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Soccer 101

Introduction to Soccer!

Since most of us did not grow up watching and playing soccer, we hope this brief summary of some of the rules and philosophy of the game the rest of the world calls "football" will add to your enjoyment as you watch your child play.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the laws of soccer are designed to keep the game moving. That is why play does not stop for every foul, nor every time a player goes down.

The second most important concept is "advantage." The referee applies advantage and does not necessarily call a foul if the offending team would gain an advantage from play being stopped.

Finally, remember PERSPECTIVE, both physical and mental. The referee will not always see everything that happens on the field. In addition, because of training and experience, and since he or she is impartial, the referee may perceive things differently than the parent of a player, or a coach, or even another trained referee. And, always remember: the decision of the referee on matters of the law is final!


Most fouls in soccer require deliberate conduct which is careless, reckless, or involves excessive force. For example, if a defender (player without the ball) trips an attacker (player with the ball), it usually is a foul. However, if the defender is making a reasonable attempt to play the ball, rather than the attacker, it may not be a foul, even if the attacker should fall over the defender's foot. The same goes for handling the ball. Just because the ball hits a player's hand or arm, does not necessarily mean that a foul has been committed. The player must have deliberately handled the ball.

Remember also that, if a player handles the ball and it goes to a player on the other team, the referee may ignore the foul for the moment, apply the advantage, and call out, "play on!" The same goes for a situation where two opposing players are "fouling" each other in a non-violent manner (one is pushing, the other is pulling). On which player would you call the foul?

In fact, much of what looks like "pushing" is actually "charging" and that can be legal in soccer. Shoulder-to-shoulder contact, in jockeying for position, is not considered a foul.

One foul, however, that does not require contact is "dangerous play," which is any conduct which the referee determines is dangerous to another player (or even to the offending player himself or herself).

Most fouls result in a free-kick. A foul committed by the defending team, inside of their own penalty area, can result in a penalty kick.

OFF-SIDE: A player is in an off-side position if, at the moment the ball is played by one of his or her teammates, he or she is in the opponent's half of the field and nearer to the opponent's goal-line than the ball, unless there are at least 2 defending players (counting the goal-keeper) even with or between the player and the goal-line. However, just being in an off-side position will not warrant an "off-side" call by the referee The player must also be involved in the active play. Off-side should always be judged at the moment the ball is last played by the player's teammate, not when it is received. A player may look off-side when the ball arrives, but may not have been off-side when it was played by his or her teammate, or vice versa.

THROW-IN: A team is entitled to a throw-in when the ball completely crosses one of the touch-lines (on the ground or in the air) and was last touched by an opponent. When making a throw-in, the player must deliver the ball with both hands from behind and over the head. When the ball is released, some part of both feet must be in contact with the ground and outside of the playing field, and he may not touch the ball again until it has touched another player.

GOAL-KICK: Kick awarded to the defending team when the ball completely crosses the goal-line (outside of the goal) and was last touched by a member of the attacking team. The ball may be placed anywhere within the goal-area.

CORNER-KICK: Kick awarded to the attacking team when the ball completely crosses the goal-line (outside of the goal) and was last touched by a member of the defending team. The ball is placed within the corner-arc, nearest to where it crossed the goal-line.


Now that we have given you some of the Laws of soccer, here are some of our own guidelines, specific to AYSO:

  1. The game is for the kids, not the adults.
  2. For your own safety and that of the players and referees, please remain behind the parent line, if there is one; that is, at least 5 feet from the touch-line. Being a few feet from the action will not interfere with your enjoyment of the game if everyone observes this rule and will facilitate the job of the assistant referee.
  3. Stay off the field unless you are invited by the referee. Players have been instructed to stay on the ground if they are injured. It is the referee's responsibility to determine whether play should be stopped immediately. The most common injury in youth soccer is damage to a player's pride. Nobody likes to fall down, even if it was someone else's fault, and especially if it is one's own fault. If you do not think the referee has noticed an injured player, yell "Player down!"
  4. Loud criticism of the officials is not part of the game of soccer. Not only does it teach the players improper values, 9 times out of 10 the criticism is the result of a misunderstanding of the rules or the different perspective that an impartial referee in the middle of play has from a coach or parent standing on the touch-line 20 or more yards away. Yes, coaches, and even parents, can be sent off if violating this concept.
  5. AYSO philosophy encourages positive comments and coaching. Think twice about criticism of players’ actions. Turn critical remarks into positive comments.
  6. During the regular season, matches can end in a tie. There is no overtime. Only during tournament play will there be overtime and, if necessary, a shoot-out.
  7. All players have been issued AYSO uniforms, including shirts (WHICH ARE TO BE TUCKED IN!), shorts and socks. Lost uniforms will not be replaced. A PLAYER WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN A MATCH UNLESS THE PLAYER IS WEARING HIS OR HER UNIFORM. Other articles of clothing, such as sliding shorts, must be worn under the uniform and be of the same color. Shinguards must be worn under the socks. Putting the shinguards over the socks and pulling the socks over the shinguards is not acceptable.
  8. If you have a problem with a referee, a coach, another parent, or a player, please submit a summary of the problem, in writing, to the Regional Board, or one of its officers.
  9. In AYSO, none of the officers, referees, or coaches is paid for his or her time and they all have other responsibilities outside of AYSO, both business and personal. Please be patient if a volunteer is a little late. Better yet, get involved and offer to help.

We’re really looking forward to a rewarding season all-around and count on your participation, understanding, and cooperation.

Let’s play fair, and have a safe season!

Your Referee Volunteers and Board of Directors

Goal Safety

CBS News reports on the potential dangers of soccer goals and how to keep our kids safe.



Chest Traps For Girls

There have been questions regarding chest traps by the girls. In our region, we allow our maturing young ladies to protect themselves when they chest trap the ball. The girls are allowed to cross their arms and hold them against their chest and it’s not a "Hand Ball Foul". If the player moves their arms away from their chest, in order to alter the direction of the ball, then it is a hand ball foul.

Our upper division girl teams (U-16 & U-19) rarely use this technique and use the standard chest trap method. Coaches of U-10, U-12 and U-14 girl teams that continue to post season play and tournaments should discuss this technique with the center referee before a game. The center referee should tell you if he will allow it.

The following site provides chest protection for women: Marcott Sports

Player Nutrition

Nutrition plays a key role in athletic performance. Failure to provide the calories and carbohydrates that young athletes need to fuel their bodies, the fluid to maintain hydration, and the vitamins and minerals to support metabolism and tissue growth and repair will result in poor performance and an increased risk for injury and/or illness. The following nutritional guidelines will ensure that every young athlete is fueled and hydrated for optimal health and performance.

Physically active children and adolescents have calorie requirements that are 12-15 percent greater than those of their sedentary peers. The precise calorie and carbohydrate requirements will vary depending on the type, intensity, frequency and duration of exercise in which they engage.

Carbohydrates provide the primary fuel for exercising muscles. It is essential that young athletes consume lots of complex carbohydrates (i.e., whole grains, fruits and vegetables) on a daily basis. In addition, it is important to ensure that young athletes get the proper amount of carbohydrates before, during and after exercise to support optimal health and performance.

Before Exercise: Make sure young athletes arrives to practice well-fed. They should eat a well-balanced meal that contains 75-200 grams of carbohydrates, 2-4 hours before the practice session or competition. A snack 30 minutes prior to exercise may also be beneficial, particularly if an athlete was unable to consume an appropriate meal 2-4 hours prior. The snack should contain approximately 20-50 grams of easily digested carbohydrates. Good snacks include Honey Energy Bars or Scorin' Honey Smores.

During Exercise: Consuming carbohydrates during exercise may be beneficial if:

  1. The exercise session is more than one hour
  2. The exercise session is very intense
  3. The athlete did not eat anything before exercise

After Exercise: Replacing carbohydrates that were used during exercise within 2 hours of completing the exercise session is essential for speeding recovery and preparing for the next athletic training period. The post-exercise meal should contain approximately 150 -200 grams of carbohydrates.

Keeping Kids Hydrated

A number of factors place young athletes at an increased risk for dehydration and various heat illnesses. First, the higher energy expenditure of young athletes means that they produce more metabolic heat. In addition, young athletes don’t sweat as efficiently as older athletes and thus cannot cool their bodies as effectively. Finally, young athletes are not as diligent about drinking fluids and their body core temperature during dehydration tends to increase faster. For these reasons it is essential that young athletes be encouraged to drink frequently even when they are not thirsty.

Research studies have shown that providing a cooled and flavored beverage produces greater fluid consumption among children and helps prevent dehydration. Parents should make sure that athletes arrive at practice sessions, games or competitions fully hydrated. Coaches should enforce drink “pauses” every 15-20 minutes even when athletes do not feel thirsty. Parents, coaches and the athletes themselves should watch for the “warning signs of dehydration”:

Decreased performance

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) provides the following guidelines for the maintenance of optimal hydration:

Before Exercise: 16 - 20 full ounces within the 2 hour period prior to exercise

During Exercise: 4 - 6 full ounces

Post Exercise: replace 24 full ounces for every one pound of body weight lost during exercise.

Pre and Post-Exercise Snacks for Young Athletes
2-4 hours before exercise:

  1. Sandwich with lean meat, piece of fruit
  2. Pasta with tomato sauce
  3. Cereal with milk
  4. Bagel with peanut butter and honey, piece of fruit
  5. English muffin with honey and low-fat yogurt

30 minutes before exercise snacks:

  1. Honey Energy Bars
  2. Honey Applesauce Swirl: To make, stir 2 tsp. honey, or more to taste, into a single serving unsweetened applesauce snack pack.
  3. Honey Pretzel Dipping Sauce: Whisk 1 tbs. of your favorite spicy mustard together with 1 cup honey. Makes enough dip for 8 servings of 20 small pretzel twists.

Post-exercise meals:

  1. Sandwich with 3 ounces lean meat, piece of fruit, pretzels, juice or milk
  2. Pasta with tomato sauce, whole grain bread, skim milk
  3. Cereal with milk, piece of fruit, toast with honey
  4. Bagel with peanut butter and honey, piece of fruit, skim milk
  5. 3 ounces lean meat, potatoes, cooked veggies, skim milk

Food & Drink Ideas for the Team Cooler:

bagels, Honey-Energy Bars , breakfast bars

crackers and peanut butter

pretzels, Chex mix

fresh fruit (e.g., bananas, grapes, apples) or dried fruit


For a complete list of nutritional snacks for an active lifestyle please visit:

Videos: Basics, Tips, & Tricks

*The views expressed in the linked videos below are not necessarily those of AYSO 1463 and are intended for reference only.


Buying A Ball

Proper Warm-Up

Kicking The Ball


Passing The Ball

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AYSO Region 1463 - Temecula / Murrieta

39520 Murrieta Hot Springs Rd., #219-96
Murrieta, California 92563

Email Us: [email protected]
Phone : 951-200-5638
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