Rec Rules

1. Rules of Play
All rules for playing the game shall conform to FIFA “Laws of the Game”.  These laws are updated yearly and we will follow the most current release.  Visit to find the latest rules.  South Mississippi Soccer Club (SMSC) will post exceptions to the “Laws of the Game” that pertain only to SMSC club games, club tournament and other such designated games.  These exceptions will also differ for the different age groups within SMSC.  In any case of conflict, we will rely on the “Laws of the Game” to get the official “Laws of the Game”.  SMSC has followed MYSA direction and is using “Small Sided Play”.  “Small Sided Play” means teams do not use the traditional 11v11 format that is used in the professional soccer world.

The following team and field sizes will be used:

  • U5-U6 = 4v4, Field 25yd x 20yd
  • U7-U8 = 5v5, Field 50yd x 30yd
  • U10 = 6v6, Field 60yd x 40yd
  • U12 = 8v8, Field 70yd x 45yd
  • U14 and up = 11v11

2. Registration
Registration for all players in SMSC will be conducted through our Registrar.  Registration will be advertised and continue for a set period that may vary from year to year.  Typically, registration starts in August and concludes in mid September.  Team formation occurs in early October.  Fees my increase or decrease from year to year based on any number of factors such as season length, MYSA dues, insurance, referee fees, uniform cost, equipment purchases and other factors.  Any player who registers with SMSC will be placed on a team.

Teams are formed from three (3) sub-pools within SMSCs domain.  Sub-pools are Gulfport (South of I-10), Orange Grove (Gulfport north of I-10 and Harrison county) and Long Beach-Pass Christian.  Sub-pools are used to try to form teams with children who know each other and attend the same schools as well as cut down the distances required to attend practice.

Late registration will be accepted with a late fee and if openings exist on formed teams, the child will be placed on a team.  If teams are already at maximum players allowed in your sub-pool you may be offered a team in another sub-pool that is short players.

3. Age Groups
Age groups for team formation are as follows: U5, U6, U7, U8, U10, U12, U14, U16 and U19.  U16 and U19 registration does not occur until later in the year (after High School season is over). Further division between Boys and Girls starts at the U7 age group. For U5 and U6 ages, SMSC plays boys and girls together. For U7 and up, single gender teams are formed.

4. Season
SMSC will schedule a regular season and tournaments.  Regular season play will consist of a fixed number of games, all played on Saturdays, at the County Farm Soccer Complex.  The season has typically been a minimum of twelve games and as many as 15.  We have traditionally started in November with the Turkey Shootout Tournament as one the first times for teams to play.

The regular season may start in early November with 6 to 7 games being played before we take off for Christmas coming back in January to finish the rest of the games.  Our club tournament is set two weeks before the MYSA Southern District Tournament which is usually in April.

The teams that win at the MYSA Southern District Tournament continue on to the Tide Cup for the State Championship which might be in early May.  All Star selection and participation can take SMSC players to games all the way to July.

5. Roster, Transfer and Release
Roster and Transfer will conform to MYSA:

Player Release will conform to MYSA:

Team Formation
Teams are formed by SMSC Board members before the season starts. Information found on the registration forms filled in by the parent/guardian at the time of registration is all the information that the board members have to classify each childs abilities. Team formation by SMSC tries to make the teams as even as possible.

The information asked for on the registration form includes:

  • Age
  • Years played
  • Skill level (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Highly Advanced)
  • Other soccer played (High School/Varsity, All Star, Select)

Using these factors, teams are formed to try to distribute the talent evenly. Teams are allowed to roster two players regardless of skill by having the coach and assistant coaches children on the same team. After these children are put on the roster the number of teams will be determined by the number of players available in each of the three (3) sub-pools (Gulfport, Long Beach/Pass Christian, Orange Grove) and the teams will be formed using the rest of the registrations.

Inter-season transfer from one team to another is highly discouraged. Teams are formed to even talent and to allow one player to leave a team for another requires a request to the SMSC Board and a vote on the matter. Teams whose players quit, stop coming, move away and fall below the necessary number needed to play games will be assigned to other teams to allow them to continue playing. If two teams have this happen in the same age group, the teams may be combined into one team to allow the children to continue playing. At no time will any roster exceed two times the number of players per team allowed on the field during a game.

Post-season Transfer
SMSC has allowed teams who qualify for District whose rosters have fallen below field (the number of players per team allowed on the field during a game) + 2, to add players from other SMSC teams who failed to qualify for District. These transfers must go through the SMSC Registrar and need to be submitted to MYSA two weeks before the District Tournament to allow the added players to be eligible. Verification of players removed from the initial roster will be made to insure that no player who wants to continue playing is removed against their will.

6. Substitutions
ALL PLAYERS ON A ROSTER AND ATTENDING A GAME MUST PLAY AT LEAST 50% OF THE GAME.  This is the overriding mandate of Recreational Soccer.  Do not allow your child to be cheated out of his/her required playing time.  If your child is not allowed to play 50%, you should immediately find the Field Marshall, Head Referee, or a Board Member of SMSC and report it.  Exceptions to this rule are players who are serving Red card suspensions, a child who may have an illness which does not allow him to play but still attend, and other disciplinary actions from either the coach or the parents.  All the mentioned exceptions should be reported to the Referee before play starts.  The Referee should note the exceptions and inform the opposing coach before play starts and the SMSC Head Referee after the game.

Games will be played only with players on the official roster.  No guest players are allowed during club play.  All SMSC games will be played in quarters.  All substitutions will take place during the quarter breaks.  The exception to this rule is an injured player may be substituted during the middle of a quarter.  The Referee will also allow the opposing team to substitute one player at the discretion of the coach for any child replaced because of injury in a quarter.  Any player who is removed for injury may be allowed to re-enter the game at the next quarter break.  If possible, try to make sure the 50% rule is meet.

7. Length of Games, Overtime, and Ball Size
Game length will be determined by the age group playing.  No stoppage time will be added because of injury or delays in play.

  • U5 and U6 will play eight (8) minute quarters.
  • U7 and U8 will play ten (10) minute quarters.
  • U10 will play twelve (12) minute quarters.
  • U12 will play fifteen (15) minute quarters.
  • U14 will play seventeen (17) minute quarters.

No overtimes will be played in any regular season games.

Ball size is determined by age group.

  • U5 – U8 = Size 3
  • U10 – U12 = Size 4
  • U14 and up = Size 5

SMSC does NOT supply a ball for each child that registers. SMSC has typically supplied the Coach with one or two practice balls and a “Game Ball”. These are for use by the team but it is up to the parent or guardian of the child to supply their child with the appropriate size ball. Practices are accomplished much easier when each child has their own ball.

8. Uniforms
All players on the Roster will receive a complete uniform.  A complete set includes jersey, shorts and socks.  Any player not receiving a complete uniform should inform the coach of any deficiencies.  Uniforms will be numbered from 1 to the number of jerseys per team.  Sizes for uniforms will be determined from registration forms and orders placed using that information.  SMSC tries very hard to have uniforms for every child before the season starts but exceptions do happen.  All efforts will be made to get your child a complete uniform.  Names on uniforms are not included and must be paid for by the team.  Sponsorship logos are applied after SMSC receives the sponsors check.  Jersey colors can be chosen by the coach, only if the team has a sponsor and the sponsor has paid before the uniform order is made.  Jersey colors will be limited by the manufacturer.  All shorts will be black.  Socks will match the jersey. SMSC has typically supplied one Goalie jersey for the team to share. It is the responsibility of the Coach to keep track of this special jersey for use on game days.

SMSC does not supply cleats or shin guards. The purchase of these items is the sole responsibility of the parents or guardian of the child. NO CHILD WILL BE ALLOWED TO PLAY WITH OUT SHIN GUARDS. The shin guard policy extends to practice time as well as games. Cleats are optional but highly recommended.

9. Teams
Teams will be formed to conform with MYSA:

The number of teams in each age group and sub-pool will be dependant on the number of registrations.  Team sizes will vary with age group.

10. Participation
ALL PLAYERS ON A ROSTER AND ATTENDING A GAME MUST PLAY AT LEAST 50% OF THE GAME.  This is the overriding mandate of Recreational Soccer.  Do not allow your child to be cheated out of his/her required playing time.  If your child is not allowed to play 50%, you should immediately find the Field Marshall, Head Referee, or a Board Member of SMSC and report it.  Exceptions to this rule are players who are serving Red card suspensions, a child who may have an illness which does not allow him to play but still attend, and other disciplinary actions from either the coach or the parents.  All the mentioned exceptions should be reported to the Referee before play starts.  The Referee should note the exceptions and inform the opposing coach before play starts and the SMSC Head Referee after the game.

11. Red Card Infraction Penalties
Players that receive a Red card or cumulative Red card, ie. two yellows in the same game, will be removed from the current game and will be required to sit out the next regularly scheduled game as well. Straight Red, Sending-off Offenses (Laws of the Game, Law 12), will result in a report being sent to the 1st Vice President, Disciplinary committee, and possible additional action added to the mandatory 1 (one) game suspension. Cumulative Red cards, two yellows, while serious enough to warrant a 1 game suspension, will not generally come before the Disciplinary committee for further action.

Coaches who are ejected from a game will incur a one game (or more) suspension of the next scheduled game. All coach ejections will automatically come before the Disciplinary committee for review and possible further sanctions as per the MSA “Code of Ethics“.

Players serving a suspension must report to the game referee before play commences and the referee will then report that the player did meet the one game suspension requirements. After the game is over the player will then be returned to an eligible status and be available for the next game. Failure to report to the referee before the game starts will not remove the one game suspension which will carry over to the next scheduled game.

Coaches will report to the Head referee or SMSC official before the start of the next game to serve their suspension. Failure to do so will not fulfill the suspension requirements and the suspension will carry over to the next game.

12. Representatives to MYSA Year End Tournaments
All teams are encouraged to participate in the SMSC Club Tournament.  All teams, no matter what the regular season record, can participate.  The winner and the runner-up teams in each age group and gender are guaranteed a berth in the MYSA Southern District Tournament.  Additionally, the third and fourth place teams may be asked to participate.  The tournament moves around every year so some travel may be required with an overnight stay possible.  All tournaments are two days and will require play on Sunday.  If your team places first or second in the SMSC Club Tournament, SMSC expects that team to participate in the MYSA Southern District Tournament and the Tide Cup if the team advances.  No funds from MYSA will be used to help teams travel to these events.  All expenses will be covered by the team itself.

13. Tournament Participation
The Turkey Shootout, Great Day of Soccer Girls Tournament and the Club Tournament are all optional tournaments and not required.  The Club Tournament is free and open to all SMSC teams, regardless of regular season record.  All teams are encouraged to participate and compete for the “Season Championship”.  If you participate and qualify for the MYSA District Tournament, you are expected to represent SMSC.  Only the most dire circumstances will excuse a team from district play.

14. Officiating
All games will have some form of “Officiating”.  U5-U8 will have Coaches on the field enforcing the rules and encouraging the players.  The Coaches will also be responsible for keeping the quarters to the allowed time. U10 and up will have paid referees supplied by SMSC and assigned by the Head Referee.  Each game with referees will have three referees, a Referee and two Assistant Referees (AR).  The Referee will be on the field with the players and is the senior official present.   The ARs will be off the field and on opposite sides of the field watching for balls over the line as well as infractions on the field.  The AR can make calls just like the Referee but the Referee has over-rule capability and has the final decision on any calls made.  Time will be kept by the Referee on the field.

15. Forfeits, Postponements, and Rainouts
All Coaches are responsible for getting game times to their players and parents.  Game times and schedules will be posted on the SMSC web site as soon as they are available.  Changes to the schedules can occur due to factors such as weather, tournament scheduling, team reformation and other things.  Check the schedule often and make sure you are going by the latest version.

Any team not playing at their assigned time without prior dispensation will forfeit that game which will be recorded as a loss.  While this is not a big deal for your regular season record, it does have a negative quality.  First, you are depriving two teams the opportunity to play soccer.  That is what everyone signed up for and we strive to have the best soccer experience for every player in SMSC.  Second, if referees have been assigned to the game, they get paid.  This monetary loss for no reason might have been avoided by a phone call to a commissioner the day before with the possibility of rescheduling.

Blatant disregard of the rules can result in a FORFEIT.
For example: A Coach does not play two players 50% of a game in an attempt to gain an advantage by sitting the weaker players. Not only will a forfeit be assessed but the Coach will be brought before the Disciplinary Committee for further action.

Official Postponements and Rainouts will be rescheduled if possible.  Rescheduling might involve as few as two teams or the entire league.  Single game days might turn into double-headers in the case of a rainout.  Check with your commissioner and the web site for any revised schedules.

16. Discipline
Any infraction of the rules, Laws of the Game, or other situations might result in disciplinary action being taken against the offending Parent, Coach, Player, relative or Fan.  MYSA has issued a Code of Ethics (section 4.6), which will be used to by SMSC as a guide for the Disciplinary Committee when any matter comes before it.

17. Protests
Protests of regular season games will not be allowed.  Protests, by definition, are made when a Coach, team, or player feels that the Referee has made a call contrary to the “Laws of the Game” as defined by FIFA.  At the level of soccer that we play, we strive to have all the rules followed to the letter but since we already have imposed our own rules over the “Laws of the Game”, protests of SMSC rules versus FIFA “Laws of the Game” will not be allowed.  We will listen to any complaints of rules interpretations and attempt to clarify to the Referee, Coach, Team, or parent what the SMSC policy is.  The Head Referee will be the first person available to answer any questions at any scheduled game day.

If a RULES violation is reported to the Referee, Head Referee, Field Marshall, Tournament Director or Board Member, it is not considered a “Protest”. Any reporting of such violations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. An example of this would be reporting that a Coach had not followed the “50% Playing Time” rule.

18. Boundaries
The boundaries of SMSC will be within Harrison and Hancock County, Mississippi. Any other organizations protected by Mississippi Youth Soccer Association within these counties are recognized.  SMSC contains within its area Gulfport, MS; Long Beach, MS; Pass Christian, MS; and large areas of unincorporated Harrison County, MS; north of the listed cities including Lyman, MS; and Saucier, MS.

19. Alcoholic Beverages
Absolutely no Alcoholic beverages of any sort will be allowed at any SMSC function.  SMSC functions include games, practice, tournaments, or Great Day of Soccer.  Further, this also applies to any of the soccer fields where SMSC teams meet to practice or play games.  SMSC facilities include fields, buildings, and any parking area around the field(s).  Any person seen drinking alcohol, or exhibiting signs of drunkenness at an SMSC function will be asked to leave.  Refusal to leave will be just cause to call the Police or the Sheriffs Dept. to the scene to remove the individual or group with every intention of prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law.


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