Gahanna Soccer Association

Rules for GSA U-12 Soccer

  1. Play shall be conducted as 9 vs 9 including a keeper and using a size #4 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 on a goal kick, 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 on a corner kick.
    3. The team not in possession of the ball may substitute an unlimited number of players on a throw-in or on a corner kick if the team in possession of the ball is also substituting.
  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 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 or entering it directly into the website.
  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 a tournament for this age group for the fall and spring seasons.


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.

Mercy Rule

The Gahanna Soccer Association (GSA) encourages all players and COACHES to demonstrate good sportsmanship at all times. If a team is trailing by 4 goals or more at any time during the match, they may play with 1 additional player until the deficit has been reduced to 2 goals, at which time they must remove the extra player. If the deficit increases to 8 goals or more, the team trailing may play with a maximum of 2 players until the deficit has been reduced to 6 goals and then the trailing team must remove 1 of the extra players.

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 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, and chest and have it close to them to pass or dribble.
  5. Players should be able to execute a pass under pressure with both the inside and outside of both feet.
  6. Players should be able to shield the ball while calling for support.
  7. Players are expected to execute a throw-in and should know how to create space to receive the ball.
  8. Players should know the difference between a direct and indirect kick and basic strategies for taking either one.
  9. All players should know the basic techniques for striking the ball with power for goal kicks, corner kicks, and direct/indirect kicks.
  10. Players should be able to execute at least one fake, one move, and one turn to beat players one on one.
  11. Coaches are encouraged to complete the USYSA Grassroots course, or the United Soccer Coaches 7v7/9v9 course.
  12. 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


Rules for U-10 Teams Wishing to Transfer to U-12

  1. All normal player eligibility rules will continue to apply i.e. birth date requirements.
  2. Only players that register during the regular registration period (before late fees begin) will be eligible to move with their team.  All late registrations will continue to be placed in the player pool.
  3. Only players that participated on a team in the spring season and registered again the following fall are eligible to move up with the team.
  4. Players on a team that chooses to move up are not obligated to move with the team.  They will always have the right to request a new team and be placed into the player pool.
  5. Teams may only move up at the beginning of the soccer year i.e. the start of the fall season.
  6. If a team chooses to move up, all players on the team at the end of the spring season who would be U-12 eligible in the fall will be allowed to remain with the team.  Coaches may not choose which players they want to keep on their team.
  7. Only teams that have at least half of their players that will be in the standard U-12 age range, not including players that wish to "play up", in the fall will be allowed to move up as a team.

    Example 1: At the end of the spring season, U-10 Team Blue has a roster of 10 players – Four ten-year-olds and six nine year-olds. Because the team has more players that would not be eligible for U-12 than are eligible, the team would not be allowed to move up.

    Example 2: At the end of the spring season, U-10 Team Gold has a roster of 12 players – Six ten-year-olds, five nine-year-olds, and one eight year-old that played up. Since half of the team would be moving into U-12 the team would be allowed to move together, with the exception of the youngest player, who would not be eligible for U-12 play under rule #1.