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Indoor Soccer Rules & Regulations    




In any incident not covered or specifically excluded by the following rules, refer to the Bluffton Family Recreation Sports Director for clarification!


Laws of the Game

FIFA rules shall be used with the modifications as described below!


Rule 1 – The field











Penalty Area                                              Penalty Area                                         



Rule 2 - The Ball


BFR will supply game balls and warm-up balls.  Patrons are encouraged not to bring additional balls to the arena.


Ages under 12 and younger - Size #4

Ages under 14 and older - Size #5


Rule 3 - Players and Divisions


The number of players shall be:


All ages – Six (6) A-Side

*Coed – Two females playing at all times!  Remaining may be boys/men.


Adult teams may not have more than 2 players who play in group A on a team in group B or group C.


For Youth divisions we follow Birth Year. Please reference the US Soccer Birth Year Matrix to make sure your players are in the correct age group. You can find the matrix here.  



Each team may substitute all players freely. An entering player should wait outside the gate and replace the exiting player once they have entered the substitution box or are off the field. All players must enter and leave the field by the gates ONLY.

Any player bleeding from a wound must leave the field of play.  He or she may not return until the referees or scorekeeper are satisfied that the bleeding has stopped.  A player cannot wear clothing with blood on it.


Guaranteed Substitution


Substitutions are unlimited and “guaranteed” for both teams only on kick-offs or during an injury. Each team is guaranteed a substitution opportunity during any restart taken by that team, such as a kick-in, or corner kick.


Goalkeeper Substitutions


When a goalkeeper is to be replaced, the following condition must be observed:

1. The goalkeeper’s uniform must be in contrast to either team.

The goalkeeper may be replaced while the ball is in play. The substitute must be properly attired before he/she enters the field.

Note: Time may not be allowed to properly uniform a goalkeeper substitute unless the keeper is injured and there is not a regular substitute keeper.


Rule 4 - Player Equipment


The following equipment is required:

1.      Only flat-soled or shoes designed for artificial surfaces may be worn for play.

2.      Each team’s players will wear jerseys of the same color.

3.      Shin guards covered by stockings are required for all age groups. All equipment and uniforms are subject to the approval of the game official.

4.      Jewelry must be removed prior to the beginning of the game.


Rule 5 - Referees


The decisions of the Referee regarding facts connected with play and interpretations of the Rules are final.  


Rule 6 – Scorekeeper


The scorekeeper has final say on penalty duration, team foul accumulation count, and team bench decorum. In addition, scorekeeper may rule on and enforce pre-game or halftime structure violations. (See Scorekeeper duties BFR Administrative Rule 5A)


Rule 7 - Duration of the Game (regular session game – not tournament)


The duration of the match will be as follows:

-Two (2) Twenty-five minute halves, with an appropriate half time.

Time is continuous, and will not be stopped under normal circumstances, but may be stopped at the discretion of the referee, or Sports Director.

Note: The referee may start time even if the players are not positioned on the field. Games will start at the game time given. 



Rule 8  - The Start and Restart of Play


A kickoff from the center mark starts play at the beginning of each half or after every goal.   The first half kickoff is awarded to the team occupying the guest bench (facing the scoreboard).Ends (not benches) will be changed at halftime with the team occupying the home bench taking the second half kick-off. When the ball is kicked and moved in any direction, it is in play.  A goal may be scored directly from a kick-off.

Restarts take place with a direct kick by either a kickoff, free kick, goal kick, or dropped ball.  A team receives a free kick after stoppages other than a dropped ball.  Before the team takes the free kick, the ball must be stationary.  All opposing players must be at least 10 feet from the spot of the free kick (or, if within 10 feet of the opponent’s goal, along the goal line).  The spot of the free kick is from the spot nearest the event causing the ball to leave play (touches netting, structure violation, foul) with exception to kickoff, penalty kick, or careless foul (or structure violation against the defense) inside the penalty area.  The ball is out of play when it wholly crosses the perimeter walls, goal line or strikes any building structure or fixture over the playing surface.

The restart is that provided above, except:


Restarted with a Penalty Kick:

a.)    Defensive foul against an opponent inside the defensive goal box.

b.)    Defensive foul against an opponent, within defensive penalty area, resulting in a card (blue, yellow, or red).

Restart from the Penalty spot (allowing opponent to defend from 10 feet):

a.)    Careless foul against an opponent outside the goal box but inside defensive penalty area not resulting in a card.

b.)    Violation not committed against opponent inside penalty area including  goal box (double touch, goalkeeper handling from teammate, structure violation).


Any foul by the defensive team against the opponent in the penalty area will result in a direct free kick from the penalty spot.  Any reckless or excessively forceful foul (carded) inside the penalty area will result in a Penalty Kick.  Any foul, per Rule 11, against the opponent inside the goal area will result in a Penalty Kick.


Rule 9 – Superstructure Violation


When a ball is played in a deliberate direction (including the head) and strikes any building structure or fixture over the playing surface, a BLUE CARD for a structure violation will be given. Any player committing a structure violation shall serve a two-minute penalty starting from the time the ball is put back into play after the superstructure violation. The player WILL NOT BE REPLACED, it is a power play structure therefore for two minutes (unless scored upon) the penalized team will serve a player down.  This includes goalies.  Teams will have 30 seconds to replace goalies or the officials will start play.  Pennies will be placed in each goal during every game to help speed up replacements.  Players will be penalized for two minutes if the superstructure is struck during warm-up before games or during halftime.  Our officials, scorekeeper, or league administrator have the jurisdiction to assess penalties that occur during “un-officiated” time. A deflection off a player or playing surface will not result in a structure violation. The ball will be placed directly below the point of contact unless off of the defensive team inside the penalty area (resulting in a restart from the penalty spot). Any player (including the goalkeeper) INTENTIONALLY striking the superstructure (in the opinion of the referee) shall receive a YELLOW CARD for unsporting conduct.  That player must serve ALL FIVE MINUTES of the penalty and a player (teammate) may not replace them unless the penalized team is scored upon.

If play is stopped for any reason other than going out of play or foul, play will be restarted with a drop-ball where the ball was stopped unless the ball is in the penalty box, then it will be dropped at the penalty spot.


Rule 10 - Method of Scoring


A team scores a goal when the whole of the ball legally passes over the goal line.  A goal may be scored directly from a restart with exception to a kick-off.

Rule 11 - Fouls and other Violations


A foul against an opponent, or penal foul, occurs if a player:

a.)    Holds an opponent.

b.)    Handles the ball (except by the goal keeper within his goal area).

c.)    Plays in a dangerous manner.

d.)    Slide Tackles.

e.)    Sliding

f.)     Impedes the progress of an opponent  (“Obstruction”), or…

g.)    Prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands.

h.)    Uses the wall with two hands in order to gain advantage over the opponent (players may have one hand on the wall).

i.)     Kicks an opponent.

j.)     Trips an opponent.

k.)    Jumps at an opponent.

l.)     Charges an opponent.

m.) Strikes or elbows an opponent.

n.)    Pushes an opponent.

o.)    Structure Violation

p.)    Swearing

*all above fouls contribute toward team foul total


Non-Penal fouls include:

a.)    Goalkeeper violations including handling inside his goal area from a kicked ball from a teammate and improper distribution from foot.

b.)    Double touch (not allowing another player to touch the ball before playing it a second time from a restart – the wall is not another player!).

*Do not contribute toward team foul total

Goalkeeper Violations


A goalkeeper, after releasing the ball from his hands into play, may not handle the ball again until it has been touched or played by an opponent, unless a stoppage of play has occurred. A keeper may throw the ball or kick it from the ground with the exception of a volley kick, drop kick, or punt to release it into play. The restart for a goalkeeper violation will be a direct free kick for the attacking team from the penalty spot.

A teammate shall not deliberately kick the ball back to his goalkeeper for the goalkeeper to legally handle the ball (including a pass off of the wall). The penalty will result in a direct kick restart from the penalty spot. 

Goalkeeper steps are not counted, but unnecessary delay, in excess of five (5) seconds, by the goal keeper may be determined by the referee and penalized by awarding a direct kick to the opposing team from the penalty spot.


Goalkeeper Handballs

Goalkeeper handling is determined by the ball’s position when handled (does not matter where goalkeepers feet are). If the goalkeeper is outside the goal box but inside the penalty area when a handball occurs the restart is from penalty mark.  If the goalkeeper attempts to prevent a goal-scoring opportunity by illegally handing the ball, a penalty kick will be awarded following issuance of a card.


Note: The goalkeeper will not be required to serve any blue card timed penalty, however, each time penalty assessed the goalkeeper must be served by a player on the field designated by the coach/manager. (Red card and Yellow card violations will be assessed to the goalkeeper and served in the same manner as a field player).


Blue Card Offense: The referee may issue a Blue Card for the following fouls:

a.)    Goalkeeper Endangerment;

b.)    Unsporting Behavior by a player;

c.)    Substitution Violations

d.)    Team Foul Violations (6 team foul accumulation)

e.)    Structure Violation

f.)     Encroachment

g.)    Slide Tackling

h.)    Boarding


Yellow (Cautionable) Offenses: The Referee may issue a Yellow Card for reckless fouls and offenses described directly above, and for the following:

a.)    Unsporting Behavior

1.      Player attempts to deceive the referee by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled

2.      Deliberately/Intentionally striking the superstructure above playing surface.

b.)    Persistent Infringement (including slide tackling) abides by USSF Rules

c.)    Dissent (by word or action)

d.)    Provoking Altercation (verbal or physical): Making physical contact with an opponent (e.g., pushing or poking), short of fighting or using the ball to do so

e.)    Persistent encroachment (delaying the restart of play)

f.)     Deliberate handball

g.)    Boarding in a reckless manner


Red (Ejectionable) Offenses: A person receives a Red Card for fouls and offenses described directly above, which the referee considers violent or use of excessive force, and for:

a.)    Second Yellow

b.)    Elbowing: Intentionally elbowing an opponent above the shoulder

c.)    Vicious Slide Tackling

d.)    Fighting

e.)    Leaving team bench or penalty area to engage in a fracas or confrontation with the opposition or a game official

f.)     Violent conduct or serious foul play

g.)    Foul or abusive language


Rule 12- Free Kicks


When the ball is kicked and moved, it is in play and the opponents must be 10 feet from the ball. All free kicks are direct! A defensive wall is permitted on all free kicks except penalty kicks. Before the team takes the free kick, the ball must be stationary.


Rule 13 - Penalty Kick


a.)    The ball is placed at the penalty kick mark

b.)    The goalkeeper must have both feet on the goal line until the ball is in play

c.)    The player taking the penalty kick may not touch the ball again until after touching another player.  The wall is not another player!


Rule 14 Goal Kick


Kick may be taken anywhere inside the goal box.


Rule 15 - Corner Kick


The ball will be placed on the corner spot. There is no corner arc.


Rule 16 - Time Penalties


-Blue Card – (2 minutes) for the player receiving the card. In all other cases with blue cards, a team is permitted to return a player to the field when the opponent scores a goal. The team must also play a power play setting playing with a player down. The player receiving the blue card may not reenter the game for two minutes. A running total of penal, or fouls against the opponent will be kept by the official scorekeeper. Upon committing six penal fouls in one half, a team will be issued a blue card. After the penalty has been assessed, the team foul total will start over. The offending team may choose any player on the field at the time of the sixth foul to serve the penalty.


-Yellow Card – (5 minutes) offending player must serve a mandatory five minute penalty regardless of any goal scored.  The team receiving the caution must play a player short for the offense, but may return one player to the game after being scored upon; provided it is not the player that received the yellow card. The player receiving the yellow card may not return to the field until the full five minutes have been served. The player must leave the field and stay on their team’s bench, without participating in any manner in the game.



-Red Card – (5 minutes) Team will play short for the entire five-minute period. A player (not the ejected player) may reenter the game once the entire five-minute penalty has been served regardless of goals scored. This is the ONLY time a player may not reenter the game when a team is scored upon while serving a penalty. BFR management or the referee may demand that an ejected player, coach, or bench personnel over the age of 18 may be required to leave the building for the remainder of the day. The player is suspended for the next scheduled game of the team that she/he was participating with when the Red Card was received. That player is also suspended from any other leagues or divisions at BFR for the remainder of the day the ejection occurs. Individuals 18 and under are confined to the bench and are under supervision of the bench coach and may require removal to the lobby if necessary.

Taunting is considered “ungentlemanly conduct” and will be disciplined accordingly.  Any player/coach (including bench personnel) that receives a red card for violent conduct or serious foul play, foul or abusive language/behavior might not be permitted to play again in the current session. Anyone involved in fighting will be banned from the Bluffton Family Recreation Center. This includes the playing field, locker rooms, lobby, spectator area and parking lot. Use of foul or abusive language may result in a one game suspension and may be enforced by referees or any BFR employee. With conditions of many children and young adults in close proximity, foul or abusive language is considered degrading, demoralizing and demeaning; and will not be tolerated at BFR.


Penalty Time- The penalty time will begin on the restart of game play by the referee’s signal.  A team may not be reduced to fewer than four total players on the field.

Multiple Penalties: If two teammates are serving timed penalties when a third

teammate is penalized, the third timed penalty does not begin until one

of the teammates' timed penalties has expired.  If a goal is scored during two concurrently running penalties, the lesser (or earlier if equal) of the two penalties will expire. 





BFR Administrative Rules


Rule 1A – Coach and Age Requirements


All youth teams, 18 years of age and under, MUST have a responsible adult, at least 18 years of age or older and familiar with BFR’s indoor soccer rules, to be in control and on the bench.  Adult teams must consist of players at least 18 years of age in the competitive, and recreational division.

No more than two players from the Adult Competitive league shall play on any given team in the Adult Recreational league. 


Rule 2A - First Aid


Any player with blood on his/her uniform must be removed from the field until the situation is remedied to the satisfaction of the referee(s). First aid and ice packs are available at either the front desk or the scorekeeper.


Rule 3A - Team Management


We ask that all coaches and players remain on the player platforms during the games until they are being substituted into the game. One coach may stand at the doorway during the game to instruct players if needed. Parents/coaches are not permitted to stand behind the goal areas or any other area around the dasher boards. All spectators (aside from handicap accessibility) must watch games from the upstairs mezzanine.  No players, balls, coats, bags or equipment on the track at anytime. Walkers/joggers always have the right of way. Use the hooks and space provided for your belongings. 


Rule 4A - League Fees and Rosters


·        ALL Deposits are due at the time of registration!  Without deposit a team is not officially registered.

·        Full team payment is due by first game.  Teams may be suspended from play without payment.  In sessions requiring standings forfeits are assessed to teams not having paid in full by second game.

·        Teams are required to submit signed rosters and may not add players without BFR permission.  Players may only play for the team on which they are rostered.

·        A player may not be rostered on more than one team in any division. 

·        ALL returned checks will be subject to a $25 service fee.

·        “The Bluffton Family Recreation Sports Director reserve the right to extend penalties as deemed necessary to provide a safe environment for everyone involved.”




Rule 5A – Scorekeeper’s Duties/Authority


Game Authority:

·        Timekeeper (25:00 minute halves 10:00 minutes quarters for U8).  

·        Keep record of timed penalties.  The penalty starts with the referee’s whistle or once play resumes (not before).  Keep each bench informed of penalty expiration time.

Ø  Blue Card – 2 minutes

Ø  Yellow Card – 5 minutes (cautioned player must serve entire 5 minutes)

Ø  Red Card – 5 minutes served by team (down a player for entire 5 minute period).  Ejected player must leave the bench if they are a distraction or disruptive.

·        Assist referees with poor substitution methods by either team, and with any player removed for exposed blood.  Scorekeeper has the authority to disallow a player to reenter the game due to blood exposure or blood on clothing

·        Assist the referee or league administrator with pre-game or halftime structure violations.  In the absence of officials or league administration, the scorekeeper may assess and enforce this blue card penalty.



Revised: September, 2020



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