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CSL Soccer Rules

Chattanooga Sports Leagues Soccer Rules


CSL reserves the right to make rule changes-in the event of a rule change they will be communicated by e-mail to all registered players.




CSL Soccer will generally follow FIFA “Laws of the Game” except in the following circumstances;


Team Composition


Each team should have a minimum of 3 females and 5 males for 8 on 8 leagues or 3 females and 6 males for 9 on 9 leagues.  Teams may play with fewer women but they must leave the missing player’s position unfilled (a team with a missing female cannot fill that position with a male). There is a minimum of 6 players needed to begin the game (and at least one female player).


Each team will have a player designated as the goalie. This player will wear a jersey of a different color than his team or the opposing team.




Soccer will be played on an ~60yd x 90yd sized field.  The penalty area will be defined from the touch line where the goal is placed out 18yds (penalty area) with a penalty mark at 12 yards. The goalie is allowed to use his hands within this area but will commit a handball if he touches the ball outside of the box.


Game Play


Games are scheduled for two (2) twenty-two (22) minutes halves with a 5 minute halftime period, or one full hour. Games may end in ties during regular season games.


In the event that a playoff game ends in a tie there will be a 5 minute overtime period played to completion; possession being determined based on the kickoff rules.


If the score is still tied following this overtime period the teams will take penalty kicks to determine the winner. Any 5 rostered players (3 male and 2 female) can be selected to take the kicks in any order with order determined based on the kickoff rules and the player kicking order will be determined before kicks begin.


If the score is still tied after all 5 players from both teams have kicked the teams will proceed in sudden death Penalty Kicks (with any 5 rostered players 3 male and 2 female) with the first team to make a kick with the opposing missing their kick will be declared the winner. Each team will alternate taking kicks first, determined by the kickoff rules and the player kicking order will be determined before kicks begin.


Play will begin with a kickoff to be determined by a coin flip (or another similar manner ‘rochambeau’) with the winning team electing to kick-off or a side to defend. In the second half the teams will rotate sides and kick-off.


Goals are scored when the entire ball crosses the plane of the goal line by any part of the player’s body other than the hand (defined as the hand and entire arm up to the base of the shoulder). All goals count as 1 point despite the gender of the scoring player.


There is no penalty for offside’s in CSL Soccer.


Substitutions are unlimited and can be taken at any time during play from midfield. The player leaving the match must exit at midfield and the player entering the match must enter at midfield and may not enter the match until the player leaving the match is off of the field.


Teams may also substitute during dead balls (throw-ins, goal kicks, and corners) at the discretion of the referee and the referee may allow “quick kick” to the offenses advantage. Teams are allowed to substitute following goals at their leisure and goalies may only be substituted at dead balls or injury timeouts.


Throw-in’s can be made backwards to the goalie who then has the ability to use their hands.


Goalie’s may also use their hands on unintentional passes backwards from their teammates and or balls played directly from the head, knee, chest, etc…)


Intentional passes back to the goalie with the foot, if handled by hand, result in a penalty and an indirect free kick.


Corner Kicks and Goal Kicks will be awarded when the balls leaves the touch line and will be taken on the side of the field by which the ball exited the field of play.



CSL Fouls and Safety


In the interest of safety CSL Soccer does not allow slide-tackling, sliding to contact the ball with ones feet, playing on the ground or “rough play” of any kind as determined by the official. Incidental contact is expected and tolerated but the referee has discretion in determining unsafe play.


Examples are:

Hand Checking or Shielding with the arm by the offense or defense (Direct)

Running through a player to gain possession of the ball (Direct)

Body checking a player with/without possession of the ball (Direct)

Coming into deliberate unsafe contact with the goalie (Direct)

Slide Tackling or Playing on the ground (Direct)


Penalties for Infraction


Any of the aforementioned penalties will result in a direct kick at the spot of the foul.

All free kicks require a 10yd distance by the opposing team. The kicking team may request this distance to be marked off by the referee.


A defensive player may be warned or further penalized for continuously and blatantly lining up closer than 10 yards to or ‘stalling’ the free kick.


In the event that the foul occurs in the penalty area and/or is deemed to nullify a goal a penalty kick or an automatic goal may be awarded. Not all fouls in the penalty area will result in a penalty kick.


Any player that commits what is determined to be a gross foul, penalty or engages in abusive language with other participants or the referees may be sent off the field for a period of time to be determined by the referee or ejected from the game.


If a player is sent off the field due to such an infraction the player will not be able to be replaced for that period of time. In the event of an ejection (red card) this will result in a (10 minute) period where the player will be unable to be replaced by his team. If there are no additional rostered substitutes the team will play down for the remainder of the match.


Referees are instructed to talk only with CSL staff and team captains.  Casual conversation with the referee is allowed, but any player yelling at the referee or CSL Staff will be ejected from the game, and the player will be asked to leave the facility. The referee has wide latitude to handle unruly teams as he/she sees fit.


No metal spikes are allowed. Only rubber spikes are allowed.


A game may be called complete after a (full half has been played).


Mercy rule:  if a team is losing by (6 or more goals with 5 minutes remaining) the referee will consult the captain of the losing team.  If the losing team is willing to play, play will continue, provided play doesn’t extend past the one-hour time limit. 


The referee decision is final.






Chattanooga Sports Leagues will provide a staff member on-site to assist players with any problems or questions they may have. There are no referees.


If your team forfeits a match during the season, the following rules apply:


First Offense: Loss of game.


Second Offense: Loss of game and staff reserves the right to remove team from playoffs.


Third Offense: Removal from the league.


Any team that forfeits more than once also forfeits any guarantee or right to a certain number of guaranteed games.

If you know in advance that your team is going to forfeit a game, we encourage you to email the league manager so as to help us schedule your opponent a game.


Teams may play more than one match per day, and/or play matches on days/nights other than your regularly scheduled league day/night.  
CSL reserves the right to schedule playoff games on days other than your regularly scheduled league night.


Any questions regarding rules, policies, or eligibility must be addressed before the start of the game. 




The updated standings will be posted weekly, displaying each teams rank within its skill level.




Playoffs are single-elimination. Playoffs will take up to 2 weeks to complete and will best 2 out of 3 matches.




In order to participate in the league, each participant must sign the team waiver. Waivers are provided and must be completed and handed in no later than the first night of play. Players not present the first week of play will still be required to sign a waiver with our staff before participating. These waivers will also serve as your final roster.




Any protest made during a game or after a game will NOT be considered a formal protest.  A formal protest may be filed before a game if an opposing player’s eligibility is in question. The player in question will be required to provide his/her player information (ID) in person to a CSL staff member prior to the start of the game. This qualifies as an official protest and only applies to the playoffs. The game will then be played in its entirety as scheduled. Teams will be notified of all rulings on the identified eligibility discrepancy by the following business day – decisions will not be made on site. If the protest is proven to be legitimate, it will result in the forfeiture of the game in question. Games subsequent to the protested game may be rescheduled.
The above procedure will also apply for any other “logged” protests. All protest need to happen prior to any match/game starting, otherwise the match/game will stand as a leagl match. All rulings by CSL staff are considered final. Substitutes are allowed during the regular season, but only roster players are allowed for the playoffs.  Any player(s) who has a season ending medical condition, moves away, or has another circumstance deem able for a subsitute player must be approved by sending a formal email to




The idea of CSL is to have fun. We hope that all participants keep that in mind when becoming involved. Although the games may become intense, you still can be competitive while maintaining good sportsmanship. With this said, any behavior deemed unacceptable by staff may result in suspension and/or ejection from a game or the league.


To coordinate and run the league, our refs and/or staff will be available at all times to help the league run as smoothly as possible. If you have questions regarding schedules, policies, rule interpretations, directions to the bar, etc. please ask or call our office.




Leagues may be cancelled due to existing weather conditions, dangerous or unplayable field conditions, facility constraints, scheduling conflicts, etc. CSL staff makes every effort to play all scheduled games, thus we will not cancel games unless absolutely necessary. Therefore, if you are calling concerning a decision on a cancellation, remember we will not have an answer until close to the start of the league.


If the league is cancelled, CSL staff will post all notices on social media sites (Facebook/Twitter).  CSL will then email/text all of the captains if possible. If a league is cancelled on site, CSL staff will attempt to contact those teams still scheduled to play the remainder of the league day/night. Depending on the time of cancellation, some teams will have to be notified on site. In extreme circumstances, CSL reserves the right to run a shortened season without a refund or schedule matches on days and/or locations other than our regularly scheduled league day/night/location.