Soccer Rules and Policies

PHILOSOPHY: The Superiorland Soccer Association (SSA) was organized to offer the opportunity for players to learn the game of soccer, develop soccer and sportsmanship skills, and have fun playing a great game. Parents and adult volunteers are reminded that this is a youth activity; it is not an appropriate arena to vent adult frustrations in socially unacceptable ways, or to encourage such behavior in children. Recreation soccer is developmental soccer - it is not about winning.

GAME VENUES: SSA matches are played at 2 locations in the area: NMU Intramural Fields and Kaufman Sports Complex. We share some of these locations with other user groups (BMX, Little League, etc.) and the parking areas can get quite crowded. Please park your vehicle courteously and maximize the available space.

SEVERE WEATHER CANCELLATION POLICY: Severe weather or adverse field conditions may cause the suspension or cancellation of matches. If lightning is observed or thunder is heard during a match, the referee will suspend the match. The referee will not allow play to continue until lightning has been absent from the local sky and thunder has not been heard for 30 minutes. All players, coaches, and fans will clear the field and seek shelter during the delay of the match. In the case of rain (or sleet!) without lightning that does not cause dangerous field conditions, play will continue. Teams should always be prepared for the prevailing or unexpected weather conditions. In the event of cold weather, sweatshirts with or without hoods may be worn under the jerseys; however, hoods must be tucked under the jersey. Knit caps and gloves may be worn.

Different weather conditions may exist at different SSA fields on the same night. It is always best to report to your game location on time and prepared to play. The referee will make the decision as to whether the game will take place and inform the coaches. It is impossible to determine the cancellation of a game in time for a coach to inform their players in advance. Also, the cancellation of an early evening game at a given field does not necessarily mean a later game at that same field will be cancelled. Coaches should notify their division coordinator when games are cancelled due to weather and the division coordinator will attempt to reschedule the game.

PETS: Out of concern for the safety of players, officials and spectators, and to maintain clean fields - we do not permit pets at the fields during any practices or games.


Spectators will always remain on the opposite side of the field from the coaches and players. If the field is not fenced or bleachers are not provided, then spectators must remain at least 10 feet from the touchline and between the penalty areas. If a spectator line is not provided, please estimate generously. For reasons of safety and courtesy, and to ensure unobstructed play, spectators are not permitted in the following areas:

  • Directly behind the goals at any field
  • Inside the fences that enclose a soccer field

Substitute players will remain with their teams during the games. Players waiting for the next game to start are spectators, and must remain in the designated spectator area.

Abuse of league equipment or property will not be tolerated. The SSA Board may demand restitution and/or temporarily or permanently suspend a player for this behavior. Climbing or hanging on nets or goalposts is never allowed as it may result in serious injury and damage to equipment.


The Superiorland Soccer Association is affiliated with the Michigan State Youth Soccer Association and United States Youth Soccer and as such adheres to the FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) Laws of the Game and also their recommendations for Small Sided Games. The SSA board of directors has approved the following modifications/clarifications of those Laws and recommendations.


If for any reason your child is unable to play after registration has closed, refund requests must be made in writing to


Refunds for recreation registrations will be processed as follows:


  • Up to registration deadline—Full refund
  •  Up to Coaches Rally Day—Registration amount less $30
  •  Prior to July 1—Registration amount less $50
  •  After coaches rally day—Refunds will be granted only if accompanied by a statement of medical necessity. The amount will be the same as “Up to coaches rally day”, subject to the percentages below.



LATE REGISTRATION: Late registration may be available to a limited number of players by requesting in writing via email to You will be placed on a waiting list and if an opening is available in your division you will be contacted by our recreation director. There will be an additional $30.00 late fee.


Coaches in all age divisions in recreation soccer will ensure that each player plays at least one half of every game. There should never be a difference of more than one quarter of playing time. Some will play 3 and some 2 quarters, but there should never be some playing 4 quarters while others play only 1 or 2. There will sometimes be exceptions to this (red-carded player, other player disciplinary action, player illness or injury).

Coaches must rotate their players through all positions in Divisions U-12 and younger. Rotating the players in the older divisions is suggested also, but not mandatory. All players should be encouraged to play keeper at least one quarter during the season.

Coaches must provide their players with game schedules, practice schedules and their phone numbers and keep their team well informed.

Players must attend practices and games with minimal absences and always notify the coach when absences are expected. Communication is the key. Excessive absence for any reason is grounds for permanent removal from a team by the SSA board.

Parents must make an attempt to get their players to games and practices on time. Since most SSA players do not drive, it is the responsibility of the parent to make sure that their child arrives on time (usually 15 minutes prior to game time). As a courtesy to our coaches who are generously volunteering their time, please notify them of any anticipated absences for your child.


Late arriving team members may enter the game at the next stoppage, with the permission of the referee and after the player's equipment has been inspected. At game time, if both teams have the minimum number of players required to start the game, but one team is short several players and the numbers are quite lopsided, we suggest the coaches meet with the referee and decide to both play short. (In the first half we suggest that the team with sufficient players only play with one or two players more than the team that is short players. However, in the second half the team with sufficient players may play their full complement of players). If one team does not have the number of players necessary to begin, the following policy will go into effect:

U-6 Divisions - No game scores will be kept and no division standings will be calculated for these three divisions. This is recommended by the MSYSA and US Youth Soccer and will put the emphasis on skill development, sportsmanship and fun. Therefore, the two teams will share players and play the game under the usual rules.

U-8 and Older Divisions - The team that does not have the minimum players required to begin the game will forfeit the game, and at that point the teams will share players so that the game can proceed.

A coach may not recruit players from other SSA teams or players that are not registered with SSA to play in games or practices. These players would not be covered by the league liability insurance and have not paid required fees like registered players.

U-6 and U-8 Divisions - Substitutions may be done between quarters and at half time only. In the event of extremely hot weather, the referee may allow free-flow substitutions.

U-10 - U-18 Divisions: Follow FIFA Laws of the Game. (Free flow substitutions with the permission of the referee after a goal, before either team's goal kick and prior to that team's throw-in).

A goalkeeper may change positions with a field player at any time during a stoppage of play (the referee must be notified prior to the change). All age divisions will have substitutions for injured players, and if a coach enters the field to assist an injured player, the player must leave the field at that time. If there is a substitution for an injured player, the other team may sub one player at that time also.

U-6: 8 minute quarters, two minutes between quarters, 5-minute halftime.
U-8: 12 minute quarters, two minutes between quarters, 5-minute halftime.
U-10: 15 minute quarters, two minutes between quarters, 5-minute halftime.
U-12 and U-14: Two 30-minute halves, 5-minute halftime.
U-16/18: Two 30-minute halves, 5-minute halftime.
*No additional time will be added for stoppages. Please start games on time. In the event of extreme weather conditions, the game duration may be shortened by the referee.



If a team is ahead by 10 goals during a game, they must remove 1 player. If the score comes to a 5 point difference, they may then add the player back to the game.

PLAYER EQUIPMENT - For safety reasons all SSA players must not use equipment or wear anything which is dangerous to him or her self or another player (including any kind of jewelry). Exception: Emergency medical bracelets or necklaces may be worn, but must be covered with tape. Please bring this to the attention of the referee.

The basic compulsory equipment of a player is:

  1. A shirt (provided by the league), must be tucked in
  2. Shorts or long pants, no metal zippers or tabs, no metal belts
  3. Stockings - outside of and covering shin guards
  4. Shin guards - made of a suitable material (rubber, plastic or similar substances) which provide a reasonable degree of protection
  5. Shoes or cleats - tennis shoes, plastic molded soccer cleats, or soccer shoes with aluminum screw-studs are legal (tennis shoes are recommended for younger children). No football or baseball cleats, no footwear with a front toe cleat.
  6. Absolutely no jewelry or barrettes (including soft jewelry like Livestrong bracelets, hemp jewelry). Newly piered ears may be taped.
  7. Players with casts will not be allowed to play
  8. Braces must be covered with a padded protective sleeve
  9. Goalkeepers must wear a colored shirt that distinguishes him/her from the players on both teams, and from the referee (no zippers or hoods).

Illegal equipment will delay a player from entering a match. A player will not be allowed to play until his/her equipment is corrected to the satisfaction of the referee.

Players - Please do not forget to bring your water bottle to all games and practices!
There is no offside for the U-6, U-8 and U-10 divisions. Any fouls or misconduct will be briefly explained to the players in these divisions to help them understand the rules and prevent them from occurring again.

U-6 & U-8: All kicks direct, offending team must yield 4 yds from ball (no penalty kicks).
U-10 and U-12: Direct and indirect kicks, offending team must yield 8 yds from ball.
U-14, U-16/18: Conforms to FIFA Laws of the Game

For any yellow card issued to a player in the U-10 and U-12 divisions, the coach may substitute that player if he/she or the referee deem necessary. Any yellow card issued to a player during a U-14 or older division match will result in an automatic 10 minute sit down period.

Any red-carded offense, committed by a player or coach on a game night, from any position on or off the field, will result in a game suspension, in addition to the penalty imposed by the FIFA Laws of the Game, to be determined by the SSA Disciplinary Committee. Any player receiving a second red card in the season will receive a two game suspension and will be required to meet with the SSA Disciplinary Committee for an informal conduct review. A third red card for a player will result in a formal Board of Review, which will determine whether the player should be subject to additional penalty or be removed from the league.

A red-carded player must attend the next game, but will not be permitted to play. A red-carded coach will not be allowed to attend the next game. A coach receiving a second red card will automatically be subject to suspension pending a review by the SSA Disciplinary Committee.

*Yellow and/or red cards will not be issued to players in the U-6 and U-8 Divisions. If a player commits a yellow or red card offense, the referee and coach will explain to the player what they did wrong (foul or misconduct). The player may be substituted at the referee's discretion.

All SSA referees are certified by the US Soccer Federation. It is the responsibility of the referee to enforce the Laws of the Game and all decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play are final. Harassing the referee is not acceptable! Harassment is defined as any derogatory remark or gesture (which by their nature embarrass or humiliate), or obscenities/profanity directed at referees or players (or the grass!), and/or any threatening remarks or gestures intended to intimidate the referee or players. Technically, the coach does not have the right to question the referee about any call. A coach may ask for clarification of a call by politely asking the ref what the infraction was. (Example: Excuse me sir, what was that last call, I missed it?) The referee is not obligated to respond. Harassing the referee by a coach/spectator will result in the following consequences:

  1. Warning the offending party (yellow card)*
  2. After the warning, if the problem continues the party may receive a red card and be asked to leave the field.
  3. If the offender refuses to leave, the referee MUST suspend the play until compliance is achieved.
  4. All else failing - the referee will terminate the match. This may result in the forfeiture of the game, or replaying the game without spectators if necessary.

*In case of a serious violation, the referee may choose to send off without warning. A yellow card should always be taken seriously. It is not just a warning - it is one-half of a red card!

We ask that parents and coaches refrain from negative comments about or to the referees. We hope that everyone in the SSA soccer community will help us encourage good sportsmanship and civilized behavior for all. Above all, the SSA Board would like to stress sportsmanship over winning. Remember, just as your child is learning how to play soccer, the refs are all learning how to be better referees and we would not have recreational soccer without referees.

SSA's year end financial statements are available by emailing our Treasurer.


Parents - If you have questions or concerns that cannot be addressed by your child's coach, please contact us at