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AYSO Region 42 – Newbury Park, CA

Recent Law Changes

There were quite a few changes introduced in 2019. Each year also typically introduces additional minor changes. Here is a summary of relevant changes since 2019, but for complete details please see the list of changes as per FIFA, as well as the AYSO Overview of 2019 Law Changes. AYSO has also released a comprehensive review of the law changes in a slide deck. There are a lot of videos to demonstrate what is intended with the Laws, but be forewarned that because of the all the videos it is a huge file: AYSO In Depth Review of 2019 Law Changes.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask the referee administrator or any member of the referee staff!

Coin toss

The winner of the coin toss may now choose which goal they want to attack, or choose to take the kick off first (not both). If the winner of the coin toss chooses to kick off, the other team chooses which goal to attack.

Misconduct for coaches

Yellow and red cards may now be shown for coaches and other team officials. If the referee cannot determine who is responsible, then the head coach gets the card. Only players, substitutes, and team officials can be shown cards; not spectators.

Dropped balls

When restarting with a dropped ball, the team who had possession prior to stoppage of play gets the ball. If the ball was inside the penalty area when play was stopped, the ball goes to the goalkeeper. There will be no more dropped balls where both teams attempt to kick it. The ball is dropped to a single player and all other players must be at least 4 meters (4.5 yards) away from the point of restart.

Ball hits the referee

In the following cases, if the ball hits the referee, stop play and restart with a dropped ball:

  • Ball goes in the goal
  • Possession changes to the other team
  • Possession does NOT change but a promising attack starts (i.e., team with possession should not gain an advantage because of a deflection off the referee)


Deliberately handling the ball is now also officially known as a "handball offence" (UK spelling). There has been an effort to clarify what cases may be considered accidental handling and when a handball offence must be called. These changes are fairly detailed, so please see the AYSO Overview for complete information, but here are the high points:

  • When a hand/arm of a player is close to their body and it is hit by a ball immediately after being deliberately played by the player themselves or another player who is very close, it is usually not a handball. In other words, in the opinion of the referee, if the player did not have time to react to the ball and the contact was not deliberate, then it is not an offence. In younger players if there is a reaction but it is to protect themselves from getting potentially hurt by the ball (e.g., they raise their hands and protect their face) then it is not considered a handball.
  • When the hand/arm has made a player's body unnaturally bigger, or their arms are extended above their shoulders, and the ball is played by another player (including a teammate), then it usually is a handball.
  • When the ball goes directly into the goal after any handball by the attacking team, or if the handball by the attacking team directly results in an opportunity for them to score a goal, even if it would otherwise be considered non-deliberate, then it is a handball offence.

Direct kick or throw in to goalkeeper from a teammate

  • Goalkeepers who receive the ball directly from a throw-in or having been kicked to them from a teammate may not pick it up, unless they fail in their attempt to clear the ball. For example, a goalkeeper receives a pass from a teammate and attempts to kick it forward, but instead they mis-kick it and the ball spins towards their own goal. The goalkeeper is now permitted to use their hands to prevent a goal.

Goal kick or free kick from penalty area

The ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves on a goal kick and a free kick from inside the kicking team's penalty area. In other words, unlike in previous years, the ball does not have to exit the penalty area to be in play. Defending players must still be outside the penalty area, and for a free kick at least 10 yards away, until the ball is in play. As in prior years, if a defending player happens to be inside the kicking team's penalty area when the kick is taken, they are restricted from playing the ball until the ball touches any other player and the kick is retaken if they do play the ball.

No attackers in the wall

When there are three or more defenders in a wall on a free kick, the attacking team's players must be at least one yard away from the wall.

Quick free kick

Previously, when a foul was accompanied by a disciplinary action (yellow/red card), the attacking team had to wait for the card to be shown before taking the kick. Now, the team may restart play quickly with a free kick if the referee has not yet started the misconduct proceedings. At the next stoppage of play, the referee must administer the card.

Penalty kick procedures

  • The goalkeeper now only needs to keep one foot on or above (i.e., the goalkeeper may jump vertically) the goal line before the kick is taken.
  • If a player was injured as a result of the foul that resulted in the PK, they may still take the kick if assessment for the injury is quick.

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AYSO Region 42 – Newbury Park, CA

P.O. Box 709 
Newbury Park, California 91319

Email Us: [email protected]
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