Soccer Rules Changes - 2017-18

By NFHS on May 12, 2017 soccer Print

4-1-1d: If visible apparel is worn under the jersey and/or shorts, it shall be a single solid color matching the predominant color of the respective garment. Visible arm compression sleeves shall be a similar length, all alike and of a solid color matching the predominant color of the jersey. Visible leg compression sleeves shall be of a similar length, all alike and of a solid color matching the predominant color of the shorts.

Rationale: Players often wear compression shorts which are longer than the short or jersey. They should be of the same color. This rule addition is needed to maintain consistency with current uniform rule requirements and color restrictions.

4-2-1 Exception 1: Deleted

Rationale: With the adoption of the change related to the use of headgear as opposed to only headbands, this exception is no longer necessary.

4-2-9: A soft padded headgear that meets the ASTM standard is permitted. 

Rationale: This allows for the newer headgear styles that are currently in the market to be used that are not just headbands.

5-1-3f: Unless otherwise prohibited by the state association, electronic communication devices may be used to communicate with crew members.

Rationale: This rule allows, but does not require, the use of common communication devices that are currently available and affordable. This will permit officials to utilize such equipment and improve communication allowing for a better officiated game, if permitted by the state association.

8-1-3: The ball shall be kicked while it is stationary on the ground in the center of the field of play and may clearly move in any direction.

Rationale: Requiring that the ball move forward on the kickoff is meaningless in the modern game.

10-1-3f: A goal may not be scored directly from a kickoff into the kicking team's own goal.

Rationale: This change retains consistency with the concept that a team cannot score against themselves from a free kick, as provided in 10.1.3 c, d and e.

13-1-2: All free kicks, with the exception of penalty kicks, may be taken in any direction. Free kicks are taken from the spot of the foul except for the reasons listed in 13-2-3, which are taken from the location of the ball when the referee stopped play. Free kicks resulting from fouls committed in the goal area are taken as described in 13-1-3 or 13-1-4.  Indirect free kicks for offside (13-2-2b) are taken from the spot where the offending player interfered with play, interfered with an opponent or gained an advantage by being in that position.

Rationale: The current rule also does not clearly identify where indirect free kicks for
offside are taken. This change makes it clear.

14-1-4: The ball shall be kicked while it is stationary on the ground from the spot or any place on the penalty mark. To be in play, the ball shall be moved forward. The player taking the penalty kick is permitted to use a stutter step or a hesitation move provided there is no stopping and there is continuous movement toward the ball. Failure to kick the ball as specified shall be considered a violation by the attacking team and the appropriate penalties shall apply. Stutter-stepping is not an interruption in movement.

Rationale: This addition of these sentences clarifies that the stutter step is allowed.


3-3-2, 4-1-1, 5-1-3c, 14-1-3


1. Risk Minimization
2. Referee Communication and Teamwork
3. Restarts