By Don Dennison, NISOA National Clinician and Assessor
In January, the NFHS Rules Committee convened in Indianapolis for their annual meeting to review rule change proposals received during the year from all parts of the country. The Committee is composed of 8 regional members, a member representing NFHS officials and a member representing NFHS coaches. Also present were a chairman, the NFHS Rules Editor and three non-voting observers (A representative from the National Soccer Coaches Association, and myself.).
Each rule proposal was carefully scrutinized and discussed by the committee over the two days of the meeting, resulting in only a few modifications that will appear in the new Rules Book to be issued later this spring.
Except for a few editorial changes, the following are the significant changes:
1. Rule 3-3-2(b)2 If the referee stops the clock for an apparent injury, that player, whether a field player or the goalkeeper must leave the field. The goalkeeper must be replaced and the field player may be replaced. Note that the referee should not immediately stop the clock, but should first make a quick assessment to determine an apparent injury. If there is any doubt at all, the clock should be stopped and the injured player or goalkeeper required to leave.
2. Rule 5-1-2 The jurisdiction of the officials now begins on their arrival at the field of play and its surroundings which must be no later than 15 minutes before the scheduled time for the game to start. While not a Rules change, written suggested guidelines and procedures for a 4th official, when one is used, will appear in the new Rules book.
While the actual changes this year are minimal, each High School official should reread the Rules Book in its entirety before the beginning of the season.to refresh his or her memory and knowledge of the rules and approved play rulings.
Based upon my personal observations and those of others, the following misapplications of the High School Rules were noted last season on several occasions:
- In drop ball situations, the ball must be dropped between two opposing players. It cannot be dropped in front of a single player is in FIFA and NCAA rules.
- A stutter step is not permitted in High School soccer when taking a penalty kick; the kick must be retaken.
Don’t forget to get yourself in good physical shape for the upcoming seasons, fitness goes hand-in-hand with thorough knowledge of the rules.