Outdoor League Rules


Generally speaking all games should be played in accordance with the FIFA rules of the game.

A. Game Time

  • 11v11 – Two 35-minute halves with a 1-5 minute half time or as required due to adjusted game times per field allocations.
  • 9v9- Two 25 -minute halves with a 1-5 minute half time or as required due to adjusted game times per field allocations.
  • 7v7 – Two 25-minute halves with a 1-5 minute half time or as required due to adjusted game times per field allocations.
  • 5v5- Two 25-minute halves with a 1-5 minute half time or as required due to adjusted game times per field allocations.

B. Equipment

  • Shin guards (must be totally covered by socks to reduce risk of injury) are mandatory and are an absolute requirement for all players.
  • Footwear – Only soccer/athletic shoes are acceptable. No street shoes or metal cleats. Referees decisions on footwear suitability are final.
  • Each team shall be responsible for providing a game ball. District Sports is not responsible for said game ball should it be lost or stolen.

C. Coed Rule

For organizational purposes, District Sports has established the rules for our CoEd leagues by classifying players as either male-identified or female-identified.

District Sports respects the rights of registrants to determine and establish their own gender identity as it pertains to participation in our leagues.

  • 11v11- Teams may have no more than eight (8) players of the same gender on the field at any one time.
  • 9v9- Teams may not have more than six (6) players of the same gender on the field at any one time.
  • 7v7 -Teams may not have more than five (5) players on the field of the same gender on the field at any one time.
  • 5v5 indoor- Teams may not have more than four (4) players on the field of the same gender on the field at any one time. This does not include the goalkeeper. For instance, if a team has a female goalkeeper they must also have a female field player to satisfy the coed requirement.

D. Forfeits

  • Teams must be ready to play their game within 10 minutes of the scheduled game time.
  • If a team does not have the following amount of players for each of the particular formats then they are considered to have forfeited:
  • 11v11 – 8 players, including at least one rostered player of each gender.
  • 9v9 – 6 players, including at least one rostered player of each gender.
  • 7v7 – 4 players, including at least one rostered player of each gender.
  • 5v5 – 3 players, including at least one rostered player of each gender.
  • For all leagues, in order to start a match, a team must have at least one female rostered player on the field. If there are no female players available to play at the start of the match, a forfeit will be enforced.

E. Adding players from other teams

  • Should teams have enough of their own players that they don’t need to forfeit but not enough for a whole team, they may pick up players from another team provided that they are registered District Sports Players.
  • If remaining players from the scheduled team arrive after the start of the game then any players who have been picked up from another team should leave the game.
  • Any team who picks up players should not add more players than can play on the field at any given time. This means that the team should not have any substitutes for players of either gender where they have elected to pick up players.
  • This does not apply to goalkeepers.
  • Teams may add additional players if they are needed to properly satisfy the coed rule or if they do not have their own goalkeeper present.

F. Substitutions

  • Generally speaking, unlimited Substitutions may be made with the consent of the referee at the following times:
  • Throw In – your possession or when the opposing team substitutes
  • Goal kick – either team
  • Goal – either team
  • Injury- when the referee stops play that team is allowed to substitute for the injured player. The opposing team is then allowed to substitute a single player.
  • Yellow Card – Referee may choose for an immediate substitution of carded player. Carded player will remain on the sideline until referee determines that they may re-enter the game.
  • For 7v7 and 5v5, field player substitutions may be made at any point during game play or stoppages, with the exception of free kicks, and do not require referee consent. Players must enter and leave the field from the halfway line. Failure to do so will result in an automatic yellow card.
  • Goalkeeper substitutions can only be made during stoppages in play with the consent of the referee.

G. Slide Tackling

  • Slide tackling is NOT permitted. A slide tackle is defined as sliding for a ball when in the close proximity of another player (no matter where on the field).
  • Performance of a slide tackle, may be grounds for a yellow card on the part of the referee.
  • Players may slide when not creating a dangerous play, i.e. sliding to keep a ball in play.
  • Goalkeepers are allowed to slide if attempting to block a shot or make a save. Some incidental contact with an attacking player may be allowed, as long as the goalkeeper is CLEARLY playing the ball. They are not allowed to slide in an effort to tackle an opposing player.

H. Free kick Distance

  • 5v5 – 5 yards
  • 7v7 – 8 yards
  • 9v9 – 10 yards
  • 11v11 – 10 yards

I. Off-sides

  • Off-sides is always in effect for 11v11 outdoor games
  • Off-sides is always in effect for 9v9 outdoor games.
  • There will be no off-sides in 7v7 or 5v5 play.

J. Athletic Plays

  • Athletic plays (i.e. bicycle and scissor kicks) are allowed in the run of play, so far as they do not put another player at risk.

K. Goalkeepers

  • Goalkeepers may punt, throw, or send goal kicks as far as they like across the half-line.
  • Goalkeepers are allowed to slide but may be cautioned if they do so in an aggressive manner.
  • A goalkeeper can score off a punt or throw.

L. Misconduct

  • Yellow Card – Referees will immediately substitute player out for a minimum of two (2) minutes.
  • Red Card – A player receiving a red card, or two yellow cards in the same match, must leave the field premises, sight and sound, without substitution.
  • Effective December 2013 District Sports has put in place enhanced penalties surrounding caution cards. For details on those penalties click here.

M. Team Conduct

  • Discipline – The Team Captain assumes the responsibility regarding team leadership and maintenance of order and discipline. District Sports expects each Captain to set a positive example for their players in promoting good sportsmanship and self- control. If a player not registered with District Sports receives a Red Card during a game, the Captain will be asked to serve the player’s suspension.
  • Sideline Control – The Captain is responsible for the behavior of his/her bench area. After being verbally warned or cautioned (yellow card) by the referee for unsportsmanlike behavior from his/her bench area, the Captain will receive a red card if the situation persists. The referee also has the power to eject any spectator at any time at his or her discretion.

N. Player Suspension

  • In the event that a player receives a red card. They will be asked to sit-out a minimum of one game (more should league management see fit). It is the responsibility to captains to ensure that this suspension is served.
  • District Sports will refuse registration to any player currently on suspension from any Washington DC-area league.
  • District Sports also reserves the right to suspend players from league play. This is at the sole discretion of District Sports and cannot be appealed. Registration fees will not be refunded to suspended players.

O. Playoff Specific Rules

  • Individual player may not play on two playoff teams, regardless if they are fully registered for both teams. This rule applies to goalkeepers and field players.
  • In order to respect field permits and effectively manage schedules across the various District Sports leagues, game lengths may be altered for playoffs. Generally speaking, District Sports referees will adhere to the following: 11v11 playoff games will be 60 minutes in length and 5v5, 7v7, and 9v9 will be 40 minutes in length.
  • Extra-time and/or penalty kicks will follow games that end in draws. The exact format will depend on the league.
  • 5v5 and 7v7 Leagues: Games that end in a draw will be decided with one 5 minute golden – goal overtime followed by 3 penalty kick if necessary. In coed games, one player of each gender sex will be required to shoot by the 3rd round of kicks. If the shootout extends beyond 5 players, two players of each gender must have shot by the 6th round.
  • 9v9 Leagues: Games that end in a draw will be decided by 5 penalty kicks. In coed games one member of the opposite sex will be required to shoot in the first 3 shooters. If the shootout extends beyond 5 players, two players of each gender must have shot by the 6th round. If the shootout extends beyond 6 players, three players of each gender must have shot by the 8th round.
  • 11v11 Leagues: Games that end in a draw will be decided by 5 penalty kicks. In coed games one member of the opposite sex will be required to shoot in the first 3 shooters. If the shootout extends beyond 5 players, two players of each gender must have shot by the 6th round. If the shootout extends beyond 6 players, three players of each gender must have shot by the 8th round.
  • Only players on the field at the end of regulation or overtime will be allowed to participate in a PK shootout.

District Sports reserves the right to modify these rules at any time.

Questions? Contact District Sports at info@districtsports.com.

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