Virginia Sand Soccer Championships
Laws of the Game
(VSSC Laws of the Game are Adapted from FIFA Beach Soccer, The International Beach Soccer Association, Beach Soccer Worldwide, Inc, Octagon Koch Tavares/IBSA, Pro Beach Soccer,S.L. and North American Sand Soccer Championships. )
Objectives of the Game
The game is provided for leisure, team play, friendship, and healthy competition. Fair play is the essence of sand soccer.
The VSSC Board of Directors, the Tournament Committee, or any sponsors of the tournament shall not be responsible for expenses incurred by a team or club if the tournament is canceled in whole or in part.
All decisions of the referee are final and binding. The Tournament reserves the right to decide on all matters relative to the tournament and all decisions are final.
No protests are allowed
In the event of inclement weather, the Tournament Committee may reschedule a game, change division structure, reduce game duration, or cancel a game.
All teams shall be allowed a maximum of 10 players on their roster, except the U8, U9 & U10 Boys and Girls, and Pro/Am Divisions. These divisions are allowed a maximum of 12 players on their roster.
All Coed Division teams shall include a minimum of 2 female players on their roster, 2 of which should be on the field during play (see Laws of the Game section 4.1 for more information).
Players must be listed on the roster at registration to be eligible to play; no additions to the roster are permitted after the team has submitted the roster to VSSC at Team Check-In.
A player may compete on more than one team, but the Tournament Committee cannot give special scheduling consideration to such circumstances.
Players in all divisions must enter the division for the oldest player on their team.
Youth division age groups are based on USYSA 2015-16 seasonal year, as follows:
Born on or after following dates:
Other division criteria:
·College – must be Under-23 by August 1, 2015 Open Divisions – Age 16 or older Over 30 Divisions – Age 30 by August 1, 2015
·Over 40 Divisions - Age 40 by August 1, 2015
·Coed High School – Ages 14-18
·Girls may play in Boys Divisions, but Boys cannot play in Girls Divisions.
Players may play UP in age group, but no team can include a player playing DOWN in age.
Teams in Level 1 skill level of any Youth Division shall not include player(s) that have played as a carded player on a travel team within the seasonal year.
Start of Play
Coaches shall ensure that all players are on scene 20 minutes before a scheduled game. A team that cannot field 3 players at the scheduled start time shall forfeit the game. The team forfeiting shall be declared the loser by a score of 3 goals to none (3 - 0).
If no referee is present within 10 minutes of the scheduled start time, the game will be rescheduled unless both teams agree to proceed. If the game proceeds, the score shall stand as played without protest.
Bracket standings to determine quarter-finalist, semi-finalists, and finalists, and wild-cards if applicable, will be based on:
WIN - 3 PTS TIE - 1 PT LOSS - 0 PTS
Ties of total points will be resolved by the following tie-breakers, in order, considering each criteria only once (do not to return back to any earlier criteria):
·Head to Head of two teams tied (disregard if more than two teams tied).
·Team with highest goal differential – total of the net score for each tournament game up to a maximum differential of 4 goals per game (total goals scored minus total goals scored against in each game).
·Least goals allowed.
·Total goals scored (up to maximum of 8).
·If still tied, both teams will proceed to an available field at Tent Coordinator discretion and determine winner by penalty kicks (see format below).
Ties in preliminary games will remain a tie.
For quarter-final, semi-final, and final games, ties will be resolved in the following manner:
·One 3-minute “golden goal” overtime period. The winner shall be the first team to score a goal. If the score is tied at the end of the period, the teams shall take kicks from the penalty mark.
·Kicks from the Penalty Mark. The first round consists of 5 players from each team. Any player on the team roster may participate. A minimum of 2 female players must kick in the first round of all Coed divisions. If tied after first round, kicks shall be taken one for one. Players cannot repeat until all eligible players have kicked. A team with a greater number of players than their opponent will ‘reduce to equate’ in order to use the same number of eligible kickers.
Any team found to have played with an ineligible player (not on roster, red carded player, etc) or violating any registration criteria shall have their games subject to forfeiture and not be eligible for any playoffs unless authorized by the VSSC Director or Administrator under unique circumstances. The team forfeiting shall be declared the loser by a score of 3 goals to none (3 - 0).
The Competition Area, the Goals, and the Ball
Dimensions of the fields: Two field sizes will be in use - 25 x 35 yard for most divisions and 30 x 40 yards for certain adult divisions. Perimeters will be marked with roping affixed to the sand. Substitutes, team delegates, and other spectators shall remain at least 6 feet from the touch lines.
Goals: Goals vary in size by division from 6' x 12' to 7' x 18' based on appropriate age groups. Goals are aluminum construction and anchored to the sand at the baselines. The entire goal’s framework (including the double crossbar goals) is considered active play provided that the ball has not gone out of play
Penalty Area: The Penalty Areas will be delineated by colored discs in the sand 8 yards (9 yards on 30 x 40 yard fields) from, and paralleling, the goal lines joining both touch lines at each end of the field. The position of a Penalty Kick mark shall be the center of this imaginary line.
Corner Area and Center of the Field: Corners will be marked with a standard corner flag. A 1-yard quadrant from the corner forms the Corner Area. A colored disc or flag will be placed on each touch line at midfield.
Substitution Zone: The Substitution Zone is the area on the touch line where the players enter and leave the pitch. It measures a total of 5 yards, with 2.5 yards on either side of the point where the halfway line joins the touch line. The teams’ benches are placed behind and along the touch lines in such a way that the substitution zone is kept clear.
Ball: All divisions and age groups shall play with a size 5 ball; inflation pressure is 7 lbs. The referee shall stop the game and the clock, and replace any ball showing signs of deformity. After replacement, a Dropped Ball at the imaginary point in the middle of the halfway line restarts the game and clock. A goal CANNOT be scored directly from this restart.
The Game: Start, Duration, and its Rules
Start of the Game: The referee shall conduct a coin toss, with the winner given the choice of kickoff/field side options. The Kickoff shall be taken at the imaginary point in the middle of the halfway line on the referee’s whistle. Opposing players must remain at least 5 yards away from the ball. The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward OR if played backwards in the air, then played forward before it touches the sand. A goal CANNOT be scored directly from the kickoff. After a goal, the game restarts with a Kickoff.
Duration of the Game: All games shall employ three (3) 11-minute periods, (exception: Pro/Am Division shall employ three (3) 12-minute periods), separated by a 2-minute intermission to exchange ends. A referee’s whistle ends each period. After the second period, the referee shall conduct a coin toss with same options as for the Start of the Game. The referee shall add extra time at the end of a period to allow a Penalty or Direct Free Kick to be taken. The referee may add extra time at the end of a period for serious injury or if a team is wasting time.
Scoring a Goal: A goal shall be scored when the ball entirely crosses over the goal line in the air or on the ground, between the goal posts and under the crossbar, provided no infringement of the Laws of the Game has been committed by the team scoring the goal.
Out of Play: The ball is considered out of play when:
·It has wholly crossed the goal line or touch line, whether on the ground or in the air.
·Play has been stopped by the referee.
The Pass-Back Rule: The goalkeeper shall not touch the ball with their hands or arms when the ball is returned to them twice consecutively by a teammate without touching an opponent. This includes heading the ball to the goalkeeper or playing the ball from an inbounds pass to the goalkeeper without the ball having touched an opponent. An infringement of the Pass-Back Rule results in the opposing team being awarded a Direct Free Kick from the imaginary point in the middle of the halfway line. A goal can be scored directly from this restart. The same restart applies if the goalkeeper re-handles the ball after having released it from their hands.
Offside: There is NO offside.
Number of Players: The game is played by 2 teams consisting of a maximum of 5 players on each team (exception: Youth U8, U9, and U10 divisions will play with 7 players per side). One of the players on the field for each team shall be the goalkeeper. Both teams must have a minimum of 3 players on the field to start the game. All players on the roster may compete in each game unless sitting out due to red card from previous game.
All Coed Division teams shall have a minimum of three (3) female players included on each team roster, two (2) of whom shall be on the field at all times during the match. If only one female is available due to injury, the team must play down a player. If there are no females available, the team must play down two (2) players. All Coed Division teams shall have a maximum of 3 male players on the field at any time.
Substitutions: Substitutions are “on-the-fly”. There are no limits on substitutions. The substitute shall only enter the field after the player being substituted for has left the field via the Substitution Zone located on the team side of the field.
Substitute Infringement: If a substitute enters the field before the player has left, they shall receive a caution (yellow card).A substitution infringement results in the opposing team being awarded a Direct Free Kick from the imaginary point in the middle of the halfway line. Anyone from the opposing team on the field may take this kick. A goal CAN be scored directly from this restart.
Minimum Number of Players: The minimum number of players on the field is 3. The team that has less than 3 eligible players shall be declared the loser of that game, regardless of the score at the time that the game was stopped. In this case, the score of the game, for goal average effect, shall be 3 - 0 for the winning team.
Goalkeeper Change: A goalkeeper may change with a field player after a shirt change. Such changes shall only be made during breaks between periods or during a stoppage in play, and after the referee has been notified. If an infringement occurs, the referee shall allow play to continue until the next stoppage in play and then caution both players.
Referees: Each game shall be officiated by one referee, whose decisions are final. The referee will serve as timekeeper and scorekeeper, including controlling the 2-minute player-down penalty for a red-carded player. The Tournament Committee shall determine, before the game, or during play, if conditions are suitable for safe play. Certain adult divisions may employ 2 referees on the field.
Advantage: Unlike 11-a-side soccer, whenever a foul occurs, the referee shall blow the whistle and stop the game unless there is a clear goal-scoring opportunity (the ball going into the goal or an attacker has the ball with no defenders between him and the goal).
Footwear: Authorized footwear includes bare feet; cotton socks taped to ankles, elastic ankle and/or foot wraps, and commercially manufactured sand socks. Other commercial beach socks with soft soles are authorized. The referees shall require removal of any footwear which is deemed unsafe for competition. (The critical safety issue is the stiffness of the soles which may harm opponent legs and feet.)
Uniforms: Uniforms consist of shirts and shorts. Playing vests shall be supplied to one team if required with the exception of the Men’s Pro/Am Division. Goalkeepers shall wear a uniform of contrasting color with other players and the referee. Use of plastic goggles for eye protection is allowed. Pro/Am uniforms shall consist of shirts and shorts of the same design and color, with clearly visible identification numbers on the shirts.
Fouls and Misconduct
Direct Free Kick: A Direct Free Kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits ANY of the following offenses in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force:
·Kicks or attempts to kick an opponent;
·Tackles or attempts to tackle an opponent, either by sliding or by bending down in front of or behind him;
·Jumps at an opponent;
·Charges an opponent;
·Strikes or attempts to strike an opponent;
·Pushes an opponent.
A Direct Free Kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player commits ANY of the following offences:
·Holds an opponent;
·Spits at an opponent
·Handles the ball, i.e. deliberately carries, propels or throws it with a hand or arm (except for the goalkeeper in their own penalty area);
·Holds the ball deliberately with their legs so as to waste time;
·Plays in a dangerous manner;
·Deliberately obstructs an opponent;
·Prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from their hands;
·Tackles an opponent before the ball when attempting to win possession;
·Infringement of a Scissors Kick (see Rule xx).
·4 Second Rule: A team cannot have possession inside their own penalty area for more than 4 seconds. Infringement results in the opposing team being awarded a Direct Free Kick from the imaginary point in the middle of the halfway line. A goal CAN be scored directly from this restart.
Yellow Cards: A player is cautioned (shown a yellow card) if they commit any of the following offences:
·Is guilty of unsporting behavior;
·Shows dissent by word or action;
·Persistently infringes the Laws of the Game;
·Delays the restart of play;
·Fails to respect the required distance during a kick-off, corner kick, ball inbound, or direct free kick;
·Enters or re-enters the field without the referees’ permission or infringes the substitution procedure;
·Deliberately leaves the field without the referees’ permission.
A substitute is cautioned if they commit any of the following offenses:
·Is guilty of unsporting behavior;
·Shows dissent by word or action;
·Delays the restart of play.
·Entering the field NOT in accordance with the substitution procedure.
Red Cards: A player, substitute, coach, or team delegate is sent off (shown a red card) if they commit any of the following offences:
·Is guilty of serious foul play;
·Is guilty of violent conduct;
·Deliberately throws sand at anyone in a violent manner;
·Spits at an opponent or anyone else;
·Denies the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (except for the goalkeeper in their own penalty area);
·Denies an opponent moving towards the player‘s goal an obvious goal scoring opportunity by committing an offence punishable by a Direct Free Kick or a Penalty Kick;
·Uses offensive, insulting, or abusive language or gestures;
·Receives a second caution (yellow card) in the same game;
oThe player must leave the vicinity of the field (sight and sound) and shall also be denied participation in that team’s subsequent game, including the final round of competition (quarters, semis or finals). The penalized team shall continue to play without a replacement for 2 minutes. The referee will report the reason why the player was sent off to the Tournament Committee for possible additional sanctions. Any team found to have played with an ineligible player shall have the game(s) that the ineligible player participated in subject to forfeiture.
Unsportsmanlike Behavior off the Field:
If a player, substitute, coach, or team delegate commits serious aggression, or offends any spectator or participant of the game (i.e., the referee, players, or members of the Tournament Committee) the referee shall display a red card and send them out of the competition area. The individual’s name and reason for suspension will be reported to the Tournament Committee for possible additional sanctions. When play is stopped for unsportsmanlike behavior off the field, the opposing team will be awarded a Direct Free Kick from the imaginary point in the middle of the halfway line. A goal CAN be scored directly from this restart.
Misconduct without a Foul:
The opposing team will be awarded a Direct Free Kick from the imaginary point in the middle of the halfway line. A goal CAN be scored directly from this restart.
Direct Free Kick: The opposing team shall be awarded a Direct Free Kick from where a foul occurred unless it was committed by the defending team in their own penalty area in which case a Penalty Kick shall be awarded. The player who has been fouled shall take the kick unless the player is seriously injured in which case their substitute shall take the kick. If no substitute is available, then one of the remaining players will take the kick. The ball is in play when it is kicked or touched. The kicker may not touch the ball again until the ball has touched another player. For kicks in a team’s own penalty area – the ball is in play when it leaves the penalty area. NOTE: the defensive team may NOT form a wall.
Positioning of Players During Free Kicks: All players except the kicker must remain at least 5 yards away from the ball until it is in play.
If an infringement is committed in the kicking team’s DEFENSIVE half of the field (Diagram A), a “CLEAR ZONE” shall be established from the point of the infringement to each of opponent’s corner flags. This requirement also applies to direct free kicks taken from the center of the midfield line. Players of both teams, except for the defending goalkeeper, will remain outside of the Clear Zone until one of the following occurs after the kick, which releases all restrictions, and any player may touch or play the ball:
·The defending goalkeeper touches the ball (Only player to touch ball while it is in the air within the Clear Zone);
·The ball leaves the Clear Zone;
·The ball touches the ground.
If an infringement is committed in the kicking team’s OFFENSIVE half of the field, (Diagram B), players of both teams, except for the defending goalkeeper, must be positioned behind or even with the ball placed at the point where the infringement was committed.
Diagram A Defensive Half Diagram B Offensive Half
When taking a Direct Free Kick, Corner Kick, or In-Bounds Kick, a player may make a small mound to elevate the ball’s position. Once the ball is set and the referee whistles to start the kick, the kicker has four seconds to take the kick.
Free Kick Start:
If, after the ball is in play, the kicker touches the ball again before it has touched another player, the opposing team will be awarded a Direct Free Kick from the imaginary point in the middle of the halfway line. A goal CAN be scored directly from this restart.
Infringement During Free Kicks:
·If an infringement is committed by the attacking team, the opposing team will be awarded a Direct Free Kick from the imaginary point in the middle of the halfway line. A goal can be scored directly from this restart.
·b) If an infringement is committed by the defending team and a goal is scored, the goal stands and the restart is a Kickoff.
·c) If an infringement is committed by the defending team and a goal is not scored, the opposing team will be awarded a Direct Free Kick from where the offence occurred, unless it occurred within the offending team’s penalty area, in which case a Penalty Kick will be awarded. A goal can be scored directly from this restart.
·d) If an infringement is committed by both teams, the Direct Free Kick shall be retaken.
Injury, Outside Interference, Defective Goal or Defective Ball Restart:
If the game is stopped for any of pre-mentioned reasons while the ball was in play, the restart will be a Dropped Ball at the imaginary point in the middle of the halfway line. A goal CANNOT be scored directly from this restart. If the game is stopped for any of pre-mentioned reasons while the ball was out of play, the restart will be the applicable restart for how the ball went out of play, i.e. corner kick, goal clearance, etc.
At no time can a goal be scored directly from a dropped ball restart. If this occurs the goal is disallowed and the restart will be a Goalkeeper Restart as described in Rule 10, below.
Penalty Kick: A Penalty Kick is awarded if any of the offences in Rule 7.1 is committed by a player inside their own penalty area, irrespective of the position of the ball, provided it is in play. In accordance with Rule 8.1, the player who was fouled shall take the Penalty Kick and the ball is placed on the penalty area line directly opposite the center of the goal.
Restart: The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward. The player shall take the Penalty Kick in a continuous movement.
Goalkeeper Position: The goalkeeper shall remain on their goal line, no movement along the line, facing the kicker, between the goalposts until the ball has been kicked.
Infringements during Penalty Kicks:
·The Kicker or Teammate of the Kicker Infringes: The referee allows the kick to be taken. If the ball enters the goal, the Penalty Kick will be retaken. If the ball does not enter the goal, the referee will stop play and award the opposing team a Direct Free Kick from where the infringement occurred.
·The Goalkeeper or Teammate of the Goalkeeper Infringes: The referee allows the kick to be taken. If the ball enters the goal, a goal is awarded. If the ball does not enter the goal, the Penalty Kick will be retaken.
·Players of both Teams Infringe: The Penalty Kick will be retaken.
·A Player Other Than The Designated Kicker Takes The Penalty Kick: The opposing team will be awarded a Direct Free Kick from the center of the field.
Goalkeeper Restart of Game (Goal Clearance and Saves with Ball in Play)
Restart: A Goal Clearance is awarded when the ball wholly crosses the goal line whether on the ground or in the air, last touched by a player of the attacking team, and a goal is not scored in accordance with Rule 3.3. The goalkeeper shall restart play from anywhere in the penalty area by distributing the ball by their hands only and has 4 seconds to do so, from the moment they have control of the ball. The ball is in play when the goalkeeper releases it. A goal CAN NOT be scored directly from a Goal Clearance restart. If the goalkeeper exceeds their 4 seconds, the opposing team will be awarded a Direct Free Kick from the imaginary point in the middle of the halfway line. A goal CAN be scored directly from this restart.
Goalkeeper scoring from a Save when the Ball is in Play: When the goalkeeper makes a save or otherwise receives the ball from an in-play situation, they can distribute the ball by use of the feet or by rolling the ball underhand, side armed, or overhand. A goalkeeper cannot score directly from throwing the ball with their hands into the goal of the opposing team. The goalkeeper cannot score directly if they kick the ball in the air (punt or volley) before it touches the ground after releasing it from their hands. In either event, the opposing team is awarded a Goal Clearance restart. The goalkeeper can score directly if they put the ball on the ground and control it with their feet during the normal course of play (but not during a Goal Clearance restart, as stated in Rule 10.1). The goalkeeper has 4 seconds to distribute the ball from the moment they stand and have control of the ball with their hands. If the goalkeeper exceeds 4 seconds, the opposing team will be awarded a Direct Free Kick from the imaginary point in the middle of the halfway line. A goal can be scored directly from this restart.
Corner Kick: A Corner Kick is awarded when the ball wholly crosses the goal line whether on the ground or in the air, last touched by a player of the defensive team; and a goal is not scored in accordance with Rule 3.3. The Corner Kick shall be taken from within 1 yard of the corner nearest to where the ball left the field. All opposing players shall remain at least 5 yards from the corner arc. The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves in any direction. A goal CAN be scored directly from a Corner Kick. The player taking the Corner Kick has 4 seconds to do so after positioning the ball for the Corner Kick. If the player exceeds 4 seconds, the opposing goalkeeper shall restart play with a Goal Clearance.
Ball In/Out of Play (Touch Lines)
Out of Play: The ball is considered out of play when the ball wholly crosses the touch line whether on the ground or in the air. A standard Throw-In or Kick-In restart will be awarded from the point where the ball left the field. All opposing players shall remain at least 5 yards from the point where the restart is taken. The ball is in play when it enters the field. A goal CAN NOT be scored directly from a Throw-In or Kick-In. The player shall have 4 seconds to inbound the ball. Any infringements of these requirements shall result in a Throw-In or Kick-In restart for the opposing team.
Scissors Kick: Scissor kicks are permitted, provided that no opponent is struck in the process. If a player prevents an opponent from carrying out a scissors kick, they shall be punished with a Direct Free Kick from where the infringement occurred. If a player preventing the scissors kick is struck in the process, the infringement is deemed to have been committed by the defender.
Pro/Am Division Addendum
Red Cards: When awarded during or incident to the U.S. OPEN Final shall carry over into the following year's competition. Specifically, the requirement to sit out the next game shall be enforced on the player(s) in the subsequent year's VSSC initial game, regardless of team name/membership. VSSC reserves the right to ban player(s) from further VSSC participation based on the nature of misconduct.Virginia Sand Soccer Championships