Gahanna Soccer Association

Rules for GSA Middle School & High School Travel

  1. Play shall be conducted as 11 vs 11 including a keeper and using a size #5 ball.
  2. Substitutions may be made at the mid-line ONLY. The ball must have gone out of play and the players must have checked in with the referee before the substitutions will be allowed.
    1. Both teams may substitute an unlimited number of players after a goal has been scored, at the start of the second half, or when a player from either team has been injured.
    2. The team in possession of the ball may substitute an unlimited number of players on a throw-in or goal kick.
    3. The team not in possession of the ball may substitute an unlimited number of players on a throw-in or goal kick if the team in possession of the ball is also substituting.
    4. There are no substitutions on corner kicks.
  3. A match shall consist of 2/30 minutes periods with a half time period of no less than 5 minutes and no longer than 8 minutes.
  4. The execution of a slide tackle is permitted in the Middle School league but are not permitted in the High School league. They are STRONGLY discouraged. Slide tackles will be viewed critically and improperly executed slide tackles will be penalized.
  5. Score is kept by the referee and the winning coach is responsible for reporting the score to the commissioner by the end of the day.
  6. Coaches, parents and supporters ARE NOT permitted on the pitch during play.
  7. Teams are to bench between the fields. Parents and supporters are REQUIRED to remain on the opposite side of the pitch.
  8. There is tournament for the Middle School Travel age group for the fall and spring seasons.
  9. Both age groups are traveling teams which compete in the Columbus metro area and vicinity.
  10. Both age groups are required to purchase official GSA uniforms.


An offside position is gained when a player, while in the opponents half of the pitch, is ahead of the ball and closer to the opponents goal than two defenders, one of which may be the keeper. The call of "OFFSIDE" will only be made if the player is in the area of active play or is involved in the play.


Advantage is called when the team that was fouled remains in control of the ball and on the attack, thus allowing any offensive opportunity gained to continue rather than penalize said team for the action of the opponent.

Dangerous Play

A call of dangerous play is made when any player is put into a situation where the act of conducting play is consider by the referee to place any player in a position to cause injury to themselves or any other players.

Ball In & Ball Out of Play

The ball is not considered out of play until it has gone completely over the marked boundary of the pitch. A player may be outside the marked pitch and play the ball as long as the ball remains within the marked boundary of the pitch.


The call of "HANDLING" occurs when, in the opinion of the referee, they view any play, including the keeper in certain instances, to have deliberately handled, carried, struck, or propelled the ball with their hand or arm. The referee may also look to see if, in their opinion, the hand went to the ball or the ball went to the hand, or if an advantage was gained, before making the call.

Expectations and Developmental Goals

  1. All players should play at least 50% of the match in all games (league or tournament play) regardless of ability.
  2. Teams should have at least 2 but no more than a total of 3 meetings per week for practice or games.
  3. Players should understand offensive and defensive positioning (Ball side/Goal side).
  4. Players should be able to execute "give and go" passes and overlapping runs.
  5. Players should be able to receive and control a ball played to them on the ground and in the air. They should be able to receive the ball with their feet, legs, chest, and head and have it close to them to pass or dribble.
  6. Players should be able to execute a pass under pressure with both the inside and outside of both feet.
  7. Players should be able to shield the ball while calling for support.
  8. Players are expected to execute a throw-in and should know how to create space to receive the ball.
  9. Players should know the difference between a direct and indirect kick and basic strategies for taking either one.
  10. All players should know the basic techniques for striking the ball with power for goal kicks, corner kicks, and direct/indirect kicks. Players should know the techniques for "bending" a ball.
  11. Players should be able to execute multiple fakes, moves, and turns to beat players one on one.
  12. Coaches are encouraged to complete the USYSA Grassroots course, or the United Soccer Coaches 11v11 course.
  13. Coaches are encouraged to improve their knowledge of the game by playing in the adult league.

Rules Regarding Heading the Ball

Pursuant to US Soccer Federation guidelines and the Ohio South Youth Soccer Association bylaws, GSA enforces the following rules regarding heading:

  • No intentional headers will be allowed in U-10 and lower age divisions' games
  • No coach in a U-10 or lower age division shall be permitted to instruct players on how to perform a header
  • U-12 teams are allowed no more than 30 minutes per week to instruct on how to head the ball