Soccer Rules - 5v5

Any intramural policies not mentioned here may be found in the intramural handbook.  Unless specifically mentioned below, Intramural play is governed by NFHS soccer rules. By participating in intramural sports, the participant agrees to abide by all intramural rules and policies.

You may suffer physical and/or mental injury from participating in Intramural Sports. There are certain risks of injury that are inherent to participation in sports and recreational activities. These types of injuries may be minor or serious and may result from the actions or inactions of themselves or others. By choosing to participate in Intramural Sports, you do so at your own risk. It is understood that most activities require a certain level of fitness and health, and that each person has a different capacity for participating in these activities. Participants of Intramural Sports are highly encouraged to have a physical examination and procure health insurance prior to play. UC Campus Recreation does not provide health insurance.

Intramural Supervisors undergo concussion recognition training. In the instance a participant is exhibiting any signs or symptoms of a concussion as a result of a head injury sustained during intramural play, he or she will be removed from the activity. This individual must provide a physician’s note clearing the individual to play by a specific date. This note may be e-mailed to or faxed to 513-556-0601.


Following each game, teams will receive a sportsmanship rating between 0.0 and 4.0.


In order to qualify for playoffs, teams must obtain a 3.0 or higher sportsmanship average during the regular season based on the table below:

Sportmanship Rating
Score Player & Team Behavior  
4.0 Always respectful to officials and opposing team.
No complaining or arguing.
Does not comment about officials’ calls.
3.0 Usually respectful to officials and opposing team.
Minimal arguing or complaining about officials.
Maximum one unsportsmanlike penalty issued.
2.0 Consistent dissent or disrespect to officials/opposing team.
Consistent arguing and/or complaining about officials’ calls.
Maximum of two unsportsmanlike penalties or one ejection.
1.0 Excessive complaining, dissent or disrespect to officials/opposing team.
Contact or provocation of officials or opposing team members not inherent to the sport.
Any player involved in a fight.
Maximum of three unsportsmanlike penalties or two ejections.
0.0 Team and/or players are unsafe/out of control.
Multiple players on team fighting.
Destruction or abuse of UC property.

* A team that receives a "0" rating will be suspended from competition until its captain meets with the Assistant Director or Coordinator of Intramural Sports. The team may be removed from competition without refund.


In addition to team ratings, any unsportsmanlike actions may be forwarded to Judicial Affairs and may include but is not limited to revocation of Intramural Sports and/or Campus Recreation privileges.


To be eligible for intramural sports, each player must be a current University of Cincinnati student [enrolled in at least one (1) credit hour], faculty, or staff member. Additionally, participants must have a valid and active Campus Recreation membership.


Uptown, full-time UC students receive a Campus Recreation membership through full payment of the Campus Life Fee. All other populations will need to purchase a membership in order to be eligible to play.


Participants may participate on one (1) mixed gender and one (1) non-mixed gender (i.e. men's, women's, open, fraternity, sorority) team per sport, per season. Substituting for another team in the same league is prohibited.


Every game, each participant must check in with the intramural official with a valid Bearcat card.


Intramural particpants must additionally meet all requirements of Section 3.4:


Teams are limited to two (2) competitive club sport participants (in the same or similar sport) on its roster.


Current varsity athletes and professional athletes are not allowed to play on an intramural team of the same or similar sport as their varsity sport.


Former varsity athletes must sit out 365 days from last appearing on a varsity roster to be eligible to play in the same or similar sport as their varsity sport. Teams are allowed one (1) former varsity athlete (in the same or similar sport) per roster.


Jewelry is not allowed during intramural play. This includes earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and fitness trackers, among other things.


Medical jewelry is allowed but must be taped down with athletic tape.


Headwear is not permitted during intramural play. This includes hats and bandannas among similar items.


Athletic clothing and footwear is required. Prohibited items include but is not limited to: jeans, cargo pants/shorts, skirts, loafers, open-toed shoes, and boots.


Rubber molded cleats are the only cleats permitted. Removable or metal cleats are prohibited.


Any casts, braces, or other protective equipment must be padded and secure.


Shin guards are recommended, but not provided.


Jerseys are available for use at the playing location. Teams are not required to bring their own.


A goalkeeper must wear colors which distinguish himself or herself from other players and the officials.


Prior to registration close, a team must have at least five players confirmed on its IMLeagues roster. Teams that fail to do so may not be included in the league.


Once playoffs begin, players may not be added to the roster without direct approval of the Coordinator and/or Assistant Director of Intramurals.


Teams may have up to twenty (12) players on its roster.


No team shall participate with less than four (4) players at any time


If injuries or ejections cause a team to drop below minimum players required, the team may continue, as long as they started with the minimum number of players.


At the approval of the supervisor and opponent, teams may participate below the minimum number of players needed to start a game if deemed competitive by the staff and the opponent agrees to waive protest rights under Section 5.4


Mixed gender teams may not have more than three players of one gender on the field


Mixed gender teams must adhere to section 5.5 regardless of injury or ejection - even if it results in a short handed scenario


Teams are permitted one (1) checked-in coach on the bench. 


For both indoor & outdoor play, players may substitute freely during play stoppage.


The official must be notified when a goalkeeper is substituting.


The player being subbed for must exit prior to the sub entering the court/field


Players must sub in the designated area (marked by cones) or midfield


The length of the game is two 15-minute halves. Halftime will be two minutes, time permitting.


In the case of inclement weather or other circumstances, a game is considered “official” after the first half is completed.


A running clock will be used for the entire game except for injuries (at official’s discretion), an official’s timeout, or a team timeout.


Each team is allowed two (2) thirty-second timeouts. The team calling the timeout must be in possession of the ball. During a stoppage in play, either team may call a timeout.


Teams that arrive late to games and/or are not ready with the minimum roster by start time will receive the following penalty:


1-4 minutes late = Other team receives two goals and possession to begin both halves


5-9 minutes late = Other team receives four goals and possession to begin both halves


10+ minutes late = Game is forfeited. 


Teams that forfeit must pay a $20 non-refundable reinstatement fee prior to the end of the regular season to be eligible for playoff consideration [Refer to Section XII of the Intramural Handbook for more information]


In order to prevent forfeits, teams may also default once per season. Teams must give a minimum 48 hour notice of default to qualify by emailing [Refer to Section XII of the Intramural Handbook for more information]


There is no overtime during the regular season.


During playoffs, overtime will be decided by penalty kicks.


Each team must select three (3) players who were on the field at the end of the previous period to kick.


For mixed gender teams, a team may not select three (3) members of the same gender.


 If tied after three (3) players from each team have shot, the fifth kick will be the first penalty shooter.


If still tied after the completion of section 8.2.3, the teams will continue to kick in the original order until the tie is broken.


The official will hold a pre-match Rock, Paper, Scissors. The winner will determine if they want to kickoff at the start of the game or which side of the field to defend.


In playoffs, the higher seed will determine if they want to kickoff at the start of the game or which side of the field to defend.


Kickoffs must meet all requirements of Section 9.2:


Each player shall be in his or her own half of the court/field. Every member of the opposing team must be at least five yards away from the ball until the ball is kicked. 


The ball shall not be deemed in play until it has traveled half the distance of its own circumference.


The kicker shall not play the ball a second time until it has been touched or played by another player.


 If kickoff is taken improperly, it must be retaken.


A goal can be scored directly from a kickoff.


After a goal, the game shall be restarted as detailed in section 9.2


After each half, teams shall change ends, and the team that did not kickoff at the start of the first half will kick off the second half. [Exception: Section 7.4]


During temporary suspensions of play, the official shall drop the ball at the spot where play was suspended. Play shall be restarted with an indirect free kick by the team in possession of the ball prior to the suspension. If no possession can be determined, a drop ball will occur.


Teams responsible for kicking the ball out of bounds must retrieve the ball themselves. Officials have the authority to issue cards if frequent delays of game occur.


Inobounding the ball shall remain the same for both indoor & outdoor play:


A ball that completely crosses the touch (side) line will result in a kick-in (indirect). The ball is placed on the line and kicked in by the opposing team of the team who last touched the ball.


A ball that completely crosses the end line, last touched by the defense will result in a corner kick (direct).


A ball that completely crosses the end line, last touched by the offense will result in a goal kick (direct).


Scoring – A goal is scored when the entire ball passes over the goal line, provided it has not been thrown, carried, or intentionally propelled by the hand or arm of a player on the attacking side, except in the case of the goalkeeper provided he or she is within his or her own penalty box. A player may score via:


Goal kick


Direct kick




Penalty kick


Corner kick


Drop ball


Goalkeeper punt, throw, or kick.


Mercy Rule – A game will be considered final if:


A team leads by 10+ goals at any point in the second half


A team leads by 8+ goals inside the final five (5) minutes of the second half


A team leads by 5+ goals inside the final two (2) minutes of the second half


Major Fouls and Misconduct – A penalty of a direct free kick to be taken by a player of the opposing team from the place where the offense occurred, unless the foul is committed by a defensive player in his or her own penalty box, in which the fouled player is awarded a penalty kick. Major offenses include the following instances when a player is contacted prior to the ball being contacted:












Handling the ball


Jumping at an opponent




Charging from behind – ejection


Charging violently – ejection


Penalty Kicks – Should a player of the defending team intentionally commit one of the above offenses within their own penalty area, they shall be penalized by a penalty kick. If any of the offenses are deemed by the official to be serious in nature, they shall be assessed a yellow or red card and may be ejected from the game without being able to be replaced.


All other players must be on the other half of the field, behind the midline during a penalty kick


Regardless of the result of the penalty kick, the defense will receive a goal kick following the penalty kick. There are no rebounds. 


A player that receives a yellow card must come off the field for two (2) minutes and may not be replaced. The scorekeeper or closest official will indicate when this player may re-enter the game.


Should the opposing team score a goal during this two (2) minutes, the player may re-enter play prior to the ensuing kickoff.


A player that receives a red card or a second yellow card is disqualified, and the team must play shorthanded for the remainder of the game.


Minor Fouls and Misconduct – A player committing a minor offense shall be penalized by the award of an indirect free kick to be taken by a player of the opposing team from the place where the infringement occurred. These include:


Dangerous play




Delay of Game – If any player, in the official’s opinion, intentionally puts the ball out of play to delay the game, play shall be stopped, and an indirect free kick awarded to the opposing team. Goalkeepers will not be considered to be in violation of this rule when they deflect the ball by hand over the perimeter line for a corner kick, provided such play is made within the goal area.


Slide Tackling is not permitted within five (5) yards of any other opponent. A player that slide tackles will receive a yellow or red card depending on the severity, and a direct free kick will be awarded to the opposing team. If a second infraction occurs, the offender will automatically receive a red card and be ejected from the game. [Exception: unpossessed ball inside the goalie box]


Advantage – This is a discretionary judgment which allows an official to permit play to continue rather than stopping to administer a foul. This concept is based on the premise that the foul did not put the offended team at a disadvantage, or the foul If called would take away a favorable opportunity for the offended team. The foul may be subsequently called if advantage does not materialize.


There is no offsides


Violations of the following rules will result in an indirect free kick:


A goalkeeper may bounce the ball for up to six seconds before releasing the ball both indoors & outdoors


A goalkeeper must distribute the ball within six seconds after gaining control of it.


A goalkeeper may not set the ball down and then pick it up again using his or her hands.


The ball may not be passed into the goalkeeper’s hands from the neutral zone by a member of his or her own team. This includes a series of passes among teammates back into the goalkeeper’s hands.


A goalkeeper may not bring either knee above the waist in an offensive manner to protect himself or herself, as it could bring harm to other players. Penalty depends on the severity and may result in an ejection.