Soccer Rules Changes - 2018-19
By NFHS on February 20, 2018
4-1-1a, b: a.
The home team shall wear dark jerseys and socks (dark is
defined as any color which contrasts with white), and
the visiting team shall wear solid white jerseys and
solid white socks. Prior to and during the game, jerseys
shall be tucked into the shorts, unless manufactured to
be worn outside.
b. Both socks shall be the same color, with the home
team wearing socks of a single dominant color, but not
necessarily the color of the jersey and the visiting
team wearing solid white sock. If tape or a similar
material (stays/ straps) is applied externally to the
socks, it must be of similar color as that part of the
sock to which it is applied.
This change allows home teams to wear the school-colored
jerseys at home. The change would provide the
opportunity for teams to use an alternative color
uniform for "special" events, if approved by the state
4-1-1d, e: d.
If visible apparel is worn under the jersey and/or
shorts, it shall be of similar length for an individual
and a solid liked-color for the team.
The previous rule caused financial hardships for some
players and schools. The rule allows for the purchase of
one set of cold-weather undergarments per player.
In addition to the above permitted uses, state
associations may on an individual basis permit a player
to participate while wearing a head covering if it meets
the following criteria:
1. For medical or cosmetic reasons – In the event a
participant is required by a licensed medical physician
to cover his/her head with a covering or wrap, the
physician’s statement is required before the state
association can approve a covering or wrap which is not
abrasive, hard or dangerous to any other player and
which is attached in such a way it is highly unlikely
that it will come off during play.
2. For religious reasons – In the event there is
documented evidence provided to the state association
that a participant may not expose his/her uncovered
head, the state association may approve a covering or
wrap which is not abrasive, hard or dangerous to any
other player and which is attached in such a way it is
highly unlikely to come off during play.
The addition of this exception allows for the
participation of students who for religious reasons must
maintain a covered head in all situations. The same is
true for the student who for medical or cosmetic reasons
needs to cover the head.
8-1-2: At the
moment of the kickoff, all players, except the player
taking the kickoff, shall be in their team's half of the
field. Players opposing the kicker shall be at least 10
yards from the ball until it is kicked.
This 2017 rule change allowing the kickoff to be taken
in any direction has created difficulty for the player
taking the kick to easily kickoff into his/her own half
of the field without physically being in the opponent’s
half of the field. This addition to the rule would
permit only the player taking the kickoff to be in the
opponent’s half of the field, in order to take the
Player is offside and penalized if, at the time the ball
touches or is played by a teammate, the player, in an
offside position, becomes involved in active play by:
a. interfering with play or with an opponent or;
b. seeks to gain an advantage by being in that
A player in an offside position receiving the ball from
an opponent, who deliberately plays the ball (except
from a deliberate save), is not considered to have
gained an advantage. Indirect free kick at the spot of
the infraction (even in own half), subject to the
provisions in P 13.1.3
This change better articulates the difference between
being in an offside position and an offside violation.
It also places the penalty language in a more logical
place within the rule.
12-8-1f, 15 (NEW):
1. A player, coach or bench personnel shall be cautioned
(yellow card) for:
f. unsporting conduct, including, but not limited to:
15. A player who commits an offense against an opponent
within his/her team penalty area which denies an
opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the
referee awards a penalty kick, if the offense was an
attempt to play the ball. 12-8-2d3, 4 2. A player, coach
or bench personnel shall be disqualified (red card) for:
(NEW) d. committing serious foul play: 3. a player
commits a foul, outside the penalty area, attempting to
deny an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, and the goal
is not scored; or 4. a player commits a foul, inside the
penalty area, while not attempting to play the ball, and
the goal is not scored.
This change addresses the issues of denying an obvious
goal-scoring opportunity (DOGSO) that occur in the game
that places a player and team in double jeopardy when
applying a penalty.
ART. 1 . . . Direct free kicks are awarded and taken
from the point of the infraction (Except as in 13-1-3
j. if a player, coach, or bench personnel enters or
leaves the field of play without permission of an
official and interferes with play or an official
This change emphasizes the importance of proper decorum
and behavior from the benches.
3 . . . The following indirect free kicks are taken from
where the ball was when the referee stopped play:
(Subject to restrictions in 13-1-3 and 13-1-4.)
a. if a player, coach or bench personnel enters or
leaves the field of play without permission of an
official and does not interfere with play or an official
This change maintains a focus on the proper decorum and
behavior of the benches.
A deliberate act is one in which a player chooses to
act, regardless of the outcome of that action. This
deliberate act is neither reaction nor reflex. A
deliberate action may result in the opponent benefiting
from the action (e.g., a deliberate, but misplayed ball
that goes directly to an opponent). A reaction or reflex
may result in that player benefiting from the action
(e.g., a ball inadvertently contacting the arm and
falling directly to the player's feet).
This definition provides guidance for interpretation of
rules that contain the word deliberate or phrase
Clarifies a religious medal or other religious items
must be taped to the body