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High School Soccer Rule Changes Include Color of Tape Used on Socks

Featured, Rules • February 29, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA (February 29, 2024) – One change to the high school soccer rules involving player equipment was made by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) soccer rules committee and approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Rule 4-1-4d was modified to state that if tape or similar material is applied to socks above the ankle, it shall be of similar color to the area of the sock to which it was applied. Referees are no longer required to oversee socks below the ankle.

The other changes include rule 12 of the NFHS Soccer Rules Book on Fouls and Misconduct being revised and reorganized and including a new section on “Stopping a Promising Attack.”  Rule 12-7 defines what a promising attack is, how to determine a promising attack and any punishments a player may receive. The new language states that a promising attack is an attack moving quickly with the promise or potential to become a clear goal-scoring opportunity for the attacking team. A promising attack can occur anywhere on the field.

When determining if an attack is promising, the following considerations would include but are not limited to: distance between the offense and the goal, general direction of play, likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball, if the attacking team is moving forward with speed, open space in front of the player with the ball or the presence of other attackers who could receive the ball, the player having an option to take on the defender or pass to a teammate and if the attacker has assistance from teammates.

In a move to achieve one of the committee’s fundamental tasks of creating an atmosphere of sportsmanship, much of Rule 12 was rearranged and re-worded for clarity and consistency.

“The biggest change we’ve come across this year is the reorganization of Rule 12 to address some issues of sportsmanship, to clarify some tools for officials, and to focus on positive interactions with coaches, officials and student-athletes,” said Gibby Reynolds, chair of the NFHS Soccer Rules Committee and a member of the Oregon School Activities Association administrative staff.

Other revisions in the Fouls and Misconduct Rule include a section on Ejections (previously named Disqualifications), which provides an ordered list of offenses by severity to allow associations more flexibility for determining post-game sanctions for misconduct.

Multiple changes were made to Section 8 of Rule 12 – Denying an Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity (DOGSO). A new article was added to clarify that all necessary conditions must be met for DOGSO to be applicable. Rule 12-8-4 now states: “If any element in article one is missing, the player cannot be ejected for DOGSO. However, this may indicate an attack is promising and additional factors should be considered.”


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