April 1st, 2019, Waltham, MA: As preparations for the upcoming GPS Memorial Day Tournament continues, GPS are proud to announce details on a number of rule changes to be debuted at the even. Designed to increase excitement for players/coaches/ spectators and encouraging attacking play the amendments will be fully rolled-out to all tournaments in fall ‘19.
The major update will be a full eradication of the offside rule at all age groups. The continued adjustment of the law and its failure to be consistently implemented has created a number of challenges for tournament officials in recent seasons. Making this this change should ensure that games flow better and increase harmony between coaches and referees and, of course, ensure more goals.
James Hamblin (Tournaments Director) on the adjustment: “The offside law continues to create controversy and challenges for officials at all levels of the game. Based on discussions with all stakeholders we feel that removing it completely will allow everyone involved to focus more on the game itself and reduce any contentious decisions associated with an incorrect call.”
This adjustment will create two follow-on law changes.
1. 30-yd lines added onto the field which will serve a dual purpose. Teams may only pass the ball over 2 lines max and goals made from beyond the line will be worth 2 goals.
2. The two-man reffing system popular in high-school soccer will be adopted with the need to cover offside decisions no longer required.
Hamblin on the adjustment: “We’re all enjoying March Madness and adding a 2-pt line will ensure games stay on edge for longer whilst eliminating the option to cherry pick goals based on the offside removal. The reduction in number of referees required each game will ensure the highest quality officials are employed to oversee each match.
A selection of other rule updates is listed below:
Sudden Death Showdown: With 15 minutes remaining all group and knockout games will enter a sudden death period with the first scorer winning the game. In the event of no goal, games will end in a tie (group game) or enter overtime (playoff game)
Designated Kicker/Thrower: Teams will be able to dress a DK and DT who can be brought on for set-plays where appropriate
2pt PKs: Teams can elect to take the kick from the 18yd line for a potential 2 point play
On the fly subbing: Designed to speed up the game, teams can sub on the fly after the ball goes out for a stoppage and do not need to be waved on the field
Playing on the ground: Players who need to dive and extend for a ball or make a sliding tackle are permitted to do so
Fan Sections: With the aim of creating a more vibrant atmosphere and encourage interactive celebrations spectators will be asked to seat/stand at the end line in which their team is attacking and provide coaching where necessary
Blue Cards: Players who commit an offense greater than a yellow card but not warranting a red will be placed in the ‘sin-bin’ (parents section) for a 5 minute period
Rock-Paper-Scissors: The luck based coin toss at the start of the game will be replaced by the skill-based Rock-Paper-Scissors (best of 3 format)
“We look forward to seeing the new format employed in May at the GPS Memorial Day Tournament,” said Massachusetts Soccer Commission Director Joseph King. “It would be foolish to believe these changes will not benefit all players, coaches and officials,” added King.
For a full listing of the amended rules please click here.