By Joe Manjone, Ed. D.
Over the past four years, I have received numerous questions from officials concerning when a player becomes or ceases to be a player. Most of these question were asked because a departing player committed a “hard” red card misconduct and a decision had to be made on allowing a substitute for this disqualified player.
There are five situations that that were frequently referred to and which will be addressed here. These five situations are:
1. When a field player receives a caution (yellow card).
2. When a player must leave the field of play for illegal equipment and coach is cautioned.
3. When a coach/trainer is called onto field for an injured player who must leave the field of play.
4. When a player must leave the field of play for improper equipment.
5. Before the game starts or between periods when players are departing or coming on to the field, or are in or near the team area.
The rule that addresses the status of a player is 18-1-1cc. This rule states:
A Player is a team member who occupies a position on the field of play during the actual playing time limits of the game, beginning with the opening kickoff and ending with the conclusion of the game excluding intervals between periods. A substitute becomes a player when she/he is beckoned onto the field of play by an official, at which point the replaced individual is no longer a player.
With the guidelines provided by this rule, the above five situations will now be addressed:
1. When a field player receives a caution (yellow card), the cautioned player is considered a player until the substitute is beckoned in or if no substitute is to come in, when the player departs from the field. Thus, if this player commits a “hard” red card misconduct prior to the substitute being beckoned in or leaving the field when no substitution will be made, the red card will result in the team playing short. It is recommended that after a caution and as a precaution, the referee not beckon in the substitute until the cautioned player has left the field. The clock is not running at this time so the short delay in getting the substitute into the game will be of little consequence.
2. When a player must leave the field of play for illegal equipment and coach is cautioned. This situation is very similar to #1 above as the player with illegal equipment may be substituted for. Again, the referee should not beckon in the substitute until the illegally equipped player has departed the field.
3. When a coach/trainer is called onto field for an injured player who must leave the field of play. Since substitutes do not have to be beckoned in when the clock is stopped for an injury and coaches/trainers are brought on to the field, the injured player is the player of record until he/she departs from the field. Make certain that the injured player has departed the field and both teams have had the opportunity to substitute before restarting the game.
4. When a player must leave the field of play for improper equipment. In this situation, no substitutes are permitted for the improperly equipped player, and the improperly equipped player remains a player until he/she have departed from the field.
5. Before the game starts or between periods when players are departing or coming on to the field, or are in or near the team area. As indicated in Rule 18-1-1cc, a player must be on a field during the actual time limits of the game. Thus anyone receiving a disqualification during this time is not considered a player and his/her team would not have to play short.
Following the above rules and recommended procedures in every high school game you work and making certain your partners do the same will provide the required consistency and make each game a better experience for all participants.
If you would like to suggest a high school soccer rules change or if you have any questions about this rule or any high school rule, please e-mail me at [email protected]