Tournament Rules

Most Recent Version. Last Updated 3/1/2019

​Click to Review: 2019-2020 Changes in the Laws of the Game and IFAB Rules Summary 

Registration, Acceptance, Waitlist

Registration opens between January 1st and July 12th. Any team that completes application after registration has closed will be put on a waitlist. 

Teams will be notified by e-mail of acceptance no later than July 19th. Teams may be notified prior to July 15 depending on volume/quality of applicants and at the discretion of the tournament board. Only teams that have completed registration/application in all aspects (including submittal of tournament fees) will be considered for acceptance. There will be no refunds of the tournament fee once a team has been accepted into the tournament and registration has closed. After a team has been accepted and registration is closed, a refund will only be granted if the team that is withdrawing can find a comparable replacement team and that replacement team pays the tournament fee.

The Tournament Selection Committee reserves the right to place accepted teams in the Division of competition that they deem appropriate. During the application process please ensure you identify your preferred level of competition in addition to inputting your recent games/results. The seeding committee will take all information provided into account when creating the brackets. No refunds will be given to teams withdrawing from the Tournament once registration has closed.

Teams have been accepted according to the team's indication of their team's Fall 2019 playing age. Acceptance is for that playing age. If it is later discovered that the team has incorrectly registered, every effort will be made to assist the team in getting into the correct
division/bracket. However, no refunds will be granted if the team has been accepted and it is not possible to place the team in the correct age bracket.

Teams have been accepted according to the team's indication of their team's Gender. Acceptance is for the indicated Gender. If it is later discovered that the team has incorrectly registered, every effort will be made to assist the team in getting into the correct division/bracket. However, no refunds will be granted if the team has been accepted and it is not possible to place the team in the correct gender bracket.


U08 teams play with 5 players on the field. The maximum roster is 9 and the maximum number of players at a game is 9.  
U09 - U10 teams play with 7 players on the field. Maximum roster is 13 and the maximum number of players at a game is 13.  
U11 - U12 teams play with 9 players on the field. Maximum roster is 16 and the maximum number of players at a game is 14.  

U13 - U19 teams play with 11 players on the field. Maximum roster is 22 and the maximum number of players at a game is 18.

A player can play for only one team during a weekend.

Teams found in violation of player regulations will have impacted matches stand or be forfeited, whichever provides more points to the opposing team.

Guest players are permitted. No guest player documentation is required. Guest players must be age appropriate and meet all player requirements. 

All players must have a laminated photo identification pass issued by USYSF (CYSA-N), AYSO or US Club Soccer. Player passes can be from the

current or prior year. Other player passes may be acceptable; pre-authorize other player passes by contacting the Tournament Director prior to the tournament. Teams presenting other player passes, that have not been pre-authorized and if those passes are deemed unacceptable will not be offered a refund. Laminated photo player passes are used as independent verification of player birthdates. 

The tournament reserves the right to combine age groups in order to make the playing brackets competitive. The bracket will be designated by the age of the oldest team. When a younger team is placed in an older bracket, the younger team can use older guest players.

Length of Games

- U8 group games have 20-minute halves.
- All U9 - U12 group games have 25-minute halves.
- All U13 - U14 games have 30-minute halves.

- All U15 - U19 games have 35-minute halves.

Time will run continually in all games. At the referee’s discretion, however, time may be added to allow for time lost due to the removal of an injured player from the field. No period may end on a penalty kick - i.e. time must be extended to allow a PK to be taken.

Prior to the start of the game and upon notice to both coaches, the referee and/or Field Marshal shall have the authority to shorten the game by up to 10 minutes total; however, equal halves shall be played. This rule shall be used only if necessary due to undue delays, field conditions, weather, or darkness.

Ball Sizes
- U8 and U9 will use a size 3 ball.
- U10 - U12 will use a size 4 ball 
- U13+ will use a size 5 ball

Rest Period Between Games

Teams will be given a minimum scheduled rest period of 105 minutes between games. The rest period will commence when a team’s match ends and
will end when the team’s subsequent match begins.

Coach Conflicts

The tournament committee recognizes that Coaches may have two or more teams participating in the tournament. The tournament committee will strive to eliminate schedule conflicts for these coaches. Teams that share a coach must ensure that the coach is listed as the head coach for each team as part of the online application.

Scheduling involves numerous factors, including the requirement of sufficient rest time between matches, team travel distance, field availability and match times on the other tournament date. Occasionally, these factors will preclude accommodating a coaching conflict and not all coach conflicts can be resolved. 

We cannot accommodate coach conflict requests that are brought to our attention after the schedule has been posted.  

We often cannot eliminate all conflicts for coaches with three or more teams on one weekend.

We cannot accommodate conflicts that occur due to a coach that has two or more teams in Championship or Consolation matches on Sunday afternoon.


As per FIFA guidelines, unlimited substitutions are allowed in all ages. However, teams may substitute only with the referee’s permission. Substitutes must wait on the sideline (off of the field of play) until the field player has left the field of play and/or the referee has indicated the substitute may enter the field of play. Substitutions by either team are allowed at any stoppage of play with the permission of the referee. Referees will be instructed not to allow substitutions that are deemed “excessive” or of a “time wasting” nature.  Please be respectful of the integrity of the game and do not use the free substitution rules as a means to disrupt the match.

7v7 Games: Divisions U09 and U10

- Goal and field dimensions may be adjusted.

- U09 and U10 Matches will be refereed by a single referee with no club linesmen.

- Goal kicks will be taken from any spot within the penalty area.

- There are Penalty Kicks per FIFA laws/rules of the game.

- The offside law will be used in U09 and U10

- Deliberate heading is not allowed.

- The buildout line WILL be used.

  1. The build-out line located halfway between the halfway line and penalty area line parallel to the goal line.
  2. When goalkeeper gains control of the ball with goalkeeper’s hands:
    1. Opponents must move behind the build-out line. Referees shall instruct the opponents.
    2. The goalkeeper must release the ball by throwing, rolling, or passing the ball to a teammate. The teammate may be on either side of the build-out line.
    3. The goalkeeper may release the ball before opponents move behind the build-out line.
    4. The ball is in play when the ball leaves the goalkeeper’s hands.
  3. When a goal kick is to be taken:
    1. Opponents must move behind the build-out line. Referees shall instruct the opponents.
    2. Goal kick may be taken before opponents move behind the build-out line.
    3. The ball is in play when the ball is kicked and moves.
  4. Opponents behind the build-out line may cross the build-out line once the ball is in play.
  5. Attackers are only in an offside position between the build-out line and the opponent’s goal line.

-Goalkeeper Punts and Drop Kicks

  1. Goalkeeper punts, drop kicks, and half volleys are prohibited. An indirect free kick (IFK) will be awarded to the opposing team at a location where goalkeeper punted/drop-kicked the ball. Law 13 applies for the placement of the ball for the IFK.
  2. The goalkeeper is to throw, roll, or pass the ball to a teammate. The teammate may be on either side of the build-out line.
  3. The goalkeeper may not be challenged when releasing the ball.

9v9 Games: Divisions U11 and U12

- Unless specified otherwise all FIFA laws will apply in cooperation with SBTB Rules. 

- Deliberate heading is not allowed for U11.

- Heading is allowed for U12

- There is no buildout line

- Punting by the Goalkeeper is allowed


Any player, coach, assistant coach or registered team official who is sent off will automatically be suspended for their next game. The send-off report will be forwarded to the Tournament Director and Tournament Disciplinary Committee. The Tournament Disciplinary Committee will decide the length of a suspension, up to and including the duration of Tournament. Prior to a subsequent match, the main contact person listed for a Team should contact the Tournament Director or a representative of the Tournament Disciplinary Committee to ascertain the length of the suspension. The Tournament Disciplinary Committee will decide whether to report the event to your League of Registration for consideration of additional sanctions.

Scoring System

- Maximum number of points allowable per game: 10

- 6 Points for a win

- 3 Points for a tie

- 1 Point for a shutout

- 1 Points per goal up to maximum of 3 points per game regardless of a win, loss or tie

- 2 Points deducted if a player is sent off (shown a red card) or if a credentialed adult is dismissed

Forfeited games will be scored as 1 to 0 (8 points) in favor of the team that did not forfeit. In the case a team withdrawing at the last minute or not showing, all preliminary games for that team will be scored as a forfeit.

We highly encourage teams to not run up the score.  If your team finds itself leading 5 to 0, please consider playing short-sided and/or moving players around to keep the match competitive in the name of good sportsmanship.  We intend Soccer by the Bay to be a positive experience for all teams.

Number of Matches

- Teams will get a minimum of three games. Typically these will be two matches on a Saturday and one match Sunday morning. It is possible for other schedules, including a Friday evening match or two matches scheduled for Sunday.  

- As a function of the number of teams in a division, the top four teams can have a fourth match to establish the first through fourth place in the division.  

- In divisions that include Semi-Finals or in a 9-Team division a Sunday schedule will be dependent upon Saturday results. All teams get a minimum three games. 

Some divisions can have four matches scheduled with no consolation or championship matches. 

Bracket and Division Overview

- In a 5-Team division, each team will play the other 4 in a league format. There will not be a "Final" The highest points scorer after 4 games will be the Champion and the 2nd highest will be Finalist.

- In a 6-Team division with Semi-Finals, each team will play the other two teams in the Bracket.  The two top point scores in each bracket will play in the Semi-Final Sunday morning and will progress on to a Final or 3rd/4th place game. The two teams that finish 3rd  in the preliminary bracket play will play each other in a consolation game.

- In an 8-Team division, the winner of each bracket will meet in the Championship game. The 2nd place team in sac bracket play in the 3rd/4th place game.

- In a 10 or 12 Team divisions Wildcard #1 and #2 meet in the Championship game and #3 and #4 will play for 3rd place. 

* When it states "Wildcard" it means the position is based on points scored regardless of the bracket the team has played in. 


Tie Breaking Procedure

In preliminary games [bracket or flight play], ties will stand.

In the case of a tie in points following the completion of preliminary games [bracket or flight play], the advancing team will be determined based on the following criteria in the order specified. 

Should there be a tie in points between three or more teams or between teams the tie-breaking procedure begins with item 2 below.  If at any point only two teams are tied, start the tie-breaking procedure back at point 1.

1. Head to Head competition – team that won the head to head competition between the teams that are tied will advance.

2. Goal Differential. With a Max of +/- 4 per game.

3. Goals Scored. With a Max of 4 per game.

4. Least Goals Against. With a Max of -4 per game.

5. Most games won.

6. Kicks from the penalty mark as per FIFA rules. To be taken immediately prior to next round game. ​​

Championship / 3rd Place / Semi Final Matches 

In the event of a tie in an elimination game (a game that needs a result), two full 5-minute overtime periods will be played. If a tie still exists after overtime play, FIFA “Kicks from the Penalty Mark” will be used to determine the winner (5 kicks alternating, then “sudden death”).

In a consolation game between wildcards outside of the top 4 where there is not an additional game for the winning team, the game will end a tie and a winner is not needed. 


Game results will be final. No protests of outcome will be considered.

Start Times and Forfeitures

Teams must be at the field 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start time of their game in order to be checked in by Field Marshals, referees, or appointed tournament officials. All players must be present at field check-in. The Field Marshal will check the team's player passes. Referees, or if appointed by referees, Field Marshals, will check equipment. Games will be started within 10 minutes of the designated start time. If a team has not taken the field with a minimum of seven (7) (5 for 8v8 matches) players within the 10 minute grace period, the game will be forfeited to the team that has taken the field with at least seven (7) (5 for 8v8 matches) players. If neither team takes the field within the 10 minute grace period, no points will be awarded to either team and the game will be declared a double forfeit.

A credentialed adult, associated with the team, must be present during the entirety of the match and must be present along the team's touchline during the match.

Player check-in involves comparing the player, the player's pass and a pre-printed game card at the field by a Field Marshal or Referee. Teams need to bring player cards, with SBTB stickers approving each play that is dressed to play. 

Teams must provide their printed match roster on Friday night (or Saturday morning) check-in.  Your tournament roster is frozen after you check-in. After this freeze, no other players will be allowed to be added to the game card. In order for a player to play, they must have a "stickered player card" and also be printed on the game card. Under no circumstances can a name be written into the game card.

A referee or the Tournament Committee may terminate a game if a team is unable to maintain 7 players (5 for 8v8 matches) on the field during the game, leaves the field during the game without the approval of the referee, the referee abandons a match due to excessive violent conduct and/or misconduct by the players, coaches or fans, or a team is deemed to be in gross violation of the USSF, FIFA, or tournament rules.

Forfeits may only be awarded by the Tournament Committee based on the referee's and/or Field Marshal's reports. Any team forfeiting a match during preliminary play may not advance to the final or consolation match.

Home Team

Home team is indicated by being listed first on the Game Schedule. The Field Marshal shall establish the side of the field for the teams. In establishing the location of the team bench, the home team shall have the choice of the end of the field at which to sit. Parents and spectators supporting both the home team and visiting team must station themselves on the opposite side of the field. At stadium fields, all spectators must be in the bleachers.

The home team will be required to change jerseys if, in the referee’s judgment, the home team’s jersey is similar to that of the visiting team. The home team will be responsible for providing the game ball and two additional game balls for immediate use if required.

The home team is responsible for providing 3 game balls for their match.

Awards and Distributed Items

Awards will be given to the 1st and 2nd place teams in brackets with 5 or more teams.

Participation pins will be given to U13 and under players]. 
Each team gets t-shirts.

Sportsmanship, Conduct, Send-Offs (Red Cards), and Consequences

GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP is expected of all participants – players, coaches, parents, and families. Coaches and team managers are responsible for the conduct of their players, parents and other spectators. Sportsmanship is one of the criteria used to determine teams advancing. Foul or abusive language will not be allowed. Players breaking this rule will be ejected from the game without warning.

Any player, coach, assistant coach or registered team official who is sent off will automatically be suspended for their next game. The send-off report will be forwarded to the Tournament Director and Tournament Disciplinary Committee. The Tournament Disciplinary Committee will decide the length of the suspension, up to and including the duration of Tournament. Prior to your next match, the main contact person listed for your Team should contact a Tournament Disciplinary Committee Representative, who will inform you of the determined Length of Suspension.

Violent Conduct and other unusual situations normally result in suspension for the duration of the Tournament. In such cases, The Tournament Disciplinary Committee, at their discretion, will decide whether to report the event to your State Association, Region, League of Registration, Club, or the California North Referee Association for consideration of an additional sanction.

Soccer By The Bay has behaviour expectations of the participant players, coaches, managers, referees, and visitors in accordance with the Consortium member clubs' adherence to the Positive Coaching Alliance's "Honor The Game" philosophy.

It is expected that all participant players, coaches, managers, referees and visitors treat each other with respect and dignity. Playing by the rules isn't just for athletes on the field. All Soccer by the Bay tournament participant teams, their staffs and spectators are expected to demonstrate sportsmanship and positive behaviour before, during and after games.

Soccer By The Bay will maintain a very low tolerance towards negative behaviour by anyone.

It is expected that visitors to the tournament will:

- Calmly watch the play and not shout instructions to their child or other players.

- Provide encouragement to their child and all team players.

- Be respectful of all players, coaches and team officials on their child’s team and opposing teams.

- Be respectful of referees

- Refrain from unsportsmanlike and negative behaviour including verbal or physical mistreatment of players, coaches, referees and other spectators before, during and after games.

- Act respectfully and without incident, if asked to leave the field by any tournament official.

- No more than three (3) credentialed adults are permitted on the player side of the field.

Injuries and Medical Assistance

Teams, coaches, parents, and players are responsible for obtaining their own medical assistance. A tournament official will call 911 for an injury only at a coach’s request. Any injuries must be reported to a tournament official so that an accident report form can be completed.

Weather Conditions

If deemed necessary by the Tournament Committee, games may be shortened or cancelled due to extreme weather conditions.

Tournament Cancellation

If the tournament must be cancelled due to inclement weather, acts of civil disobedience, war, destruction of facilities or other circumstances deemed by the Tournament Committee to be beyond the control of the hosting league, the tournament may retain up to 30% of the entry fee once the tournament’s expenses are verified and approved by the Tournament Committee Chairman. Refunds of no less than 70% of the team’s entry fee will be postmarked and mailed to the teams within 45 days of the approved tournament date.

Housing and Hotel Information

Housing will not be provided. The individual teams must arrange hotel accommodations. A list of sponsoring local hotels will be provided to accepted teams.

Prohibitions and Safety

All participants must adhere to these Rules outlined in the Tournament Program and on the tournament website. Physical, mental, and verbal abuse of anyone is expressly forbidden.

Players wearing orthopaedic casts, air-splints or metal splints shall not be eligible to participate in any game.

Possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages or controlled substances is expressly prohibited at any of the sports fields or complexes. Any team (including players, coaches, parents and affiliated spectators) found violating these rules will automatically forfeit all games played, face possible expulsion from the tournament, and will not be invited to any future tournaments hosted by the tournament consortium.

Use of tobacco products is prohibited at this tournament. Use of tobacco products on the grounds of any public school facility is a violation of California State Law.

All Portable Shelters (EZ-ups, tents, etc.) must be secured with either stakes or sandbags. Stakes may not be driven into all-weather surfaces.

Tournament Committee

The Tournament Committee shall consist of the Tournament Director and any other pre-designated Tournament Officials. Field Marshals and age-group coordinators shall adjudicate field-specific and age-group issues.

Governing Rules

Unless specified otherwise above, FIFA rules and rule modifications that are effective as of July 1 of the year of the tournament will be in effect.