Rules for the 2018 CincyChallenge


The Cincy Challenge is open to teams that are registered to and affiliated with their state or national organizations which, in turn, are affiliated with FIFA. Applications are invited from teams that are duly registered with their State, Provincial, or National Associations. All teams and players accepted will have their rosters and players verified by their State, Provincial, or National Associations. Only approved players with player passes shall be allowed to play. Falsification of player registration forms, team rosters, player passes or other records used in the tournament shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including disbarment for the individual(s) involved and disqualification of the teams involved. All teams will determine age eligibility of their players using their birth year. Teams from outside of the United States must also conform to these guidelines.

All games will be played at the Lebanon Sports Complex in Lebanon, Ohio. The Tournament will be played October 5-7, 2018.

Coaches should bring player/coach cards, medical release forms and concussion certificates of compliance with them to every game.

Teams should mail the following official team information in with their registration materials.
1. The Players must present picture identification cards issued by the team's Federation Organization Member (USYS, AYSO, other)
2. Teams must provide proof of approval of the team's participation from the team's Federation Organization Member.
3. Teams from outside the State Association, Ohio South Youth Soccer Association, where the tournament is located must provide proof of permission to travel. Teams must be in good standing with their Federation Organization.

B. INTERNATIONAL TEAMS - For a team coming from a CONCACAF nation:
1. Players must present passports at registration or, if from a nation that the United States does not require a passport, proof of entry into the United States that is required by the United States.
2. Teams are required to have and present player picture identification cards.
3. Teams must have a completed form from its Provincial or National Association approving the team's participation in the tournament.

In order to protect young athletes, the State of Ohio has passed a concussion law, commonly called the "Return to Play" law. Therefore, all Ohio Tournaments are responsible for monitoring and tracking compliance with the concussion training requirements of the "Return to Play" law. Each coach (head coach and assistants) must receive approved concussion training prior to April 26, 2014 and that training must be renewed every three (3) years (see O.R.C. 3707.511 (c) (1)). All tournaments are required to collect and maintain certificates of compliance from the coaches.
1. All coaches MUST complete the Concussion Training Course from either NFHS (preferred) or CDC and submit a COPY of the completed certificate to the tournament. Both online courses are FREE of charge!
2. Coaches must also carry their certificate COPY of compliance with them during the event.
3. Coaches are also required per Ohio law, to have distributed a COPY of the Parent Concussion Information Sheet to the parents of all team players.
If these 3 items are not satisfied, those coaches will NOT be able to coach at this event.
Ohio's Return to Play law features three (3) key rules that its leagues, coaches, referees, officials, and athletes and their families must abide by:
Rule One: Coaches, referees or officials must remove from play an athlete exhibiting the signs and symptoms of a concussion during practice or a game. (See O.R.C. 3707.511 (D) (1).)
Rule Two: The athlete cannot return to play on the same day that he or she is removed after exhibiting signs of a concussion. (See O.R.C. 3707.511 (E) (1).)
Rule Three: The athlete is NOT permitted to return to play until he or she has been assessed by a physician or licensed health care provider approved by the youth sports organization and received WRITTEN clearance. (See O.R.C. 3707.511 (E) (1).) The tournament shall retain the written clearance form as evidence of compliance with this obligation.


A player must be legally registered to his/her team in accordance with their national registration requirements with a current and valid player pass that verifies their team and date of birth, including current player photo ID. Player passes will be presented to the referee or tournament official before each game. All player passes will be checked by the credentials committee prior to the tournament. Any guest players must have current player passes to participate in the tournament.

U8 born after 1.1.2011
U9 born after 1.1.2010
U10 born after 1.1.2009
U11 born after 1.1.2008
U12 born after 1.1.2007
U13 born after 1.1.2006
U14 born after 1.1.2005
U15 born after 1.1.2004


U8 teams will play 5v5 format.

U9 and U10 teams will play 7 v 7 format.

U11 and U12 teams will play 9 v 9 format.

U13, U14 and U15 teams will play 11 v 11 format.


U8, U9, U10, U11 may play up to three (3) years over their age. This means U8 can play up in U9, U10 or U11 age groups. This means that a U9 can play up, U10, U11 or U12 age groups. This means that a U10 can play up, U11, U12 or U13 age groups. This means that a U11 can play up, U12, U13 or U14 age groups.

The following roster limits include guest players. Team rosters will be limited to 10 players for teams playing 5 v 5 format, 14 players for teams playing 7 v 7 format, 18 players for teams playing 9 v 9 format and 18 players for teams playing 11 v 11 format, except U15 teams may roster 22 players, but only dress 18 players at each game. The roster submitted with the Tournament Registration paperwork will be the official roster for the Tournament and will be frozen and may not be altered. A player may only play for one team in the tournament. No switching of teams will be allowed. Boys and girls teams play in separate divisions.

Three (3) guest players will be allowed for teams playing a 5 v5 or 7 v 7 format. Four (4) guest players will be allowed for teams playing a 9 v 9 format, and Four (4) guest players will be allowed for teams playing an 11 v 11 format. Guest player rosters (yours or ours) should be validated by your state association/country federation (if required by your association). Prior to the start of each game the referee shall check that each player has a current Federation player card and coaches card (if required by your state association).


Prior to the start of each match, the Field Marshall shall check that each team has the following: current player and coaches passes, Medical Release Forms, and approved guest roster (if applicable). The referee or tournament official will verify the identity of the players versus the team roster and/or player passes. The player's equipment will be checked by the referee or assistant referee. The home team will change their jersey in the case of color conflict. The home team is listed first on the schedule. In no event will a player be allowed to participate if said player is not on the tournament approved roster. A player who arrives at the playing field after the pre-game procedure may not enter the game until after being checked by the referee or assistant referee for player pass and equipment. All shirt numbers of each player must be different.


All teams that are selected for participation in the Cincy Challenge are required to make hotel reservations for their entire team at one of the approved hotels listed on the hotel service website (  In the event your team does not utilize our approved hotels, your team may not be accepted to participate in the tournament. This only applies to teams requiring hotel accommodations for the tournament. 


All matches of the Cincy Challenge shall be played according to FIFA "Laws of the Game" with the following modifications:


A. U9 and U10 playing 7 v 7 format

               i.  55-65 yards – length

               ii. 35-45 yards – width

               iii.  Build out line – will be equidistant between the penalty area line and the halfway line


B. U11 and U12 playing 9 v 9 format

               i.  70-80 yards – length

               ii. 45-55 yards – width


C. U13 & Older playing 11 v 11 format - Will play on fields that conform to FIFA laws.


The Cincy Challenge Tournament will supply the game balls for all games. Balls must be FIFA approved.
The U9 through U12 teams will play with a Size 4 ball, and the U13 and older teams will play with a size 5 ball. If the game ball goes missing, the home team (team listed first in schedule) will provide the match ball (FIFA approved and subject to the approval of the referee).


A. U8 (5 v 5 game format) - Will play with a maximum of five (5) players.

B. U9 and U10 (7 v 7 game format) - Will play with a maximum of six (7) players (six field players, plus a goalkeeper). A minimum of five(5) players are required to play.

C. U11 and U12 (9 v 9 game format) - Will play with a maximum of nine (9) players (eight field players, plus a goalkeeper). A minimum of six (6) players are required to play.

D. U13 and older (11 v 11 game format)- Will play with a maximum of eleven (11) players (ten field players, plus a goalkeeper). A minimum of seven (7) players are required to play.

Unlimited substitutions may be made, with the consent of the referee:
-Before a throw-in in your favor
-Before your opponent's throw-in, if your opponent is also substituting
-Before a goal-kick
-After a score by either team
-At half time
-After an injury, by either team, when the referee stops play,
-After a caution, one for one by both teams, if cautioned player is substituted


- Shin guards are mandatory and must be covered by a sock
- Shirt/jerseys will be tucked into players shorts at all times
- The home team will be responsible for using an alternate color uniform if necessary.

LAW 5. THE REFEREE  - The decisions of the referee regarding the facts connected with play are final.


A three-person referee system will be used for all divisions. Certified assistant referees will be employed, but if necessary, matches may be started with club linesmen.


Preliminary and Championship games will consist of two halves of equal length per the following:

Age Division

Preliminary/Semifinal Games

Final Games

Overtime Periods*


U8 (5v5)

50 minutes

50 minutes

Two 5 minute periods

5 minutes

U9 (7v7)

50 minutes

50 minutes

Two 5 minute periods

5 minutes

U10 (7v7)

50 minutes

50 minutes

Two 5 minute periods

5 minutes

U11 (9v9)

60 minutes

60 minutes

Two 5 minute periods

5 minutes

U12 (9v9)

60 minutes

60 minutes

Two 5 minute periods

5 minutes

U13 (11v11)

60 minutes

70 minutes

Two 10 minute periods

5 minutes

U14 (11v11)

60 minutes

70 minutes

Two 10 minute periods

5 minutes

15U (11v11)

60 minutes

70 minutes

Two 10 minute periods

5 minutes

16U (11v11)

60 minutes

70 minutes

Two 10 minute periods

5 minutes

* - Semi-final and final games only. No golden goal rule. If the games are still tied at the end of the second overtime period, they will be decided by penalty kicks (FIFA Laws of the Game).

The game clock will not be stopped because of injury to any player, except if deemed necessary by the referee. Due to the time allowed for the completion of all games, the clock should run continuously.

LAW 8. THE START AND RESTART OF PLAY – No changes or additions

LAW 9. THE BALL IN AND OUT OF PLAY  - No changes or additions

LAW 10. THE METHOD OF SCORING – No changes or additions



A. U9-U10

i.   The build out line will be used to denote where offside offenses can be called

ii.  Players cannot be penalized for an offside offense between the halfway line and the build out line

iii. Players can be penalized for an offside offense between the build out line and the goal line
B. U11-U15 - No changes or additions…


-In accordance with FIFA Policy, there shall be no dissent between players and/or coaches and the referee. Questioning a referee's call is considered dissent. All coaches are urged to solicit the support of their fans in monitoring and enforcing this policy.
- Any player or coach ejected from a game will be ineligible to participate in the next (a minimum of one game) scheduled game. No substitution will be allowed for the ejected player.



- 7v7 Matches: On Free Kicks, the opposing team must be at least eight (8) yards from the ball until it is in play. If a free kick is kicked directly into the team's own goal, a corner kick is awarded to the opposing team. If the ball is within eight (8) yards of the goal line when a free kick is awarded, the opposing team may stand on the goal line.
- 9v9 and 11v11 Matches: No changes or additions...

LAW 14: THE PENALTY KICK – No changes or additions…

LAW 15: THE THROW IN – No changes or additions…

LAW 16: THE GOAL KICK  - No changes or additions…


Deliberately striking the ball with his/her head in the U8, U9, U10, U11 age groups IS PROHIBITED. If a player is rostered on a team playing in a U-11 or younger age division and they DELIBERATELY head a soccer ball in a tournament game, the referee MUST consider that to be Dangerous Play and handle the matter according to the Laws of the Game. 


U09 and U10 (7v7) BUILD OUT RULES:

Build out lines are to be drawn on each side of the field halfway between the Penalty Area line and the Halfway Line. Once a goal kick is awarded or the goal keeper takes possession of the ball with the hands, the opposing team must move outside the Build Out Area line and remain there until the ball is put in play.

The ball is back in play when (1) a Goal Kick leaves the penalty area (2) The goal keeper places the ball on the ground and it is kicked (3) the goal keeper throws or rolls the ball. Once the ball is in play the opposing team may enter the defending team’s build-out-area. If the defending team takes the Goal Kick early or the Goal Keeper releases the ball into play before the opposing players move outside the Build-out-area, play will continue. The defending team has chosen to skip the build-out advantage.

The goal keeper shall not punt nor drop-kick the ball. The goal keeper has 6 seconds to release the ball into play once the opposing team has moved beyond the build-out-area.


At the end of each game, the Referees and each coach will sign the official game cards verifying that the score shown on the card is correct, and turn it in to Field Marshall. Once signed, the score becomes official. Once the card is received at the headquarters tent, the failure of a coach to sign a card shall constitute a waiver of any error therein and the score shall be deemed official.


Scoring summaries can be viewed at Bracket standings, leading to championship play, will be determined on the following basis.

Each team will be awarded three points for a win, one point for a tie and no points for a loss. In the event of ties in the group standing, the following procedure will determine the group winner/leader:

1. Team with the most wins (if tied, go to step two).
2. Winner of the game played between the two teams (if three or more teams are tied for the group lead, bypass step two and go to step three).
3. Highest number of total NET goals (goal differential). Maximum goal differential per game is three (3). (ie. for a score of 4-1, goal differential is +3 for the winner and -3 for the loser. For a score of 7-2, goal differential is also +3 and -3 as stated prior).
4. Fewest total goals allowed (gross)
5. Most defensive shut-outs
6. Penalty kicks (according to FIFA Laws of the Game) - when the results would allow a winner to advance to a semi-final or championship match.
7. Coin Toss. (Tournament Committee will determine how the coin flip will occur with the tied teams.)

The score of a forfeited game shall be recorded as 2-0 in favor of the team not forfeiting, if;
1) the game has not commenced, or
2) the game has commenced and the non-forfeiting team has less than a 2-goal lead at the time of cessation.

If the non-forfeiting team has more than a 2-goal lead at the time of cessation, the score shall stand. Forfeiture will also be declared for a failure to begin play within ten (10) minutes of game time. Failure to complete a match or a team leaving the field during play may result in forfeiture. A team that has forfeited a game may not be declared a group winner or semi-finalist.

Tie Breakers in Semi-Final or Finals Matches - Two complete five-minute overtime periods for U-8 through U-11 age groups, and two complete ten-minute overtime periods for U-12 and older age groups. If the game is still tied after the second overtime period, penalty kicks will prevail.


Only players on the field at the end of the second over time period are eligible for penalty kicks. Coin flip will determine who will go first (visiting team calls the coin toss, winner of the coin toss has the decision to shoot first or second). Five penalty kickers per team. After the first round of 5 kicks, the team will continue to alternate shooters until there is 1 unmatched goal between opposing players. After all eligible players on the field of play have taken kicks, teams will start with their first kickers again and in the same order.

AWARDS  - Individual awards for 1st and 2nd place in all divisions.


Protests must be presented in writing to the tournament site headquarters (one will be located at each site) within 30 minutes of completion of the game and must be accompanied by a fee of $100 in cash. Referee judgment will NOT be a basis for protest. Coaches wishing to file a protest shall notify the referee of this intention as soon as possible but not later than 5 minutes after the conclusion of the game in question. The Protest Committee's decision is final.


If the Site Director determines that the fields should be cleared, 3 long blasts on an air horn will signal that everyone should go to their cars. A signal of 3 short blasts will indicate that you may return to the fields. Games will be considered completed if the first half has concluded and play is stopped by either the Field Referee or the Tournament Directors. The score at stoppage of play will be the final game score. If the first half has not been completed and the game is stopped, every effort will be made to complete the game, or play to complete at least the first half and record the score as final. If the game is cancelled before it starts efforts will be made to reschedule the game. It is the responsibility of the coach to check the Tournament Headquarters for reschedule information. If rescheduling is not possible, and game cancellation creates a situation where teams within the division are unable to play equal number of qualifying games, the group winner will be determined on the basis of awarding the average tournament points earned in the other games, to the teams unable to complete an official game, followed by the tie breaking procedure if necessary. The team with the highest average points will be declared the winner of the group. IF there is a tie that cannot be resolved by point averaging, the advancing team will be determined by a coin toss, or penalty kicks, per FIFA as directed by the Tournament Directors. If the tournament is cancelled due to events beyond the control of the Committee, the tournament will not be required to make any financial renumeration.


- Be respectful of the hotels and motels, keeping noise in the hallways to a minimum, refrain from kicking soccer balls inside any buildings and be respectful of others property. Should it come to the attention of the Directors that a person or persons has failed to follow these guidelines, the Director reserves the right to take immediate action. Said action, depending on the circumstances, may range from a warning, to a reduction in points in standing, to banning that team and/or team in its club from future participation.
- All coaches will remain within 20 yards of the centerline on their own half of the field.
- Spectators may be ejected from the park for improper conduct at the discretion of the tournament officials.

The final interpreter of the foregoing rules and regulations and also any matters not provided for in these rules will be the Tournament Directors, whose decisions shall be final. 

Important Dates

   Application Deadline

   Schedules Posted

Registration Paperwork 

   Tournament Dates