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Changes coming for ‘18 soccer season

New rules focus on uniforms and unsportsmanlike play

PORTLAND (OSAA) – High school soccer teams will be reversing their home and visiting uniforms next season.

Effective with the 2018-19 season, the home team will wear dark jerseys and socks, and the visiting team will wear solid white jerseys and solid white socks.

This uniform change was one of nine rules revisions recommended by the National Federation of State High School Association’s (NFHS) Soccer Rules Committee at its January meeting.

Previously, the home team was required to wear solid white jerseys and the visiting team wore dark-colored jerseys.

“This change allows home teams to wear their school-color jerseys at home,” said Theresia Wynns, director of sports and officials. “It also could provide the opportunity to use an alternative uniform for special events.”

The committee also approved a change that allows a player to participate while wearing a head covering, if the player meets certain criteria such as medical/cosmetic reasons or for religious reasons.

In the case of medical/cosmetic reasons, a physician’s statement is required.

The head covering cannot be abrasive, hard or dangerous to any other player and attached in such a way that it is highly unlikely to come off.

Another example of unsportsmanlike conduct was approved by the committee involving denying obvious goal-scoring opportunities in a game.

When a player commits an offense against an opponent within its team penalty area that denies the opponent a goal-scoring opportunity and the referee awards a penalty kick, a yellow card is given if the offense was an attempt to play the ball.

Previously, the player received a red card in addition to the team receiving a penalty kick.

The offside rule was also revised.

Rule 11-1-4 now states that “A 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.

The penalty remains an indirect free kick at the infraction spot, but it now will be subject to the provisions in Rule 13-1-3.

In another uniform change, undergarments can be a different solid color than the uniform, but the length and color must be the same for all members of the team.

As a result of the change made last year that allowed the kickoff to be taken in any direction, the committee revised Rule 8-1-2 to allow the player taking the kickoff to be in the opponent’s half of the field to take the kickoff.

The committee addressed proper sportsmanship with an addition to Rule 13-2-1, stating that if a player, coach or bench personnel enters or leaves the field without permission and interferes with play or an official, a direct free kick will be awarded at the infraction spot.

In Rule 18, the committee approved a new definition of deliberate act, which 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, like a deliberate, but misplayed ball that goes directly to an opponent.

Also, a reaction or reflex may result in that player benefiting from the action, such as a ball inadvertently contacting the arm and falling directly to the player’s feet.

A complete listing of the soccer changes is available on the NFHS website at

Click “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page and select “Soccer.”


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