Soccer Points of Emphasis - 2023-24

      Wearable Technology

      Technology companies are making massive strides in developing and marketing wearable devices for student-athletes. Wearable sports technologies are being used to monitor athletic training, in-game performance, and recovery after an injury. The availability of wearable technologies that allow individuals to monitor a variety of body functions, including but not limited to, heart rate, blood pressure, pace, and distance traveled are readily available and cost-effective. Nearly all these wearable technologies can both transmit and receive collected data from other mechanisms. This data can be used to evaluate how the body is performing, and the user can adjust as needed based on that data. While there are many different types, styles, and functions, the technology can only be worn as a part of the shoe and/or under the uniform and not worn on the arm or below the level of the shoulder.

      Coaching and Team Area Decorum

      Good sport conduct is the behavior appropriate of coaches, players, and bench personnel. This includes every individual who is in the team area during a game. Coaches set the tone for the contest with their display of sportsmanship. Officials should focus on the actions of players, coaches, and other bench/sideline personnel. A positive, open line of communication between officials and coaches ultimately results in a better contest for everyone involved. Inappropriate bench behavior shows a clear lack of respect.

      Examples of inappropriate bench decorum include but are not limited to:

      • Kicking or throwing objects in reaction to a decision.
      • Entering the field of play to dissent a call or confront an official or player.
      • Acting in a provocative or inflammatory manner.
      • Arguing calls consistently.
      • Engaging in a verbal or physical confrontation with the opposing coaching staff or players.
      • Confronting or arguing with spectators.

      Referees are reminded that they are expected to manage this type of behavior.

      Denying an Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity (DOGSO)

      Denying an Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity (DOGSO) is an egregious attempt to prevent opponents from scoring. Although Rule 12 describes the various sanctions in place when an opponent is denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, the rules have not offered guidance or criteria for DOGSO in the past. For a player to be sent off for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity the following four criteria must be present:

      1. Distance between the offense and the goal (the offense must be near the goal).
      2. General direction of play (the attacking players are generally headed toward the goal).
      3. Likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball (the player must have or been able to control the ball in order to score).
      4. Location and number of defenders (If another defender, including the goalkeeper, is in a close enough position to make a lawful tackle or attempt a save then this criteria is not met).

      If any element is missing, the player cannot be sent off for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. When you are considering the criteria above here are some questions to ask yourself.

      1. What is the distance between the offense and the goal?
      2. Does the player have control of the ball?
      3. Can the player gain control of the ball?
      4. What is the direction of play?
      5. How many defenders are involved in the situation?
      6. Where are the defenders located?
      7. Does the offense lead to a direct free kick or an indirect free kick?
      8. If no offense were to occur, would the player have an obvious opportunity to score a goal?
      9. Does the player deliberately handle the ball to deny the opposing team a goal?
      10. If the offense occurred inside the penalty area, was the offense an attempt to play the ball?

      Offenses which deny a goal-scoring opportunity are not limited to those punishable by a direct free kick or penalty kick. Referees are reminded that these offenses may include fouls for which the restart is an indirect free kick.


      Managing substitutions is one of the many tools an official has to manage the game. Generally, substitutions are made prior to a throw-in, a corner kick, after a goal, at halftime, or because of an injury. If a player is being replaced, the player shall exit the field on their bench side unless the player is injured and unable to exit to that side of the field. By exiting on their team bench side, the player does not have to walk in front of stands, behind the opponent’s goal, or an opponent’s bench.

      If a player is injured and a team elects to play shorthanded while the injured player is being evaluated this is a coach’s choice. Injured players may be attended to anywhere off the playing field but if the player is cleared to play they must re-enter from the official’s area on the bench side of the field when beckoned by the referee.

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