Tournament Rules

2023 NASA Tophat Classic Boys Weekend


Tournament Format  - In all Divisions, there will be NO OVERTIME in group play. The advancement and resolution of ties will be handled in accordance with Sections 8 and 9 below.

  • Divisions with 3 teamsEach team plays opposing teams once. Second and Third place teams meet in the Semi-Final, the winner advances to meet the First place team in the Final. This template guarantees a minimum of three games for each team.
  • Divisions with 4 teams: A single group of four teams will be guaranteed three matches in a round-robin format. The two teams with the most points will advance to a final game. 
  • Divisions with 5 teams: Each team plays two games Semi-Final between 2ndA / 3rdA, Winner plays 1stA in the final, 4thA / 5thA play a consolation match.
  • Divisions with 6 teams: Each team plays games against other teams within their respective groups, followed by one crossover match. Top teams in A & B meet in the final.  
  • Divisions with 7 teams: Each team plays two games within their own group. Semi Final is 2nd v 3rd in division, winner advances to player 1st in division in the final. 4th/5th and 6th/7th play consolation matches.
  • Divisions with 8 teams: Teams will be divided into two 4-team groups with each team playing three matches within its group. The top team with the most points in each group will advance to the finals.

Eligibility  -  All players are born in the year of their age group classification, or in a later group. Teams must be properly registered and in good standing with their state, national and regional associations. Each player shall posses a valid pass from his or her national association and a medical release form.  *U18/U19 "Trapped" players who are in 11th grade are eligible to play on a U17 team as long as their U18/U19 team is not participating in this event. For this tournament, the age classifications are as follows:

U18/U-19             Born on or after 1/1/05 and Born on or after 1/1/06              

U-17                       Born on or after 1/1/07

U-16                       Born on or after 1/1/08

U-15                       Born on or after 1/1/09

U-14                       Born on or after 1/1/10

U-13                       Born on or after 1/1/11

U-12                       Born on or after 1/1/12

U-11                       Born on or after 1/1/13

U-10                       Born on or after 1/1/14

U-9                         Born on or after 1/1/15

U-8                         Born on or after 1/1/16

All players must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be registered and possess a valid player pass or birth certificate.
  • May not play on more than one team entered in the tournament
  • Must be identified on the tournament roster.
  • U8-U12  are allowed 3 guest players.
  • U13-U14 are allowed 4 guest players
  • U15-U19 are allowed 5 guest players

Pre-game Procedure – Prior to the game beginning:

  • Teams will provide the referee or assistant referee with their game card for check-in.
  • Player’s equipment will be checked by the referee or assistant referee
  • The home team should wear a light color uniform and the away team should wear a dark color uniform. The home team will change their jersey in the case of conflict in colors.  
  • A player who arrives at the playing field after the pre-game procedure may not enter the game until after being checked by the referee or assistant referee for equipment.

Laws of the Game - All matches will be played in accordance with the Laws of the Game observed by USYSA and FIFA, except as specifically superseded by the following rules.

  1. Law II – Ball Size -  U13 through U19 shall use a size 5 ball.  U9 through U12 shall use a size 4 ball. U8 shall use a size 3 ball.
  2. Law III – Number of Players -. Substitute players must enter the field at the midfield line. Players leaving the match may exit by the closest touchline or goal line. Unlimited substitutions may be made with the consent of the center referee.
    1. NO substitutions may be made for a player that is sent off (red card infraction) for the remainder of the match.
  3. Law IV – Player Equipment - All equipment must conform to the following rules:
    1. Shin guards are required and are to be worn by all players during all warm-ups and matches.
    2. All screw-in studs will be ruled on at the field by the referee for safe play.
    3. In the event that teams' jerseys are the same or similar color, the home team (listed first on the schedule) will change color. The referee will be the final authority regarding the need to change.
    4. With the exception of the goalkeeper, players must wear numbers on the back of their jersey that corresponds with the number on the tournament roster. The goalkeeper's shirt must be easily distinguishable from all other players and from the referee.
    5. No jewelry of any kind may be worn.
    6. Players may wear a cast on the hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm or shoulder if it is covered and padded with a closed-cell slow-recovery foam padding no less than 1/2 inch thick.
    7. The designated home team shall provide the game ball.
  4. Law V – Referees – The referee shall complete the game report and give to the winning coach (or the home team coach in the event of a tie) to submit to the Site Coordinator.
    1. In the event that the assigned referee fails to appear, the senior assistant referee assigned shall become the referee.  In the event that the referee and assistant referees fail to appear, the Site Coordinator, together with the coaches of the two teams, must find acceptable alternates.  The game will be played as scheduled and will be deemed official.  When any of the assigned officials fail to appear, the Site Coordinator shall notify the Tournament Director as soon as possible.
  5. Law – VI – Assistant Referees – Two assistant referees will be used for U11 and older.  In the event an assigned assistant referee fails to appear, the referee, together with the Site Coordinator, must find a suitable alternate. The game will be played as scheduled and will be deemed official.
  6. Law VII – Duration of the Game - The duration of each match is indicated below. Two equal halves will be played with a five-minute half-time interval. Matches may be shortened or canceled at the discretion of the Tournament Director in the event of any unforeseen problems.

AGE               Matches         

U18/U19        80 Minutes                        

U17                 80 Minutes                         

U16                 80 Minutes                         

U15                 80 Minutes                          

U14                 70 Minutes                            

U13                 70 Minutes                            

U12                  60 Minutes                            

U11                  60 Minutes                           

U10                  50 Minutes                            

U9                     50 Minutes                         

U8                     50 Minutes                           

  • The Tournament does not require the referees to add time for substitutions or injuries.
  • There will be a mandatory water break during each half with the clock running that should last no longer than two minutes if the temperature during the game exceeds 85 degrees.  No substitutions shall be made at this time.

Conduct-Discipline  - All players, managers, coaches and fans are expected to conduct themselves appropriately with respect to the “Laws of the Game”.  The Site Coordinators have the authority and responsibility to remove anyone from the tournament for abuses of good conduct.

Any player sent off from a match will not be replaced and will not be allowed to participate in the team's next match. Players and or coaches sent off for fighting will result in the player or coach not being allowed to participate in any remaining tournament matches. Any coach ejected from a match will not be allowed to coach his/her team in its next match. Each coach is responsible for the conduct of the players and parents on his/her team. Coaches not taking responsibility for their sidelines' conduct may be warned and/or ejected. Coaches or spectators ejected must leave the playing area and not be within visible distance of the field.  In accordance with FIFA rules, only players will be shown a card (yellow or red) when being cautioned or sent off.

Depending on the severity of the unacceptable conduct, the Tournament Director may suspend the offending manager/player/coach for the duration of the tournament and/or recommend further disciplinary action by the appropriate controlling organization.  If an individual is coaching more than one team, any suspension shall be applicable to the age group in which the infraction occurred.

Post Game Procedure  - Please observe the following at the conclusion of each game:

  • Coaches/Managers of both teams shall ensure that their sideline area is clean and that all trash has been placed in containers.
  • Referees will complete the game report and submit the game card to the Venue Manager.  If the Venue Manager is present, the game card may be given to this tournament representative to be turned in at the main tent.

Point System -  Each team will be awarded points as follows:

Win:      3 points

Tie:        1 point

Loss:     0 points

Preliminary Tie-Breaking Procedures - Preliminary matches tied at the end of regulation time will remain tied. At the end of the preliminary rounds the following criteria shall be used to determine the winner:

Most Points

Head to Head Competition

Goal differential (total goals scored minus goals scored against (Maximum of +3  or -3 per match).

Least number of goals allowed.


*In the event of a three way tie once a team is eliminated the tie breaker process restarts between the remaining teams.

Tie-Breaking Procedures in Semi-Final Rounds and Final Matches - In the event a semi-final or final match is tied after regulation time, the following procedures will be observed:

If the game is tied at the end of regulation, FIFA penalty kicks will be taken to determine a winner.

Forfeited Games -  The following procedures shall be observed regarding forfeitures:

  • A forfeit shall be awarded if a team is not present and prepared to play within five minutes of the scheduled start time. A ten-minute allowance shall be made for semi-final and championship matches.
  • A minimum of seven (7) players constitutes a team for U13-U19,  four (4) players for a U9-U10 team and six(6) players for U11-U12.
  • Any team quitting the field of play before the conclusion of the match is automatically disqualified from the tournament.
  • Teams causing abandonment shall be declared the loser by a 3-0 score. When the situation causing abandonment is such that the referee and tournament officials cannot assign responsibility, both teams shall forfeit with no goals scored and a double forfeit declared with a score of 0-0.
  • Teams will be rewarded a 3-0 win if a game is forfeited due to a vacant division team spot.  


NO protests are allowed!!

Inclement Weather - Regardless of weather conditions, coaches and their teams must appear at the respective venue ready to play as scheduled. Failure to appear will result in a forfeit of the match. Only the Tournament Director may cancel or postpone a match. In case of severe weather, the Tournament Director, in his discretion, may cancel any and all matches. In the event of severe weather that occurs after the beginning of play, the Site Coordinators or Tournament Director may reduce the length of the match and may discontinue or cancel the match. Should a match be terminated due to weather conditions after 20 minutes of play, the match will be considered official and the score at the time will stand. Referees and Site Coordinators will not consider beginning or continuing matches when a lightning storm exists. The Tournament Director reserves the right to make the following changes in the event of inclement weather:

  • Relocate and/or reschedule a match
  • Change division structure
  • Reduce scheduled duration of the match
  • Cancel a match

The Tournament Committee, and all sponsors and organizers, will not be responsible for any expenses incurred by any team or club. If the tournament is canceled in its entirety due to inclement weather or other “Acts of God” then refunds will be considered at that time. Once the tournament officially starts for your team no refunds will be issued to your team. The Tournament Committee may issue credits for our future events if the event is cancelled after it officially starts.  Refunds will not be issued for any other reason.



All judgment decisions of the referee are final and binding.

The Tournament Committee reserves the right to decide on all matters pertaining to the tournament and its judgment is final.

Awards for the top two teams (i.e. 1st and 2nd) shall be awarded immediately following the championship match.


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