Rules of Play

Learn more about the game and the rules of play by reading below.

  • Ball size

    Size #5: U-13 through adult
    Size #4: U-9 to U-12
    Size #3: U-8 and under

    Home team provides the ball.

  • Number of players
    U7 & U-8 4 players with no goalkeeper
    U-9 to U-12 7 players, one of whom is a goalkeeper
    U-13 to high school 6 players, one of whom is a goalkeeper
    Men’s/Women’s Adult 6 players, one of whom is a goalkeeper
    Coed Adult 7 players, 3 men, 3 women, & man/woman goalkeeper
    • Minimum Number of Players: The minimum number of players for the start of the game is 4 players, one of which is a goalkeeper.
    • Coed Leagues, Minimum Number of Women: In Coed Leagues, at least 1 player must be a woman to start a game.
    • Guest Player Policy: A team is allowed to use guest players who are not on the roster as long as the player has a current Salmon Creek Indoor membership (or pays the 1 day membership temp fee) AND you MUST ask the opposing team’s permission prior to the start of the game. Failure to follow this policy unarguably results in forfeiture for the team using non-rostered players.
    • Play on Only One Team Per Division: Players can only play on 1 team per division. Violations will result in a loss for the teams that the player plays for. Divisions are separated by levels of play and weekday.
    • Membership: All players must have a current Salmon Creek Indoor membership and be on their team’s roster before the start of each game.
    • Adult Age Specific Leagues: Adults must be the age of their league during the session (i.e. over 30 etc.).
    • Liability Waivers: All players must have a signed waiver on file at Salmon Creek Indoor. Youth Players must have a parent or legal guardian sign on their behalf.
    • Youth Age Deadlines: The age group that a player is assigned depends upon the player’s age on August 1st of the seasonal year (i.e., a U-15 player has not reached their 15th birthday before August 1st).
    • Ability Level Restrictions: Coed-A level players cannot play at the coed-D level;  Coed-A players can only play at Coed-C level with permission from arena management. Coed-A level players are defined as players that have professional, college, premier or who participate in Coed-A level leagues.
    • Coed Substitution Restrictions: Male players may not substitute for female players, however females may play in place of males.

    Special Rules Affecting Number of Players:

    • Adult League 5 Goal Differential: If any team is down by 5 goals or more they may add an additional player. This includes combination leagues.
    • Youth Mixed Age Leagues: Youth teams playing in a mixed age league at Salmon Creek Indoor’s request should not exceed 7 players on the field per team at any time. The older team in a mixed age league should remove one player.
    • Select or Premier Teams: Select Teams or any team playing in WSYDL or higher must play in select leagues and are not permitted in recreational leagues regardless of age level. A select team is any team having 2 or more players who currently compete on behalf of outdoor select teams.
    • Club Select Teams: Club select teams not playing in WSYDL or higher must play up 1 year but play with the same amount of players.
  • Player equipment
    • Flat-soled or small rubber studded turf shoes. No outdoor cleats will be allowed. Examples:
    Allowed Cleats Allowed Cleats Allowed
    Not Allowed Cleats Not Allowed Cleats Not Allowed
    • The goalkeeper must wear colors that distinguish them from all other players.
    • All team members must wear the same color jerseys to distinguish them from the other the opposing team and the referee.  Players are asked to bring an alternate shirt (dark and light).  In the event both teams are the same color, the home team must change.
    • Shin guards are REQUIRED for all players. Socks must be worn over shin guards and be pulled up to completely cover the shin guards. Goalkeepers or any other players wearing any kind of protective gear (i.e. knee pads) must wear the soft cushioned type.
    • All players with cast must have it wrapped in a manner acceptable to the referee.  All other equipment the referee deems dangerous to players or opponents will not be allowed.  By allowing them to play, Salmon Creek indoor in no way accepts responsibility for any aggravation of the injury that may occur while playing.
    • A player may not wear jewelry (watches, bracelets, etc.) which is dangerous to themselves or other players.
  • The referee

    Enforces Salmon Creek Indoor Rules

    • Controls the match
    • Ensures that the players’ equipment meets the requirements of required equipment
    • Acts as timekeeper and keeps a record of the match
    • Stops, suspends or terminates the match, at his discretion, for any infringements of the rules of play
    • Stops, suspends or terminates the match because of outside interference of any kind
    • Stops the match if, in his opinion, a player is seriously injured and ensures that he is removed from the field of play. An injured player may only return to the field of play after the match has restarted
    • Allows play to continue until the ball is out of play if a player is, in his opinion, only slightly injured
  • Duration of match
    • Length of Halves: All games consist of two 22 minute halves.
    • Half-Time Interval: The half-time interval will be 2 minutes.  In the interest of time constraints the half-time may be shortened to catch up on lost time due to injuries or other stoppages in play.
    • Time Between Games: Time between games shall be 4 minutes and teams are required to be ready to play.  Time constraints may also require this interval to be shortened.
    • Game Start Times: The game clock will be started at the scheduled game start time regardless of the number of available players on the field.
    • Time Stoppage for Serious Injury: The clock may be stopped for serious injuries or if the ball leaves the perimeter wall, at referees discretion.
    • Substitution Required: When time is stopped for an injury, the injured player must leave the game for a substitute.  Any player who suffers a head injury will not be allowed to re-enter the game.
    • Goal Keeper Exception: If it is the goalkeeper whose injuries require the clock to be stopped and the keeper is able to continue to play they may forgo substitution and continue to play.
    • Restart of Clock: After the time between games or after the half-time has expired, the game clock will be started regardless if the teams are on the field.
    • Goal Scored While Opponent Short-Handed: If the team with the kickoff scores while the opposing team is shorthanded, the goal will count.
  • Start and stop of play
    • Forfeit Declared: A forfeit is declared when a team is unable to put the minimum number of players on the field within 5 minutes after the game start time. The game clock will continue to run while the team is attempting to field their players and the time elapsed will not be reinstated.
    • Forfeits Not Rescheduled: Forfeits are rescheduled only if it was an administrative error. Weather conditions may cause Salmon Creek Indoor to close. If we are open, please make your scheduled game if possible. Any forfeited game will be recorded as 3-0 loss against the forfeiting team in the overall league standings.
    • Whistle Signals Start: A whistle by the referee is necessary for taking kickoffs.
    • Visiting Team Kicks Off: The Visiting team shall kick off to start the game.
    • Half Time Switch: At each half, teams will switch sides and the Home team kicks off to start the second half.
    • Kickoffs Are Indirect: A goal cannot be scored directly from a kickoff.
    • 5 Seconds to Play Ball: The ball must be played within 5 seconds after the referee has signaled for play to begin or the opposing team is awarded the ball.
    • Kick-Off Direction: On a kickoff the ball may be kicked in any direction.
    • Players Must Be On Own Side: All players must be on their own side of the field at the start of  each kickoff.
  • Ball in/out of play
    • Out of Bounds: The ball is out of play when it touches the netting above the perimeter wall or goes completely over the wall.
    • Kick In: When the ball passes over the perimeter wall or the netting, it shall be kicked in from the point where if passed over the wall or hit the netting and within 3 feet of the wall.  The ball may be played in any direction by a player of the team opposite to that of the player who last touched it before it left the field.  The ball shall be in play immediately after it has traveled half of its circumference.
    • Throw In: When the ball hits the netting over the end perimeter wall between the corner marks (excluding when a goal is scored) having last been played by one of the attacking team, play shall be restarted with a goalkeeper throw in, from any point within the penalty arc.  The ball must be distributed to another player outside the penalty box within 5 seconds.
    • Injury Stoppage: Play will restart with the team in possession the moment the injury occurs. If neither team had clear possession, the game will be restarted with a drop ball.
    • Corner Kick: When the ball hits the netting over the end perimeter wall between the corner marks (excluding when a goal is scored) having last been played by a player on the defending team, play shall be restarted with a corner kick.  The ball will be placed on the corner spot nearest the point where the ball made contact with the netting.  A goal may be scored directly from such a kick.
    • Ceiling Out of Bounds: The ball is out of play when it makes contact with the ceiling.  It is then placed on the nearest red line to where the ball was last kicked and a free kick is awarded to the opposing team.
  • Three line violation
    • Defined: A three-line violation is defined as the ball having crossed, in the air, over both red lines without touching a wall, the ground or a player between the two red lines.  Passing the ball three lines toward your own goal is allowed.  There is no violation for kicks taken from the red line.
    • Penalty: Violations will result in a Direct Free Kick by the opposing team from the first line the ball crossed.
    • Exception: Any team playing with two players less than the opposing team will not be penalized for a three line violation.
  • Restarts
    • Indirect Free Kicks:  Kickoffs at the start of a half or after a goal and restarts after an injury time out are Indirect Fee Kicks.  All other re-starts are Direct Free Kicks.
    • Free  Kicks: The following apply to all restarts:
    • No Second Touch: The player taking the kick cannot play the ball until someone else touches the ball.
    • 5 Second Rule: If a player taking a kick delays longer than 5 seconds after having placed the ball for restart, the ball will be turned over to the opposing team to take the restart.

    Penalty Kicks:

    • PK Awarded: Penalty kicks are awarded when a defensive Physical Foul takes place in the goal box or is an attempt to deny an obvious scoring opportunity.  This will result in an automatic blue card or higher.
    • Top of Arc: Penalty kicks shall be taken from the top of the arc.
    • Clock Not a Factor: If the clock stops for half-time or the end of the game, prior to the penalty kick, then the kick will be immediately taken by one of the players on the field at that time (Rebounds will not be playable.)
    • Players Behind Red Line: All players, other than the goalkeeper and the kicker, must be behind the red line until the ball has been played.
    • Referee’s Whistle Signals Start: Once the ball has been spotted and the goalkeeper has stated that they are ready the referee will blow their whistle to signal the restart.  The kicking player has five seconds to play the ball. Failure to play the ball within five seconds will result in a goalkeepers throw in.
    • GK Stays on Goal Line: The goalkeeper cannot leave the goal line prior to the ball being struck, but may move side to side as long as they stay on the goal line.
    • Penalty if GK leaves Goal Line Early: If the goalkeeper leaves the goal line early and a goal is scored the goal will count.  If the shot is missed or blocked the shot is retaken.
    • Penalty Arc Restarts: The following goalkeeper violations shall cause the referee to stop play and award a direct free kick to the opponents at the top of the arc.
    • Pass Back to Hands: The goalkeeper may not use their hands when the ball is passed or intentionally deflected, with the foot, to them from a teammate.
    • 5 Second Violation: The goalkeeper with the ball in their hands has five seconds to distribute the ball outside the box. Just dropping the ball to their feet inside the box does not stop the count.
    • Play Ball into Box: The goalkeeper may not outside the box, play the ball into the box and then play it with their hands.
    • Non-Physical Defensive Fouls: Any foul committed by a defensive player in his/her goal box which does not result in a card being issued.
  • Substitutions

    Substitutions are made during the play of the game. The referee will not stop either the game or time for a substitution.

    • Within 10 Feet of Players’ Box: Substitutions must be made within 10 feet of your own player box area except in the case of injury.
    • Player Entering Must Wait: The player coming off the field must be within 10 feet of your box before the player replacing him/her may enter the field of play.
    • Possibly Penalty: If players continue to enter the field of play before the exiting player is within 10 feet it may result in a blue card.
    • Possible Penalty: If the player entering the field of play gets involved in playing the ball before the player exiting is off the field this will result in a blue card.
    • One Substitution At A Time: Only one substitution is allowed at one time except at a kickoff or approved stoppage of play.
    • Goalkeeper substitutions:  A team can change its GK either during the play of the game as stated above or teams may request the referee for a goalkeeper change at the next dead ball. If this occurs the referee will hold play (when doing so will not take away an advantage for the opposing team) while the goalkeeper change is made within a reasonable time frame (10 – 15 seconds).
  • Fouls and misconduct

    A player who commits any of the following offenses shall be penalized by the referee awarding a direct free kick to be taken by the opposing team from the point of infraction, at the referee’s discretion.  There will be no whistle to restart.  All calls are at the discretion of the referee.

    • Kicking: Inadvertently kicks an opponent while attempting to strike the ball.
    • Tripping: Inadvertently trips and opponent while attempting to play the ball.
    • Charging: Inadvertently charges into an opponent while attempting to play the ball.
    • Obstructing: When not playing the ball, intentionally obstructs an opponent by standing between the opponent and the ball so as to form an obstacle.  Obstruction is not called when a player has a ball and is shielding so as to prevent an opposing player from stealing the ball or if the ball is kicked down the field and a player attempts to run through an opponent whose has established position.
    • Pushing: Pushes a player in an attempt to prevent them from getting to the ball.
    • Dangerous Play: Playing in such a manner as to be out of control.
    • Charging the Goalkeeper: Charging into the goalkeeper.
    • Playing Ball While on the Ground: Except for the goalkeeper in his own goal box, playing the ball, offensively or defensively, while on the ground or while having a part of your body, other than your feet (3-point rule) on the ground.
    • Hand Ball: Intentionally plays the ball with the hand and gains control or an advantage from the handball.
    • Holding: Holds an opponent to prevent them from playing the ball or defending.
    • Jumping: Jumps at an opponent
    • Striking: Unintentionally strikes an opponent.
    • Advantage: Advantage is to be used at the referee’s discretion and in the offensive end.
    • GK Handball: The goalkeeper may not reach outside the goal box and use their hands, even if they are standing inside the goal box.
    • GK Slide: If the goalkeeper begins a slide inside the box (allowed) and as a result of their slide goes outside the box they will be called for a foul.
  • Time penalties

    Penalties assessed to players during the game shall be divided into the following categories:

    Blue Yellow Red
    Duration 2 minutes 4 minutes 5 minutes
    If Opponent Scores Team returns to full strength Team returns to full strength Team remains short-handed for entire duration
    Individual Foul Servers duration off field Serves duration off field Ejected.  Must exit building promptly
    Team Foul Player serving penalty may return Player serving penalty may return N/A

    Time penalties may be assessed against players regardless of whether or not play is in progress.  Time penalties that do not expire by the end of the first half are continued in the second half.

    • Blue Card Penalties: A player who commits any of the following offenses shall be penalized by the referee issuing a blue card that will result in the player serving a two minute penalty.  Once the blue card has been issued the penalty time will not begin until the player has left the field.  Calls are at the referee’s discretion.
    • Intent: Any foul defined in this section, which in the referee’s judgment was intentional may result in a Blue Card or more severe penalty.
    • Boarding: Propels an opponent into the boards in a violent manner.  A trip that inadvertently causes a player to make contact with the boards may not result in a blue card.
    • Sliding: Any slide, whether offensive or defensive, where a player slides toward the ball or another player in an attempt to gain possession or kick the ball is not allowed.  This also applies to a goalkeeper who begins their slide outside the box.  A reach for the ball by going to one knee could be considered a slide.
    • Unsportsmanlike conduct: Unsportsmanlike conduct includes, but is not limited, to the following:
    • Persistent Disregard: Persistent disregard for the rules.
    • Dissent: Any dissent by word or action regarding a referee’s decision.
    • Taunting: Taunting another team/player in a manner so as to cause a confrontation.
    • Encouraging Harm: Encouraging players by word or action to foul, harm or retaliate against an opponent.
    • GK Obstruction: Obstructing the goalkeeper in any manner, as they attempt to distribute the ball.
    • Intentionally Distracting: Making a loud noise or action intended to distract an opponent.
    • Illegal Substitution: Making an illegal substitution (as defined above).
    • GK Protection: Kicking or striking the goalkeeper while the keeper has possession of the ball.
    • Failure to Yield: Fails to retreat 10 feet from the ball by the time it is put into play.  If after giving 10 feet, the player moves towards the ball and is struck by the ball, they will serve a penalty.
    • Failure to leave Field: If a player does not immediately leave the field after receiving a blue card, they will receive a second blue card, which will be accompanied by a yellow card.  If the player continues to refuse to leave the field or delays the game further they will be issued a third blue card accompanied by a red card and ejected from the game.
    • Foul in Goal Box: A player will receive an automatic blue card if they are whistled for a foul in the goal box.
    • Yellow Cards Penalties: A player who commits any of the following shall be penalized by the referee issuing a yellow card which will result in the player serving a 4 minute penalty.  A player receiving a second blue card will be shown a yellow card and must serve 4 minutes instead of 2 minutes.  Any player receiving any other time penalties after a yellow card will be issued a red card and ejected from the game.
    • Persistently Infringes: A player persistently infringes on the rules.
    • Persistent Dissents: A player persistently dissents by word or action any referee’s decisions.
    • Persistent Unsportsmanlike Conduct: A player is guilty of persistent unsportsmanlike conduct.
    • Aggravated Manner: Commits any act defined in section 13.1 intentionally and in an aggravated manner that is more likely to cause harm to an opposing player.
    • Red Card Penalties: Red cards are issued for the following infractions followed by ejection from the game.  A player issued a red card will be required to leave the premises.  Any player refusing to leave after being asked by the person in charge, whether it is a referee or office personnel, may result in the police being called and a complaint filed.
    • Violently Kicks: Kicks or attempts to kick an opponent in a violent manner, when not attempting to play the ball, or in retaliation for a perceived foul.
    • Spits: Spits at an opponent or on the field or intentionally expels other bodily fluids on the field.
    • Strikes: Strikes or attempts to strike an opponent whether as the aggressor or in retaliation for a perceived foul.
    • Violent Conduct: Is guilty of a violent conduct or serious foul play.
    • Foul or Abusive Language: Uses foul or abusive language in a confrontational manner.
    • Fighting: Fighting, regardless of the reason.
    • Leaves Bench: Any player who leaves the bench to become involved in a fight, even if their intent is to break up the fight.
    • Bench Clears: If more than one player from a team leaves the bench, the players who left the bench will be issued red cards.  The game will be stopped and the team who’s players left the bench will be assessed a forfeit for the game.
    • Dual Abandonment: In the event that players from both teams leave the bench, the players that left the bench will be issued red cards and the game will be stopped and both teams issued forfeits for the game.
    • Referee Abuse: Any abuse of the referee whether verbal or physical.  Verbal abuse may be defined, but is not limited to, swearing at or threatening a referee, or disputing a call in an overly aggressive manner, in an attempt to intimidate the referee.
  • Serving penalties
    • Serve Your Own: All players, including the goalkeeper, must serve their own penalties.
    • After Opponent Scores: If a goal is scored against a team that is playing shorthanded, except when a red card was issued, then that team may return one player to the field, but the player who was penalized (including the goalkeeper) must continue to serve their penalty.
    • Team Penalty: A team that has committed 6/12/18 fouls in a half and has received a blue/yellow/red card as a result may pick the player who will serve the penalty; it does not have to be the player who committed the last foul.  The person serving the penalty may return to the field if the other team scores a goal.
    • Playing Short by 2: When a team has two players who have received cards and the opposing team scores a goal, only the first player penalized can be replaced.  If another goal is scored then the second player may also be replaced even though both players must serve out their penalties.
    • Both Teams Serving Penalties: If one player from each team is serving a penalty or an equal number of time penalties are being elapsed when a goal is scored, teams continue to play shorthanded until the penalties are served.
    • Maximum of 2 Simultaneous Penalties: A maximum of two penalties against one team shall be served simultaneously.  If a player is penalized while two players on the same team are serving penalties then the penalty time of the third, fourth, etc player shall not commence until the first penalty time of the two players expires. However, the player assessed the third, fourth, etc penalty must leave the field and be replaced by a teammate until their time begins.
    • Play Shorthanded: In all cases where a 2 minute penalty is issued the team will play shorthand.
  • Ejections and suspensions
    • Red Card is Automatic Ejection: A person receiving a red card will be ejected form the game and must leave the premises.   The person will be suspended through at least one additional division game.  The suspension includes all play, including play with other teams, for the duration of the suspension.
    • Fighting 1 Year Ejection: A person receiving a red card for fighting will be suspended from all play for a period up to one year.
    • Referee Intimidation 1 Year Ejection: A person who makes an attempt to intimidate the referee by threat of physical abuse, pushing or attempting to make contact with the referee will be suspended from all play at all facilities for a period of one year.
    • Striking an Salmon Creek Indoor Employee Permanent Ejection: A person who strikes or attempts to strike any Salmon Creek Indoor employee shall receive a permanent suspension and will be excluded from any event at Salmon Creek Indoor, including tournaments.  Salmon Creek Indoor will also file a criminal complaint with the police whenever an employee is struck in the conduct of their duties.
    • Ejections Carry Over Season to Season: In all instances, where necessary, suspensions will carry over into the next session.
    • Failure to Provide Name: When a player receives a red card they must give the referee their full name and failure to do so will result in a forfeit of the game for the team with which the player was playing on.
    • Suspension Discretion:  Suspensions can be extended beyond what is listed above for repeat offenders or depending on the circumstances.
  • Tie games
    • No Tie Breakers During Regular Season: Games resulting in a tie during regular season play end in a tie.
    • Tournament Rules: Tournaments may declare special tie breaking rules that supersede these tie breaking rules.
  • Special rules
    • Mercy Rule:  If a team is up by 5 goals or more, the opposing team may add an additional player. Once the team scores and the lead falls below 5 goals, the team must remove the “extra” player on the field.
    • Restart: The restart on a disallowed goal is a throw in by the goalkeeper.

    Coed Macho Rule: The intent of this rule is to protect female players from uncontrolled and unreasonably aggressive play by male players.  If the referee feels that a male player, in the reasonable belief of a female player, intimidates or threatens a female player, on his team or the opposing team, through aggressive or forceful play, a foul may be called and a direct free kick awarded.  This includes:

    • High/Hard Kicks: Any kick (or goalkeeper throw) taken with excessive force in the direction of a female player, and within an arc described by her arm span, and which rises above waist level in relation to that player.  The ball need not make contact with the player in question for a foul to be called.
    • Physical or Verbal Intimidation:  Any attempt to take advantage of gender differences through physical or verbal intimidation.
    • Restarts:  When a female is in goal in Coed C or Coed D leagues, all restarts taken from the red line and forward must be taken by a female player.
    • Adult Combination League: If a league is a combination of two ability level leagues, the macho rule of the lower league will apply.  

    Application of Macho Rule

    Coed A Coed B Coed C Coed D
    Field Player No Yes Yes Yes
    Goalkeeper No No Yes Yes
  • Other rules
    • Players’ Box: No one except coaches and players currently playing are allowed in the team boxes (maximum of 2 coaches). No children other than those playing the present game are allowed in the boxes.
    • Photography: No videotaping or photography is allowed from inside the player’s boxes.
    • Glass Containers Prohibited: No glass containers in the boxes.
    • Leave the Bench Neat for Next Team: Exit the field after your game and PLEASE pick up belongings and garbage to leave the box clean for the next game.
    • No Alcohol or Prohibited Food Products: No smoking is allowed and no chewing tobacco, gum or alcohol may be brought into the premises.
    • Macho Coed Rules: In all B, C, and D coed leagues men can only score 2 goals. Females must take all free kicks.

    No players or coaches may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.