All games will be played in accordance with FIFA laws of the game, except as specifically superseded by tournament rules or GUSC rules.

Tournament Format
All age groups (U9-14) play in a “tournament” format, where each team will play for a spot as the championship team. All players on the first and second place teams will receive medal and the championship team will receive a team trophy. Each team will be guaranteed three games.


1. All U10 NCYSA Challenge Teams

As per the agreements set forth between your Host Club and NCYSA you are permitted to participate in this event but must adhere to the tournament guidelines as set forth by NCYSA.  A copy of these guidelines are included in the tournament rules and may be found on our website –

U10 play – offside is not in effect
U10 will be playing in a non-showcase, non-elimination bracket format.
U10 Academy teams are permitted to participate under the Challenge division.

ALL NON-NCYSA U10 Challenge Teams

All non-NCYSA U10 Challenge Teams will be governed by the tournament rules as stated below.

All games shall be played in accordance with the FIFA Laws.

U10 play – offside is not in effect
U10 will be playing in a non-showcase, non-elimination bracket format.
U10 need to be USYSA registered teams and players.

NCYSA Youth Academy tournament rules


2. Team Acceptance

a)  The tournament committee reserves the right to accept or reject any team application.

b)  No team shall be deemed accepted unless its name has been posted on the tournament website “accepted list”.

c)  Once accepted by the Tournament Committee, the application fee is non-refundable. Unless the team has qualified for their State Cup. Documentation showing registration with State Cup must be provided with written request.

d)  All accepted teams are required to have a properly informed and responsible representative in attendance at a Friday Night Check-In before tournament play begins. Entry Fees for the tournament:  U9/10 - $350, U11/12 - $475, and U13/14 - $525


3. Roster and Player Documentation

You must participate with your 2016-2017 Seasonal match roster and all players on your roster must be given the opportunity to participate in the tournament. U11 to U14 teams are limited to three (3) guest players. Documentation is required to support the age of the player. This documentation will be in the form of a validated Association roster/guest match roster form, showing date of birth, and a current medical release form. LAMINATED PLAYER PASSES ARE REQURED FOR ALL TEAMS except NCYSA Recreation teams. TEMPORARY, OR “WORK ROSTERS” ARE NOT PERMITTED. Roster and player documentation may be inspected at any time during the tournament. Exceptions to these requirements must have written approval of the Tournament Director. Exceptions are subject to review by the tournament committee for a final ruling. Required forms:

§  Official USYSA (includes NCYSA, GYSA, SCYSA, etc.) Match Roster.

§  USYS Player Cards (laminated) with photo and registrar stamp/signature. Optional only for NCYSA Recreational Team BUT all other [3] forms are required.

§  State-approved Medical Waiver/Liability Release for each player.

§  State-approved Notification to Travel for out-of-state teams.


4. Guest Players

U11 to U14 Teams are allowed a maximum of three (3) guest players. U9 to U10 Teams will have to follow the NCYSA Academy rules and policies pertaining to guest players. Guest players must be registered as a member of an association of USYSA.  Do not add guest players’ names to your original roster.  Guest players must have a Guest Match Roster form and validated by the appropriate State or Association Registrar. The NC form is available from the NCYSA website or office. No player shall play for more than one team during the tournament. Players must play on their own team if their team is playing in the 2017 Tournament and are not eligible to play as a guest player with another team. All teams will comply with the 2017 Tournament rules and the Tournament Director’s decisions are final. Required forms for Guest Players:

§  Guest Player Roster approved by the releasing registrar.

§  USYS Player card (laminated) with photo and registrar stamp/signature.

§  State-approved Medical Waiver/Liability Release for each player for each player.


5. Eligibility

The tournament will be restricted to USYSA registered teams and players.  All players must be with the proper age grouping as determined by USYSA.  No player shall play for more than one team during the tournament.  Teams must be properly registered and in good standing with their respective state or national association and each player must have a current player pass card.  All players must be properly registered with the team on which they are playing.  All match rosters, player passes, medical release forms (non-notarized), guest player rosters and notification to travel forms will be checked at tournament registration.


6. Divisions and Advancement

Divisions are determined by the number of entrants. The tournament committee reserves the right to combine age divisions and levels of play when appropriate and necessary.

4 TEAM DIVISIONS: Three matches will be guaranteed in a round-robin format. The top 2 teams will advance to a championship match.

5 TEAM DIVISIONS:  Four matches will be guaranteed in a round-robin format.  1st and 2nd place decided by points.

6 TEAM DIVISIONS: Three matches will be guaranteed. Teams will be divided into 2 groups (A and B) with each team playing 2 games within its group. Then, the top team in group A will play the number 2 team in group B and the top team in group B will play the number 2 team in group A as a semi-final match. The winners of these games will advance to a championship match that will determine first and second place. The number 3 teams in each group will play a consolation match.

8 TEAM DIVISIONS: Three matches will be guaranteed. Teams will be divided into 2 groups (A and B) with each team playing 3 games within its group, with the top team in each group advancing to a championship game.

MORE THAN 8 TEAMS DIVISION: Generally teams will be split into 4, 6, or 8 team divisions and will play as such. Awards for first and second place will be given in all divisions.


7. Division Standings

For the purpose of determining bracket standings and semi-final match participants, the following point system will be used:

WIN = 3 points
TIE = 1 point
LOSS = 0 points
SHUTOUT = 0 points

Ties -Ties will stand at the end of regular play for the preliminary round matches and the consolation matches. In the event of a Tie, bracket winners and/or runner-ups will be determined, progressively, as follows:

§  Head-to-Head
§  Goal Differential – Max +/-3 per game
§  Most Goals Scored (no limit)
§  Least Goals Allowed
§  PK’s

Any team that Forfeits a match will receive 0 points for that game and the other team will receive 3 points via a 3-0 goal victory.
Extra-time for semifinal and championship matches

The teams will be given a five minute rest and immediately proceed with two successive FULL FIVE (5) minute overtime periods. If the teams are still tied at the end of the two overtime periods, the winner will be determined using Penalty Kicks from the penalty mark method.  Only the players on the field at the end of the second overtime period will be allowed to participate in the Penalty Kicks. The process for Penalty Kicks will be as follows:

a) All participating players will immediately meet at the center of the field.  A coin toss will determine who kicks first. If a team is playing short (e.g. due to a red card) then the opposing team must reduce its on-field players to match the number of players on the “short” team.

b) The referee will decide which goal will be used.

c) Five (5) players will be selected from each team to participate in the first round.

d) With teams alternating, each team will take 5 kicks.  The team scoring the most goals will be declared the winner.

e) If the teams remain tied after the first round, the remaining participating players from each team will take their kicks.  Teams will alternate and the first team to score with the opposing team missing will be declared the winner.

f) Each team may select any of their participating players on the field to serve as the goalkeeper.  The keeper may be changed at any time by one of the participating players.  In the event that the goalkeeper becomes injured, a player not currently on the field may replace him.


8. Substitutions

Substitutions may be made with the permission of the referee based upon FIFA rules.  All age groups will have unlimited substitutions and players may re-enter the game.  The substitute must wait until the player is off the field before entering the field (unless the referee waves him/her on).  Players must exit and enter, at the halfway line, on their own team side of the field.  No substitutions will be allowed for a player sent off. Substitutions will be allowed as follows:  Before a throw-in in the substituting team's favor, Before a goal kick by either team, After a goal by either team, When the referee has stopped play to attend to an injured player (by either team), At half time, Before either overtime period, At the time of the infraction, a cautioned (yellow card) player may leave the field and may be replaced with a substitute, if available, or play short.  The cautioned player may reenter the game at a later time.  The opposing team may also substitute at this time.  If a keeper is sent off (red card), he/she must leave the game and the team must play down.  If the player sent off is a keeper, a new keeper must then be designated either from the current field players or a substitution of a field player with the new player becoming the keeper.


9. Conduct

Any player, coach, or team supporter sent off during this tournament will be reported to the team's home state association.  Upon receipt of the report, the team's home state association and/or league may impose additional sanctions.  Matters involving referee assault or abuse will be reported immediately to the team’s home state association as required by USSF Policy 531-9. Any player sent off (red-carded) from a match will not be replaced and will not be allowed to participate in the remainder of the match and the team's next match.  Two (2) yellow cards in one match are equivalent to a red card and the above rule applies.  Any coach sent off from a game will not be allowed to coach in the remainder of the match or the team’s next match.  A player, coach or team supporter sent off during a match must immediately leave the vicinity of the field and not be visibly present at the next match.  A send off for serious verbal or physical altercations will result in the player, coach or team supporter being expelled and subject to be banned from tournament facilities.  Coaches are responsible for the conduct of their players and sideline team supporters on his/her team. Coaches not taking responsibility for their sideline’s conduct may be cautioned and/or ejected.  NCYSA rules state that coaches, players, or spectators ejected must not be within “sight or sound” of the playing field. In accordance with FIFA rules, only players will be shown a card (yellow or red) when being cautioned or sent off.


10. Start of Game and Field Check In

A maximum grace period of 10 minutes will be allowed after the scheduled kick-off time. U9 and U10, five (5) players must be present to begin a match. U11 and U12, six (6) players must be present to begin a match. For all other age group matches, U13-U14, a team must have seven (7) players present in order to begin a match.  A match forfeited will be scored 3-0 and the winning team will be awarded 3 points. It is requested that teams be present 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start time to aid in the timely start of play.  At the conclusion of the match the two coaches are to verify the score of the match with the referee and sign the match report.


11. Inclement Weather/Game Delays

Coaches and their players must appear at the field ready to play as scheduled, regardless of the weather.  Failure to appear will result in a forfeit of the match.  Only the Tournament Director may cancel or postpone a match.  At the sight of lightning all games will cease and play shall not resume until Tournament Director determines that a minimum of 30 minutes has passed with no visible lightning.  Additionally, the Tournament Director has full authority to cancel any match at any time if deemed the players, coaches, referees, and supporters are at risk. Should a preliminary match in progress be terminated due to weather or field conditions, the match will be considered official if, at least the first half has been played and the score at that time shall stand, even if the score is a tie. For other matches, rescheduling attempts will be made as fairly as possible, considering referee and field availability and normal progress of the competition. In age groups where the competition cannot be completed through the championship match due to poor weather conciliations, the Tournament Director will determine the division winner and runner-up.  The Tournament Director’s decision will be final and will not be subject to protest or appeal.  Should games or the entire tournament be cancelled due to inclement weather, there will be NO REFUNDS.

12. Duration of Play, Matches, Max Roster Size, Length, and Ball Size

Age Groups Matches Max   Roster Size  Length of Match Halftime Ball Size
U9 / U10 6v6 12 2 x 25 Minute Halves 5  Minutes 4
U11/12 8v8 14 2 x 30 Minute Halves 5  Minutes 4
U13/14 11v11 18 2 x 35 Minute Halves 5  Minutes 5


13. Player Equipment

a) Shin guards MUST be worn by all players, and covered by socks

b) Appropriate size game balls will be provided for each scheduled match by the tournament.

c) With the exception of medical ID, no rings, watches, earrings or other jewelry of any kind may be worn.  Medical ID medals must be taped to the chest.  Medical ID bracelets must be taped to the wrist so that a finger may not become trapped under it.  The referee, prior to the match must approve any protective device or cast worn by a player.  Casts must be padded and wrapped.

d) When the color of the jerseys is similar or identical, the designated home team will change jerseys (The team listed first on the schedule is the home team).

e) Goalkeepers must wear a different colored shirt, which distinguishes them from all other players and referees.

f)  Each team’s field player must have a unique number on his/her jersey and all jerseys shall match in color.  Shirts must be tucked in during entire game.

No equipment changes may be made after the referee's equipment check without his/her permission. No item of clothing shall extend below the shorts, including the keepers clothing (except compression shorts if they are the same color as the outer shorts, but above the knee.)


14. General

a)  Coaches and spectators must remain between their penalty area and centerline as marked on their respective side of the field.

b)  Spectators must sit across the field from their respective teams. Spectators are expected to remain behind a designated line away from the touch line, generally 8-10 feet back, so that linesman have clear visibility and space.

c)  No tents, exposed stakes, ropes or strings are allowed within 5 yards (15 feet) of any playing field.  The Tournament may require that tents or other items or spectators be moved at their discretion.

d)  No pets, No firearms, No alcoholic beverages allowed on tournament facilities.  

e)  All decisions of the referee are final and binding.  NO protests will be allowed.

f) The Tournament Director or his/her designee reserves the right to decide all matters pertaining to the tournament and his/her judgment is final.

g) At the discretion of the Tournament Director or his/her designee matches may be shortened or other means used to preserve schedule integrity.

h) A forfeit shall be awarded if a team is not present to play within ten (10) minutes of the scheduled starting time.  The score shall be recorded 3–0 against the offending team.  A shortened game may be played if time permits with the forfeit still standing.

i) All Referees will be USSF registered. The referee shall keep a record of the match and keep the official time on the field.  Club linesmen may be used in some age divisions.

j) At the conclusion of each match, both coaches are to sign the match report and the field marshals are to ensure that the match reports are turned into the scorers.


15. Disclaimer

The Tournament director, Tournament Committee, event sponsor, Gaston United Soccer Club, and their volunteers will not be responsible for any expenses incurred by any team or club if the tournament is canceled in-whole or in-part. The Tournament Director and Committee reserves the right to decide all matters pertaining to the tournament and the judgment is final.