What is the ruling on matching sock color? If a team is wearing a predominately red sock, and a few players want to mix-n-match, say one sock is black and another is red or white on the same player. This question applies to high school level play. ThanksUSSF answer (April 17, 2007):
We do not deal with the rules of high school soccer. What follows applies to games played under the aegis of the United States Soccer Federation.

The matter of different colored socks is moot. While nothing is specifically written in Law 4 regarding the color of socks, tradition and common practice dictate that all members of a team (with the possible exception of the goalkeeper) wear socks of the same color, rather than each wearing his or her own choice. Wearing one sock of one color and one of another color is not strictly prohibited under the Laws of the Game.

The ruling will be found in the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game,” which is based on the Laws, memoranda from FIFA and the International F. A. Board, and on memoranda and policy papers published by the United States Soccer Federation.

It is implicit in the Law that each side wear a distinctively colored jersey, that shorts and socks be uniform for each team, and that the uniforms be distinguishable from the uniforms worn by the other team. However, the details of the uniform are governed by the competition authority and can vary widely from one match to another. The referee must know and enforce the rules of each competition worked. Players’ jerseys must remain tucked inside their shorts, socks must remain pulled up, and each player must wear shinguards under the socks. Slide pants or similar undergarments must be as close as possible to the main color of the shorts.


FIFA’s Laws of the Game states that on a Corner Kick “the ball is placed inside the corner arc…”. My question is: Does “inside the corner arc” mean that the ball cannot touch any part of the goal line, side line or arc marking? Or does it mean that any part of the ball touching any part of the goal line, side line or arc marking is considered “inside the arc”? Inside the “Field of Play” is any part of the ball still touching the goal line or side line. Would not the same interpretation hold true for the goal line, side line or corner arc marking when taking a Corner Kick? For that matter, would the same hold true for the placement of the ball for a Penalty Kick, i.e. the ball can be placed anywhere, as long as the ball is still touching the Penalty Kick marking?USSF answer (April 16, 2007):
On a corner kick, the ball need only break the plane of the arc or the touch- or goal lines to be considered in the proper position.

On a penalty kick, the ball must be ON the penalty mark.…


Is there a USSF rule about a goal keeper not being allowed to punt the ball past mid-field? We were told at our game yesterday that if the ball goes past mid-field in the air, that a penalty was enforced from where the ball landed? That sounded hoakie to us and since we are playing by USSF rules, I wanted to come to a source. Thank you in advance for your time.USSF answer (April 16, 2007):
The U. S. Soccer Federation does not make rules for youth play. That is up to U. S. Youth Soccer and other affiliated youth organizations. USYS recommends that players under 13 years of age play small-sided soccer, for which they have promulgated their modifications of the Laws of the Game. Players aged 12 and above play according to the Laws of the Game, with modifications for length of halves.

The USYS U10 and U12 rule says:
Law 12 Fouls and Misconduct: Conform to FIFA with the exception that an indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team at the center spot on the halfway line if a goalkeeper punts or drop-kicks the ball in the air from his/her penalty area into the opponents penalty area.

The USYS U 10 and U12 addendum says:
Law 12 The rule on the goalkeeper’s distribution still allows for the ball to be punted the entire length of the field, it just can not go directly into the opponents’ penalty area

So, yes, the goalkeeper may punt or kick the ball into the opposing team’s half of the field and even into that team’s penalty area. The only requirement is that the ball hit the ground somewhere outside the opposing team’s penalty area before entering that penalty area.

However, there may be a rule in the particular competition (league or cup or tournament or whatever) in which your team plays that has this rule. Please check with the competition authority.…


I saw the Chelsea v Blackburn semi-final game on television today and it appeared that on one free kick Pedersen teed up the ball by putting a divot into the field with his heel. On a later free kick his teammate appeared to be pushing down the grass around the ball with his hands prior to the kick. Are these “modifications” to the field cautionable per Advice to Referees 1.6 or are these types of teeing up the ball allowable? Also, I continue to see professional referees at the highest levels in Europe pacing off the 10 yards for a free kick. Do my eyes deceive me or has that practice been universally adopted?

USSF answer (April 16, 2007):
The practice of making divots or otherwise rearranging the field has always been considered to be unsporting behavior (or its linguistic predecessors). Nevertheless, it continues and is only rarely punished by referees.

As to pacing off the distance for free kicks, we cannot really comment on the practices of foreign referees, but that is sometimes a useful tool in slowing things down and proactively calming the players. Doing this should be kept in reserve for unusual circumstances.…


I’m sorry to trouble you with such a detail, but the question came up and no one present had, or could find a definitive answer to the following question:
If provided the option/ability should the referee team choose a jersey color before or after checking in both teams? Good arguments where raised for both before and after. I guess if there is nothing written, is there a generally accepted “best practice”?Though it was generally understood that a referee should not wear a jersey either too or from the pitch, again we could find nothing written.

Is either of this covered in the “Referee Administrative Handbook” and we missed just missed it, or is documented someplace else?

Any insight you could provide would be wonderful as we would like set the best possible ground work for our younger referees.

USSF answer (April 11, 2007):
Referees should exercise common sense (you will see this again below) and choose the uniform color that causes the least confusion for both players and the officiating crew. This is not covered in the Referee Administrative Handbook, but If you need a reference, then we suggest that you use this excerpt from the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game”:

Referees may wear only the gold primary jersey or the black/white-, blue/black-, or red/black-striped alternate jerseys, and may wear only the approved socks. No other colors will be worn without express permission of the USSF. If the uniform colors worn by a goalkeeper and the referee or by a team (or both teams) and the referee are similar enough to invite confusion, the goalkeeper or the team(s) must change to different colors. Only if there is no way to resolve the color similarity, must the referee (and the assistant referees) wear the colors that conflict least with the players. Referees and assistant referees must wear the same color jerseys and the same style of socks, and all should wear the same length sleeves. The referee uniform does not include a hat, cap, or other head covering, with the exception of religious head covering. Referees must wear the badge of the current registration year.

In addition, referees should exercise common sense and not wear their uniform or other clothes that identify them as referees when they are coaching or watching a game, or when traveling to the field. Wearing such clothing as a spectator invites comment and cries out for spectators or others to question the non-working referee on the calls of the officials on the field. Wearing such clothing as a coach could be considered a form of gamesmanship.…


Does the ball need to be stationary in the goal area before it can be kicked? A parent on my team said that she witnessed in a game that her daughter was refereeing a keeper that was rolling the ball out and a defender kicking the ball into play while the ball was still moving in the goal area.ÂI have looked this question up in “Advice to Referees”, “FIFA Laws of the Game” and the 2006 question and answers and cannot find in any of these publications that the ball has to be stationary only that it has to be on the ground in the goal area.

USSF answer (April 11, 2007):
The fact that the ball is stationary at a goal kick is one of those things that the makers of the Laws, the International F. A. Board (IFAB), have left out, because they assume that “everyone knows” that the ball must be stationary. (In fact, if you had been watching one of the EPL games yesterday on Fox Soccer Channel, you would have seen the referee make the kicking team take a goal kick again, simply because the goalkeeper had kicked the ball while it was still moving.)

Here is an answer we gave back on September 26, 2005 that explains the technicalities of the matter:
An excellent question. Nowhere does it state specifically that the ball must be stationary for goal kicks, but it is implied in Law 17 for corner kicks (and in Law 14 for penalty kicks). The specific statements in Laws 8 and 13 that the ball be stationary for the start and restart of play and free kicks also imply that the ball must be stationary for all kick restarts. (Note: This answer was first published on July 9, 2001. Nothing has changed since that time.)

Law 8
* the ball is stationary on the center mark
* the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward


Law 13

Types of Free Kicks
For both direct and indirect free kicks, the ball must be stationary when the kick is taken and the kicker does not touch the ball a second time until it has touched another player.

Law 14
Position of the Ball and the Players
The ball:
* is placed on the penalty mark

Law 16
* the ball is kicked from any point within the goal area by a player of the defending team
[the inference here being that if the ball was at “any point” it was stationary, but you could probably argue that one either way]

Law 17
* the ball is placed inside the corner arc at the nearest corner flagpost
[the inference here (and in Law 14) is that if the ball is “placed,” it is stationary]
* the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves

In all cases of a kick restart, the ball must be stationary before being kicked. It is not in play until it has been kicked and moves (forward in the case of kick-off and penalty kick).…


During course of play, a player from Team A slides into player from Team B and is hurt. Referee allows play to continue for 5 seconds until he determines that the player is not getting up. Team A has ball in their possession when Referee stops play and stops the clock. He calls out that Team A will re-start play with indirect kick from where they had the ball in their possession.The teams clear the field while the injured player is attended to. During break, Referee confers with Assistant Referee and determines that the injured player deserved a Yellow Card for sliding into the play with spikes up from behind. So, after the injured player is carried off the field, Referee goes to Team A’s bench and gives the player a Yellow Card.

Team A re-starts play with indirect free kick which is played behind Team B’s defense and Team A scores immediately.

Coach from Team B is upset. After the goal is scored but before the kick-off, he asks two questions of the Referee:
1) If you stop play for injury, shouldn’t the game have been re-started with drop ball? 2) If referee gave a yellow card to Team A, how could Team A restart play with indirect free kick? Shouldn’t Team B have received possession of ball at the point of the foul?

If Coach from Team B is correct on either of these points, is there anything that can be done or is it too late?

Referee determined that he may or may not have made an error but it didn’t matter because it was too late.

What is your opinion?

USSF answer (April 10, 2007):
If the referee was aware of the misconduct, applied advantage, and waited for the next stoppage (which happened to be the injury), the restart should have been a DB.

If the referee decides that the reason (determined after the fact) for the stoppage was NOT the injury but previously missed misconduct by Player A that had happened before the injury but which was brought to his attention ex post facto by the AR, then the proper restart should have been an IFK for team B.

If, as really should have been the case, the referee recognized that the misconduct was serious, then the card should have been red and the restart would still have been an IFK for team B.

If the referee had been totally on top of things and recognized that the red card misconduct was the result of a foul which endangered the safety of an opponent, then the restart should have been a DFK for team B.

There is no scenario here under The Laws of the Game which could result in an IFK for team A.…


I am having some trouble understanding the difference between these two offenses. screening I believe is when the player has the ball under control without using his hands, arms, legs or body to protect his control of the ball, if an offense has occurred the opponent is awarded a DFK.Impeding the progress, I believe would be when the ball is not under control, the player deliberately prevents the opponent from playing the ball by obstructing the shortest path to the ball, the opponent would be awarded an IFK.

If the opponent is impeded in his progress to the ball by a player using his arm, legs, hands or body (what else can a player impede and opponent with) is the opponent awarded a DFK? Thank You for your time, great web site.

USSF answer (April 10, 2007):
“Screening” is not necessarily an offense, though the word is certainly used that way by various people. To “screen” someone illegally is to block that person’s view. It is most applicable in relation to a player in an offside position “screening” the view of the opposing goalkeeper (or possibly an opposing defender).

You might perhaps mean “shielding,” which is when a player has possession of the ball and does not wish others to take it away. (This is also called “screening.”) When shielding, a player may use the body and arms to protect the ball, but the arms may not be used as tools to push the opponent away. (In other words, the player may not contact the opponent with the arms.) That would be the offense of either pushing or holding, depending on what was done.

Shielding becomes impeding when the player who is shielding the ball does not have possession and cannot establish it.

Here is a definition of impeding from the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game”:

“Impeding the progress of an opponent” means moving on the field so as to obstruct, interfere with, or block the path of an opponent. Impeding can include crossing directly in front of the opponent or running between the opponent and the ball so as to form an obstacle with the aim of delaying progress. There will be many occasions during a game when a player will come between an opponent and the ball, but in the majority of such instances, this is quite natural and fair. It is often possible for a player not playing the ball to be in the path of an opponent and still not be guilty of impeding.The offense of impeding an opponent requires that the ball not be within playing distance and that physical contact between the player and the opponent is normally absent. If physical contact occurs, the referee should, depending on the circumstances, consider instead the possibility that a charging infringement has been committed (direct free kick) or that the opponent has been fairly charged off the ball (indirect free kick, see Advice 12.22). However, nonviolent physical contact may occur while impeding the progress of an opponent if, in the opinion of the referee, this contact was an unavoidable consequence of the impeding (due, for example, to momentum).

The referee’s judgment of “playing distance” should be based on the player’s ability to play the ball, not upon any arbitrary standard.

The restart for holding or pushing is a direct free kick, taken from the spot of the offense. The restart for impeding is an indirect free kick, taken from the spot of the offense.…


Recently I was a Field Marshall at a tournament, and I have been a ref for the 10 years now (although I have been coaching for the last 5 years and have only refed 2 games in that time) … anyway, there was a handball in the penalty area near that AR’s side of the field that the ref was out of position to call, but the AR on that side clearly saw, but did not call. At half time the asst. coach of the team that did not get the call ran over and admantly opposed his “no-call”. To which the AR replied that “as an AR I am not allowed to make that call”, now unless I missed something along the way, I thought that an AR was allowed to make that call??Secondly, during PK’s in another game at that same tournament, a shot was taken that bounced off the crossbar and presumeably in (it was ruled a goal), the CR made no call but looked to the AR who simply shook his head yes …. what should have been the proper signal from the AR?

USSF answer (April 9, 2007):
1. Assistant referees do not make “calls,” they indicate to the referee that something has happened. However, they only flag for events that they are CERTAIN that the referee has not seen. In this case, the AR may have felt that the so-called deliberate handling was either trifling or that it was not deliberate at all. As to the rest, it is not our job to second guess ARs or referees, but we can certainly do as good a job from our desks as an assistant coach who has no business approaching either the AR or the referee in any situation. The assistant coach’s behavior was irresponsible, which means he or she should have been expelled from the game.

2. Your question is not quite clear. By “during PK’s” do you mean kicks from the penalty mark or a single penalty kick called during the match. If it was during KFTPM, then the AR’s mechanic was certainly within the range of what a referee may request an AR to do to indicate a good goal. If this occurred during a single penalty kick during the match, then the AR should have made eye contact with the referee; once eye contact was made, then the AR should have sprinted to his or her kick-off position.…


I was curious about restarts in indoor soccer. I once heard that all restarts are direct but I always thought it was based on the case (contact vs dangerous play etc.). Could you explain this to me?USSF answer (April 7, 2007):
The indoor rules published by USSF tell us that all indoor restarts are direct. However, at the moment, many indoor facilities have their own modifications of the Laws. You should ask if your indoor facility’s program is affiliated with the U. S. Soccer Federation before going any farther.…