Last Updated

August 17, 2022

West United Youth Soccer League (WUYSL) has adopted the rules of the game as defined by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) with the exceptions and changes contained within.


U4-5, U6-7Size 3
U8-9, U10-11Size 4
U12-14, U15-18Size 5


  • WUYSL administered or approved jersey or an approved custom jersey must be worn
  • No hats, jewelry, unpadded casts, football or baseball cleats, or metal spikes are allowed
    *Goalies may wear a hat if deemed necessary for visibility facing the sun
  • Long sleeved undershirts are allowed
  • All players are REQUIRED to wear shin guards
  • Cleats are not required…tennis shoes may be worn
  • Late arriving players need to have their equipment inspected before playing by an assistant referee at the next stoppage of play

Number of Players

U4-5, U6-74v4; No goalies3 minimum
U8-9, U10-119v96 minimum
U12-14, U15-18 (full)11v117 minimum
U12-14, U15-18 (small)6v64 minimum
*Players should not be held out below the desired number in order to have a substitute available.  Players may come to the sideline at any point to get a drink, but must have permission to return if they leave the field of play.

Playing Time

Best effort should be given that all players should play equal time of the match regardless of skill level or practice attendance.

Length of Match

U4-510 minute quarters3 minute breaks5 minute halftime
U6-712 minute quarters3 minute breaks5 minute halftime
U8-925 minute halves5 minute halftime
U10-11, U12-1430 minute halves5 minute halftime
U15-1835 minute halves5 minute halftime
*At the referee’s or board’s discretion, quarters may be used when necessary due to excessively hot conditions or in some cases lack of substitutions.  We strive to kickoff at the time on the schedule so please be ready for check in 5 minutes prior to the scheduled start.  If a game is running long it may be cut short 10-15 minutes before the next games start to allow for warmup and check in.


U4-5, U6-7Coaches from each team will act as referees
U8-9 & UpA referee and two assistant referees will be provided
*Referees are typically not certified and are most often learning the game themselves.  While training has been given, if any issues with calls or referees need attention, please contact the referee coordinator for your age group.  They will assess the situation and provide further training after the match if deemed necessary.  Our pool of referees that are willing to take on this challenge is small so please treat them with the respect they deserve so we can continue to develop them into the referees we want them to be.


U4-5, U6-7, U8-9No
U10-11, U12-14, U15-18Yes

Heading the Ball

In order to reduce chances of concussions, heading is only allowed starting in the U12-14 and older divisions.  For younger ages, heading the ball will result in an indirect kick for the opposing team for dangerous play.

Slide Tackling

For the safety of our players, slide tackling is not allowed in any age group.  A slide tackle involving a player of the opposite team will result in an automatic yellow card.  To discourage this further, playing the ball from on the ground is also not allowed and will result in an indirect kick for the opposing team for dangerous play.  The only exception to this rule is that goalies may slide within the penalty area to try to block an attempt at goal.  A goalie may play the ball while on the ground.

High Kicks

High kicks in the immediate vicinity of other players will result in an indirect kick for dangerous play regardless of if contact was made.

Yellow and Red Cards

Cards are only given in the U12-14 and older divisions.  Offenses worthy of a card include but are not limited to:

  • Slide tackles
  • Swearing
  • Dissent
  • Wreckless or excessive fouls
  • Persistent infringement
  • Denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity

Players/coaches given a red card or misbehaving spectators are asked to leave the field immediately.  Play will not resume until they do.  If they refuse, the game will result in a forfeit.  A red card requires a suspension of 1 game beyond the game in which it was given and egregious activity may result in further suspension. These decisions are made at the sole discretion of the WUYSL officials.


Substitutions are only made with the refs permission.  WUYSL has decided to follow the high school rules for when a substitution may be made with one exception (corner kicks).  For U8-9, U10-11, U12-14, U15-18, substitutions are allowed at the following stoppages of play:

  • Goal kicks
  • Kick-off
  • Halftime
  • Quarter break
  • Water breaks
  • Injuries
  • Yellow carded players (cool down if necessary)
  • Throw-ins – Only when you have possession or if the other team makes a substitution (This is to give advantage to the team taking the throw and allow for a quick restart of play)

*For U4-5 and U6-7, substitutions may be made at any stoppage of play.

Field Setup

  • Coaches, substitutes, and spectators are to refer to the schedule for where they should locate
  • Coaches, substitutes, and spectators are to remain at least 3 feet from the sideline
  • No one is allowed behind the goal with the exception of an assistant goalie coach at the U8-9 level.  Spectators may use the top of the west hill if they are not deemed to be a distraction by the referee or WUYSL officials.
  • Penalties are taken from 12 yards on the large field or 10 yards on the small fields
  • Players will remain 10 yards behind the penalty spot even when the field is not marked
  • Players will remain 5 yards away from the center spot where not marked to allow the other team space for a kickoff

Mercy Rule

In order to promote healthy competition and a fun atmosphere during a lopsided game, WUYSL has adopted a mercy rule.  This rule comes into effect when a team reaches a 3 goal lead at which time the losing team will add one player.  With an additional 3 goal lead (6 total), the winning team will remove a player from play.  This pattern continues with each additional 3 goal increment until either the minimum number of players is exceeded or the losing team is able to eliminate a 3 goal increment.  If a 3 goal increment is eliminated, the pattern is reversed in the same order it was implemented.  If there are no players available to add, the winning team removes a player in place of the losing team adding a player.  If the minimum number of players is exceeded, teams will be mixed at the referee’s discretion and play out the remaining time.  For example, where both teams have enough players:

Losing Team+1+1-1-1
Winning Team-1+1
If the losing team doesn’t have players to add:
Losing Team
Winning Team-1-1-1scramble
*This assumes that losing a fourth player would drop the winning team below the minimum required to play.

Build Out Line

Following UYSA rules, starting at the U-8/9 level, games will use build-out lines. A horizontal line drawn from sideline to sideline 14-yards in front of each goal. Build-out lines will encourage possession and playing the ball out of the back. When a goalkeeper has the ball in hand or takes a goal kick, the opposing team remains behind the build-out line until the ball is put into play. Goalkeepers may not punt or dropkick the ball.

This line also indicates where offside can be called, as teams cannot be called for offside between the midfield and build-out line. This limits offside violations to situations most likely to result in clear advantage for the offense.

WUYSL does not have offside at this age group, however, it will provide a method for coaches to begin training their players on what offside is.