FORMAT & RULES
All matches must be played in accordance with the FIFA Laws of the Game, except as specifically modified as follows in the tournament rules.
New USSF Rule: U11 Age Group & Younger
No heading in age groups under-11 and younger is allowed. If during the course of a match, a header is performed, play will be stopped and will resume with an indirect kick for the opposing team.
The home team will provide the match ball unless provided by the tournament. This ball is to be presented to the referee at the start of each match. The ball is the team’s responsibility and will not be replaced if lost or stolen.
Number of Players
U7 – U8 – Four per side
U9 - U10 - Seven per side
U11 – U12 Nine per side
U13 and Older Eleven per side
*Tournament rules comply with those of the U. S. Youth Soccer Association.
Free substitution will be allowed at any stoppage in play at the referee’s discretion.
Players & Equipment
Player equipment must conform to FIFA rules. All players will wear shin-guards (under the socks). Players may not play with metal or removable cleats.
It will be at the Referee’s discretion to determine the safety and suitability of player equipment including the wearing of an orthopedic cast or hard brace.
No jewelry or hair pins are allowed.
Teams will wear uniforms of matching design and color with a minimum of six-inch numbers affixed to the back of the uniform shirt. Each player must have a unique jersey number. The home team will wear their lighter-colored uniform and the away team will wear dark.
The first team listed on the match report will be considered the home team.
The uniform of the goalkeeper must be distinctly different in color from the basic colors of the competing teams and the referee.
Duration Of Matches
Pool play, playoffs, and consolations are the same duration per age group.
There is no overtime for any game.
Age Group (All Games)
U7 & U8: 4 x 10 = 40 mins
U9 & U10: 2 x 25 = 50 mins
U11 & U12: 2 x 30 = 60 mins
U13 & U14: 2 x 35 = 70 mins
U15 – U19: 2 x 40 = 80 mins
All group play matches will be called not less than five minutes prior to the scheduled start of the next match regardless of the amount of time played up to that point. A match is “complete” upon completion of one-half of play regardless of the circumstances of termination with the final results based on the score at the time the match is terminated. Group play matches can end in a tie. Semi-final and Final matches tied at the end of regulation time will be decided by kicks from the mark, according to FIFA rules. There will be no overtime.
Halftime will be exactly 10 minutes (except for U7-U8 which is 5 minutes between periods), unless the center referee or Site Director determines that halftime should be shortened due to unforeseen delays in scheduled match start times, extended breaks due to injuries, etc.
Weather permitting, each team is guaranteed a minimum of three matches, with a maximum of two matches per day. The following formats will be used. The Tournament Director may modify formats as necessary. Teams affected by such changes will be notified of the appropriate rules for the associated format.
U7- U8 See USYS Laws of the Game
U9 – U19
Four Team Divisions
Divisions will consist of one group of four teams. Each team will play the other three teams in its group for a total of three matches. Final standings shall be determined by the total points accumulated during this round-robin play. There will be no Final.
Five Team Divisions
Divisions will consist of one group of five teams. Each team will play the other teams in its group for a total of four matches. Final standings shall be determined by the total points accumulated during this round-robin play. There will be no Final.
Six Team Divisions
Divisions will consist of two groups of three teams. Each team will play the other teams in its group for a total of two matches. The winner of each group will play the second-place team in the opposite group in a Semi-Final. The Semi-Final winners will play in a Final. Teams not advancing to the Semi-final round will play a consolation match.
Six Team Cross-over Divisions
Divisions will consist of two groups of three teams. Each team in a group will play the three teams in the opposite group for a total of three matches. The top two teams in the overall division standings will meet in a Final.
Eight Team Divisions
Flights will consist of two groups of four teams. Each team will play the other teams in its group for a total of three matches. The group winners will then play in the Final.
Twelve Team Divisions
Flights will consist of four groups of three teams. Each team will play the others within its group for a total of two matches. The group winners will advance to the Semi-finals. The winners of the Semi-finals will then play in a Final. Teams not advancing to the Semi-final round will play a consolation match.
Determination of Group Winners/ Wild Cards
In group play, there will be no overtime matches. Standings in a group will be determined by the following:
- Three (3) point for a Win
- One (1) point for a Tie
- No (0) points for a Loss
- Three (3) points for a Forfeit Win (scored as a 1-0 Win)
- Minus two (-2) points for a Forfeit or Match Abandonment Loss AND disqualification for advancing to playoff rounds.
In the case of a tie in group standings, placement will be determined by:
1. Head-to-head result
2. Net goal differential, maximum of four goals per match
3. Most goals scored, maximum of four goals per match
4. Least goals allowed, no maximum
5. If a two-way tie exists after steps one through four, FIFA Kicks from the Penalty Mark will be taken fifteen minutes prior to the scheduled start of the Semi-final or Final match.
If a multi-way (three or more) tie exists after steps one through four, steps two through four will be applied to attempt to eliminate one or more teams. If one or more teams can be eliminated in this manner, steps one through four are again applied to the remaining teams. If these procedures do not resolve the remaining tie, FIFA Kicks will be taken after a draw by the Tournament Committee.
For the draw, the following rules will apply: In a three-way tie, the first team drawn will receive the bye; the remaining teams will participate in a shootout with the winning team competing against the bye team in penalties to determine the group winner.
In a four-way tie, the Tournament Committee will draw the four teams into two FIFA Kicks contests whereby the first two teams drawn will be paired and the second two teams will be paired. The winners of these contests will shoot out to determine the overall winner.
The tournament reserves the right to adjust pairings in the consolation round. The tournament will also reassign wild card teams to prevent a replay of a group play match in a Semi-final match. The wildcard team will be passed to the group winner with the highest point total. In the event of a tie between group winners, the wild card team will be passed to the winner of Group B.
A minimum of seven players per team constitutes a match. Matches will start at the given start time. In case the team does not have seven players present, there will be a maximum of five minutes grace period before awarding the match to the opponent. A forfeit will be scored 1-0.
In no case shall a team that forfeits a match be declared a group winner or wild card team. The team with the next best record will be named the group winner or wild card.
Match Protests and Disputes
There will be no protests or disputes. Decisions by referees may not be appealed.
Managers/coaches of both teams will ensure their respective sideline areas are clean and that all trash is in containers.
A completed match report will be submitted to the tournament director complete with scores and a supplemental report for sending-offs, injuries, or special circumstances that need explanation.
Control of Sideline Conduct
Players, reserve players, managers, coaches, and fans are expected to conduct themselves within the letter and spirit of “The Laws of the Game.” The Site Director has the authority and the responsibility to remove any person(s) from the tournament for abuses of conduct, in addition to any specific disciplinary action brought about by any other authority. In addition to good manners, the following rules will apply to the Desert Classic Tournament:
Both teams will share one sideline. If spectators are allowed, spectators will occupy the opposite sideline, with supporters of a given team sitting directly across the field from the team. While the match is in progress the manager/coach/trainer and all reserve players must remain on their respective benches and may not roam the sidelines, except as necessary to warm up for entry into the match. The manager/coach is responsible for the behavior of their team’s supporters. The referees will have the authority to warn and ultimately send off, any manager/coach whose supporters behave in an abusive or disruptive manner. Artificial noisemaking devices are
Conduct & Discipline
- It shall be solely the team’s responsibility to determine the status of its players. Any suspension from a tournament, local league, etc. is the responsibility of the team to notify the Tournament Director of this suspension at the time of the player’s check-in.
- Desert Classic Tournament will have a Discipline Committee of no fewer than three members. The Discipline Committee will review and rule on all reports of unacceptable conduct by players, managers, coaches, referees, spectators, etc. All players and managers/coaches shall be subject to Arizona Soccer Association Discipline and Sanctions.
- A player, manager, or coach ejected will have an automatic minimum one-match suspension regardless of the reason for the ejection.
- A coach who is ejected must leave the field area immediately (out of sight and sound). Failure to comply will result in suspension from the entire event and may jeopardize inclusion in future events.
- Suspended Coaches may not be present while serving their suspensions; players may sit with the team but may not be in uniform.
- Depending on the severity of the unacceptable conduct, the Discipline Committee may recommend the suspension of up to the duration of the tournament with further disciplinary action by the appropriate National and State Association, Federation, or any other USSF-affiliated organization. The Discipline Committee recommendations will be available to the affected parties no later than before the start of their next scheduled match.
- A complete report will be sent to the Arizona Soccer Association Review & Discipline Committee for forwarding to the appropriate State and National Association.
External Conditions, Weather, Etc.
The tournament officials cannot control the weather, nor can they control whether the fields remain playable. Regardless of weather conditions, players and coaches must be on the field at the scheduled time, ready to play. In the case of inclement weather or field conditions, the tournament will strive to keep teams informed through the website, email, texts, Facebook, and Twitter. Please do not call for information as we will work diligently to keep you informed. Any disruption to the tournament because of inclement weather will be communicated to all teams via the website,
social media, email, and text. In the case of inclement weather or other circumstances beyond the control of the tournament, the following may occur:
- Matches may be shortened. The Tournament Director may reduce the length of matches due to weather conditions before the start of a match; all such matches will be considered official.
- Halves may be shortened. The Tournament Director may reduce the length of halves before the restart of a match once delayed due to weather; all such matches will be considered official.
- Matches may be rescheduled (time and location determined by Tournament Director).
- There will be no taking of PKs to determine the outcome of matches.
- Some matches may be canceled. Canceled matches will be scored as a 0-0 tie.
Only referees or a facility manager can suspend a match already started due to weather conditions. Any single suspension of a match may last no longer than 60 minutes until the next scheduled match start time whichever is later. The tournament director has sole discretion to reschedule and/or shorten Sunday matches to accommodate the special needs of our participants. While we request that teams make travel plans that do not interfere with planned match schedules, sometimes unexpected events (e.g. flight cancellations) occur that make playing on schedule impossible. If a match can reasonably be rescheduled and/or shortened, it will be. If it cannot, the team that was unavailable to comply with the originally scheduled match shall forfeit that match.
If due to inclement weather matches must be prematurely terminated, the following rules will apply:
In the event a referee terminates a match (different from temporarily suspending), before halftime, it will be up to the Tournament Director whether to record the score at the time of the termination or finish the match at a rescheduled time and location. In the event a referee terminates a match (different from temporarily suspending) after half-time, the score will be recorded as it was when the match was stopped.
In the event a referee terminates a match (different from temporarily suspending) the score will be recorded as it was when the match was stopped. In the event the match ends in a tie, the team that earned the most points during group play will be declared the winner. If the teams have the same number of points, the criteria in the tie-breaker scenarios of the determination of group winners will be applied, including head-to-head, if applicable.
In the event a referee terminates a Final match (different from temporarily suspending) while the teams are tied, co-champions will be declared. Matches terminated for other than inclement weather (e.g. violent play or uncontrollable situations) will not be replayed.
The decision as to the score of such matches and whether teams advance will be made by the Tournament Director after receiving reports from match officials. The decision of the Director will be final and is binding on all parties. Further disciplinary actions may be taken, depending upon the circumstances.
Desert Classic Tournament, the Tournament Committee, Arizona Soccer Association, and/or the host affiliate will not be responsible for any expense incurred by any team due to the cancellation in part or whole of this tournament. The Tournament Committee’s interpretation of these rules and regulations shall be final, and the Committee reserves the right to decide on all tournament matters.
The Tournament Committee has the responsibility to uphold any previous suspension imposed by Arizona Soccer Association, US Youth Soccer, and/or affiliates of USSF.
Desert Classic Tournament is not responsible for the behavior of players, coaches, and spectators off the field, or damages resulting from such behavior. Coaches and players committing breaches of the law may be ejected from the tournament at the discretion of the tournament committee.
Please ensure your team removes all trash from the sideline after each match.
In the event of a medical emergency, there are certified athletic trainers on-site.
Coaches are responsible for the behavior of their own spectators