City Grade 4 Guidelines


The field should be set up by the coaches/adults at the first set of games. The first group of coaches should be at the fields a good 15 minutes before start time. One never knows what one will or won’t find from week to week, and often a fair bit of goal-moving.

Size 4 balls should be used for 4th grade games.

Refs will inspect the players prior to the start of the game.

Equipment consists of a jersey, shorts, shin guards, socks, and shoes. Shin guards must be worn (properly covered with socks) when a player is on the playing field

Goalkeepers must wear colors which distinguish them from other players. It is okay for both goalies to wear the same colored pinnies (e.g. black)

Articles that may constitute a danger to the wearer or any other player must be removed, i.e. jewelry, earrings, watches, barrettes, chains, belts, head coverings with any visor or protrusions, etc.

Players will have shirts tucked in.

Players with plaster casts or hard splints, even if padded, cannot play — even with the permission of a parent, or medical approval.

Before the game, please make sure that coaches and their team are on one side of the field and parents/spectators are on the other side of the field. This ensures that coaches can coach the game and players are not distracted by parents/spectators.

During the game

Game length: Two 30 minute halves – teams change ends at the half

Game format: The games are 7v7 (one goalie with five field players). Keeper can handle the ball from sideline to sideline within about 6 yards of the goal line. This boundary may or may not be marked. There will be NO OFFSIDE in 6v6 play

Substitutions: Unlimited substitutions can be made with the referee’s consent prior to a throw-in, on a goal kick, after a goal, and at half time. Both teams may substitute prior to goal kicks after a goal and at half time. As to throw-ins, however, only the team in possession has the initial option of substituting, but if it does, the other team may also substitute as well. If the game has stopped to allow the substitution for an injured player, the other team may also substitute, on a one-for-one basis. No substitution is allowed prior to a corner kick. No subbing on free kick restarts resulting from a foul. No substitution can be made without the referee’s consent.

Kick offs: The ball must go forward and the kicker may not touch it twice (the ball must be touched by another player before the kicker can touch it again). If the ball does not go forward, the kick will need to be redone. If the kicker touches the ball twice in a row, the other team will be gives an indirect free kick.

Goalies: Goalies should not handle the ball outside the penalty area. The ref will blow their whistle and give a direct kick to the other team for handling outside the penalty area. Goalies should not hold the ball too long (more than about 6 seconds). When the goalie has possession of the ball, all play on the ball must stop. If there is any attempt to go after the ball when the goalie has possession then the ref should give a direct kick to the goalie’s team. On goal kicks, the ball must touch the ground or be touched by any player in the defensive half of the field. Infringement of this rule will result in a turnover of the ball to the other team. Play shall restart with an indirect kick at the midfield line nearest the point of contact.

Goal Kicks: On Goal Kick restarts the defending team must always retreat to the halfway line. The attacking team taking the kick can be positioned anywhere on the field. Please note the attacking team may take the goal kick before all defenders have retreated to the halfway line. This special rule is applied in both 3rd and 4th Grade. For all other situations when the Goalkeeper has possession, for example they save a shot and have the ball in their hands, the defending team does not need to retreat to the halfway line. Newbie coaches and youth referees sometimes think the defending team needs to retreat to the halfway line when in fact they do not. I would encourage coaches to clarify this rule with referee’s in front of your team at pre-game check-in.

Handling: It is okay for balls that accidentally hit arms during the course of play or arms that are crossed over the chest. Handling is called for deliberate handling of the ball and results in a direct kick for the other team.

Free Kicks: Pushing and tripping are fouls. The ref will blow their whistle and give a direct kick to the non-offending team. For fouls inside the penalty area, a penalty kick will be awarded and should be taken from a point eight yards directly in front of the midpoint of the goal. All other players must stand beyond the midfield line. Indirect kicks awarded to the attacking team within the penalty area will be placed at the spot of the infraction, but no closer than six yards from the goal / goal line.

Drop Balls: The ref will use a drop ball to restart a game that stopped because of injury, dog on the field, baby on the field, etc.

Throw-ins: When a throw-in is not done correctly (e.g. ball behind player’s head, both feet on ground, etc.) the throw-in goes to the other team. The ref should explain why the throw was not correct, but refs should not unduly hold games up for bad throw-ins.

Lopsided games: This should be largely the responsibility of the coaches who should use common sense in having games be as fair and fun as possible. If a game is lopsided, the coach of the team that is scoring should try to make it more challenging for their players – e.g. kick with their weaker foot, have a number of passes before scoring, move the stronger scoring players into defense, etc

Post Game

Teams should cheer for opposition and the refs and they should participate in a post-game handshake/slap

Zero Tolerance

All individuals responsible for a team and all spectators shall support the referee. Failure to do so will undermine the referee’s authority and has the potential of creating a hostile environment for the players, the referee and all the other participants and spectators

No-one, except the players can talk to the referee. Exceptions: Coaches may ask questions before the game, call for substitutions and point out emergencies during the games, or respond to the referee if addressed

Absolutely no disputing calls, during or after the game, no remarks o the referee to watch certain players or attend to rough play. NO YELLING at the referee, EVER, and no criticism, sarcasm, harassment, intimidation, or feedback of any kind during or after the game.

Violators may be ejected and subject to disciplinary action by NGS.

If coaches of spectators have questions regarding particular calls, rules or a referee, or wish to give feedback regarding a referee, please contact one of the ref coordinators – Jeff Brenner, or Ioannis Kyratzoglou.