Standard League Game Day Rules

Standard League Game Day Rules 
(Revised as of 1/1/2024)

All games are played under FIFA rules with the following CMSA league modifications


All substitutions must take place at the mid-field area
All players being substituted in must be in that area prior to stoppage of play to be allowed by the referee to enter the game

Substitutions can be done by either team:

  1. After a goal has been scored or at half time
  2. Any time either team has a goal kick
  3. Due to an injury stoppage (on a one for one basis)
  4. A team may substitute on their own throw in; the opposing team can only do so if the team in possession substitutes at that time.
  5. A team must substitute on a Yellow Card (cautioned play) for its own player; the opposing team may also substitute on a one for one basis.
  6. On a double yellow/red card, a team does play short and cannot substitute for their ejected player; there are no substitutions for any red card offense
  7. Players cannot participate unless they are listed on their team’s current CMSA league stamped/colored roster that has been processed by a CMSA Registrar. If the hard copy of their CMSA stamped/colored roster is not available at check-in, then the game will become a league sanctioned scrimmage. Please review the policy regarding league sanctioned scrimmage games.

Game Lengths

U07-U10 (7v7)  = Two 25 minute halves;
U11-U12 (9v9)    = Two 25 minute halves;
U13-U14 (11v11)  = Two 30 minute halves;
U15-U17 (11v11)   = Two 35 minute halves.

Ball Size

Teams playing 7v7 and 9V9 use a size #4 ball;
Teams playing 11v11 use a size #5 ball;

Fall/Spring League Roster Sizes

       U07-U10 (7v7) maximum 18 players, can only dress 14 players a game
       U10-U12 (9v9) maximum 20 players, can only dress 16 players a game
       U13-U14 (11v11) maximum 22 players, can only dress 18 players a game 
       U15-U17 (11v11) maximum 25 players, can only dress 20 players a game

Minimum Players

Teams competing 7V7 must have a minimum of 5 players in order to start the games with a minimum of 4 players to finish.
Teams competing 9V9 must have a minimum of 7 players in order to start the games with a minimum of 6 players to finish.
Teams competing 11v11 must have a minimum of 9 players in order to start the game with a minimum of 7 players to finish.

Games are to start as soon as each team has the minimum amount of players.

***All CMSA league rosters are frozen as of the 13th day from the start of the season***

Check-In Requirements for Team Rosters

  • Prior to the start of the game and prior to the referee’s equipment check of the players, coaches are to hand a hard color copy of their CMSA stamped rosters to the referee(s). The referee(s) will check the roster against the players. Note: The referee(s) will keep the roster. They will not be returned to the coaches.
  • If a team or teams cannot produce a hard color copy of their CMSA stamped roster prior to the game, the referee needs to be informed. The game will be classified and played as a league scrimmage game. For any game classified as a league scrimmage game, the team with their roster on site will need to report score as a 3-0 win.
  • If a player is not on the hard color copy of the CMSA stamped roster, the player cannot participate in the game.
  • After the check-in is completed, the referee will signal the start of the game.


All late arriving players must check in with the referee(s) before they enter the game. If the opponent wants to question the eligibility of the player it must be addressed with the referee when the player/players enter the game. If the player(s) are not on the team’s official CMSA league approved
roster the player cannot participate if they play than the game will be declared a league scrimmage game and the coach will be suspended for their next game. This must be reported to your league commissioner after the game.

Teams should be ready to play at the posted game time. Teams have a 15 minute grace period in which to reach the required number of players needed to participate (see minimum above). Teams without the required number of players after the 15-minute grace period will be assessed a forfeit loss.

If the referee(s) do not follow the standard roster check, it is the responsibility of both coaches to report this oversight to their league commissioners that day.

League Scrimmage Games

A scrimmage game will be assessed for the following reasons:

  • If a team or teams cannot present their hard color copy of their CMSA stamped roster to the referee(s) prior to their game; the league will not terminate the game but will allow the participants to start the match as scheduled as a league sanctioned scrimmage game.
  • If any team roster is not properly stamped for league play;
  • If any player(s) that has participated in the game but was identified as not being on the roster;
  • If players have duplicate numbers on their jerseys (refer to the Duplicate Jersey policy)

NOTE: If any game is played as a league sanctioned scrimmaged game, the team at fault will be assessed a 3–0 loss. The game will still be played, and the referee(s) will still officiate the game.

Players that are registered to your CMSA/SAY League Roster or US Club CMSA League Roster have the liability insurance in case of injury. If a coach plays a player that is not on their certified roster and that player gets injured, the only person that can be held liable is the coach/manager who played the child in the game.

Any team that causes two or more scrimmage games for any of the above reasons; will be eliminated from all end of season awards consideration.


A player or coach who is ejected will receive a minimum one-game suspension to be served the next played league game. Additional penalties may be levied. No appeal may be made from the one-game suspension.


Programs/Clubs that supply fields must provide those fields complete with goal nets, flags and visible lines. All goals should be properly anchored to the ground.

  • U8/U9/U10 7v7
    • Fields should be 35 - 45 yards wide to 55 to 65 yards in length
    • Goal sizes: 6 ½ by 18 ½.
  • U11/U12 9v9
    • Fields should be 45-55 yards wide to 70 to 80 yards in length
    • Goal sizes: 7 By 21 (recommended, but not mandatory) or 6½ by 18 ½.
  • U13/U14/U15/U16/U17/U18 11v11
    • Fields should be 50 to 70 yards wide to 100 to 120 yards in length
    • Goal sizes: 8 by 24.

Once a game has begun, the referee shall be the sole judge as to whether the field is playable. It is the responsibility of the home field coordinator to provide the field equipment as mentioned above.

Teams and Spectators

Coaches and players of both teams are mandated to set up on the same side of the field. All parents, fans and spectators must be on the opposite side of the field. There is no coaching allowed behind the end line.

All teams are responsible to clean up their side after the game. Coaches, please inspect the area before leaving. Have your players and spectators take home what they have brought to the field if no trash cans are available.

Fields and Facility Use Regulations

All teams participating in any CMSA league play are required to observe the following protocols when playing on an opponent’s home field or any neutral site:

  • All venues are Smoke Free, Alcohol Free, and Pet Free.
  • No grills or cooking is allowed at any of the venues.
  • Please park in the designated area; and remember to clean up your sideline at the conclusion of the game.
  • All venues must have on-site bathroom facilities and/or spot-a-pots.
  • Please note that teams that have been assigned games at Genesee Valley will need to review the pdf file that has been posted on the CMSA Facebook page


Any team protesting their games must email their LEAGUE COMMISSIONER within 24 hours of the conclusion of the game. Refer to the policies section for additional information.

Dress Code

  • All players must be in matching uniforms (jersey, shorts, compression pants & matching socks)
  • All Jerseys must be numbered differently, no duplicates
  • All male players are recommended to wear protective cups
  • All players must wear correctly sized shin guards covered by their socks
  • No jewelry
  • No hard casts; Hard plaster casts are considered to pose a danger to both the wearer and other players and are not permitted to be worn. The practice of padding a hard plaster cast does not reduce the element of danger.
  • Players wearing a soft cast will be permitted to play if the cast does not present a danger to the individual or any other player.
  • The referee or Supervisor of Officials (if one has been appointed to the match/tournament) will make the final decision as to the acceptability of any cast.
  • No hard hair clips, beads or combs.
  • No metal cleats.
  • The goalie is allowed to wear a soft brim hat only

Home Team

  • The team listed first on the schedule, is the home team;
  • If there is any color conflict, the home team is responsible for changing. If alternate colors are not available, then the visiting team should make the adjustment where possible.

Heading Policy – Includes all 7v7 & 9v9 Games

For Ages 11 and Under: NO HEADING WILL BE ALLOWED in games or in practices.

  • If a player deliberately heads the ball in a game, an indirect free kick will be awarded to the opposing team from the spot of the infringement.
  • If the header occurs within the opposing team’s goal area, the indirect free kick must be taken on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the infringement occurred.
  • If a player is hit by the ball in the head unintentionally, play will stop, and a drop ball will take place at the point of the occurrence.

For Ages 12 and 13 playing 11v11: Heading is allowed in games and on a limited basis in practice.

  • Please note that the enforcement of limiting heading during practices is the responsibility of each affiliated club and/or recreation program; and is not the responsibility or liability of Central Maryland Soccer Association.

For Ages 14 and Above: There is no restriction on heading in games and/or in practices.

  • Clubs should be aware of circumstances in which individual consideration is needed.
  • An 11 year old or younger playing up in age cannot head the ball at all games or practices.

Referees should enforce these restrictions by age group according to the specified rules. Referees will not be assessing the age of individual players on the field; they will enforce the rules for the age group.

Games Postponed or Cancelled Due to Act of God

If the league is forced to cancel or postpone a league scheduled game due to any reason not in our control (Act of God) and those game(s) cannot be made up; teams will receive a refund of the referee fees paid for the cancelled game.

If any team involved in this type of situation would like to play the cancelled game, it can be rescheduled as a league scrimmage game. The home coach will need to submit the rescheduling information of the date, time, and location using the link (Reschedule Request Form) on the league page in ther dark blue section. Your league commissioner will be notified of the rescheduled makeup gameand it will be psoted on the schedule page.

These league scrimmage games will not count in the final league standards.

Build-Out Line (7v7 Play)

The US Soccer policy for the use of BUILD OUT LINES for U8/U9/U10 in 7 v7 play is used to promote playing the ball out of the back, in an unpressured setting.

The build-out line shall be placed across the field equidistant between the top of the penalty area and the halfway line.

The opposing team must move back behind the build-out line for a goal kick or when the goalkeeper has possession. At any time, the goalkeeper may pass, throw or roll the ball to a teammate who is behind the build-out line.

The goalkeeper or the player taking the goal kick does not have to wait for the opposing players to move behind the build-out line.

After the ball moves and is put into play, the opposing team can cross the build-out line and play may resume as normal.

The first touch is from the goal kick or the pass from the goalkeeper.

The build-out line shall be used as the line to determine offside.

Players cannot be penalized for an offside offense between the halfway line and the build-out line