Etiquette & Spirit of the Game

  • All players participating in ESSC leagues are expected to play with respect for everyone at the field and with a “fun first” attitude. 
  • All players are expected to act in a respectful manner and attempt to fix behaviour as indicated by the opposing team captain. Only the team captains should communicate issues with each other.
  • Directing foul language at an opponent is cause for automatic removal from the game. Captains must honour this rule and are obligated to sit or remove any of their players/spectators who are not displaying proper etiquette.
  • Drinking alcohol at the field is a fineable offence and is not permitted.
  • Players must not leave any types of cans or garbage on the field after the game – the field must be left in cleaner condition than it was when players arrived.
  • Any public urination complaints to the City will result in the ESSC losing the rights to use that field and the offending player or team will be immediately removed from the league.


  • Teams are expected to arrive 15 minutes prior to their scheduled start time in order to warm up and set-up the field.
  • Games consist of two 40-minute halves, with a 10-minute half time.
  • If a game is called because of darkness, the final score will be as it stood at the completion on the last full inning played.

General Playing Guidelines

Game Play Expectations

  • Before, at the half-time and after the game, captains will meet with the each other to communicate all important information. Captains are expected to communicate all information to their teammates.
  • At any time during a game, if the team captain(s) determine(s) that the play is getting dangerous or too intense, they should call a one minute time-out to cool things down and discuss resolutions with each other. Play must have stopped for a time-out to be called. If a time-out is called with less than 10 minutes left in the game, this time can be added onto the end of the game.
  • At the end of the game, all players give three cheers and shake hands.

Start of Play

  • To decide which team will have the first kick off, team captains will either flip a coin or do 'rock, paper, scissors'. The winner can decide whether they want to kick off or choose the end that they would like to start on.
  • To start the second half, teams will switch sides and the team that did not kick off in the first half will do so in the second.
  • After each goal, the team that was scored on will kick off to re-start the game.
  • Kick offs must move in a forward direction and cannot be touched by the kicker again until the ball has been contacted by another player.
  • During any kick off, the opposing team must stay 15 feet away from the ball until it has been put into play.
  • A goal cannot be scored directly from a kick off.


  • Substituting a goaltender can only occur during a stoppage in play.
  • Substitutions on all other players can happen at any time as long as the exiting player is on the sidelines before the replacement player steps on the court/turf.

Playing the Ball

  • Heading the ball is allowed in ESSC soccer leagues.
  • Any player can pass, shoot or dribble the ball while in the crease. A goal may be scored from within the crease. A player from either team can remain in the crease without the ball.


  • A handball occurs when the ball touches any part of a player’s arm from the top of the shoulder to the fingertips (except a goalkeeper within their own crease). See ‘Fouls’ section for associated repercussions.
  • The Advantage Rule refers to an instance when a foul occurs and the result is that the team fouled against is not disadvantaged by the play and therefore there are no consequences and the play continues. In regards to handballs, the Advantage Rule is in effect.
  • When a ball touches a players hand and the opposing team was not adversely affected by the handball, play will continue. See below for further clarification of when the Advantage Rule would apply:
    • Defensive handball: Team A attempts to pass the ball to a teammate and a player from team B touches the ball with their hand but team A is in no worse of an offensive position.
    • Offensive handball: Team A attempts to pass the ball to a teammate and that teammate touches the ball with their hand but the ball ends up in the possession of team B.
  • Calling a handball:
    • It is the responsibility of the player who touched the ball with their hand to call ‘handball’.
    • If the opposing team decides that the Advantage Rule applies, they should yell ‘play on’ and the play will not stop.
    • If an obvious handball occurs and is not called by the violating player, the opposition may stop play by yelling ‘handball’. See below under ‘Fouls’ for consequences.


  • Players can pass the ball to the goalkeeper from anywhere on the field, including via a throw in.
  • When a player passes or throws the ball to their goalkeeper, the goalkeeper is not allowed to pick the ball up or use his/her hands on the ball in any way. If this happens, it will be considered a hand ball and the opposing team will be awarded an indirect free kick from where it happened.
  • The goalkeeper can leave the crease to defend his/her goal or retrieve a loose ball. They may not touch the ball with their hands once they have left the crease.
  • The goalkeeper can leave the crease to play the ball up the field.
  • The goalkeeper cannot cross the center line at any time.
  • A goalkeeper is allowed to score.
  • Goal crease – the markers provided should be used to define a goal crease which is 8 paces (25 feet) out from the end-line and 4 paces (12 feet) beyond each post.

Ball Out of Play

  • The ball is out of play when it has fully crossed the end-line or side-line, whether on the ground or in the air.
  • A throw-in will take place when the ball crosses the side-line from a player of the team opposite to that of the player who last touched it.
  • Throw-ins must be done using both hands from behind the head, with both feet on the ground. No player in the SSC is allowed to flip while attempting a throw-in.
  • The thrower must not play the ball again until it has been touched by another player. A goal cannot be scored directly from a throw-in.

Corner Kicks

  • When the ball passes over the end-line and was last touched by a member of the defending team, a member of the offensive team will take a corner kick.
  • The ball should be placed within a one yard radius from the corner closest to where it went out of play.
  • A goal can be scored from a corner kick.
  • The defending team must stand at least ten yards away from the ball until it goes into play.
  • The kicker is not allowed to play the ball a second time until it has been touched by another player.

Goal Kick

  • When the ball passes over the end-line and was last touched by a member of the offensive team, a member of the defensive team will take a goal kick.
  • The ball should be placed approximately six yards from the end-line on the side of the goal opening which is closest to where the ball went out of play.
  • The ball must be touched by a player other than the person taking the kick for it to be back in play.
  • The kicker cannot play the ball a second time until it has been touched by another player.Opposing players must stand a minimum of 10 yards away from where the ball is being kicked from.
  • A goalkeeper cannot receive the ball into his/her hands from a teammate’s goal kick.

Indirect Free Kicks

  • All free kicks are to be indirect (except penalty kicks).
  • All indirect free kicks are to be taken from the point where a foul occurred – see below ‘Fouls’ section for an explanation. This also applies to when the goalkeeper illegally plays the ball with their hands.
  • The ball must touch at least 2 players before it can be a goal (the kicker and 1 other, which could include the goalkeeper).
  • All opposing players (defense) of the team taking the free kick must be at least ten yards away from the ball, except when the ball is being kicked from a point closer than ten yards from the goal mouth - in which case the defending players can stand on their end-line.

Penalty Kick

  • A penalty kick will be awarded anytime a foul (major or minor) is committed within the goal crease. It will be taken from the penalty-mark (twelve yards from the center of the goal mouth) with all other players outside of the penalty area and at least ten yards from the penalty mark.
  • The goalkeeper must stand (without moving his/her feet) on their own end-line, between the goal posts, until the ball is kicked; the kick must go forward and the kicker cannot touch the ball a second time until it has been touched by another player.


This rule was created to prevent offensive players from "cherry picking" near the opponents' goal. Without the rule, offensive players could hover near their opponents' goal even when the play is on the other side of the field, with the hope of a long pass and an easy goal. The offside rule still allows for the chance to score. See the offside diagram for further clarification.

  • An offside foul occurs when an offensive/attacking player, is down field and there are not at least two opponents between him or her and the goal line, and their team mate kicks the ball past the second last defender (including the goalie). Usually, these are the goalkeeper and one other defender, but not necessarily (if the goalkeeper is ahead of the play, then the forward will have to be in line with or behind two defenders).
  • For players that are more familiar with offside in hockey, they can refer to the second to last defender (including the goalie) as the ‘floating blueline’. The key difference from hockey is that the offensive player may cross this ‘floating blueline’ before the ball does as long as the ball was kicked prior to the player crossing the line.
  • Offside should be called when the kicker has released the ball and it is obviously intended for the offside player.
  • If the offensive player that the ball is being kicked towards is "onside" at the time that the ball is kicked, but then runs behind the unsuspecting defender before receiving the pass, the receiving offensive player is not offside.
  • A player will be considered offside when:
    • They are behind the second last defender and receive a pass.
    • They are behind the second last defender and prevent the opponent from receiving the ball (still an active part of the play).
    • They are behind the second last defender and a teammate (who is onside) receives the ball, but then passes it to the offside player before they move in to an onside position.
  • A player will not be considered offside when:
    • They are behind the second last defender and the ball is not passed forward (the player in the offside position is not part of the play).
    • He/she receives the ball directly from a goal kick, a corner kick or a throw-in.
    • He/she is in his/her own half of the field of play.
  • If a player is considered offside, the opposing team will take an indirect free kick from the place where the infraction occurred.


  • Slide tackling and sliding are not allowed in any ESSC soccer league. This refers to any player, including the goalie, who leaves the ground in a feet-forward motion towards the ball or another player. Any sliding is a safety concern and is considered reckless play. This includes sliding to keep a ball inbounds.
  • Despite best efforts, the following infractions may occur during a game. If they appear to be unintentional and not malicious in nature then they will result in an indirect free kick. These infractions include:
    • Accidentally tripping an opponent.
    • A minor hold of an opponent.
    • Bumping or minor contact with an opponent.
    • Yelling at an opponent to distract him/her.
    • An unintentional handball: When the player touching the ball gains advantage and the play is not in the goal crease.
    • When a goalkeeper touches the ball with their hand after it has been passed or thrown to him/her from someone on their own team.
  • The above infractions can only be called by the person committing the foul, or by the player that was allegedly fouled.
    • If the player who commits the foul calls the infraction on themselves then the play is ‘uncontested’ and there will be an indirect free kick.
    • If the player who commits the foul does not call the infraction themselves, but the player that was allegedly fouled does, then the play must be stopped.
      • If the player who committed the foul agrees with their opponent then the play results in an indirect free kick.
      • If the player contests the alleged call and an agreement is not quickly reached, then the player who last had the ball will do a throw-in from the nearest side line.
  • The following would result in a 5 minute major penalty (the fouling player sits off for five minutes, but the team is not short-handed). This also results in an indirect free kick:
    • Aggressive contact during the course of normal play (tripping, slide-tackling, pushing off, armbar), that could harm or injure an opponent.
    • Unsportsmanlike behaviour: verbal attacks towards a player's own teammates, swearing after a play, or throwing/kicking equipment to show displeasure at a play.
  • The following would result in a penalty kick:
    • Any major penalty that occurred in the goal crease by a defensive player.
    • Any handball in the crease by a defensive player, unless a goal is scored on the play.
  • The following would result in a game misconduct:
    • If any player receives two 5 minute major penalties, they will receive a game misconduct.
    • Physical contact with an opponent that is violent or dangerous, and is clearly intentional.
    • Profanity directed at any other player.
    • Striking or attempting to strike an opponent.
    • Spitting at an opponent.
  • In the event of a play that is witnessed by other players and is uncontested, and should result in a game misconduct, it is the captain’s responsibility to ensure that the player leaves the premises immediately before the game is resumed; and supplies the name of the player to the opponent to be reported to the ESSC with the score and sportsmanship rating.
  • If the teams are not in agreement over a play (the play is contested) that could lead to a game misconduct, the captains must decide how to best handle the situation, and the incident must be reported to the ESSC for follow-up.