Provide a recreational soccer scheduling league for organizations in the Mecklenburg county area.
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MARS Playing Rules  


MARS observes FIFA rules,  There are a few modifications, which are as follows:

1. Teams, with the same color jerseys

If both teams have the same uniform color, it is the home team's responsibility to wear pinneys that game.  Both teams should make sure to always have pinneys with them.

2. Adult Coaches

A team MUST have an adult coach (at least 21 years old), officially recognized by their Club, on the sidelines for the entire duration of the game. And the max number of coaches is 3.  Failure to observe this rule will result in the offending team being issued a forfeit and the game will be recorded as a 0-3 loss by the offending team.

3. Substitutions

  • Teams are permitted an unlimited number of substitutions. 
  • A team can substitute their own players on their own throw-in or their own goal kick.
  • Both teams can substitute after any goal or at the start of the half
  • Allow both teams to sub if the team subs on its allowed substitution (i.e. their own throw-ins).

4. Blow Out Rule

If at any time during the game a team achieves a 5 goal margin, the leading team must remove one player. They must also remove a player for each additional goal scored that increases the margin. Once the margin is reduced, one player at the time may re-enter the field. If the margin falls below 5 goals, all players can re-enter the field. For example:
Score 5 - 0 = 10 v 11
Score 6 - 0 = 9 v 11
Score 6 - 1 = 10 v 11
Score 6 - 2 = 11 v 11
*Failure to observe this rule will result in the offending team being issued a forfeit and the game will be recorded as a 0-3 loss by the offending team.

5. Yellow card rule

If a player receives a yellow card during the course of the game, the player will be sent off the field. The (yellow) carded player (or another player) will be allowed to re-enter the field by the next possible substitution opportunity as described in the sub-on rule.
6. Red card rule
If a player or coach receives a red card during the course of the game, that coach or player must leave the field and the vicinity immediately.  That team will not be permitted to replace that player for the remainder of the game.

  • Additional consideration for that (red) carded player or coach:
    • First RED card of the season: One game suspension.
    • Second RED card of the season: Suspension for rest of the season

7. Game times

The High School Divisions play two 40 minute halves.  The U14 Divisions play two 35 minute halves.  A 10 minute halftime is observed for each age group.  During the regular season, games that end in a tie are recorded as a tie.


8. Water breaks

If one team has less than 14 players, there will be a mandatory 2-minute water break at the 19 minute mark for High School (17 minute mark for U14) unless the coach with the fewer players declines the break. Clock continues to run. Coaches still have the option of taking a water break (even if plenty of subs) if both coaches agree.

9. Weather related delay - lighting seen

If lightening is seen in the area or thunder heard, play should stop immediately. From the time of that strike or heard thunder, a minimum of thirty minutes must pass before play should resume. Each strike or thunder restarts the 30  minute countdown.

10. Limited number of players available for a game – during the regular season

If one team has less than eleven players, opponent MUST reduce to no more than +1 of his opponent. Hopefully, the team with more players will match that of their opponent.  For example: if one team can put only nine players on the field, opponent should put no more than ten on the field.

*Failure to observe this rule will result in the offending team being issued a forfeit and the game will be recorded as a 0-3 loss by the offending team.

*During the tournament, this rule will not be in force.  Teams will be permitted to play eleven on the field even if their opponent is able to put only seven on the field.  We do hope that coaches and teams will consider the example they are setting and play accordingly.

11. If a team shows up for a game with less than ten players…

And their opponent has an abundance of players (more subs than the opponent has players on the field), MARS encourages the coach (with the abundance of players) to ask for volunteers to play for the opponent – to enable the opponent to put eleven players on the field.  Volunteers can rotate if needed.  This allows more players to get more playing time.

12. If a team shows up with nine or fewer players for a game two times during the regular season, that team will be prohibited from participating in the tournament.

MARS has tools (i.e. guest players) in place to help enable teams to have enough players each week to put eleven on the field.  Each coach will be responsible for taking advantage of this option.  Coaches should also use this as an opportunity to teach their players the responsibility they have to their team and their teammates. 

If the coach does not feel he/she will have enough players for an upcoming game, the coach must alert their opposing Coach, the Club Commissioners for both teams and the MARS Coordinator, .  This confirmed communication must occur at least four days in advance of the game.  For example, if you have a Saturday game, the communication must occur no later than the Tuesday prior.

Coaches should then work with each other and through their respective Club Commissioners to try to arrange a re-schedule. 

13. Players and fans location

Both teams will be on the same side of the field.  Fans will be on the opposite side of the field from the teams.

14. Coaches

Coaches are responsible for being familiar with ALL information on this website.  Periodically, updates are shared with Club Commissioners and Coaches.  Coaches are responsible for being familiar with this information as well.

Sideline coaches will be limited to three per team.  This is not to say that more than three coaches will be on the sidelines.  However, if this becomes a problem (i.e. coaches interfering with play, too many questioning the referee, etc.), coaches are welcome to bring the three coach limit to the attention of their opponent and the referee, if needed. 

Coaching should be done ONLY by the coaches. Please ensure only one coach addresses the players on the field at any given time during the game. More than one coach from a team talking at the same time prevents the opposing team’s coach from effectively communicating with their players.

Disputing calls by the referees is unacceptable behavior for coaches, players and fans.  Occasionally asking for clarification by Head Coaches and Team Captains is understood but should be kept to a minimum.