The YWCO adult soccer league is the premier soccer experience in Athens, Georgia, and boasts four divisions for players of all ages, genders, and skill levels. Starting with 11 teams in 1994, the past twenty years have seen the league grow to upwards of 40 teams with 20 weekly games and over 400 participants.



All games will be governed by the FIFA Laws of the Game with the following amendments:

 Number of Players: Each team will have seven players on the field and a maximum of eight substitutes eligible to “sub in and out”.

Playing time: Two twenty-five minute halves will be played with a 5 minute half time.If regulation time ends and the score is tied, the game will end in a draw for all regular season games. 

Overtime: For tournament games, two 8 minute overtime halves will be played in the golden goal format. If the game remains tied at the end of golden goal overtime, the game will be decided on penalty kicks. Any player on the roster will be eligible to take penalty kicks. Each team will be given 5 Pks. If the score is tied at the end of 5 Pks, sudden death penalty kicks will come into play.

Substitutions: Substitutions may be made on team possession, kickoffs, and yellow cards. Teams may also sub if the team in possession does so. There are no substitutions on corner kicks or free kicks. Players must alert the referee when substituting. Failure to do so may result in a yellow card for the offending player(s). There are no restrictions on the number of substitutions that can take place at any one time, or to the number of times any player my sub in and out in a game.

Goal Kicks: The goalkeeper may either dribble the ball in from the line (but cannot then pick up the ball with his/her hands) or may take unlimited steps (within the area) from the line and throw the ball in. The keeper has 6 seconds to put the ball into play.

Throw ins: The team with possession has 10 seconds to put the ball into play.

Fouls: In accordance with FIFA laws, fouls will result in a direct or indirect free kick. If a foul is committed in the penalty area it will result in a penalty kick unless it would normally result in an indirect free kick (obstruction, keeper handling a backpass, keeper taking too long to distribute the ball).

Two line infringements result in an indirect free kick. (see below).

A corner kick is not considered to be a free kick and in accordance with FIFA regulations, it is permissible to score direct from a corner kick.

Distance at free kicks. At any free kick, corner or kick-off, no opposition player may stand closer than six yards to the ball.

Two Line Rule: The ball may not pass forward over two consecutive lines in the air, except on throw-ins. An indirect free kick will be awarded to the opposing team at the point from which the ball crossed the second line.

Slide tackling: Clean slide tackling (as defined by FIFA) is permitted in the competitive division only. Players caught slide tackling in the over 35s or Co-ed Divisions will be called for a foul and the referee may give a yellow card if they consider it dangerous play. Goalkeepers in any division may also slide but referees will give a card if they consider it dangerous play. Sliding by keepers or outfield players to keep possession of the ball when no opposing player is near, is not considered a slide tackle. A slide tackle on its own will result in an indirect free kick as it is simply a breach of YWCO rules. If however the slide tackle results in a foul, a direct free kick would then be awarded.

Swearing: The YWCO seeks to provide a family friendly environment and encourages family members and children to attend games to provide support. With this in mind, the YWCO has instigated a no swearing rule so that parents and children are not offended or embarrassed by comments made by players on the field. The referee will warn the captains of both teams at the coin toss that he will issue a yellow card for any swearing that is more than a player cursing to himself at a low level when he makes a mistake. No other warnings will be given. Any player yelling a swear word to himself or another player will be yellow carded. Foul and abusive language towards referees, as directed by FIFA, carries the punishment of a red card.

Mercy Rule: If a team is winning by 10 goals or more and the game is in the second half. The referee can ask the captains of both teams if they wish to cut short the game (for example, by 5 or 10 minutes). If both captains are in agreement, the referee will blow the full time whistle.

Bad Weather during Games: The general rule at the YWCO is that games will continue if there is rain unless it is unsafe or unreasonable to do so. If lightning is spotted, all games will be suspended and will not resume until at least 20 minutes after the last lightning has been spotted.

If a game is suspended due to weather and cannot continue that day, the following rules apply.

  • If the game was suspended during the first half, it will be replayed in its entirety at the next convenient date.
  • If the game was suspended during the second half, the score at the time of suspension will stand and the game will not be replayed.
  • If the game is a playoff game, it will be replayed in its entirety, regardless of which half it was in at the time of the stoppage or the score at the time of suspnsion.

Red Cards: All players receiving a red card must leave the YWCO fields immediately unless permission is given by the soccer coordinator at the fields (for example when a player has received a red card but is due to play another game for a different team shortly thereafter).

Referees are instructed to call a game (blow the final whistle early) if any team receives 3 red cards in the same game. As YWCO league rules require a team has a minimum of five (5) players on the field at any one time, a team receiving 3 red cards will only have 4 players on the field. In this situation, the team receiving the 3 red cards will be deemed to have lost the game by forfeit (not being able to field enough players) and the result will be recorded as a 2-0 victory to the other team. If the other team was winning by a score with a greater goal difference than 2-0 when the game was called, the result will stand with the score as it was when the game was called.

In the co-ed division, if a player receives a red card and is ejected from the game, that team must continue to play without the type of player that has been ejected. For example, if a male player is red carded, that team cannot substitute a female for another male and leave only one female on the field. However, if in a co-ed game a female player is red carded, that team is allowed to continue playing with only one female on the field.

Yellow Cards: Players receiving a yellow card must be substituted. This is to allow a player to “cool off” In general, players receiving a yellow card can re-enter the game at the next opportunity to substitute. If a team has no substitutes, a player receiving a yellow card must still leave the game and the team must continue the match a player down until the next opportunity to substitute. Any player receiving three or more yellow cards in the same season may be spoken to by the soccer director to determine whether the player’s behavior is becoming problematic to the extent that he/she is inappropriate for the YWCO league. At the soccer director’s discretion, any player receiving three or more yellow cards in a single season may be suspended for one or more games.

Forfeits: A game will not start if a team has 4 or less players but a game can start if a team has 5 players. At the discretion of the referee and /or the league coordinator, a team will be given 10 minutes for a grace period if less than 6 players are available at kick-off. After the 10 minute grace period, the team must either begin the game with 5 players, or forfeit the game if less than 5 players are available. To forfeit a game robs other teams who have paid their registration fee the opportunity to play. Any team who forfeits 2 games will not be eligible to play in the tournament. Any team who forfeits 3 games will be removed from the schedule.

Sportsmanship and Fair Play: In the spirit of fair play and in recognizing that single referees without assistants are simply not able to see everything that happens, the YWCO asks that players make fair calls and show sportsmanship in any situation where a player is in the best position to alert a referee to a situation. Examples of this may include, when a ball has crossed the goal line before being cleared by a defender, or when an unseen handball results in a goal.

Sportsmanlike Conduct: The YWCO seeks to promote a fun and safe environment in which adults of all skill and fitness levels may play soccer. The YWCO asks that all participants be mindful of and pursue a good sportsmanlike conduct on the field. To this end the following rules apply:

Fighting of any kind will not be tolerated. Fighting will be defined as throwing a punch, whether or not contact is made, throwing a punch is considered fighting. Players who instigate or exacerbate a fight may face permanent dismissal from the league, dependent upon the severity of their actions. Such dismissal would be based on the discretion of the coordinator and if necessary in consultation with the soccer committee. All players receiving a red card for fighting will be subject to disciplinary action. Pushing is not considered fighting, though it may be considered violent conduct by the match referee and may result in a red card.

Any player using threatening or aggressive language or behavior towards a refereewill be suspended for a minimum of three games. Depending on the severity of the offence, a player may be suspended for the remainder of the season, for a calendar year or even banned from playing in the league for life. Threatening or aggressive language or behavior includes but is not limited to: verbal threats of violence, throwing a soccer ball or any other object at a referee, aggressively pushing a referee, actual physical violence against a referee.

Non-players entering the field of play is unacceptable in the league. If any substitute or a spectator enters the field of play (for example, to protest a decision or to become “involved” in a disagreement) the league director will hold the team captain fully responsible. That team will be subject to disciplinary action, including the possibility of immediate removal from the league with no refund of payment.

The exception to this rule is when a team captain enters the field of play from the sideline with the clear intention of calming down a situation or escorting a player away from a confrontation, or some similar activity. In these instances, the team captain is encouraged to enter the field of play in order to assist the referee maintain order.

The YWCO soccer league considers the act of spitting at another player to be unacceptable. Any player that deliberately spits at another player will be immediately suspended from the league for 12 games.

Any player receiving a red card will receive a minimum one game suspension, without exception.

Punching another player will result in a minimum two game suspension.

Any red card suspension may be longer than one game. This is at the discretion of the league director. The league director may take into account the referee’s report, eyewitness accounts and the opinions of the soccer committee before deciding on disciplinary action.

A player that receives two red cards in the same season may be suspended from the remainder of the season or longer, depending on the offenses.


The league director may call upon the soccer committee to assist in the decision making process for disciplinary action. Only the league director may call upon the soccer committee. Teams and individuals have no automatic right to ask the soccer committee to hear their case.