Soccer Rules Interpretations - 2022-23

      Publisher’s Note: The National Federation of State High School Associations is the only source of official high school interpretations. They do not set aside nor modify any rule. They are made and published by the NFHS in response to situations presented.
      Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff, Publisher, NFHS Publications © 2022

      SITUATION 1: Player A1 is observed by the referee to be wearing socks that have been modified by cutting off the foot of the sock. RULING: Legal. COMMENT: Any visible material worn under the sock and above the ankle must be of a similar color to the predominant color of the sock. (4-1-1)

      SITUATION 2: During team warmups, the officials notice a player on Team A wearing plastic beads at the end of long braids. The braids are (a) pulled back and secured in a bun with an elastic hair band; (b) free flowing, allowing the braids with beads to sway back and forth as the player moves. RULING: (a) legal; (b) illegal. COMMENT: Hair-control devices and other adornments in the hair that are securely fastened to the head and do not present a risk of injury to the player, teammates or opponents are permitted. In (b), the official shall notify the coach of Team A and allow the player to make the equipment legal by securing the beads to minimize risk of injury. (4-2-2)

      SITUATION 3: The referee observes player (a) A1 wearing beads in the hair that are wrapped into a bun and secured to the head; (b) A2 wearing beads on the end of an unsecured pony tail; (c) A3 wearing commemorative ribbons in the hair; (d) A4 wearing a feather woven into the hair. RULING/COMMENT: Legal in (a), (c) and (d) so long as the adornments are secured to the head to not create a safety hazard to the player, teammates or opponents. Illegal in (b) because the hard adornments are not secured to the head. (4-2-2)

      SITUATION 4: A player on Team A is struck in the head during play and immediately displays signs and symptoms of a concussion (loss of balance, dizziness, and confusion). The official calls an injury time-out. The official explains to the head coach of Team A that the player must be removed from the contest and will not be able to return to play until cleared by an appropriate health-care professional. RULING: Correct procedure. COMMENT: When an athlete exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion, that athlete shall be immediately removed from the contest and shall not return to play until cleared by an appropriate health-care professional. The officials are not to diagnose injuries, but should remove the athlete and notify the coach. Allow the health-care professional to determine the outcome of the injury. (3-3-2, 5-3-1l, NFHS Suggested Guidelines for Management of Concussion, Appendix B)

      SITUATION 5: Team A is awarded a free kick and multiple players from Team B line up for a wall at appropriate distance from the spot per the official, and then another player from Team B (the defending team) lays down behind the wall. Before allowing the play to start the official instructs the player from Team B to stand up. RULING: Correct procedure. COMMENT: A player may play the ball while on the ground providing their action does not create a danger to that player or any other player. Laying down behind the wall of defensive players creates a dangerous situation to both the player on the ground and those defending in the wall. (12-6-1)

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