Acela Premiership Rules

Please see below for the Acela Premiership official rules and bylaws.  Click Here for the new US Soccer Development Initiatives.


[collapsed title="1. Season of Play"] The seasonal soccer year shall be from September 1 to August 31 of the following calendar year. [/collapsed] [collapsed title="2. Modified Playing Rules and Field Specifications"] Each game will be played in accordance with FIFA Laws of the Game, with modifications prescribed by US Club and/or Acela Premiership:

  1. The ball size is #4 for the U9-U12 age groups, and #5 for all other age groups. The home team will supply game balls.
  2. Matches will operate with unlimited substituions. Substitutions may be made at any stoppage of play with the approval of the Referee. If a player is removed from the game and no substitute enters the game for the player (team plays short), the original player may reenter the game. Entry or reentry shall be at a normal substitution point (with approval of the Referee) or at any point during the game if the Referee signals for the player’s reentry.
  3. Duration of Game:
    (1) U9/U10 - two 25-minute halves with 5 minute half-time.
    (2) U11/U12 - two 30-minute halves with 5 minute half-time.
    (3) U13/U14 - two 35-minute halves with 5 minute half-time.
    (4) U15/U16 - two 40-minute halves with 5 minute half-time.
    (5) U17 - U19 – two 45-minute halves with 5 minute half-time.
  4. A game may begin with 7 players (4 players for 7v7 games and 6 players for 9v9 games) properly representing each team present.

Small-sided Modified Rules:

  1. U9 / U10 - 7v7 Rules
  2. U11 / U12 - 9v9 Rules

[/collapsed] [collapsed title="3. Field Preparation"] The home Club is responsible for providing adequate goals, nets, corner flags, and field markings in accordance with FIFA Laws of the Game and any modified playing rules set forth by the Acela Premiership. For 11v11 games the field should be at least 100 yards long and at least 50 yards wide. However, a smaller field may be used where larger dimensions are not practicable. Adequate protection must be provided to the Referee and visiting team. [/collapsed] [collapsed title="4. Field Inadequacy"] Any inadequacy in the condition of the field, goalpost, goal cross bar, goal nets, corner flags, or field markings must be reported to the Referee prior to the start of the game. If the Referee believes the inadequacy is sufficient to require correction, the Referee may require the home Club to correct this inadequacy. If corrections are not satisfactory to the Referee the game will not be played. Any irregularity in field conditions must be included in the Referee’s game report. [/collapsed] [collapsed title="5. Separation of Teams/Supporters"] The home team selects one end of one sideline, along which all of its players and coaches must remain. All visiting team players and coaches must remain along the other half of the same sideline. Only carded coaches and players are permitted in the team areas. Supporters of both teams must remain on the opposite side of the field. The sideline positioning may not be changed by the teams. Coaching may be restricted by the Referee at that section of the sideline extending 10 yards on both sides from the center of the field. Coaching may be prohibited entirely whenever the Referee considers it to be detrimental to the play of the game. This rule will be reported to the Referee Assignors as a League rule. [/collapsed] [collapsed title="6. Control of Teams/Supporters"] Coaches of both teams must control their coaches, players, and supporters and shall not allow anyone to enter the field while the game is being played. The coach of either team may report to the Referee whenever a coach or supporter of the opposing team is on the wrong side of the field. Any such individual must move to the appropriate location immediately upon request and with no interference or further delay to the game. Otherwise, the Referee may eject the offending party. This is a DEVELOPMENTAL League! [/collapsed] [collapsed title="7. Payment of Officials"] Referee fees are established for each season. The current season Referee fee is $50 for the refeee. Teams will each pay 50% of the total fee. Only the fee for Referees who appear for the game will be paid.  Referee who appear as scheduled will be paid the full fee even when the game is terminated by a cause over which neither Club has control, such as darkness or the Referee declaring the field unplayable. The full fee must also be paid whenever a game is terminated because of the actions or conditions over which either Club could or should have had control, and whenever either team forfeits a game. When a Referee declares a field unplayable only the fee for the first game scheduled on that field must be paid. Referee does not have to be paid when notice of a cancellation has been delivered to the Referee Assignor in the prescribed manner. [/collapsed] [collapsed title="8. When Referees Fail to Appear"] If the assigned Referee(s) has not arrived by the scheduled start time for a game, the home team should contact the appropriate Referee Assignor. If a replacement Referee is not provided, the coaches of both teams should mutually agree on an individual to perform as a substitute Referee. If mutual agreement cannot be reached on a single person, each team may nominate one individual to act as substitute Referees who will jointly officiate the game. Likewise, if Assistant Referees fail to appear, the teams shall provide substitute Assistant Referees. Each substitute Referee will have the authority of the regular Referee and be considered a volunteer. [/collapsed] [collapsed title="9. Forfeit"] Every team is required to appear at every game for which it is scheduled during the regular season. A team that must forfeit a game must notify the opposing coach and the Acela Premiership's Executive Director. In addition, the forfeiting team is subject to a fine no less than $200.

A team that is not prepared to play on the scheduled field 15 minutes after the scheduled start time must forfeit the game to the opposing team unless the delay has been mutually agreed upon by the coaches of both teams. Play may begin with seven players (4 players for 7v7 games and 6 players for 9v9 games). When a game is forfeited under this condition the forfeiting team must pay the entire Referee fees. All forfeits are recorded as 3-0 scores. Any team forfeiting a game without cause, as determined by the Executive Committee, shall not be permitted to participate in the League playoffs for that season. [/collapsed] [collapsed title="10. Abandoned Games"] An abandoned game is a game for which play starts, but the game must be terminated before completion. Games can be abandoned by the Referee for one of two reasons: 1.) Weather (as directed by the league’s Executive Director), either the field becomes unplayable or continuing lightning strikes; or 2.) Due to the action of one the teams, no carded coach on the sideline, failure of ejected player/coach to leave the premises, failure to field a team, etc.

If a game must be abandoned due to weather conditions and the second half has started, then the game is official and the score at the time the game was abandoned will stand. If a game must be abandoned due to weather conditions and the second half has not started, the game must be replayed in its entirety. If a game must be abandoned due to the actions of a team, no matter when in the game this occurs, the opponent will be awarded a victory. This will be recorded as a 3-0 score unless the winning team has scored more than three goals when the game is abandoned. In all cases the losing team will be credited with 0 goals. In the event that the game is abandoned due to the actions of both teams, the game will be a double- forfeit and will not count in the standings. All decisions of the Referee are final. [/collapsed] [collapsed title="11. Pre-Game Formalities"] This process should begin approximately 15 minutes before the scheduled start time of the game.

  1. Prior to each match, teams should expect the Referees to collect the (a) Game Line-up Card from the team 15 minutes prior to the scheduled kick off time, (b) and verify the teams have checked roster with picture and / or cards US Club Soccer member passes for each player and team official that shall be participating in the match and (c) the game fees. The Referee is authorized to retain all documents for further inspection except for US Club member passes that are to be returned to the team for the match. The Game Line-up Card shall be prepared by the team and submitted to the Referee 15 minutes prior to the scheduled kickoff. The Game Line-up Card shall list a maximum of 18 players and a minimum of 7 players (for 7v7 maximum of 12 players and a minimum of 4 players and for 9v9 maximum of 16 players and a minimum of 6 players) that are eligible to play in such game. Every player listed on the game roster must be included on the team roster to be eligible to participate with the team. Any player on the team roster but not listed as being eligible to play who desires to sit on the team bench (and is not subject to any suspension) must also be listed on the Game Line-up Card on the appropriate list. Such players are subject to the authority of the Referees. All players and team bench personnel that appear on the Game Line-up Card are subject to the authority of the Referees. Any individual that is sent off and/or asked to leave the team bench area by the Referees shall be suspended for the team’s next Acela game. An additional suspension may be assessed following review by the Executive Director.
  2. Referee calls for captains: allows home team to call heads or tails in toss of the coin; asks whether winner of toss wants to have the first kickoff OR wants to choose which end of field to attack in the first half. (In second half, teams swap ends and other team has kickoff).
  3. Referee verifies that at least 7 (4 for 7v7 and 6 for 9v9) players are on the field for each team. Any number less than 11 (7 for 7v7 and 9 for 9v9) should be reported to the respective coach. A team may always play with 11 (7 for 7v7 or 9 for 9v9) players even though the opposing team fields less than 11 (7 for 7v7 or 9 for 9v9). A team with less than 7 (4 for 7v7 or 6 for 9v9) players on the field must forfeit the game.
  4. If the home team is wearing a uniform of the same color as the visiting team, so as is indistinguishable by the Referee, the home team will change to a different colored jersey.
  5. Referee verifies each team is ready to play, and then Referee whistles for the game to begin.
  6. All player cards and coaches cards will be returned to the coaches at the end of the game. The Referee and coach must submit an immediate incident report utilizing our online reporting system. Coaches are mandated to hold players out of next game and also remain out of the next league game until the Referee Liaison reaches a decision.
  7. Any player who arrives as the game is in progress, and whose name appears on the lineup form, may substitute in the normal manner upon presenting a player pass to the Referee, subject to a later verification by the opposing team.
  8. The Referee shall not take the pass of any coach or player who is sent off prior, during, or after the game. The Referee shall complete a supplemental report and forward to the League Office.

[/collapsed] [collapsed title="12. Uniforms"] Teams must wear regulation soccer uniforms. The Home Team is to wear the Light color uniform and the Away Team is to wear the Dark color uniform. When the colors of opposing teams are so similar as to cause conflict in the Referee’s opinion, the home team is required to change to a contrasting color. All players must wear numbers not less than 6 inches high. Players must adhere to all FIFA and Acela Premiership rules, as applicable, regarding uniforms. In cases of extreme cold the Referee, at his/her sole discretion, may allow modification of the uniform regulations. [/collapsed] [collapsed title="13. Score Reporting"] The home team must report the score, in accordance with the then current reporting procedure, no later than 8:00 pm on the Monday following the game. [/collapsed] [collapsed title="14. Protests"] There are no protests of the outcome of Acela Premiership games. Teams may only protest the use of an illegal player prior to game start. [/collapsed] [collapsed title="15. Game Postponement and Rescheduling"]

  1. Rescheduling Due to Inclement Weather: Games should not be postponed for light rain or wet fields. Should postponement due to inclement weather be necessary, the home Club must notify the Referee Assignor, the visiting teams, and the Acela Premiership Executive Director as early as possible.
  2. Notification to the Referee Assignor must be made no later than 2 hours prior to the first scheduled game or the Club will be responsible for paying the Referee fees for the first scheduled game at each field affected. Postponed games must be rescheduled as soon as possible. The teams should agree on a new date/time/location and then notify the Acela Premiership Executive Director. The League has the final authority to reschedule any game.
  3. Rescheduling Not Related to Weather: Once the final schedule is released games will be rescheduled only in the case of loss of fields. Once a Club knows that a game must be rescheduled for loss of field they must notify the Acela Premiership Executive Director immediately. The League will reschedule the game and notify the teams and Referee Assignor.

[/collapsed] [collapsed title="16. Standings"] Standings will not be kept for the Acela Premiership. [/collapsed] [collapsed title="17. Roster Limitations"]

  1. U11 and U122 (9v9) teams – must register a minimum of 9 players with a maximum of 16 players on game day rosters.

Typical age division placements are as follows:

  1. Please see Rule 18 Late Developer / Bio Banding

[/collapsed] [collapsed title="18. Late Developer / Bio Banding"]The Acela Premiership is incorporating the ability to have players participate "down" an age group to create competitive balance. Teams can play with older player(s) just as long as it is communicated to the league director the Friday prior to the scheduled match. The "spirit" of this rule to create competitive matches for all teams. [/collapsed][collapsed title="19. Club Pass"]The "club pass" concept's core objective is to provide clubs and coaches with the flexibility to move players from team to team in their own club as necessary for the Acela Premiership, based on player development and team needs. Teams will need to use the US Club pass for the specific player. They will need to match. The exception to his is the use of any player participating in the MLS Academy. The pass may be used to place the player on the roster of any team of that club competing in the Acela Premiership competitions. [/collapsed][collapsed title="20. Secondary / Loan Pass"]Players will be allowed to play with a secondary / loan pass as long as those teams understand the player must play with the Primary team if there is a conflict.[/collapsed] [collapsed title="21. Referee Fees"]

  • U11: Referee $50
  • U12: Referee $50

[/collapsed] [collapsed title="22. Match Day Procedures"] The following steps should be followed for matches:

  1. Host / Home team should confirm game schedule the Thursday prior to the game.
  2. Contact Info:
    (1) Click on the Schedule
    (2) Click the Gender, then the Schedule for the appropriate Age / Division.
    (3) Scroll to the date of the game and click on opponent.
    (4) Click on View Team Contact Information.
  3. Host / Home team should confirm referee assignments.
  4. Home team as listed on the schedule is responsible for providing the Game Report Card to the referee.
  5. Printing Game Card:
    (1) Log into your GotSport account (www.system.gotsport.com)
    (2) From your Dashboard, Select "Team Management".
    (3) On the Left select "Matches".
    (4) On the Right Select "Print Match Card.
    (5) Once the window pops up you will select "Photo" and click "Export".
  6. Referee Fees are split by both teams and paid prior to the match.
  7. Teams verify in each player with the official roster / photos against the Game Card Roster.
  8. At the conclusion of the game, the Home team is responsible for entering and uploading the score, cautions and ejections:
    (1) Log into your GotSport account (www.system.gotsport.com)
    (2) From your Dashboard, Select "Team Management".
    (3) On the Left select "Matches".
    (4) On the Right Click "View Score.
    (5) Once the window pops up you will enter the score under the correct team and click "Choose File" and upload the game sheet. Once complete click "Save".

[/collapsed] [collapsed title="23. Referee Assignors"] Each club is responsible for coordinating their home game schedule with their respective assignor.

Assignors List[/collapsed]