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A.      Only players that played in the fall season are eligible for the AYSO Area 5C tournament.

B.      Teams must be the fall regular season rostered team. No teams may be combined for this tournament. Players must have played on the team for at least 50% of the season.

C.      Players must be eligible at the age group they are playing. Players should not play down a division in the tournament without Area Director/Tournament Director approval. Players playing up must fit within the defined age parameters for each program set by AYSO National (playing up one year only).

D.      Some Divisions may have limited spaces available. In those divisions invitations will be sent to teams to register and they will have a limited time to confirm their spot before it is offered to the next available team.

E.       Only AYSO teams will be allowed in the tournament. No affiliated programs that join us for season play may play unless they are a pilot region.


A.      These rules are for the AYSO Area 5C Annual Tournament. All listed rules are established by the Tournament Director or the Tournament Coordinator with approval from Area 5C Board prior to the start of the Tournament.

B.      Tournament dates have been established by the Area Director in conjunction with the Regional Commissioners.  

C.      Tournament fees will be published by Area Director to the RCs. No team shall be allowed to enter the tournament unless the registration fee has been paid, if required by the Area Director. In the event of cancellation, refund of fee will be made after tournament expenses are paid. Tournament expenses shall include souvenirs, equipment rental fees, deposits made on equipment or services that cannot be canceled. Souvenir orders that cannot be canceled will be distributed to the regions based upon the number of teams scheduled to attend.

D.      Team Registration Procedures

a.       All teams will be registered in the Sports Connect Tournament Module by their RC.

                                                               i.      In order to register teams must be submitted to the Association platform from sports connect and activated in association platform to ensure all teams have completed the required checks which include:

1.       All participants meet eligibility guidelines for the age group they are playing in based on age chart below. Birth certificate verification in Association platform should have occurred for all players by Registrar or RC (birth certificate not required to be uploaded but verification required)

a.       Players may play on only 1 team in the tournament.

2.       All coaches and team staff meet eligibility guidelines

a.       Correct Background check status

b.       Proper Coaching license level for age group

                                                                                                                                       i.      10U- 10U Coach

                                                                                                                                     ii.      12U-12U Coach

                                                                                                                                   iii.      15U-Intermediate Coach and Preferable to have completed Advanced online                                                                                                                                                  portion

                                                                                                                                   iv.      16U/19U- Advanced Coach

c.       Proper Completion of Safe Haven Requirements

                                                                                                                                       i.      Safe Haven

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Concussion Awareness

                                                                                                                                   iii.      Sudden Cardiac Awareness

                                                                                                                                   iv.      Safe Sport

d.       Any coaches that do not meet the coaching requirements must be granted a waiver from the Area Director and Tournament Director. No waivers based on background check status or Safe Haven requirements as those are also required via Alabama State Law.

                                                                                                                                       i.      Waivers will be granted if we have not had opportunities for the in person portions of a course but all online portions must be completed.

e.       At minimum every team must have a head coach. It is recommended that head coaches only coach one team in tournament as there is no guarantee schedule conflicts can be avoided.

3.       Team sizes fall within Team Size Guidelines published by AYSO National

4.       Only Core regular season fall teams are eligible to play

b.       Team Check-in will occur the night before the tournament begins. Check in will verify

                                                             ii.      Required Documents

1.       Association Platform(e4/Affinity)- Official Photo Roster signed by Regional Commissioner

E.       Games will be conducted in accordance with the current IFAB Laws of the Game with AYSO modifications.  Modifications made via Area guidelines will also be followed.

F.       In the event of unforeseen circumstances which necessitate rescheduling, curtailment, or cancellation of games, the Area Director, Tournament Director or Designee shall have the sole authority to make the changes in the best interest of the tournament.

G.      Any team which enters the tournament agrees to be bound by these rules and by the decisions of the Area Director, Tournament Director or Designee.

H.      All players must play 75% (3 quarters for 10U-12U and a proportionate number of minutes for 15U-19U) before any player plays 100% (4 quarters) in regulation play. If a team has a large roster so that all players cannot play 75%, no one should play 100% of the game. In this case, all players must play at least 50% of the game. Violation of these player rules will result in a 6-point deduction in the pool-play rounds. Violation of these rules during a semi-final or final game may result in a forfeit. These penalties will be invoked at the discretion of the Tournament Director. Under no circumstances will a team be exempted from the AYSO Philosophy Everyone Plays.



Age Guide for Fall 2023/Spring 2024 Membership Year










·         This age guide is for games and competitions that begin on or after Aug. 1, 2023.

·         It is permissible for a player to “play up.” A player may have a birth year after the “latest” cutoff year shown above, but under NO circumstances may a player have a birth year prior to the earliest year for that division.

o   A Player may only play up one year


A.      Coaches or others shall not enter the field of play unless requested by the referee. Only eligible coaches (maximum of two per team) and eligible players will be allowed in the technical (bench) area. For 15U-19U teams using the monitored substitution form, one additional person will be allowed in the technical area to serve as time sheet monitor. The time sheet monitor shall not serve as an additional (third) coach.

B.      All games shall start on time. If a team is not on the field of play and ready to start the game at the scheduled time, the game may be deemed a forfeit. Teams shall check-in as described below in Team Park/Field Check-in and Game Records below.

C.      Minimum Players to start game

a.       10U- 5

b.       12U-6

c.       15U/19U- 7

d.       A game shall not start unless both teams can field the minimum number of players for their division. A game shall be terminated if a team cannot continue to field the minimum number of players for their division. If a game cannot be started due to one team being unable to start, then the game shall be declared a forfeit. If neither team has sufficient players, the game shall be ruled a 0-1 loss for both teams.

D.      Pool play Points

a.       WIN 6 points

b.       TIE 3 points

c.       LOSS 0 points

d.       FORFEIT 9 points (scored as a 3-0 win)

e.       GOALS Scored

                                                               i.      1 Point per goal scored (maximum 3 per game win, loss or tie)

f.        PLAYER SEND-OFF (other than 2nd caution) -2 Points

g.       SEND-OFF of coach or assistant coach -3 Points

E.       Tiebreakers

a.       Head-to-head competition.

b.       Most number of wins

c.       Goals allowed – total (up to a maximum of three per game; fewest number advances)

d.       Goal differential – Up to three per game, most advances.

e.      Penalty Shoot-out per the appropriate section in these rules.

                                                               i.      The Tournament Director shall direct when teams shall conduct a penalty shootout. Normally, this will be done at the conclusion of pool play for those teams at a time and field chosen by the Tournament Director.

g.       If two teams are tied in point standing going into their final round robin game and the game ends in a tie, and there are no point deductions for either team, then the Tournament Director may direct a penalty shootout at the end of the game.

F.       All pool play games may be reduced in length, as follows:


Standard Length

Pool Play Length



80 (40 min halves)



70 (35 minute halves)



50 (25 minute halves)



40 (20 minute halves)


G.      Final Competition

a.       Semi-final/final/consolation brackets: All semi-final and final games will play standard game lengths for their respective divisions. In the event of a tie at the end of regulation play, the following procedures will be followed:

                                                               i.      Overtime. In semi-final games and final games (championship and 3rd place), there will be a 5-minute break, followed by two 5 minute overtime periods. A coin toss will be conducted and the winner will decide if they desire the kickoff or which goal they will attack. Teams will change sides at the end of each period. Substitution during overtime periods is discussed in paragraph on substitution elsewhere in these rules.

                                                             ii.      If the score remains tied at the end of the two overtime periods, the game will be decided by a penalty shoot-out. The procedure for this is discussed below.

b.       Pool Play only divisions

                                                               i.      In the event of a tie in pool points, the Tournament Director may direct teams to a penalty shoot-out to decide head-to-head competition tiebreakers. The procedure for this is discussed elsewhere in these rules.


A Penalty Shoot-out shall be conducted as described in Law 10 of the

IFAB Laws of the Game 2023/24. The following points should be noted:

1.       With the exception of a substitute for a goalkeeper who is unable to continue, only players on the field at the end of regulation play or overtime periods, if applicable, are eligible to take kicks. These restrictions do NOT apply when a penalty shoot-out is used as a tie-breaker at the end of the Group stage.

2.       Where penalties are required due to teams being tied in point standings at the end of Group play, the penalty shoot-out shall be considered a new game even if the penalty shoot-out immediately follows a regulation game. Rules regarding the minimum number of players to start a game may apply.

3.       If one team is short, then the other team is required to reduce to equate.

4.       Spectators may be requested to move if, in the opinion of the Game Officials, the spectator location distracts the players.


1.       Normal Game Play. AYSO Area 5C Guidelines substitution rules apply to all division’s games during normal game play. 10U-12U will use quarter substitutions and 15U-19U will use monitored substitutions. Both forms of substitution will be conducted in accordance with the Everyone Plays philosophy and minimum play time rules. Monitored substitution shall be in accordance with the currently approved Area 5C Guidelines.

2.       Overtime

a.       15U and 19U will use normal substitutions (i.e., monitored substitutions in accordance with Area 5C Guidelines).

b.       10U-12U will only be permitted to substitute between OT periods.

c.       Substitution for an injury is permissible; however, the opposing team will be allowed to substitute an equal number of players.

3.       Substitution for injury

a.       If a player is injured, a coach may provide a substitute for the player, in which case the player may not return to the game until the next substitution opportunity. In divisions 10U – 12U, this means the end of the half or during the substitution break (“quarter”) and the injured player will be credited as having played that quarter regardless of the time of injury.

b.       The coach may elect to play short, thereby allowing the injured player to return early. The player shall be allowed to return to play when signaled to do so by the referee, which may be while the ball is in play. 

Check In for Each Game

The following procedures shall be followed for the competition. Any changes or additions shall be approved by the Tournament Director and shall be provided at the Tournament Check-in Meeting or at the Competition:

A.      Coaches or their team representative must check-in at the tournament headquarters or at another location designated by the Tournament Director 30 minutes to 1 hour prior to each game the team plays. The tournament staff will provide the game card and/or match report for the game. The coach must give the game card and/or match report to a member of the referee team at the field.

a.       Players who have been disqualified due to a red card in previous game will not appear on the game cards.

B.      Teams must arrive at the field at least 20 minutes prior to the start of the match. Referees for the match will check the team against the game card/match report. Players not on the game card will not be allowed to play. Additions to the Roster on the Game card or match report must be approved by the Tournament Director and noted with the Tournament Director’s initials.

C.      At the end of the game, the referees will ensure that the game card is completed with the final scores and indication of cautions, send-offs, and/or other game incidents. Each member of the referee team will sign (print name and initial) the game card/match report. Each coach shall initial both game cards/match reports. The referee, or his/her designee, is responsible for returning the completed game cards and/or match reports to tournament headquarters following the game.

D.      The Scorekeeper at tournament headquarters will check the game card for completeness:

a.       Referee signature and printed name.

b.       Assistant Referees signature and printed name.

c.       Coaches' signature.

d.       Final Score clearly marked.

e.       Any Send Offs (Red Cards), Team Official Cautions (Yellow Cards), or Spectator ejections noted.

f.        Any injuries sustained to game participants during the game.


A.      Conduct is expected to be in accordance with the AYSO philosophy of Good Sportsmanship.

B.      Any participant who is sent-off from a game shall not be allowed to participate in the next game. Any participant, who is sent-off from their final game at this tournament will not be allowed to play in their first game at the next tournament, if that tournament occurs in the same Membership Year. Cautions do not carry over from one game to the next.

C.      The Tournament Director shall have the power to suspend for one or more games or remove from the tournament any participant or their team who seriously violates these principles at any time during the tournament regardless of whether the individual(s) were cautioned or sent-off from a game. This power shall also include incidents such as fights, serious breaches of good sportsmanship, criminal actions or other serious violations of AYSO Philosophies, Regulations or By-Laws. This power extends during the entire tournament period and includes any off the field altercations. Altercations by non-participants, e.g., parents or other team supporters will result in their being asked to leave the tournament areas. If they refuse, the Tournament Director may suspend or cancel any games for that team until the non-participants have left the tournament area. If necessary, law enforcement will be called.

D.      In the event a head coach is sent-off from a game, the team’s assistant coach, if listed on the roster, may take over the team. If both the team coach and assistant coach are sent-off from a game, or if the team doesn’t have an assistant coach, the game shall be terminated. The Tournament Director shall decide the outcome of the game and if further action is required. Minimally, the team shall not be eligible to play its next game.

E.       Any adult that is sent-off or ejected from a game must leave the vicinity of the field and may not return to the field while referees or other coaches are still present. The sent-off/ejected adult may watch from the parking lot. Any child sent-off or ejected must remain with their parent or guardian. A sent-off player may remain in the technical area if this is not possible.


A.      No protest of a referee game decision will be allowed. Referee judgement calls are FINAL and are not subject to dispute.

B.      Protests shall be considered if

a.       An ineligible player has played

b.       Substitution guidelines were not followed

C.      Protests must be submitted to the tournament director in writing within 1 hour of the completion of the protested game.  The tournament committee will weigh in on the protest and render a decision. All protest decisions are final.

D.      If rules violations are determined or ineligible player is determined, then the game will be scored as a forfeit loss for the offending team.

Player Safety

A.      Normal AYSO rules on safety of player equipment apply. The safety of player equipment, to include the presence of metal studs or toe cleats (which can be found on AYSO-legal soccer cleats) is at the discretion of the Center Referee.

B.      AYSO standards on casts and splints will be followed. Braces that allow for mobility will be allowed.

C.      No jewelry will be allowed.

D.      Hair adornments will follow AYSO guidelines.

E.       In the event of cold weather, players will be allowed to wear clothing under their uniforms. Jerseys, shorts and socks must be on the outside of all clothing worn. Coaches are advised to ensure players are not overdressed and have clothing to wear when off the field and after games.

F.       Knit caps and other caps without bills may be worn. Goalkeepers may wear soft-brimmed caps in accordance with the Laws of the Game.

G.      Hooded sweatshirts must be worn with the hood tucked inside the player’s jersey. While playing, hoods are not to be worn over head and any neck strings must be untied and tucked inside of the sweatshirt.

H.      The Tournament Director or Designee is the final authority on the suitability of player’s equipment and uniforms subject to the provisions of Law 4.

I.         Players shall be allowed to leave the field at quarter breaks to obtain fluids.


A.      By registering for the AYSO Area 5C tournament, teams are agreeing to their availability during the tournament.

a.       Tournament Games may be played on Friday evening from 5:30pm-10pm

b.       Saturday 8am-10pm

c.       Sunday 8am-5pm

  1. Failure of a team to show up for a game will result in a forfeit. Forfeit of a game due to no show will result in a financial penalty of $50 per game for Area tournament games. For tournament play, this fee is paid to AYSO Area 5C.
    1. Forfeits negatively impact the team that was scheduled to play against the forfeiting team. Tournament registration is a financial commitment from the region that their teams will be there. Each team is entitled to play all games they are scheduled win/ lose/ or draw in the tournament and when a team forfeits they take this opportunity away from the team they were scheduled to play. All coaches must understand these impacts.
    2. Forfeits will be scored so that the team that was forfeited against gets full available points for the game.
    3. Forfeits due to not enough players that show up, will be scored as a forfeit but the financial penalty will not be opposed in this instance if at least part of the team shows up to play.








Tournament Guidelines for Officials


Official Requirements

A.      Each game requires 3 officials

a.       15U and 19U may use a 4th Official when possible

B.      Each team in the tournament must bring 2 qualified officials that will represent their team

a.       These officials should be qualified to referee at the level of the team they represent based on the opinion of their Regional Referee Administrator.

b.       Each official will be responsible for a minimum of two games during pool play and if their team moves to semifinals and finals must be willing to assist their as well.

C.      Training level

a.       It is preferred that the CR in 19U games be an Advanced Referee or above when possible

b.       It is preferred that the CR in 15U games be an Intermediate Referee or above when possible

c.       RRAs and ARA will help to ensure referees are not extended beyond their level


  1. Referees must be registered as a volunteer in the current membership year
  2. Referee Training Requirements
    1. Safe Haven
    2. CDC Concussion
    3. Sudden Cardiac Awareness
    4. Safe Sport
    5. Appropriate level of Referee Training for role performing

                                                               i.      8U Official

                                                             ii.      Assistant Referee

                                                           iii.      Regional Referee

                                                           iv.      Intermediate Referee

                                                             v.      Advanced Referee

                                                           vi.      National Referee

  1. Referees must sign up for games in Stack Officials
    1. Verification to be added to stack is current membership year volunteer and referee training verification
    2. Eligibility will be verified through the Admin Credentials Report and the Coaching License and Referee Grade details reports in the Association platform only.

Team Referees

A.      Each team entered in the tournament must provide 2 officials with the qualifications described above.

a.       Each official must be available for 2 games for each day the team plays in the tournament.

                                                               i.       Coach Referees (i.e. a coach with a team in the Tournament) will have the same requirements for participation as all other referees, if acting as one of the team’s officials. Given the scheduling difficulties this will present, teams are strongly encouraged to have two other referee volunteers available to officiate.

                                                             ii.      Youth referees are encouraged and will receive the same credit for officiating that an adult volunteer receive. Youth referees must be old enough to officiate the age divisions they work, per AYSO guidelines for youth officials.

b.       If a team or a region cannot meet the requirements, the region or team must apply for a waiver to the Tournament Director. Approval will be based on evidence of the efforts of the region to recruit and train referees and encourage certified referees to advance their training.

                                                               i.      Teams applying for a waiver must provide volunteers to assist in tournament management. If a waiver is approved, the number of volunteers a region must provide for tournament management is 1 for each shortfall in qualified officials provided to the tournament. For example, if a region is supposed to provide 6 officials but is only able to provide 4 officials, 2 volunteers must be provided for tournament management. These volunteers will be used as needed to help the Tournament Director. Each such volunteer must be available to work two 2-hour shifts for each day the team plays in the tournament.

                                                             ii.      Team Volunteers may be given the role of “Field Monitor”. Field Monitors will be assigned to a specific field to assist the Center Referees at that field and monitor spectator behavior, or perform other such duties as the Center Referees may require. Field Monitors will have the responsibility to identify spectators exhibiting poor/disruptive behavior, remind them of the rules of spectator conduct, and if necessary, eject them. Field Monitors may also contact Tournament Officials for assistance, if required. Field Monitors should never escalate a situation, should feel confident in the area of conflict resolution, and should have the firm resolve to enforce the code of conduct expected of all AYSO spectators.

                                                           iii.      Tournament Management volunteers provided due to a shortage in qualified officials are exclusive of other staff volunteers requirements for each region entering teams. If all regions are required to supply tournament volunteers, tournament volunteers submitted in lieu of referees are in addition to any other volunteer requirements.


A.      Referees whose children are playing in the Group stage should refrain from signing up for a semi-final, consolation, or final games until they are sure their children will advance.

a.       Referees should not CR games in a division they have a child playing in

b.       Referees should avoid being an AR on their own child’s game unless the game has holes and they confirm with the ARA that it is acceptable.

c.       Coach referees may not referee any games in their division bracket

B.      Referees who have no children involved in the Tournament games may sign up for any game without fear of the appearance of partiality and are strongly encouraged to sign up for a semi-final, consolation, or final games as early as possible.

C.      The Tournament (and/or Area) Referee Administrator reserves the right to change any referee assignment, if, in his or her opinion, it is in the best interest of the Tournament or integrity of the game to do so.

Officials' and Tournament Management Volunteers' Documentation

A.      Each official must be verified and establish an account for the season no later than the Sunday before the first day of the tournament. All management (non-referee) volunteers must be registered volunteers with AYSO verifiable via the association platform


A.      Yellow USSF-style jerseys will be the primary color uniform. Secondary USSF-style jersey colors will be used to avoid matching the jersey color of both team’s outfield players, and the Goalkeepers if possible. It is optimal for a referee crew to have the same jersey color, but if needed, the Center Referee may opt to change his or her jersey to avoid confusion on the field, even if the ARs do not have matching colors. Referees are encouraged to have several color jerseys available.

Tournament Check-In

A.      A referee meeting will be held before tournament games begin. Procedures and officiating guidelines for the tournament will be discussed

B.      Each official should be present at this meeting, but at a minimum each region must have a representative at this meeting.

C.      All officials must report to tournament headquarters prior to the first assigned game to verify his/her game schedule and check-in.

Tournament Contacts


Jason Lanier- AYSO Area 5C Area Director: [email protected]

Greg Duke- Area 5C Ref Administrator: [email protected]