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America's Cup Series

Official Rules

Official Rules



A. Participation in this America's Cup Series (ACS) event is open to accepted boys and girls teams composed of a maximum of:

  • Fourteen (14) players for 9U and 10U age groups (playing 7v7)
  • Sixteen (16) players for 11U and 12U age groups (playing 9v9)

Meeting the age limit of the specified division; Players must have been born during, or subsequent to, the divisional year, as defined by US Soccer Guidelines; Player registration cards duly authorized by State/Provincial or National Association will be required as proof of age for 9U-12U players.

B. Age groups*:

  • 12U (2008 birth year and younger)*
  • 11U (2009 birth year and younger)*
  • 10U (2010 birth year and younger)*
  •  9U (2011 birth year and younger)*
  •  Combining of age groups will be done at the ACS Committee’s discretion.

C. Each team accepted must be registered with a National State Association affiliated with the USYS/USSF or national equivalent and must present a valid State or Provincial roster. Teams that are members of organizations of the United States Soccer Federation but not members of US Youth Soccer (such as AYSO, SAY or US Club Soccer) DO NOT have to have a US Youth Soccer Permission to Travel form (although that team’s organization may require that the team have permission). Consideration will be given to academy style programs and clubs to participate which may consist of “house” all-star teams or the equivalent. 

D. Guest player limit: Four (4) per team.

A team using guest players must have no more than a maximum of fourteen (14) players for 9U and 10U age groups (playing 7v7), sixteen (16) players for 11U and 12U age groups (playing 9v9). Guest players must be current USYS/USSF or national equivalent players. Guest players may be recreational players provided they obtain certification comparable to a player registration card and obtain this certification from the same state official that grants player registration cards. 

E. Guest players are considered "any age appropriate player not on your league approved roster". Guest players may be from your clubs recreation league or from another travel team but they must be registered players to ensure they are covered by insurance.

F. Guest players may only participate with a single team for the entire tournament.


A. All games shall be played in accordance with FIFA Laws, except as specifically modified by these rules.

B. Heading. No heading for teams playing in the 11U age groups and younger.

C. 9U-10U Build Out Line. Half-way between top of the goal box and midfield. 

  •  Cones or an item that clearly identifies the build-out line need to be used. If the tournament does not have them available, the home team needs to supply the cone/item.
  •  When the goalkeeper has the ball in hand or on goal kicks: (only two times this is enforced)
    1. Opposing team must move behind the line, until the ball is put in play
    2. Goalkeeper does not have to kick it until the opposing team retreats behind the line before playing the ball
    3. Distribution must be from rolling the ball, throwing the ball or dropping it to their feet
    4. No punting.
      1. Indirect free kick to opposing team if it occurs.  Placement is on the edge of the box, closest to where the act occurred
  • Offside
    • The buildout line, on the attacking half of the team with the ball, is the reference point, not midfield


A. Playing Format

9U & 10U | 7v7
11U & 12U | 9v9

B. Divisions: ACS will make available multiple flights in each age group and gender. The flights will distinguish themselves between teams and their developmental stages.

4-team division – Each team plays a round robin. 
Top 2 teams based on points will play in the final.

5-team division –
 Each team plays a round robin. 
First and second place determined on points. No playoff of championship game.

6-team division –
 Two flights of 3 teams.  Each team will play the other 2 teams in their same flight. Top team in each flight will play the 2nd placed team in the other flight in the semi-finals. Winners advance to the finals. The two third place teams in each bracket play a consolation game.  

7-team division
 – Flight B will have four teams.  Flight A will have three teams.  Each flight will play two games. 
The teams in each flight will then be ranked from first to last based on tie-breaking procedures. Top two teams in each flight advance to semi-finals.  First place of flight A will play second place of flight B in the semi-finals.  First place of Flight B will play second place of Flight A in the other semi-final.  Winners advance to final.  Consolation matches: Third place of Flight A will play third place of Flight B.  The winner will play fourth place of Flight B.

8-team division –
 Two flights of 4 teams.  Each team plays a round robin within their flight. 
The winners of each flight (based on points) advance to the final.

9-team division
 – Three flights of 3 teams.  The winner of each flight plus a wild card (best second place based on pts, then tie breakers) advance to the semi-finals.  
Consolation matches feature 2nd best 2nd place vs 3rd best 2nd place.  3rd Place flight B plays 3rd place Flight C.  The winner of this match (Winner Consolation A ) plays 3rd place Flight A.


A. The duration of 9U and 10U ACS games will be 50 minutes.

a. 25 minute halves

B. The duration of 11U and 12U ASK games will be 60 minutes

a. 30 minute halves              

C. All games will be played with a running clock. The referee may only stop the clock for serious injuries or other serious incidents.  Absent these extraordinary circumstances, the referee will terminate each half at the expiration of the allotted time with the sole exception that if a penalty kick is awarded during the allotted time, the penalty kick may be taken.  The referee is the official timekeeper and therefore all decisions regarding game duration are solely at the referee's discretion and shall not be protested. Under no circumstance will the game end after 75 minutes from when the scheduled start time is listed. The referee may, at their discretion, give water breaks at the mid-point of each half if heat-related issues are a concern.


A. Players must wear numbers visible on the back of their uniforms and these numbers shall coincide with those listed on the team’s Official ACS Team Roster.

B. Players shall wear shin guards in accordance with FIFA laws.

C. No metal cleats will be allowed, and no jewelry will be allowed.

 D. Hard (must be covered and wrapped) and soft casts are permitted with the approval of the referee.

 E. Where opposing team’s uniform colors are similar, the designated home team will change colors. The designated home team is listed first on the schedule. Managers may contact the opposing team manager in advance of the game  to deconflict uniform colors.

 F. ACS will provide game balls at each field. If no game ball is present the designated home team must provide the game ball. The designated home team is responsible for supplying a game ball acceptable to the referee. 

- A size 4 ball is used for 9U through 12U play


A. Teams must check-in online
1. Online check-in is due by the Monday prior to the weekend event
a. Event specific e-mails are provided on the home page with the contact person who needs to be sent the documents
b. Teams will receive confirmation by the Wednesday prior to the weekend event

 B. Required Documents
1. Official league, state, club or event roster
a.  Players’ numbers MUST be listed on the team roster or similar league team roster and approved by the ACS staff. 
2. Player cards or guest pass for every player
3. Signed portion of Team Roster stating that a team contact has completed medical forms for every player
a. Medical forms for each player do NOT need to be sent in during check-in


A. Team and Spectator Field Position

a. Players and Coaches will occupy one side of the field. The home team will have choice of their bench area. Teams may have up to 3 team officials in their technical area. Coaches will remain in their technical area and be restricted to the area between their side of the center line and 18 yard line. Coaches may enter the field of play only upon approval of the referee.

b. Spectators will occupy the side of the field opposite the player’s bench area. Home and visiting spectators shall occupy areas opposite their team benches. Spectators shall remain in the area between the 18 yard lines (penalty areas).

c. No spectators will be to sit/stand in the immediate areas behind the goal lines with the exception of official event photographers.

B. Pets are prohibited with the exception of service animals.

C. Failure to comply with parking instructions from the city, event staff or public spaces is prohibited. The tournament and host club, Alexandria Soccer, is not responsible for ticketing or towing.


A. There will be no protests allowed.

B. All disputes for non-referee decisions are submitted thru the Site Coordinator in writing to the ACS Committee (consisting of the ACS Director, and other ACS staff) at the field registration tent for approval by the end of the day that the dispute occurred. All decisions by the ACS Committee are final and may not be appealed.

C. No protests & disputes for referee decisions are allowed; decisions by referees may not be appealed.


A. Substitution Times:

a. Substitutions without limit may be made during any stoppage of play at the referee's discretion. This can include throw-ins by either team, goal and corner kicks, free kicks by either team, etc.


A. Team managers from both teams must provide a printed game card to the referee prior to the game. Game cards can be found on your GotSoccer team account. Instructions link. Rosters listed on the game cards are NOT official and do NOT need to be accurate. Official team rosters are the STAMPED rosters uploaded into each teams GotSoccer account.

B. Referees and Field Marshall’s will also provide complete and accurate information on the teams’ players/officials receiving yellow/red cards during the game including their full name and shirt number, if applicable.

C. Referees will provide game card to tournament staff who will report game scores online following the procedures provided to them by the ACS Referee Assignor.  Game scores should be reported as promptly as possible.  Online reporting applies to game scores only.


A. Players, coaches, and spectators are expected to conduct themselves within the spirit of the LAW as well as the letter of the LAW. Displays of temper or dissent are cause for ejection from the game and the surrounding field area. Repeated violations may result in the suspension of the team from the tournament as decided by the ACS Director.

B. Players, coaches and team officials ejected from a game by the referee shall be ineligible for the next scheduled game.

C. It is the responsibility of the team’s coach or the person acting in the coach’s behalf to control the conduct of its parents and other spectators. Failure to do so may result in a warning to the coach or the person acting in the coach’s behalf by the referee. If unacceptable conduct continues, the referee may eject the team’s coach, or the person acting on the coach’s behalf, from the game.

D. A coach or authorized team official who commits a cautionable or sending-off offense under Law 12 shall be shown a yellow or red card, as appropriate, by the referee.

E. Accumulated yellow cards, over multiple games, resulting in player suspension is not in effect for ACS events

F. Artificial noise making devices are prohibited.

G. Smoking, alcoholic beverages, and verbal abuse of anyone are not permitted at any of the field sites.


A. 9U-12U age groups will have group stage games with teams advancing to a playoff format with a championship game

a. Tie Breakers (in order)

1) Head to head competition (Tie between two teams)

2) Most wins (3 or more teams or two teams tied their head to head game)

3) Goals against (least goals allowed)

4) Goal differential 

5) Goal for (most goals scored)

6) Most shutouts

7) Coin Flip (recorded or in person with both teams)

  • 2 team coin flip | Each team designated with either 'head's or 'tails'. Team advancing is the team whose 'heads' or 'tails' lands facing up.
  • 3 team coin flip | Each team flips once. Advancing team is 'odd' team.
    • For example (Team A = Heads, Team B = heads, Team C = tails) Team C advances.
    • Reflip if all teams land on same side.

b. NO Overtime (Playoff and Championship Only)

1) NO OVERTIME. Straight to FIFA penalty kicks from the mark

A. Referee chooses the goal
B. Coin toss decides who will take the first kick
C. Best of 5, if still tied, continue with sudden victory
D. Any player on the game day roster, who has not been ejected, is eligible to shoot
E. All eligible players must shoot before a player may take a second shot
F. Only eligible players may be on the field during the penalty kicks from the mark
G. If one team has 9 eligible players and the other has 11 eligible players, the team with more players must eliminate 2 players from shooting.


A. A team shall be allowed a fifteen (15) minute grace period after the scheduled kickoff time before the match is considered a “no show” and that team forfeits it’s game. A minimum of number of players is required to start the game and avoid a forfeit:

- Six (6) players constitutes a team at the 9U and 10U age group

- Seven (7) players constitutes a team at the 11U and 12U age group

- The ASK site coordinator must get final approval from the ACS Director or a representative at the Command Center before marking a team as forfeiting due to tardiness. Exceptions to this rule are at the discretion of the ACS Director.

B. Failure to produce approved rosters at requested times results in a forfeit.

C. Forfeited games will result in a 3-0 scoreline.

D. The team forefiting will not be eligible to advance to the playoff rounds.

E. Playing a “red-carded player” (a player receiving either a red card or two yellow cards in one game) in the game following the receipt of a red card is grounds for team dismissal.


A. In the event of inclement weather, the ACS Director or official representative(s) will have the authority to:

a. Relocate or reschedule any game(s);

b. Change the duration of any game(s);

c. Cancel any game(s);

d. Consider any game terminated by ACS officials after one half of play official at of the time of termination


A. ACS will do its best to schedule three (3) games for each team. However, at the ACS Director’s discretion, the number of games may be reduced in which case ACS is not liable for any expenses and no refunds for the ACS application fees will be given.

B. Under no circumstances whatsoever will the Virginia Youth Soccer Association, Inc., Alexandria Soccer Association, the ACS Committee, or any of their official representatives be responsible for any expenses (including the ACS entry fee) incurred by any team. This includes a situation whereby ACS or any game(s) is canceled in whole or part.


A. For 9U-11U all games will have one (1) referee assigned for each game

B. For select U11 - 12U games, we will provide three (3) referee's, most will have one (1) referee

C. For 11U - 12U playoff games, our goal is to provide three (3) referee's for each game 

D. The ACS referee assignor will be in charge of placing referee’s in appropriate environments.


A. An ACS Field Marshall will be present at each field location.

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Email Us: [email protected]
Phone : 703-684-5425
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