League Rules

The CISL Game Rules follow the current guidelines of the Iowa Soccer Association and US Youth Soccer, with a few minor modifications. These rules are designed to be age-appropriate, in terms of the size of the field, the number of players on the field, the length of the game, and sophistication. It is expected that every player will be given at least 50% playing time.  There is no limit to the number of substitutions that may be made in the game, save for referee's discretion about substitution at any given stoppage.

Sportsmanship:  (adapted from Alliance4All). All coaches, parents, and players are expected to remember the game is played for the fun and benefit of youth. Parents should act as a positive role model and never place the value of winning over the fun and safety of the players and by teaching their child to practice better sportsmanship. Parents should not criticize any player on the field nor the referee. The referee will typically be a young person just starting out and should be treated with respect and civility. It is never a good idea for coaches to discuss the referee’s performance nor rules at half-time or after the game. If you have concerns, please contact the CISL Director, Lowell Davis.

At the end of the game, it is tradition to thank the referee and for the players to congratulate and thank one another. 

Important new rule effective beginning with the spring 2016 season. Following the guidelines from US Youth Soccer, NO headers are allowed in practice nor games throughout CISL. Referees will award an indirect free kick for intentional headers.  


U5/U6 Rules summary

The game is 4 v 4 on a small field. No keepers are used. The length of the game is 2 16-minute halves. On a goal kick, the defending team must wait behind the halfway line until the ball is kicked. No offside violations are called, nor are any penalty kicks. All free-kicks and kick-offs are indirect. Substitution is at any stoppage, at the discretion of the referee. No defending player should loiter by their own goal while the ball is in their offensive half. U6 games are typically parent-refereed. U6 players use a Size 3 ball.

U7/U8 Rules summary

The game is 4 v 4 on a small field. No keepers are used. The length of the game is two twenty-minute halves. On a goal kick, the defending team must wait behind the halfway line until the ball is kicked. No offside violations are called, nor are any penalty kicks. All free-kicks and kick-offs are indirect. No defending player should loiter by their own goal while the ball is in their offensive half. Substitution is at any stoppage, at the discretion of the referee. U8 games should and will almost all have a certified referee, often a teenager learning the trade. However, parents should be ready to step in if need be, since we prioritize referees for older games over younger games. U8 players use a size 3 ball.

U9/U10 Rules summary

The game is 7 v 7 on a mid-sized field. Keepers are used and new for Fall 16, offsides can be called. The length of the game is 2 25-minute halves. On a goal kick, the defending team must wait behind the halfway line until the ball is kicked. Free kicks are direct or indirect as appropriate, and penalty kicks are awarded for fouls or handling in the box. The goalkeeper is not allowed to punt or drop-kick. Substitution is at any stoppage, at the discretion of the referee. U10 games must have a certified referee, often a teenager learning the trade. Assistant referees are optional. U10 players use a size 4 ball.
Build-out line: Goalkeeper possession (hands) and goal kicks as per US Soccer: “the build-out line promotes playing the ball out of the back in a less pressured setting.” CISL requires that the opponent “drops off” to the build-out line (which will be the half way line at all CISL locations ) when the goalkeeper has the ball in his or her hands, and on all goal kicks. The defending team may not release from the half line until the ball has been played. Referees will be instructed to strictly enforce this rule and also be flexible with the "6 second rule" as the goalkeeper may need to wait longer for the defending team to drop off. This rule is designed encourage the development of building play out of the back.  Goalkeepers don't have to wait for the defending team "drop off" they can distribute the ball at their own discretion.  

Rules Links

US Youth Soccer Rules of the Game

This link includes the Adult FIFA laws of the game, the USSF Age-modified Small Sided Games rules, and other helpful links and regulations. 

CISL MODIFICATIONS TO U6 AND U8 USSF RULES (pdf version

CISL MODIFICATIONS TO U9 and U10 (pdf version)

About Jewelry

All jewelry must be removed for games. This includes earrings and watches, in addition to things like necklaces. This is a matter of safety. We cannot deny that "taping" of earrings occurs on occasion, but it is not officially allowed, is not as safe, and a referee is well within her/his rights to insist that earrings (whether just recently pierced or not!) come out for games.