-14 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, soccer is the fifth-most popular sport for boys at the high school level with 417,419 participants and the fourth-most popular sport for girls with 374,564 participants.


About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)

The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 16 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,000 high schools and 11 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.7 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS website at

Bruce Howard, 317-972-6900
Director of Publications and Communications
National Federation of State High School Associations
bhoward [at] nfhs [dot] org

Chris Boone, 317-972-6900
Assistant Director of Publications and Communications
National Federation of State High School Associations
cboone [at] nfhs [dot] org

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