Revised Rules 2018

Niagara Soccer League

Rules and Regulations 2018


Privacy Policy (Niagara Soccer Association)

It is understood that I can contact the Niagara Soccer Association or my own Club to review the information on file and if necessary, can correct any or all information. It is understood that all information on file is not provided or given to any other organization. The information is for soccer requirements and not to be used for any other purpose.






  • 1.1. All regular schedules will be maintained on the NSL website. The website administrators will be responsible for the preparation of these schedules. The League Scheduler will review all schedules before they are finalized. Maps to all fields and a copy of the Rules and Regulations will also be available on the website. At the Annual Coaches Meeting, coaches will be made aware of major changes in the Rules and Regulations. All needed information for all teams ca be found on the NSL website.
  • 1.2. A waiver form, provided by the League, will be given to all teams, stating that the team officials have read and understand these Rules and Regulations, and that they agree to abide by them. The waiver is to be signed by the Team Head Coach and returned to the League Administrator, prior to May 1st of the current year.
  • 1.3. Coaches should contact their Home Club with any and all concerns about any issues they may have with regard to information posted on the website. If the concern is valid, the Club will contact the appropriate NSL official about the concern.
  • 1.4. Only registered team officials may contact the NSL administrator regarding game issues.
  • 1.6. If two age groups are combined, all rules default to the higher age group other than game nights. See Playing Nights.


Application Deadlines


  • 1.7. All team registrations for U8 to Senior must be fully completed and received by March 1st of the current year, along with the team registration fee of $250.00 per U8 team, $275.00 per U9 to U17 team, and $300.00 per U21 and Women’s team. Registration fees are to be mailed to 125 Carlton St, PO Box 23076, St. Catharines, ONT L2R 1R0


Payment of League Fees and Bonds


  • 1.8. A bond of $250.00 is required from all Clubs prior to the start of the season.
  • 1.9. If payment of all outstanding fees, bonds and fines is not made as above, the application may be rejected.
  • 1.10.Acceptance of applications received after April 15th deadline of the current year will be at the discretion of the Executive, and will be subject to a $50.00 late fee.


Withdrawal of Application


  • 1.11.Any team withdrawing after March 1st of the current year will forfeit their team registration fee.
  • 1.12.Any team withdrawing after the coaches meeting will forfeit their team registration fee and be assessed an additional penalty of $250.00




  1. From U9 – U12 only two under aged players are allowed to play per team and the appropriate paperwork must be completed and submitted to the NSA for approval and then forwarded to the NSL. Once these players are approved for the higher age group team, they must remain on that team only for the remainder of the season.


OSA Registration Books & Game Sheets


  1. IT IS MANDATORY that all players U13 and older will provide a valid OSA Player Registration Book to the opposing team officials, prior to the start of the game. This includes call up players from house league. Players not producing a player registration book ARE NOT ELIGIBLE TO PLAY, and cannot sit on the bench.
  2. Players U13 and older arriving after the game starts, can only participate if they present a valid registration book, to the opposing team officials. Players arriving after the start of a game will be allowed the opportunity to present their player book during any stoppage in play.
  3. A players’ registration book must be validated no less than 24 hours prior to participation.


Player Eligibility


  1. Please note as we are using the Open Roster system for U8 – U12 for the 2017 outdoor season, no player books are required to be present at each game, but a completed game day roster with all player names, OSA numbers, jersey numbers, and birthdates must be available at the beginning of the game. If a team is planning on attending a festival out of district you “may” be required to provide player books for these participants. Please check with the festival host.
  2. Players will be allowed to register with only one NSL team.
  3. No registration or transfer of players after July 31st of the current year is permitted.
  4. Protests regarding the eligibility of players will not be acknowledged if the player books have not been checked.
  5. The Executive reserves the right to investigate any question of player eligibility and deal with it in accordance with the League Rules and Regulations.
  6. Players called up from another Club must obtain a Temporary Registration Permit (TRP) from the NSA. A player must present the TRP to the opposing team officials to participate in the game.
  7. A “call up” is any player who is not registered on the OSA team roster.
  8. Teams U13 and older may call up a maximum of 5 players per game and that individual may only be called up a maximum of 5 times to any given team per season. There are NO CALL UPS for Cup games.
  9. U8 teams may dress a maximum of 10 players for a festival game and will play 5v5.
  10. U9 & U10 teams may dress a maximum of 12 players for a game and will play 7v7.
  11. U11 & U12 teams may dress a maximum of 16 players for a game and will play 9v9.
  12. Teams in all other divisions may dress a maximum of 18 players for a game.
  13. Youth teams, U13 – U18, and adult teams may have a maximum of 25 players registered at any given time.
  14. Teams U13 and older must field at least 7 eligible players for a game. Subject to the referee’s approval, teams will be allowed 15 minutes after the scheduled start of the game to field the minimum number of players. Failure to do so will result in the game being forfeit, subject to the appropriate fines and penalties. A 3-0 result will be the officially recorded score.
  15. U11 & U12 teams must field at least 6 eligible players or the game will not be played.
  16. U9 - U10 teams must field at least 5 players or the game will not be played.
  17. In the event that neither team in U13 and older can field at least 7 eligible players, the game will be forfeit by both teams, subject to the appropriate fines and penalties. No points will be awarded to either team.
  18. Any team U13 and older unable to field at least 7 eligible players for a game on 3 separate occasions, may, at the discretion of the Executive, be suspended from further League play.


Game Sheets


  1. Electronic game sheets must be provided for all age groups and be given to the referee, prior to the start of any game. Failure to do so will result in all players ruled ineligible and the game will be forfeit, subject to the appropriate fines and penalties. No handwritten game sheets are acceptable.
  2. Only official game sheets provided by the NSL will be accepted.
  3. All officials’ names and their OSA registration numbers are to be recorded on the game sheet. No one shall be allowed on the player’s bench without being listed on the game sheet.
  4. Player information must include the following:
    1. Player name
    2. Player jersey number (every player must have an individual, distinct number).
    3. OSA registration number.
  5. ALL PLAYERS must be listed on the game sheet to be eligible to play.
  6. All players listed on the game sheet will be deemed to have played. (Players may be removed from the game sheet by stroking through the players name and OSA registration number, prior to the start of the game). Players arriving after the start of the game are to be added to the game sheet. The player cannot enter the field of play until the referee has been notified of their arrival and they have presented their Player Registration Book to the opposing coach (U13 and up).
  7. All call up players shall be clearly identified on the game sheets.
  8. Teams will submit game results to the website within 48 hours of the completion of the game or be subject to a fine. Each team will be responsible to send an electronic copy of their game sheet to the appropriate email after each game regardless as to whether they are the home or away team..  This must be received within 48 hours.  The coaches are to keep them on file for the complete season.




League Schedules


  1. At the discretion of the Executive, and in the interest of competitive play, any division U9 to Adult may be divided into 2 or more distinct tiers.


DAY                                                       GIRLS                                                    BOYS

Monday                                                U9, U11, U13                                   U14, U16

Tuesday                                               U10, U12, U16                                 U11, U15

Wednesday                                          U15, Women                                    U10, U13

Thursday                                             U14, U17, U21                                  U9, U12, U17

Friday                                                  U8                                                      U8

Game nights are revisted yearly.

  1. If divisions are combined, the game night is the game night for oldest age in the division.
  2. Games may be scheduled on Friday and Saturday as required.
  3. All teams must play on their designated playing night.
  4. NSL will “blackout” exam week, June 20th– June 27th, 2018 for U15 – U21.
  5. In the event of a request to move a game due to Graduation, the game will be rescheduled to the Saturday following the game day.






Duration of Play


  1. The length of games will be:
    1. U8: Two (2) twenty (20) minute halves
    2. U9 & U10: Two (2) twenty-five (25) minute halves
    3. U11 & U12: Two (2) thirty-five (35) minute halves
    4. U13: Two (2) forty (40) minute halves
    5. U14 – U18: Two (2) forty-five (45) minute halves
    6. Women: Two (2) forty-five (45) minute halves




  1. Unlimited player substitutions shall be permitted, with the consent of the referee, during a stoppage of play for the following:
    1. Scoring of a goal
    2. Goal kick
    3. Player injury
    4. Halftime, including extra time
    5. Start of extra time
    6. U8 can change on the fly, no stoppage required
    7. U9 – U10 on all stopages in play
    8. U11 & U12 on all throw-ins
    9. U13 – Senior on ALL throw-ins, piggy backing is permitted


Game Postponement


  1. All games shall be played as scheduled by the NSL unless:
    1. At the discretion of the game official, postponement is necessary due to inclement weather or unplayable field conditions.
    2. At the discretion of the League’s Executive, a game may be subject to postponement.
    3. A game is postponed at the discretion of the Municipality responsible for the field.
    4. No game will start more than 30 minutes after the scheduled time.
      • No U8 – U12 game will start after 9:00PM.


Game Rescheduling


    1. The referee calls the game due to inclement weather or unplayable field conditions. The game will be considered complete if ¾ of the game has been played. The referee shall be the sole judge of the time elapsed.
    2. In the event of extreme weather conditions, games may be cancelled by the League providing as much notice to the Clubs as possible.
    3. A park official has declared the field unplayable and will not allow a game to start or continue.
    4. When a game is to be rescheduled, the Home team coach will provide, within 72 hours, an alternate game night. For U13 to Senior, Games not rescheduled within 72 hours will be considered a DEFAULT by the Home team. Loss of points and appropriate fines will be charged to the Home team.
    5. A team choosing to cancel a game due to lack of coaches/players is considered a forfeit and will result in the Club/Team being fined $250.00
    6. If a field becomes unavailable for a regularly scheduled game because of the pyramid of play, the Home Club will advise the League convenor in writing and the game may be rescheduled at the discretion of the League Executive.
    7. Games cancelled during the final week of the season will be rescheduled at the discretion of the League Executive.
    8. Particulars of all rescheduled games must be forwarded to the appropriate website administrator.
    9. CUP/FINAL games postponed due to field closure or inclement weather will be played the following night at the Home field, visiting field, or neutral field to be determined by the Home team. If the Home team is unable to secure a field, the visiting team will do so. If the visiting team cannot secure a field the League will do so.








  • 4.1. The Home team is responsible for the payment of game officials in cash, fifteen (15) minutes prior to kick off for U-9 to Senior.
  • 4.2. Game officials are to be given a minimum 48 hours’ notice of the cancellation of any game. All game officials will be notified via the E2E game official scheduling package (Refcentre) about all game cancellations.
  • 4.3. If a referee fails to show, the Home team will be allowed a maximum of 30 minutes, from the scheduled start time of the game and subject to any game start time restrictions, to provide a qualified alternate referee. If the Home team is unable to do so, the game will be rescheduled. If an assistant referee fails to show, the game will still be played. Both coaches will decide on an alternate to assume the assistant referee’s duties
  • 4.4. All game officials for U13 and older will be appointed by the NSA designated game official appointer. The League will provide the NSA with a schedule of these games.
  • 4.5. All games U13 and older will have a referee and two assistant referees assigned to them.
  • 4.6. Game leaders and/or referees for U8-U12 festivals will be provided by the Home Club.
  • 4.7. All referees appointed by the Home Club must be Youth District certified.
  • 4.8. All youth referees should be at least 2 years older than the division they are officiating.
  • 4.9. All Clubs will make every reasonable attempt to ensure that no game official is directly related to any game participant.


Game Official Payment Policy


  • 4.10.In accordance with the NSA recommended standardization of payment policy to game officials for incomplete games the following policy will apply:
    1. When a game in cancelled after the game officials have arrived, the game officials will be paid half of the published game fee. The League does require the game official to complete the game sheets and include a reason why the game was cancelled.  Failure of the Home Team to pay the officials will result in a $50.00 administrative charge to the Club/Team as well as the cost of the half fees.
    2. If the game officials are notified within the League specified time prior to the scheduled kick off time, the game officials will not be paid for the game.
    3. If the game officials are notified less than within the League specified time prior to the scheduled kick off time, the game officials will be paid half of the published fee.
    4. If a game is called after having started the game, the game officials are to be paid in full.

Game Official’s Fees

  • 4.11.Fee Schedule (Level 6)
    1. Women’s Premier Referee:            $50.00  Assistant Referee: $35.00
    2. Women’s Division 1 & 2 Referee: $45.00  Assistant Referee: $30.00
    3. U21Referee:       $45.00                              Assistant Referee: $30.00
    4. U16/17 Referee: $45.00                              Assistant Referee: $30.00
    5. U15Referee:       $45.00                              Assistant Referee: $30.00
    6. U14Referee:       $40.00                              Assistant Referee: $30.00
    7. U13Referee:       $35.00                              Assistant Referee: $25.00
    8. U12Referee:       $30.00
    9. U11Referee:       $30.00
    10. U10Referee:       $25.00
    11. U9Referee:         $25.00
    12. U8Game Leader: $20.00


  • U9 & 10 Referees MUST be in their second year.
  • U11 and up Referees MUST be in their third year.
  • Women’s Division Premier, minimum Level 7 Referee




Home Club Responsibility


  • 5.1. Home Clubs will be responsible for the provision of the following. Failure to do so will result in the Home team being fined. The game official will note all inadequate field equipment on the game sheet.
    1. Field markings, as per FIFA Rules.
    2. Appropriate sized goals and nets.
    3. Corner flags.
    4. The appropriate size game ball plus an alternate.
    5. Field lights (when required).


As per OSA, LTPD Guidelines: 

Field Sizes


Education and communication with municipalities and facility providers is very important. Ranges for field width and length have been provided at each development stage. It’s understood that transition time is required to have the fields in place. It’s anticipated that 3 years will give ample time to transition.

Therefore all fields will be correct by 2017.




Goal Sizes


A 3 year phase in period has been granted for clubs, districts and leagues to make the transition to the goal sizes outlined in the matrix. Again education and communication with municipalities is crucial.

Therefore all goals will be correct by 2017.




  • 5.2. All players shall wear regulation soccer equipment as outlined by FIFA and OSA Rules including shin guards.
  • 5.3. All teams will wear their registered primary colours as reported on the website. Failure to do so will result in a fine except for the following condition:
    1. The Visiting team shall change to their alternate colours if, in the opinion of the referee, the colours are similar.
  • 5.4. If the Visiting team is unable to provide an alternate strip, then the Home team will be consulted to determine if they can provide an alternate strip. If neither team can provide an alternate strip and the referee determines the game cannot be played, the game will be rescheduled with the Home team providing a field and game date within 14 days of the originally scheduled game date, subject to any final week contingencies. The administrator and scheduler will be advised of the proposed rescheduled date. The Visiting team will be subject to the appropriate fine.
  • 5.5. All players, including goalkeepers, must wear a jersey with a clearly distinguishable number on the back to be able to participate in a game. That number will be recorded against the players’ name on the game sheet. Players wearing the same numbered jersey shall be considered ineligible, and subject to the appropriate fines and penalties.
  • 5.6. Goalkeepers must wear colours, which, in the opinion of the referee, plainly distinguish them from other players and the game officials.








Retreat Line


  • 6.1. All opponents of the player and team taking the goal kick must be beyond the 1/3 field line for U9 to U12 and cannot touch the ball until it is in play.  For U8 the retreat line is the Half. This rule applies for goal kicks and after the goalie makes a save.
  • 6.2. The ball is in play once it leaves the penalty area and is touched by a player of the team taking the goal kick.


Pass Back


  • 6.3. The goalkeeper may NOT pick up a direct pass back from a fellow team member.  This is for ages U8 and up to and including Senior. 
  • The goalkeeper may NOT pick up a pass back from a fellow team member; this applies to all age groups U8 – U21 and senior as per Ontario Soccer laws of the game

the player can head the ball or use any other part of their body too “pass” the ball to their Goalkeeper and this is allowed

Handles the ball after it has been deliberately kicked to him/her by a team-mate is NOT allowed.


Team Officials


  • 6.4. All team officials must have the appropriate coaching certifications as required according to OSA published rules: Only Team Officials who have their valid OSA Book in their possession will be allowed on the bench.


POSITION                                                            LEVELS REQUIRED

Head Coach                                                     Coaching certificate, MED, RIS and Making Headway

Assistant Coach                                               Coaching certificate, MED, RIS and Making Headway

Manager                                                            RIS    Making Headway

Assistant Manager                                           RIS     Making Headway

At least 2 Team Staff Must have the New Concussion Protocol Course prior to May 15, 2018.  Information regarding this free course, will be announced at the Coach Meeting.


  • 6.5. All certifications must be completed prior to the start of the season.
  • 6.6. If anyone on the staff has RIS from another organization such as hockey, they only need to put in their number from that course on the RIS for soccer. This is good for 5 years.
  • 6.7. A minimum of 1, and a maximum of 4 team officials, which are carded to the team, are permitted to sit on the bench. Only team officials included in the team application will be allowed to sit on the bench.
  • 6.8. All team officials must be registered with the NSA and have their OSA registration books available at all times. If the book(s) are not available the official(s) name will not be entered on the game sheet and the official(s) will not be allowed to sit on the player bench.
  • 6.9. Team officials will coach within two meters of the player bench. Team officials are not permitted to walk up and down the sideline or obstruct the view of the assistant referee.
  • 6.10.Team officials are not allowed on the playing field unless summoned by the game official.
  • 6.11.Team officials may be added to, or changed from, the team application by notifying the League in writing.


League Standings


  • 6.12.Standings in each division shall be determined from game results based on the following:
    1. Win = 3 points
    2. Tie = 1 point
    3. Loss = 0 points
  • 6.13.In the event of a tie for team’s subject to possible promotion or relegation at the end of the regular season the tie shall be decided on the following basis:
  1. Head to Head
  2. Least Goals Against
  3. Goal Differential
  4. Goals For
  5. Playoff Game



    Promotion and Relegation


  6. 6.14.Promotion and relegation for U10 to Women is based soley on the prior yearsstandings
  • 6.15.For Womens Division, the following applies.The 1st place team in the 1st and 2nd division will be promoted.
  • 6.16.The 2nd place team in the 1st and/or 2nd division may be promoted based on the previous year’s standings and at the discretion of the NSL Executive.
  • 6.17.The last place teams in the Premier and 1st division will be relegated.
  • 6.18.The 2nd last place teams in the Premier and 1st division may be relegated based on the previous year’s standings and at the discretion of the NSL Executive.
  • 6.19.No team may refuse promotion or relegation without the written permission of the NSL Executive.
  • 6.20.Any appeal of the promotion/relegation policy must be submitted in writing to the Protest, Appeals and Discipline Committee.
  • 6.21.All new teams will enter the League in the lowest division. Requests to enter the League in a higher division must be submitted in writing to the League Executive.
  • 6.22.Any new teams entering the League with a past competitive history will be able to APPLY for any VACANT spot in a higher division.
  • 6.23.Division placements each year for the senior divisions will be based on the previous year’s standings and at the discretion of the NSL Executive.


    League Cup


  • 6.24.All Cup games will be single game knockout unless otherwise noted.
  • 6.25.Each team will pay 50% of the game official fees for all Cup games, except for all Cup finals, which will be paid for by the NSL.
  • 6.26.Players may only participate in the Cup with the team they are registered with. NO CALLUP OR GUEST PLAYERS PERMITTED IN ANY CUP GAME.
  • 6.27.If the game is tied at the end of regulation play, the teams will go directly to penalty kicks which will be taken as per FIFA Law of the game.
  • 6.28.The winner of each Cup game will contact the scheduler immediately with the result.
  • 6.29.A “Festival Finals Weekend” will be held at the end of the current season for all teams U8 – U12.
  • 6.30.The referee fees for the Festival Finals Weekend will be paid by the NSL.
  • 6.31.Cup games postponed due to field closure or inclement weather will be played the following night.






  • 7.1. Any Protests resulting from the referees’ interpretation of the FIFA laws of the game will not be accepted.
  • 7.2. Protests will not be accepted unless they are received from an officer of the Club.
  • 7.3. Protests are to be forwarded to the League secretary, accompanied by a $50.00 protest fee, postmarked within 5 business days of the protested incident taking place. Protests must be recorded on the game sheet.
  • 7.4. All protests will be reviewed by the Protest, Appeals and Discipline Committee.
  • 7.5. If the protest is upheld, the protest fee will be returned.




  • 7.6. Any forfeited game is to be reported immediately to the division convenor. The convenor will, by e-mail, advise the Club forfeiting the game by providing the game number, the scheduled date of the game and the associated fine. A read receipt will be requested from the Club acknowledging they are aware of the forfeit and the associated fine.  The game score will be recorded as 3 - 0.
  • 7.7. Clubs will be advised of the following rule infractions as soon as they are made known to the convenor:
    1. Playing an ineligible player
    2. Smoking while on the player bench
    3. Team official sitting on player bench while suspended
    4. Use of alcohol while on the player bench
  • 7.8. Clubs will be solely responsible for any and all fines incurred by their teams.







  • 7.9. Appeals against any decision by the League may be made to the District Association (NSA). Any such appeal must be made in accordance with the District Association by-laws.





  • 7.10.The NSA will handle all discipline matters.
  • 7.11.All discipline reports, along with the game sheets, must be submitted by the Referee, to the NSL office within 24 hours of game completion.
  • 7.12.Discipline in the case of alleged Referee assault will result in the immediate suspension of the accused until they appear before the NSA disciplinary committee.
  • 7.13.Team officials and players subject to possible discipline, may continue to participate in League play, including Cup games, until their scheduled hearing date, with the exception of alleged Referee assault.
  • 7.14.It is the responsibility of the Club to ensure any team official and player attends their scheduled discipline hearing. Non-attendance at a discipline hearing will result in the immediate and indefinite suspension of any accused parties until they appear before the NSL discipline committee.
  • 7.15.Any team official who pulls his/her team off the field (game abandonment) shall meet with the League Protest, Appeals and Discipline Committee. Such a meeting will be scheduled within 7 days of the date of the game in question. Game abandonment may be subject to the appropriate fines and penalties, at the discretion of the committee.


Matters Not Included


  • 7.16.All matters not herein provided for affecting the conduct and operation of this League, or of an emergency nature, shall be dealt with by the Executive in accordance with the NSA and/or OSA Constitutions, Policies and Procedures.



2017 Fines & Penalties


League Fees:


  1. Per Team: U8 $250.00, U9 – U17 $275.00, U21 & Women $300.00
  2. Bond per Club$250.00






Discipline Fees:


  1. Team unable to field the minimum number of players/coaches for a scheduled game $250.00
  2. Game abandonment:$250.00
  1. Team official abandoning game will be suspended for 2 games




  1. Missing field and/or game equipment $25.00
  2. Failure of the Away team to provide an alternate jersey automatically fined $50.00
  3. Failure to return a signed waiver $50.00
  4. Failure to update the website with game results within the League mandated 48 hour time frame $25.00
  5. Inaccurate or incomplete game sheets $10.00 per infraction
  6. Playing an ineligible player: $100.00
    1. The Head coach will be suspended for 2 games
    2. All games in which the ineligible player participated will be forfeit
  7. Dressing more than the maximum number of players $100.00
    1. The Head coach will be suspended for 2 games
  8. Smoking while on the team bench $100.00
    1. The offending team official will be suspended for 2 games
  9. Team official sitting on player bench while suspended $100.00
    1. Game will be forfeit
    2. Team official will be suspended for an additional 2 games
  10. Use of alcohol while on team bench $250.00
    1. Team official will be suspended indefinitely. An incident

report will be submitted to the NSL for further disciplinary action

  1. No Club representative at AGM $150.00
  2. No Team representative at coach’s meeting $150.00
  3. Forfeit and Abondoned Game Fine $250.00




Accumulation of Cards:


  1. Any team accumulating a total of:
    1. 4 dismissals (red cards )$50.00
    2. 8 cautions (yellow cards) $50.00
    3. A combination of 10 red or yellow cards $100.00
  1. Any team official removed from a game will face a fine of $50.00 by the NSL. 

In The Event That a Team Withdraws From the League:


  1. Team withdrawing after May 15th: Loss of registration fee U8 $250.00, U9 – U18 $275.00, U21 & Women $300.00
  2. Team withdrawing after coaches meeting: Loss of registration fee (same as above)



** All team fines will be deducted from the $250.00 Club bond. Clubs will be advised regularly by email of any fines assessed to them. In the event that the accumulation of fines reduces the Club bond to less than $100.00, the Club will be required to replenish the bond to the original $250.00 before any teams are allowed to participate further. A 2-week grace period, after notification from the League, will be allowed to replenish the bond. **


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