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CASA 2024

Referee Q & A

This area allows everyone to see questions that arise each year as everyone is learning the rules of the game.

If you would like to submit a question, please email [email protected]

Q.  When are substitutions allowed?

A.  Per division….

U6 – Sub every 5 minutes per equal rotation
U8 – Sub every 5 minutes per equal rotation
U10 & U12
– coaches address the ref with “Sub Ref” / “Sub Sir” / “Sub Mama”
– kickoffs (after a score)
– goal kicks (by either team regardless of possession)
– throw ins (provided the team awarded the throw in is substituting and both teams have their subs at the half
line ready to enter the game)
– injured player
It is OK to sub a goalie at anytime during the course of the game as long as the referee is notified of the change.


Q. Is there any circumstance where a player is permitted to wear jewelry?

A. Jewelry, earrings and studs are not allowed under any circumstances. Medical alert bracelets may be worn, but must be covered with a cloth wristband or something equivalent.

While referees have some latitude in determining the safety of certain items, e.g. soft hair bands or bows which might be considered as jewelry, they do not have any discretion concerning earrings or other jewelry that is worn in a clearly visible body piercing. These items are strictly forbidden, and must be removed.

Referees and coaches who knowingly allow players to violate this policy may face disciplinary action and increase their personal legal liability in case of accident.


Q.  Offsides Rule

A.  Offsides – this some takes time to understand –

–  it IS NOT A VIOLATION for a player to be in an offside position (in an offside position but not actively involved in the play)

–  it IS A VIOLATION when an attacker who is in an offside position becomes actively involved in the play by

(1) interfering with play (having the ball passed to you while in the offside position)

(2) interferes with an opponent (blocking or screening an opponent from the ball – includes the goalkeeper)

(3) gains an advantage by being in an offside position (while in an offside position plays a ball that has bounced off the goal post, goalie or another defender.

It IS NOT A VIOLATION when a player in an offside position receives the ball DIRECTLY from

– a throw in

– a goal kick

– a corner kick

– a teammate on their side of the field (the defenders have pushed up so far they are across the half line)  – quite rare.


The key word above is DIRECTLY and an offside may occur on any one of the above given the proper circumstances. For an offside to occur, It would call for another touch by either an offense or defensive player. (Gains an advantage by being in an offside position).

Q.  Handballs?

A.  The hand ball or “handling” rule is covered in Laws of the Game – Rule 12 – Fouls and Misconduct

Direct free kick
A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following seven offences in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force:
  • kicks or attempts to kick an opponent
  • trips or attempts to trip an opponent
  • jumps at an opponent
  • charges an opponent
  • strikes or attempts to strike an opponent
  • pushes an opponent
  • tackles an opponent
A direct free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of the following three offences:
  • holds an opponent
  • spits at an opponent
  • handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his own penalty area)
A direct free kick is taken from the place where the offence occurred (see Law 13 – Position of free kick).
First, the rule for a hand ball includes using any part of the body from the tips of the fingers to the shoulder.
Second, the proper way to look at this soccer rule is that a player cannot “handle” the ball. A ball that is kicked and hits a player’s hand or arm is NOT a hand ball. This means that the referee must use his or her own judgment to some extent in determining whether or not a hand ball is accidental contact or a purposeful attempt to gain an advantage.
The key words are DELIBERATELY / INTENTIONALLY or a PURPOSEFUL ATTEMPT to gain an advantage.
So the next time you think you see a handball ask yourself – was the player seeking an advantage by handling the ball – some are obvious, hands above the head or reaching out to try to stop or deflect the path or the ball – that would be a handball. Did the ball “play the player” or did the player “play the ball”?

and finally….

Remember coaches (and referees) always instruct the players to continue play until they hear the whistle.

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Leah Ahartz: 605-222-0838
or [email protected]


Capital Area Soccer Association
PO Box 704 
Pierre, South Dakota 57501

Email: [email protected]
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