Area 8G Interplay Guidelines

(Revised September 14, 2022)


The Area 8G Interplay Guidelines are intended to establish a common set of rules to facilitate an environment in which players, coaches, and officials are provided with opportunities, outside of their own region, to gain experience, resulting in increased levels of competition throughout the Area.  These guidelines are intended only for Interplay games.


Interplay is defined as two teams competing in a game scheduled by the Area 8G Interplay Scheduler or otherwise arranged by coaches competing with teams from a region other than their own.  (This typically occurs at the U-16/U-19 divisions).  Interplay allows regions that are not self-sustaining in any division to gain necessary games for their team.

Self-sustaining is defined as more than five (5) teams in a division within a region.

Continuous Improvement

Communication and open constructive criticism of the Interplay program and these guidelines are encouraged.  After each season, these guidelines should be reviewed and adjusted, if necessary, by the Area 8G Regional Commissioners.


Player and Coach Responsibility

All Coaches are required to be certified/trained at the age level which they are coaching. Coaches must further be certified Safe Haven and Concussion Awareness. Teams that do not have a properly trained/certified coach, shall not be placed on the Interplay Schedule.

Players are expected to understand the team concept involved and the commitment needed for a coach to be able to instruct to the best of his/her abilities.

Coaches must be serious and committed to the ideals of AYSO Soccer and also be tuned to the more competitive needs and expectations of the players.


Rules & Regulations

FIFA, AYSO Rules and Regulations, and all area guidelines and directives are to be adhered to during all Area 8G interplay games.  For interplay games, these guidelines supersede regional rules.

AYSO National has established myriad new rules for U-10 and above. Those rules will become effective in Area 8-G in the Fall of 2018.

These new rules were written in February 2017. The following is a summery and interpretation. It is anticipated there will be changes, corrections and final wording over the next few months.

Throw-ins for U-6 to U-8. The throw-in is replaced with a pass-in kick.

 For U-10 the goal keeper may not punt the ball. They will throw, row the ball, or drop kick the ball. Deleted 7-14-2020 the “build-out line” .

Playground Soccer for players 3 and 4 years old is for learning fundamental motor skills using soccer as theme. A soccer ball can be used but competition in training or match play of any kind is not allowed.


Gentleman’s Agreement

A gentleman’s or sportsmanship agreement is in place, by which opposing coaches and teams will neither intentionally run up the score, nor intentionally embarrass an opponent.  Fair play and consideration must be part of every game played.



Any region in Area 8G may elect to participate in Interplay.  A region may choose to schedule some or all of a division’s games through the Interplay Scheduler.  Examples:

  • A region with less than six U-12 girls’ teams may choose to have all their games scheduled by the Interplay Scheduler; or 
  • A self-sustaining region may choose to request that the Interplay Scheduler schedule one or two games to ensure a full schedule for their teams.


Team Formation

Divisional age breakdown is the standard AYSO format.


Roster Confirmation

Each team will have in its coach’s possession, the players’ registration forms for each player.

Each coach will furnish a lineup card to the referee prior to the start of the game.



Game Schedules and Scheduling

The Area Interplay Scheduler will set a deadline each season, which will be communicated to the regional commissioners.  Interested regions must provide the Area Interplay Scheduler with all necessary information, including number of teams in each division, coach contact information, and any limitations, if applicable (i.e., “no Thursday night games”.)  The Area Interplay Scheduler will also require additional information such as field availability and regional board contact information.   Regions should, when possible, assign specific days, time blocks, and fields for each division for interplay games, to facilitate easy scheduling.

Regions who do not meet the deadline may have to seek out their own games. In the event that regions/coaches must seek out their own games, these guidelines shall apply as though they were scheduled by the Interplay Scheduler.  

The Interplay Scheduler will schedule only those teams that have a coach who is properly trained/certified to coach the division to which they are assigned.

If the Interplay scheduler does attempt to accommodate a “late” team, they will be scheduled subject to:

  • Time remaining before the first games are played
  • Impact on the existing schedule; any adjustments to the schedule will be made to cause the least disruption to the teams already scheduled.

Between eight and sixteen games will be scheduled, depending upon the age group involved.  The season (spring or fall), weather and field conditions will also dictate the game schedule. The number of games requested by each region will also be a factor in scheduling.


Game Cancellation

Teams should avoid canceling or rescheduling games whenever possible.

If a team must cancel a game, they should notify the opposing coach or other regional representative for that team.  Follow-through is required by the canceling team to ensure that the opposing team is aware of the cancellation.

Teams that fail to give at least 5 days’ notice of cancellation may be subject to the Interplay cancellation fee.  

Games cancelled due to weather may be rescheduled by the affected regions.


Cancellation Fee

Failure of a team to give 5 days’ notice of cancellation or a “no show” on game day is a violation of these guidelines.  Such violation will be addressed by the area’s regional commissioners at the next area meeting and, in the spirit of promoting a positive environment and experience for all concerned, the regional commissioners may deem that the violation is subject to a $100.00 cancellation fee.  The Area Director will immediately notify the team’s regional commissioner of such a decision if the commissioner is not present at the meeting. 


 Game / Team Format

During all Interplay games, all teams will utilize one of the following 3 methods to determine the number of players on the field (prior to, and in exception of, any Law-related removals).  Remember that the game is for the soccer player and every attempt must be made to play as many players as possible every quarter, up to the specified maximum number allowed on the field.  The exchanging of players to facilitate this is highly encouraged.

If each team has enough players to field a complete team and both teams are able to play all players at least half of the game, then the game should be played, as usual, with the maximum number of players on the field.  The maximum number of players per team is 7 for U10, 9 for U12, and 11 for U14 and above.

 If a team has fewer than the maximum, but at least the minimum number of players, and the other team has no more than double that amount, then the team with fewer players will play them all and the other team will match them player for player.  If the teams are willing, then players can be exchanged between the teams so that more can play, up to the maximum allowed.  The minimum number of players per team is 4 for U10, 6 for U12, and 7 for U14 and above.

 If one team has fewer than the minimum number of players, or fewer than half the players on the other team, but if split up evenly there would be enough players to meet the minimum number that is allowed to play the game, then one of the following must happen:

  1. The team with the greater number of players loans enough players to the other team to allow it to meet the minimum player requirement.  If either team is unwilling to do this, then…
  1. New teams shall be formed from the players of both original teams, as follows:
    1. For each original team, two captains are chosen.  The captains then take turns selecting their remaining teammates, until each original team is now split into two groups of players.
    2. One new team is formed by combining the first group from one of the original teams with the second group from the other original team.  The remaining two groups are then combined to form the other new team.
    3. Each coach then coaches one of the newly-formed teams.  If there are assistant coaches, they should split up and work with the head coach from the other original team.

Regions are encouraged to form full roster teams appropriate for age division. For example: A U10 roster may consist of 10 players in order to field the 7v7 format.

Regardless of the format played, the girls and boys teams play under a gentlemen’s agreement of sportsmanship and fair play.

If a team loses a player to injury during a game, and has no substitutes, then the other team will also remove a player so that the two teams continue to match player for player. We highly encourage the lending of players from one team to another to provide our children with more playing time.




U15, U16 and U19 Playing Season and Small Sided Games

U-14, U16 and U19 boys’ normal playing season is spring. 

U-14 U16 and U19 girls’ normal playing season is fall.  

Based on the number and size of teams interested in Interplay each season, the Interplay Scheduler may coordinate small sided or full sided games.


Forfeit Situation

Since Area Interplay does not keep or post standings, there are no forfeit situations.

The game referee may elect to wait a reasonable amount of time (i.e., 15 minutes) to see if any other team members arrive for a team that is short of players.  After this time, the game should be played pursuant to the guidelines in the “Game/Team Format” section above.


Issue Resolution

There will be fewer Interplay game issues if parents, players, coaches, and referees abide by the AYSO philosophies.  However, if issues do arise, they should be addressed as follows:

  • If a parent, coach, or referee wishes to address an Interplay related game issue, he/she must submit, in writing, documentation (via standard or electronic mail) to his or her own Regional Commissioner (RC) with 72 hours of the incident.
  • The RC will investigate and communicate the issue, including any relevant information, findings, and action plans to the other team’s RC within 3 days of receipt of the documented issue.  The 2nd RC should advise the 1st RC of his/her action(s) to be taken, if required.  Copies of all correspondence must be forwarded to the Area Director (AD).
  • In the event that resolution is not reached between the RCs, either RC may request, in writing, that Area Director address the issue.  Upon receipt of such a request, the AD will make a decision regarding the issue within two days and communicate such decision to the RCs of both regions.  The AD’s decision is final, in accordance with AYSO National Rules and Regulations.


Ejections & Cautions

Red Card and Yellow Card procedures are enforced by the Area.

See the Officiating section of these guidelines.

There is no procedure for an appeal. The decision of the AD is final.




All rules for coaches will be according to the FIFA Laws of the Game, AYSO    National Rules and Regulations, and these area guidelines.

If a coach removes his/her team from the playing field during a game: the same day, the coach performs this action the coach must:

  1. Notify their RC or Regional Coach Administrator (RCA) of their action.
  2. The AD or Area Coach Administrator (ACA) or Area Referee Administrator (ARA) must also be notified.
  3. A written report must be completed by both coaches and the game referee within 24 hours and submitted to both RC’s as well as the AD



All rules for officiating will be from the FIFA Laws of the Game, AYSO National Rules and Regulations, and these area guidelines.

All referees and assistant referees shall be trained and certified at the level of the team(s) they are officiating. Referees are further required to be trained and certified in Safe Haven and Concussion Awareness.

The following disciplinary actions will be taken when a player or substitute is sent off (given a red card) immediately before, during, or immediately following an interplay game:

First Time....... Suspended one (1) game

Second Time... Suspended two (2) games

Third Time...... Suspended indefinitely until reinstated by the Area Director (AD)

If the player is sent off during the player’s final game of the season, the suspension is carried over to that player’s first game during his/her next season.

Suspended players must server their suspensions by being present at their team’s games, but not in uniform.

The following disciplinary actions will be taken when a coach is given a formal warning immediately before, during, or immediately following an interplay game:

Within the next two (2) weeks the coach will be assessed by the Area Coach Administrator (ACA) or any other person designated by the ACA or the AD.

The following disciplinary actions will be taken when a coach is ejected immediately before, during, or immediately following an interplay game:



First Time....... Suspended one (1) game

 Following the one game suspension, the coach will be assessed by the ACA or any other person designated by the ACA or the AD.

Second Time... Suspended indefinitely until reinstated by the AD

If the ejection occurs during the coach’s final game of the season, the suspension is carried over to that coach’s first game during his/her next season.

For the above disciplinary situations:

  1. The referee and/or assistant referees must report the incident to their Regional Referee Administrator (RRA) or Regional Commissioner (RC) within 24 hours
  2. The RRA or RC then reports the situation to the Regional Coach Administrator (RCA) or RC for the affected player or coach, and also notifies the Area Director (AD).
  3. The AD, or someone designated by the AD, is charged with keeping track of suspensions and determines how many games are to be missed for the new incident.  This is reported to the RC or RCA for the affected player or coach.
  4. For the game(s) during which the suspension is served, the hosting region must be informed.  The AD, or someone designated by the AD, informs the RC or RRA for the hosting region about the suspension and the player or coach that is involved.  The hosting RC or RRA, in turn, makes sure the referee(s) for that game are aware of the suspension.
  5. When the AD reinstates an indefinitely-suspended player or coach, then the AD, or someone designated by the AD, reports it to the RC or RCA for the affected player or coach and issues an authorization letter for the affected player or coach.

In the event of an appeal, the process documented in the AYSO National Rules and Regulations shall be followed.


Monitored Substitution Policy for U15, U16, and U19 Games

For U15, U16 and U19 games, the traditional AYSO quarter substitution policy is not followed.  Instead, a U15, U16 or U19 coach may make substitutions, when approved by the referee, at any of the following stoppage times: U-15 is affected September 24,2022.

....................... At the half (referee approval not required)

....................... At the taking of a goal kick by either team
....................... At the taking of a throw-in by his/her own team, or at the taking of a throw-in by the other    team if they also choose to make a substitution
....................... After a goal is scored by either team
....................... During a stoppage in play due to an injury on either team

It is not in the spirit of the game for coaches to use these substitution times as an opportunity to waste time, especially near the end of the game.

Coaches must ensure that each player plays at least half of the game.


Heading the ball in inter-play

For all players in U-12 and younger age divisions, there shall be no deliberate heading of the ball in games or in practice.  If this happens during a game, the restart shall be an Indirect Free Kick (IFK)for the opposing team at the spot where the player deliberately headed the ball, subject to the IFK restrictions inside the Goal Area.
o There shall be NO teaching/coaching of heading during practice, nor shall deliberate heading be allowed during practice play.
o These restrictions apply for any age division in which 10-year-old or younger players are participating. For smaller regions with combined age groups this could possibly apply above the U-12 age division.

  • For all players above the U-12 age division, there are no restrictions on heading the ball during games. However, heading in practice is limited to a maximum of thirty (30) minutes per week with no more than 15 headers per player per week.
  • The AYSO National Office is working diligently to produce updated training materials for coaches to teach proper heading techniques for the over U-12 age divisions. We will pass those along as soon as they are available.

These new restrictions are being put in play to enhance player safety. Offences are to be treated as playing in a dangerous manner. It is not a foul. Players shall not be carded for heading the ball. If a player in a U-12 or under age group continues to deliberately head the ball after having been penalized, we encourage the coaches and referees to work together to control player behavior.

Similarly, our best advice at this time, is to treat “deliberate heading” as you would “deliberate handling”. If a player is accidentally struck in the head by the ball, no violation has occurred. If a player chooses not to move out of the way of a ball played near their head and contact is made, that would be considered deliberate. If no deliberate contact is made between a player and the ball (i.e., player tries to head the ball but misses), no violation has occurred and the game need not be stopped. However, a friendly reminder to that player that heading is not allowed would be warranted.


During a Pandemic declared by the State, local government, MHSAA or AYSO, the rules in Area are in effect for interplay games.

Masks, Social Distancing, and testing for players in U-15 are a foundation to help keep our players and volunteers safe.


Players, Coaches, and Referees will be required to wear masks when on or near the soccer fields/complex.

Parents and non-players must use masks or not be within 6 feet of the practice area, or other people.

Coaches need to plan practices and drills with social distancing in mind. All equipment will be cleaned before practice

Coaches need to advise that if anyone is not feeling well, the player or family member should remain home and if a player or family member has tested positive for a Covid virus, the player is not to participate or attend practice for a period required by MHSAA.


Game Day

Upon arrival, all players coaches and referees and others will wear a mask. Others will wear a mask or keep a 6-foot social distance from the time they leave their vehicle until they return to the vehicle, to people outside their family members.

Equipment will be cleaned before the game

Player’s beverages are not to be shared and need to be clearly marked with the player’s name.

There are to be no team shared snacks at the end of game.

Spectators are to remain 6 feet or more from the playing field.

During Play

During the game Players Coaches, and will wear a mask. Spectators who are not keeping a 6-foot distance from will wear a mask.  At the end of play, players coaches and referee may not shake hands. Each team should discover a way to end the game with a show of Good Sportsmanship.



Regions are encouraged to provide Porta-potties and keep concessions closed. Signs need to be placed to inform or remind everyone that social distancing, and /or wearing a mask is required to help keep our players and volunteers safe.

In the event that rules for practice or games are not followed, practice and games can be suspended, and/or players and coaches may be removed from the field by a referee, the Regional Commissioner, or one of the Commissioners designated volunteers, Spectators may be sent off the fields or complex by the Regional Commissioner or one of the commissioners designated volunteers.

These Pandemic rules may be changed as conditions warrant by a vote of the Regional Commissioners by means other than in person meeting.

U-15 Players must be tested once a week before all games.  Players who are not tested may not play any games for that week of games.

On September 14, 2022 R/Cs voted to allow that these Area Interplay Rules may be changed during a Zoom or other Zoom-like meeting. All R/Cs must be given a lease a 5-day notice of a Zoom meeting that calls for a vote that would change these Interplay Rules.

Approved by Regional Commissioner’s and Area Administrator for Area 8-G interplay.

David Witter

AD AYSO Area 8-G


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