The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Soccer Rules Committee passed three rules revisions for the 2012-13 soccer season at its January 23-25 meeting in Indianapolis. The most significant change involves the elimination of the “soft red”
from the high school level as part of a continued emphasis on
improving sportsmanship. The changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
Effective with the 2012-13 season, a second yellow card not only will disqualify a player, but the team will not be permitted to substitute
for the disqualified player. Previously, a team was permitted to replace
a player who had received a second yellow card.
Another change in Rule 12-8-1f now will disqualify a player who deliberately handles a ball in his/her own penalty area to prevent it from going in the goal only when the attempt to deny the goal is successful. If a goal is scored, the penalty is now a caution. Previously, a player was disqualified for trying to stop a goal from being scored, whether the try was successful or not.
“Obviously, with two of our three changes this year in Rule 12 (Fouls and Misconduct), the Soccer Rules Committee continues to focus on improving the level of sportsmanship in high school soccer,” said Mark Koski, NFHS director of sports and events and liaison to the Soccer Rules Committee.
The other change approved by the committee involves the taking of a penalty kick. If some unusual situation occurs after the penalty kick is properly taken and before the ball is played or touched by another player, or before the ball hits the goalpost or crossbar, which necessitates a temporary suspension in play, the penalty kick shall be retaken. Previously, this would have resulted in a drop ball.
“As an example, if the ball deflated immediately after a penalty kick was taken and play was suspended, the player now will have the opportunity to attempt the penalty kick again,” Koski explained.
Soccer is the fifth-most popular sport for boys and girls at the high school level. According to the 2010-11 High School Athletics Participation Survey, 398,351 boys are involved in soccer and 361,556 girls participate in the sport.