League Rules

(Looking for Frequently Asked Questions?  They can be found here.)

11v11 Divisions (D1 and D2):

We follow FIFA rules with only a few exceptions and distinctions:

  • Unlimited substitutions are allowed on dead balls. Substituted players are allowed to sub back into the game.
  • The league will reserve all fields, handle all scheduling, and acquire all necessary field permits.
  • The league will provide each game with one certified referee (+ two linesmen for championship games).
  • Games are 90 minutes long plus stoppage time.
  • Shin guards are mandatory.
  • All teams must supply their own league approved uniforms. If teams have the same primary uniform, the away team is responsible for bringing an alternate color.
  • We require each captain to bring a ball to each game. 
  • In the event of known weather issues, league administrators will notify team captains of game cancellations by two hours before game time. If word has not been received by that time, the decision is left in the hands of the referee on the field. Non-attendance without word of cancellation is a forfeit.
  • For uniform purposes, the team listed first on the website is considered the “home” team and will have choice of uniform. 

League Discipline: 

  • Teams with active suspensions will be notified and time permitting suspensions will be posted on the team's schedule page. All members of a team with active suspensions will have to present a photo ID before playing. With the provision of the limited number of referees we use, the referees may recognize the players suspended and IDs would not be required. 
  • Depending on the severity of the action being disciplined, Gotham Soccer League reserves the right to impose match bans, up to banned for life, for poor behavior before, during, or after any matches conducted in the league. For infractions resulting from honest, hard play the following guidelines will apply: 

    • 2 Yellow Cards in one game = 1 game suspension. 
    • 3 Yellow Cards in any 3 games during the 8 game season = 1 game suspension. 
    • 1 Red Card = 1 game suspension. 

Team Forfeit Bonds:

  • We require all teams to pay a bond upon entry into the league. This bond will be returned to the captain when the team leaves the league dependent the team has not forfeited a game. The bond is held to attach a monetary value to forfeits in our effort to prevent them from occurring and to ameliorate the loss of a game to the team being forfeited to. A team forfeits their bond to the team being forfeited to which is paid as a credit for the next season. If a team forfeits more than one game over the course of a season, the bond will be divided between the teams forfeited to and each will receive equal amounts of credit towards the next season. This is dependent on the league having received payment for the season from the forfeiting team. If payment of the bond or the league fees has not been received, unfortunately a credit would not be able to be applied to the next season's dues. The team that has forfeit will then be required to pay the bond again at the start of the new season to remain in the league.


  • Standings will be determined by these criteria in this order:
  • 1.  Points
  • 2.  Goal Differential
  • 3.  Head-to-Head results
  • 4.  Goals Scored


  • The top 2 teams will play a championship playoff game.
  • Playoff games have 3 officials (1 referee and 2 linesmen). If the game is tied after 90 minutes, an additional 5 minutes will be added to the second half. If still tied after 95 minutes, the game goes to penalties.

Team Colors (updated: Summer 2015):

  • "Home" team is defined by the first team appearing in the ticker at the top of our website.
  • In the event of same color primary jerseys, the "away" team will have to change.
  • A list of current team jersey colors can be found here.

Rules for our short-sided leagues

7v7 and 8v8 Coed Divisions:

General FIFA rules apply with exceptions:

  • 7/8 players per team including goalkeeper
  • 2 women minimum on field (not including the goalkeeper)
  • 46-minute games (23-minute halves)
  • No offsides
  • No slide tackling
  • Unlimited subs on the fly

9v9 Men's Division

General FIFA rules apply with exceptions:

  • 50-minute games (25-minute halves)
  • No offsides
  • No slide tackling
  • Unlimited subs on the fly

9v9 Women's Division

General FIFA rules apply with exceptions:

  • 46-minute games (23-minute halves)
  • No offsides
  • No slide tackling
  • Unlimited subs on the fly

5v5 Men's and Women's ROOFTOP Divisions:

General FIFA rules apply with exceptions:

General Game Rules:

  • 5 players per team (4 outfielders and 1 goalkeeper).
  • We prefer NO cleats, but as long as both teams agree cleats may be present
  • Two 20-minute halves
  • NO offsides
  • NO slide tackling
  • Subs are made on the fly – you are allowed an UNLIMITED number of substitutions.
  • If the ball hits the top or side netting the ball is restarted from the sideline – in the location it hit the netting. If the ball hits the back netting it is either a goal kick or a corner.
  • A forfeit results in a 7-0 loss for the team that failed to bring 3 or more players


  • Kickoffs: are direct – can go backwards.
  • Kick ins: are indirect.
  • Corner Kicks: are direct.
  • Free Kicks: are indirect.
  • Players MUST stand 4 yards away from the ball on free kicks, and 2 yards away from the ball on kick-ins.
  • A goal CANNOT be scored directly from a throw in, or a keeper throw.

Goalkeeper rules:

  • Goalkeepers CAN throw the ball – on the full – passed the halve way.
  • Goalkeepers CAN roll the ball passed the halve way line without the ball being touched.
  • Outfielders CAN pass back to the goalkeeper – and once per a possession the goalkeeper CAN use their hands to receive a pass back inside their goal box (ONLY ONCE PER POSESSION).
  • Goalkeepers CANNOT punt or drop-kick the ball.


  • Penalty Kicks: Goal keepers CAN move side-to-side on the goal line; however, the goal keeper CANNOT move forward.
  • A maximum of three-steps for an offensive player taking a penalty.  

Player Waiver, Release of Liability, & Indemnification Agreement:

All players in the league must agree to the terms of our player waiver.

More questions?  Check out our FAQ page.