Soccer for freshmen and sophomores in high school is no different that for juniors and seniors. However, there are two types of teams in high school. A player can be placed on a junior varsity or varsity team. There is no distinction in the rules for these two teams, and a freshman can end up on varsity just as easily as junior varsity. The only requirement for moving up to a varsity team is skill.
The field has its own rules, which must be followed. The coach and other helpers in high school soccer have to stay within a certain area on the sidelines. The area is 20 yards long and 10 feet from the touchline. Goal posts must have a pad attached that is six feet tall and one inch thick. The posts themselves must be on the outer edge of the goal line. The penalty kick mark is set at the two foot line.
Equipment and Protection
The are a number of pieces of equipment associated with high school soccer. There must be three or more soccer balls for each game, all of the same quality material. The balls must be marked with the National Federation of State High School Association logo, NFHS. The balls are normally brought out by the home team, but a referee can choose a visitors' ball if needed. There must be at least two ball holders on the sidelines.
Facemasks are not required, but are allowed by a player with an injury in the facial area. The facemask can have no areas sticking out, and there must be a doctor's slip brought to the game to prove a need. The same goes for a cast that might be worn on any part of the body. Braces can be worn without a doctor's note, but they must be kept inside a padding.
Uniforms are worn by both sides and must be tucked in at all times. Clothing under uniforms is allowed, but must not be shown. The home team wears the white or lighter uniform and stockings while the visitors wear the darker ones.
Players and Subs
The roster is given to the referee five minutes before the start of the game. Names are allowed to be added if needed after the start of the game. Substitutions can be made at the end of a period or after a goal as long as the player has already reported. They can also substitute because of injury, disqualification or blood on a player. Restrictions can be placed on substitutions by a team if they receive a yellow and red card. It is also possible for a field player to change places with a goalkeeper as long as they have the referee's permission. This switch can only happen at an appropriate substitution time.
The game is played in two 40-minute periods or four 20-minute quarters. The start of the game is decided by a coin toss. Overtime can have up to a 20-minute maximum time limit. Both the overtime rule and whether games are played in halves or quarters is based on individual states. The game is official once half the time has elapsed. If the game is stopped for whatever reason before a half has been played, then the state will decide if the game is to restart from the beginning or from the time the clock was stopped. Ten minutes is given as a break at half time and five minutes is given before any overtime starts. The clock stops when there is a goal, a yellow or red card is issued, during a penalty kick or when the referee deems it is necessary.
A team can receive what is called a yellow card during play. To get one of these, a team member must leave or enter the field without permission, consistently break rules, use bad language, delay the game, use unsportsmanlike conduct or crowd the other team on a free kick. The coaching staff can also earn their team a yellow card by stepping outside the designated area that they are to remain in, tobacco use or use of unsportsmanlike conduct. A red card is a stronger penalty and will result in the player's ejection from the game. Reasons for a red card can include violent acts, taunting, cheating, getting a second yellow card, fouling an opposing player that is about to score or coming from bench to join in a fight. A free kick for the opposing team will result if there is spitting, tripping or kicking another player--or attempting to do any of those things. A free kick can also result because of handling the ball, pushing, holding or other infractions. There are other offenses that are considered indirect that can result in a free kick as well. Examples might include playing a ball twice before it is touched by another player, a goalkeeper that keeps the ball for more that six seconds or a sub comes in at the wrong time. They are mistakes and not intentional, but can result in a free kick as well.