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AYSO Region 42 – Newbury Park, CA

Recent Law Changes

There were only a few changes introduced in 2022, which are listed in bold below. In contrast, quite a few changes were introduced in 2019, with some further changes to the handball rules in 2020 and 2021. Here is a summary of relevant changes since 2019, but for further details:

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

Coin toss

The coin toss is done by the referee. 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 or last touched the ball prior to stoppage of play gets the ball. If, however, the ball was inside the penalty area when play was stopped, the ball is dropped to the goalkeeper no matter which team had possession, and as before the goalkeeper may pick up the dropped ball. 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 of both teams must be at least 4 meters (4.5 yards) away from the point of restart. As before, the ball is in play when it touches the ground, if a player touches the ball before it is in play the dropped ball is repeated, and the ball can then be touched repeatedly by the player (no double touch offense) but the ball must touch another player before a goal can be scored. 

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 is initiated because the ball touched the referee (the 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 offense". There has been an effort to clarify what cases may be considered accidental handling and when a handball offense must be called. The current definition is:

  • The region of the arm considered for a handball offense now begins at the level of the armpit. 
  • It is an offense when a player makes a deliberate movement of the hand or arm to the ball. For example, even if an arm is in a natural position, if the player moves his/her body to use the arm to direct or play the ball, it is an offense. In younger players if there is a reaction to a ball moving directly toward them, but it is to protect themselves from getting potentially hurt by the ball (e.g., they raise their hands and protect their face or chest), then it is not considered a handball unless, again, they move their arms or body to direct or play the ball. 
  • It is an offense when a player touches the ball with the hand/arm positioned to make a player's body "unnaturally larger" and it is not in a position that can be considered natural for the body movement for that specific situation; distance from last point of contact does not matter. So, for example, a ball touching a player's arm that is in a natural running position is not an offense. If the ball touches an arm is that extend out or up then it is an offense. 
  • It is an offense 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 accidental.

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 (sometimes called a "kickback") 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 (the referee is the sole judge of whether the ball "clearly" moved) on a goal kick or 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 they are first to play the ball.

No attackers in the wall

When there are three or more defenders in a wall on a free kick, the attacking (kicking) 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 needs to keep at least one foot on, above (i.e., the goalkeeper may jump vertically) or behind the goal line before the kick is taken.
  • If a player was injured as a result of the foul that resulted in the PK, and the injury requires that they be attended to by a coach, 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

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