2010 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Soccer Rules Changes Overview


Field in use prior to 1995:

  • Rectangular the width of which cannot exceed the length

New facilities installed between 1995-2010:

  • Width: No less than 70 wide nor wider than 80yds
  • Length: No less than 115yds nor longer than 130

Fields installed 2010 forward:

  • Width: No less than 70 nor more than 75
  • Length: No less than 115 nor more than120


May be used when field dimensions comply with Rule 1.1.1.

If ball hits upper edifice, two outcomes possible:

  • Ball landing ‘in touch’ – opposing team awarded throw-in from the nearest point where the ball crossed the touchline.
  • Ball making contact with upper edifice – dead ball and suspend play; restart with drop ball at a point on field nearest where the ball made contact. Exception: If ball lands in goal area, drop ball at nearest corner of penalty area (i.e., where 18 and 44 yard lines intersect).


  • Sign of concussion added; return to play requires clearance by medical personnel.


  • Ineligible player attempts to reenter game, referee stops play to obtain information and motions ineligible player back to bench.
  • Goal scored with more than 11 players in game – player removed from field, goal disallowed, coach and player cautioned.


Coaches have· 72 hours after game ends to file protest.


  • Reorganized and combined Rules 12 and 13. Eight ejectionable offenses listed.
  • Six-second limit for goalkeeper to put ball in play.
  • Cautions compiled for suspension now 5-3-2-2.


  • Kicker allowed to hesitate, provided continuous movement toward ball.


1. 1.1 Dimensions

1.1.1 The field of play shall be rectangular, the width of which shall not be more than75 yards [68.58m] nor less than 70 yards [64.01m] and shall not exceed the length. The length shall not be more than 120 yards [109.73m] nor less than 115 yards [105.16m]. Note: The optimum size is 75 yards [68.58m] by 120 yards [109.73m]. Facilities in use prior to 1995 need only to be rectangular the width of which shall not exceed the length.

1.1.2 Facilities constricted after 1995 shall be a minimum of 70yds in width [64.01m] by 115 yards [105.16m] in length. Note: It is the responsibility of the home team to notify the visiting team, before the date of the game, of any changes in field dimensions (e.g., greater or lesser than minimal requirements), playing surface (e.g., from grass to artificial or vice versa) or location of the playing site. Further, it is recommended that teams agree on any changes in facility issues before confirming contests or signing game contracts.

1.1.3 Indoor Facility It is permissible to conduct collegiate soccer games in an indoor facility provided the dimensions are in compliance with Rule 1.1.1. Balls striking any part of the upper edifice shall result in one of the two following actions:

1) If the ball lands ‘in touch’ (out of bounds), the opposing team shall be awarded a throw-in from the nearest point where the ball crossed the touchline.

2) If the ball makes contact with any part of the overhead edifice the referee’s whistle shall indicate a dead ball and suspend play. Play shall be restarted with a drop ball at a point nearest where the ball made contact in the field of play. Exception: If the ball falls inside the goal area play shall be restarted with a drop ball at the nearest corner of the penalty area where the 18 and 44 yard lines meet.

Note: Corner kicks and goal kicks shall be awarded accordingly. (See Rule 9.1.) Players with a bleeding injury, blood on the uniform or signs of a concussion shall be substituted for and may re-enter the game (after being beckoned by the referee) at any stoppage of play or at any of the allowable times for normal substitution, providing the appropriate medical personnel have given clearance. Neither the injured player nor the substitute shall be charged with a substitution. However, if the injured player replaces a player other than the original substitute, that player shall be charged with a substitution. Note: The injured player is eligible for reentry only after medical personnel has given clearance.

Also for all other occurrences other than the permissible one re-entry in the second period, field players who are substituted for when leaving the field of play for illness/injury may not re-enter the game in that same period.

6.4.3 In addition, the official scorekeeper shall obtain the signatures of the referee and assistant referees on the official NCAA box score form or an 8½ x 11-inch computer-generated scoresheet with complete game information after the game is completed, thus verifying cards issued, ejection reports and the official score of the game. This shall become the official record of the game. Also, if the scorekeeper determines that a player is not eligible to enter the game he/she shall instruct the timekeeper to signal (by horn or other than a whistle) either the referee and/or the Assistant Referee that the player is not eligible to enter the game. The referee shall suspend the game, approach the scorekeeper’s table (if at field level) and/or the field representative (mandatory if the scorekeeper is in an elevate press box), obtain the information and instruct the player to return to the bench area. The game shall be restarted accordingly. (See Rule 3.5.)

A.R. 10.4.j A goal is scored. Before the kickoff, the referee finds that the scoring team had more than 11 players and/or an ineligible player on the field at the time the goal was scored. What action is to be taken? RULING: The goal shall be disallowed, the coach and player cautioned, and the player sent off the field. The game shall be restarted with a goal kick.

10.9 Protest

If a game (i.e., legal contest, minimum of 70 minutes played) ends and a protest option is elected, the coach lodging the protest, provided it pertains to a misapplication of a rule (e.g., a referee requiring teams to continue playing after a legal goal has been scored in any overtime period), shall submit such as follows: the protest shall be recorded on the NCAA Soccer Protest Form (See form on page 104) and forwarded to the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Soccer Secretary-Rules Editor. (See Page 8 for address, e-mail, fax and phone information) within 72 hours of the end of the contest. Protests shall not be considered if they are based solely on a difference of opinion or decision involving the accuracy of the referee’s judgment.

The decisions of the referee regarding facts of play are final.

If the protest is found to be valid, and the result of the game changed, the secretary-rules editor’s decision, which shall be final, shall be reported to the respective teams, and/or governing sports authority (e.g., conference, commissioner, director of athletics, etc.).

The secretary-rules editor shall determine the status of the game and if the decision results in a decision to replay the game, it shall be replayed in its entirety. Further, all statistics in the previous game shall not count. Exception: Cautions and ejections occurring in the protested game are subject to the procedures stated in Rules 12.16, 12.17 and 12.18.

If a game result clearly delineates a winner, there shall be no replay and all statistics, except the modified score, shall remain.

If the protest involves a possible scorekeeper error (e.g., failure to record an obvious red card ejection), the referee and protesting coach shall make an immediate determination based on all information available at the game site. The protest shall not be resolved on a delayed basis by the secretary-rules editor. All rulings by the secretary-rules editor are final and there shall be no right of appeal.

Rule 12 Fouls and Misconduct

There are eight types of behavior that the referee shall penalize by ejection.

12.7 Obstruction is the deliberate act of impeding or attempting to impede an opponent from access to a ball that is not within playing distance of either player.

12.10.1 Six-second limit. An indirect free kick shall be awarded from the point of infraction if the goalkeeper fails to put the ball back into play once the individual takes control of the ball with the hands within six seconds.

12.13.1 Regular-season games. Any player or coach(es) who has received a total of five cautions in one season shall be suspended and shall not participate in the next regularly scheduled game, including postseason games. Three additional cautions shall result in additional one-game suspensions. Each two additional cautions shall result in additional one-game suspensions. If the total is reached in the final game of the season, the player(s), coach(es) and/or bench personnel shall not participate in the first regularly scheduled game of

the next season. Scrimmages and exhibition matches, scheduled or unscheduled, do not qualify as games with reference to players suspended for accumulated cautions. Moreover, if the next regularly scheduled game is not played for any reason (and is later declared a forfeited game), the forfeited game shall not satisfy the game requirements for suspended players or coaches. If the total is reached in the final postseason game of the season, the players shall not compete in the first game of the next season. Suspended players or coaches shall serve their game suspensions in an actual contest. Further, a player(s), coach or other bench personnel serving a game suspension(s) shall be restricted to the designated spectator areas and prohibited from any communication or contact, direct or indirect, with the team, coaches and/or bench personnel from the start of the contest to its completion, including all overtime periods and penalty-kick tiebreaker procedures. (See Rule 12.16) Any game in which a suspended player or coach participates illegally shall be forfeited to the opposing team.

14.2 How Taken. The penalty kick is taken after the referee’s whistle from any place on the penalty line or spot. Only those players on the field at the time the penalty kick is awarded may take the penalty kick.

A.R. 14.2.f May a player taking a penalty kick use a stutter step or a hesitation move? RULING: Yes, provided there is no stopping and there is continuous movement toward the ball.