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Palo Alto Adult Soccer League Rules SummaryPrintable

This rules summary is provided to the referees as a service. These are not the official rules of the competition. NO warranty is made that this summary is up to date.

This page last updated 5/3/21

Referee Expectations

The referee team is expected to:

  • Know and enforce League rules and standards of conduct
  • Be at the field no less than 15 minutes before kickoff
  • Start and stop the match on time (Referees are asked to facilitate two halves of equal length, maximizing the time available while clearing the field and providing adequate time for the next match, if any.)
  • Verify passes from all players; 
  • Inspect players for shoes, jewelry, shinguards and the official PAASL-issued jersey (some players have recently created their own custom jerseys, these will not be permitted beginning 2/1/2018).
  • Use the 3-referee diagonal system of control. 2-referee system should NOT be used; instead, a Club Linesman should be found. In the rare circumstance only two officials show up and no Club Linesman is available, use a CR/AR/null system and report the absent official to the assignor.

Assistant Referees are expected to:

  • Position themselves in accordance to USSF/FIFA standards and be even with the second to last opponent or the ball whichever is closer to the goal line

Recreational League

This is an O25 recreational league. No standings are kept. The players want to play today and need to go to work tomorrow. Strictly enforce safe play. Facilitate player involvement.

To address participant and league concerns, PAASL has a player conduct policy including items related to player passes, player safety, player dissent and team organization.

Referees may apply advantage pursuant to the FIFA LOTG.

Player Passes

Only individuals currently registered and in good standing can play in a match. Obtain a match card with player names and numbers from both team coordinators. If no printed, official PAASL match card is available, one should be handwritten.

Each Player MUST show the referee a PAASL digital Player Pass. This can be on their phone or a print out. The pass must be for the current season. Electronic passes are expected to be the norm.. The player's name must be on the match card. Duplicate jersey numbers on the same team are permitted. 

Minimum of 7v7 to start/continue the match. Late arriving players MUST present their digital pass and have their equipment checked by the referee and receive referee permission before entering the field.

Guest players & late arriving players MUST be on the match card. Guest players must be handwritten in. Extra players from one team may guest for the other team - do not have to change the game card to reflect.

Referees are to retain the Match Card in the event that there is a Send Off or the referee needs to contact the assignor about something unusual that happened during the match. After an uneventful match, the referee may destroy the match card.


One of your responsibilities is to check the player passes. Check-in cannot be delegated to a Team Coordinator or any other person in any circumstance. Checking passes is part of your job. .


This is a recreational league. Referees must balance safety and player enjoyment. The League Board asks that referees permit hand, face, nose, finger or ear jewelry as long as the jewelry is covered by opaque tape and, in the opinion of the referee, poses no threat to the player or other players. Neck and wrist-worn jewelry, such as watches, fitness trackers, necklaces are not permitted whether covered or not. Soft wrist sweatbands are permitted. Medical alert jewelry is permitted on the neck or wrist as long as it is taped down and provides no risk to the player or opponents. 

The PAASL jewelry guidelines are inconsistent with the LOTG and USSF directives. Referees should be aware that USSF referee liability insurance may not cover referees if a player should be injured while wearing jewelry. The PAASL has put the rule permitting jewelry in writing.->


  • Sunday Men's A
  • Sunday Men's B
  • Women's Weekday
  • Women's Sunday
  • Evening A
  • Evening B.


The home team should have a printed roster/game card to present to the referee. The home team is listed first in the schedule. The home team wears green.

Guest Players (Ringers)

  • Players from the rosters for the teams that are scheduled to play the match have priority over guest players.
  • Any player with a pass from the same division can guest for either team.
  • Guest players must be entered on the roster game card.
  • If there are insufficient players to begin a match or there is imbalance in player counts, B division players may guest in A division matches.
  • If there are insufficient players to begin a match or there is imbalance in player counts, A division players may guest in B matches ONLY as a goal keeper.
  • Sunday Division players cannot guest for the Evening Division
  • Evening Division players cannot guest for the Sunday Division


Unless explicitly stated otherwise below, all FIFA LOTG are in effect.

Cautions (Yellow Cards)

League rules include a Player Conduct Policy-> designed to eliminate dangerous play, overly physical play, poor sportsmanship and dissent. Referees are expected to apply the LOTG.

A player receiving a Caution must leave the field. The team can substitute. The player can return at the at the next substitution opportunity.

Send Offs (Red Cards)

Strictly enforce safe play. Serious foul play has been a concern with the league Board of Directors.

You will need the player name for the send off report.

Fill out a send off report at PAASL Send Off Report->

A player that is sent off and is shown a Red Card MUST leave the field and may not return. The dismissed player may be substituted. i.e. the offending team does NOT play short. The teams continue to play 11 v 11.

The dismissed player must leave the area. The dismissed player cannot return to the game.

Match Length

Halves are typically 45 minutes long. Half time interval is 5 minutes.

Time is kept by the clocks at the field. For evening matches, the matches NO LONGER HAVE TO END by 10:00 PM by the field clock. If the clock is inaccurate, please contact the assignor at For day matches, time slots will vary from 90 to 105 minutes, the matches MUST end in time to allow the next scheduled match to kick-off at it's scheduled start time. For the 90-minute slots, there is no slack in the schedule.

Adding time is typically not an option due to next match or must end times. Adjust match half lengths equally if match starts late.

Goal Keepers

Please ask goal keepers if they intend to play the entire half. Goal keepers often play for 20 minutes (1/2 of the half). Please facilitate field players changing with the goal keeper during any stoppage around the 19th - 21st minute mark.


Unlimited substitutions at any stoppage with the permission of the referee. This is a recreational league, and referees are requested not to enforce a strict substitution procedure. Allow substitutes to enter before the substituted player leaves. Allow substitutes to enter along the touch line and not necessarily at the half way line. 

Slide tackling

  • No slide tackling in the women's divisions.
  • Slide tackling permitted in men's matches. Penalize all slide tacking from behind.

Balanced Teams

When one or both teams does not have enough players to field a full side, no team should ever have an advantage of more than one extra field player. i.e. Play 11 v 10 is okay, but not 11 v 9.

Players must change sides to achieve this balance in the event that one team has 2 or more additional field players than a short-sided team.

Jerseys are reversible. Teams will always be Green vs. White. It is permissible for multiple players to have the same jersey number on the same team. 

Home Team is listed first on the schedule and wears green.

Pick-Up Matches

Some dates (typically holidays) the PAASL uses a "Pick-Up" Format 

  • No formal check-in . No game card.
  • Any player with pass and current season sticker and uniform can play.
  • 80 minute matches in 20 minute quarters. Change halves at each quarter. Mass substitution at quarters. Anyone waiting will be allowed to play. .
  • 5 minute breaks between quarters. Check that on coming players have a valid pass.


Teams are encouraged to evaluate referee performance.

Official PAASL rules->
PAASL Website->
PAASL Referee Reference->