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League Rules

League Rules



The current FIFA laws will govern play for all divisions with the following exceptions: 


The National Masters Soccer League (NMSL) shall be administered by the League Director. The league Director reserves the right to make any changes that are deemed necessary for the betterment of the league and its participants. This includes modifications and changes to player suspensions. 

TEAM ROSTERS (NMSL Player Registration Portal - Not Live Yet)

All teams shall maintain a team roster no larger than 25 players.  Team rosters are managed online via the NMSL Player Registration Portal (Not live Yet). Managers will be able to review and edit player registration status, as well as print out the team roster for their Sunday game. 

  1. Roster Modifications: Roster will be frozen (i.e, no adding or removing players) after 2/3rds of the season has been played.  
  2. Roster Fees:
    1. Transfer Fee: If a player wants to change teams, the new manager must inform the NMSL in writing (email, text, postcard, brick-mail). There is currently no transfer fee between teams. Transfers will not be allowed by 2/3rds of the season has been played unless otherwised authorized by the Commissioner 


  • A player must be on a team's official roster in order to participate in any NMSL sanctioned game. This includes friendly matches. 
  • Players are prohibited from playing on more than one team in the same division.
  • Any team fielding a player NOT on their official roster will receive a forfeit loss. The player will also be suspended from league play.

Masters Division (over-48) Eligiblity

In the Masters Division, participants must be 48 years old or older during the current calendar year. 

  • Exception #1: For any game day, each team is allowed three (3) players under 48, but at least 45 years old. 
  • Exception #2: For any game day, each team is allowed one (1) player goalie under 48, but at least 40 years old. 



The list of suspended players will be posted on the League’s website and emailed to all team managers. It is the responsibility of each team manager to know who is not eligible on his/her team. If a suspended player(s) participates in a game, all the games that the suspended player(s) has participated in may result in a forfeit, and the team may be fined $50.00 per player for every game that the suspended player(s) participates in. 

NMSL Player Registration Portal (Not LIve Yet)

All participants, which includes players, managers, and coaches, must register online annually using the NMSL Player Registration Portal. The NMSL Registrar will review each registration and determine eligiblity.  The registration process requires each participant to upload a color headshot photo, as well as an age veritying government document. The NMSL registrar will notify the each team manager if a player's uploaded documents are not sufficient.  Team managers are reponsible for managing their players and staff using the portal manager access. 

ONce there are enough players, the NMSL management will send each team a pdf team roster game card to be used during pre-game check-in with the referee. The pdf team roster will be digitally signed by the NMSL and will have an expiration date.  It is the responsibility of each team manager to bring a printed color copy of their team roster game card and present it to the referee during team check-in.  Players are still required to bring their ID in the event an opposing team manager challenges the team roster game card. All players must present themselves to the Head Official and check-in before entering the pitch. The team roster game card will contain the players full name and a copy of their photo. 




Currently, only one game official will be assigned to each 11 v 11 game. Depending on the game matchup, the game official assigner may send more than one referee. Teams are required to pay for the 2nd referee, even if there is no pre-notification of their arrival. The NMSL will do its best to inform teams prior to sending a 2nd referee for their games. 

1) Cost: The officials’ fee for (11v11) is $50 per game, per team. This fee will be paid in the form of cash prior to the start of the game. If there is a 2nd referee, each team will be required to pay $60. 

2) Legal action will be sought against any individual who physically attacks a game official. 



1) Player Check-in: Players will be required to check-in with the referee before being allowed to play. 

2) Game Ball: Both teams must furnish a ball that is acceptable by the game official for game play. Each team must have at least two (2) back up balls. A team will forfeit their game if they are unable to produce an acceptable game ball with backup. It will be the referees’ discretion whether or not a ball is acceptable.

Equipment: Metal cleats are not acceptable. All players must wear shin guards in order to play 


  • A team that does not show up will automatically receive a forfeit and be responsible for the entire game officials’ fees. There will also be $50 no-show penalty 
  • A team that doesn’t have enough players (at least 7) at kickoff will also receive a forfeit. However, if after the forfeit is declared, the team is able to round up enough players (e.g., borrowing from the opposing team), a friendly game may be allowed as long as there is mutual agreement between team managers. Each team will still be required to pay their share of the game officials’ fees. 
  • Teams are prohibited from “borrowing players” from a previous game. Players must be the team's roster in order to be eligible.
  • Any team that borrows a player, not on their roster, will forfeit their game. No exceptions 
  • There is no grace period. The game will start as soon as one team is on the field ready to play.  


Non-League Games (Friendlies) 

a) All league rules will be enforced during any friendly games. 

b) All players must be on a team roster in order to participate. 

c) All Red Card rules will still apply regardless if the game is a friendly or an official league game. 

d) Teams will be allowed to borrow players for friendlies only. 




1) Yellow Cards: Yellow cards entail an automatic five (5) minute cooling off period. The player may NOT be substituted. If the goalie receives the yellow card, another player may sit out his five minutes. 

2) Red Cards: Red Cards are subject to fines and suspensions. Fines are to be paid by the team managers or players to the league office before the next scheduled game. Fines can be paid online, or by dropping off a check at the league office. 

3) Substitutions: Unlimited substitutions is permitted during all NMSL sanctioned games (league or cup) with referee approval. 

4) Concussions: If a player receives any type of concussion or head injury, as deemed by the referee, the player must sit out the rest of the game unless cleared by a certified healthcare official. 

5) Water Breaks: If the environmental temperature exceeds 90°F (32.2C), the referee must give a mandatory 30 sec water break at both the 22nd minute and 67th minute. NO EXCEPTIONS 

  1. Game Termination:
    a) Games will be terminated after 90 minutes.
    i) Exception #1: League Cup games will go automatically into penalty kicks to determine the game winner. 
    ii) Exception #2: Depending on the location and time, game durations may be reduced to 80 minutes (40 min per half) in order to have sufficient time for penalty kicks. 
    c) If the game is terminated due to the actions of a player(s), manager, and/or team spectators, then the team at fault will be issued a forfeit for that game regardless of the score at the time of the incident. Additionally, the team will be put on probation and may be fined. 
    b) The game official has pre-authorization to terminate any game if the conditions or environment becomes hazardous to either himself, or anyone participation in the game. 
    d) Games terminated due to environmental conditions will be rescheduled except when more than half has been played. 
    e) If a fight breaks out during a game, the game official will immediately terminate the game no matter when it occurs. 

a) The forfeiting team will be required to pay all officials fees unless otherwise specified. 

b) Fees must be paid before the next schedule game or risk having your game cancelled. 

a) Any team winning a regular season game will receive 3 points. 

b) Any regular season game that ends in a tie will remain a tie. Both teams will receive one point. 

c) If a team cancels a regularly scheduled league game, the opposing team will be awarded a 3-0 forfeit victory and three points for the win. 

a) Slide tackling is not allowed. It is the referee’s discretion to give a verbal warning or administer a Yellow Card. Any infraction of this rule after the 2nd violation will result in a red card. 

b) Every slide tackle shall result in a direct free kick or penalty kick if inside the penalty box. 

c) This rule does not exempt goalkeepers. 

d) Exception: If done in a safe manner, sliding to clear a ball, or to score a goal is allowed per the discretion of the referee. 

a) If a player receives a yellow card during the last five minutes of a game, that player will be eligible to take a penalty kick. 

7) Team Managers are responsible for the conduct of their players and fans. 

8) Game Forfeit: 

9) Scoring: 

10) Slide Tackling: 

11) Penalty Kicks for Cup Games or Knockout Stage games: 



  1. 1) Protests: a) All protests must be made before within 24 hours after completion of the game. 
    1. Cleanup: Each team manager is responsible for cleaning up after their players before leaving the field. 
    2. Once submitted, the League’s Disciplinary Committee will review the protest and make a final ruling. 
    3. The protest cannot be based on a “judgment call”. 
    4. In order to file a protest, the following requirements must be met: i) Contact must be made to a league official (phone or email) 



1) Each team is allowed one game reschedule, without penalty (i.e., loss of points), per season.

a) Requests for game cancellations must be made no later than 9pm (PST) on the Friday before the game. 

b) Teams cancelling after 9pm, Friday, will be charged $100 cancellation fee. 

2) For League Cup games or any playoff style games, if two teams have home fields, the higher seeded team will get home field advantage when determining field location for scheduling purposes. However, the NMSL director has the descretion to change the field location.  




1) Determination of the final league standings shall be based on the following: 

• 1st Tie Breaker: Total Points 

• 2nd Tie Breaker: The team with the greater scoring differential (goals scored – goals allowed)  

• 3rd Tie Breaker: Goals Scored

If the teams still cannot be separted, they will be awarded the same position in the table. 



  1. 1) Facility Use Rules a) Consumption of alcoholic beverages and smoking at the site or on the grounds of any facility where the game is played is prohibited. 
    1. b) No Foul language 
    2. c) No dogs are allowed at any of our facilities or sanctioned games (Exception: Service Animals). 
    3. d) No personal vehicles are allowed on or around the playing fields. 
      1. e) All participants (players, coaches, managers, etc.) are forbidden from urinating on the field. i) Anyone who violates this policy will be suspended from the league for a minimum one season. If the current season is more than half way through, the suspension will include the following season as well. 
      2. ii) The associated club will also be subjected to a $100 fine and placed on a 6-month probation 
      3. f) AGBU-AYA Field (Van Nuys, CA) i) No one is allowed to park their vehicle in the Doggie Park parking lot. Players can either park across the street (preferred) or next door at the farmers market. We are getting complaints and would like to avoid these issues as best as possible. 



1) The 7:15 am kickoff time, at Calabasas HS Stadium, will be strictly enforced. Teams that do not have at least 7 players ready to play at 7:30am, as deemed by the game official, will automatically receive a forfeit and a $25 game delay fee. 

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