League Rules

(Reflecting changes made through and including 8/05 Bi-Annual meeting)

Rule I - Team Registration

1.1 No more than thirty (30) players may be registered with a team.

1.2 All players must be registered with Massachusetts Amateur State Soccer ("MASS") through the Eastern Massachusetts Women's Soccer League ("EMWSL" or "League") Registrar(s).

1.2(a) Registered Youth players wishing to play in the EMWSL may do so only if they provide the League with written consent from the MYSA Registrar.

1.2(b) Players registered as professionals shall not be eligible to play in the EMWSL.

1.3 Players must have name and picture identifications with them at games for the referees to cross-reference with the team's official roster (signed by the Registrar of the team's division). No person may play unless she has a picture identification and is on the team's official roster. Each team must provide the referee with a copy of its official roster prior to the start of each game for that purpose.

1.4 A player may not play on two (2) affiliated league teams simultaneously.

1.4(a) A player may, however, play on a Select State or League all-star team.

1.4(b) A player wishing to change teams must complete and sign a letter of transfer and transfer form indicating the transfer from the old team to the new team. The letter of transfer and transfer form must be sent to the League Registrar within deadlines set for registration. Upon completion of the transfer process, the player may play with her new team.

1.5 In teams that register as Division I, players must be at least 17 years of age by the earlier of the first game they play in or the end of Open Registration. For teams registering to play in all other Divisions, players must be at least 19 years of age by the earlier of the first game they play in or the end of Open Registration. The one exception to this is that non-Division I teams may have a maximum of three (3) players that are under 19 years of age so long as those players are at least 17 years of age by the earlier of the first game they play in or the end of Open Registration.

1.6 Each team shall submit two representatives' names, addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses to the League Secretary for the purpose of League correspondence. E-mail is an important means of communication between the League officers/administrators and team representatives. Accordingly, each team shall sign up at least two representatives on the group e-mail list used by the League.

1.7 Each team must pay annual registration as well as individual player fees to maintain affiliation with the League, MASS, USASA (United States Amateur Soccer Association), and USSF. (These fees may be encompassed within a flat fee set by the League officers for each season.) All new or reinstated teams must post a $100 bond fee with regular registration fees. This bond may be applied towards any unforeseen League charges that may accrue (such as fines for missed meetings) and must be replenished by the team if so used by the League. New teams entering Division I for Summer play must post a non-refundable $550 deposit which will be applied toward the season’s fees plus the $100 refundable bond thirty (30) days before the start of the Summer season.

1.8 Each team must have a field available for half of each season's scheduled dates of play in order to register, either Monday or Wednesday evenings for the Summer season and Sundays for the Spring and Fall seasons. Fields must be located within the Route I-495 belt surrounding Boston. All new field locations must be approved by the League officers.

1.9 The player registration year shall begin on September 1 and end on August 31 of each year.

1.10 The fiscal year shall begin January 1 and end on December 31 of each year.

Rule II - General Registration

2.1 The Registrars each shall served for two year terms, staggered as follows. The registrars for Division I and Division III/IV shall be elected in odd years; the registrar for Division II/III shall be elected in even years.

2.2 Registration dates and calendars for all seasons will be proposed by the officers of the League and discussed and voted upon by members of the League, during the Summer Bi-Annual meeting for the following calendar year. Registration dates and calendars will be accepted upon achieving two-thirds of the vote cast by members of the League. Each member team will receive one vote. Officers may not be allowed to cast a vote in regards to registration dates and calendars. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the officers may adjust the calendar in the event they deem it reasonably necessary to do so between the Summer Bi-Annual meetings.

2.3 An open registration period will follow the general registration and will conclude after the second week of play in each respective season. Specific dates will be set forth by the Registrar and voted on by the League.

2.4 Team representatives are required to register a minimum of eleven (11) team players on the registration date designated by the League. Teams must secure fields and provide the League with legible maps in the format required by the League (that is, with a clear map, written directions, game time, team colors and contact information) by the registration date. Any team which does not comply with the registration procedures will not be allowed to register for that season as a team entity.

2.5 A special registration period for the EMWSL Fall tournament may be established by the Tournament Committee in conjunction with the League Registrar. The details of such must be submitted in writing and approved by the League officers.

Rule III - Rules of Play

3.1 Unless otherwise noted, the FIFA "Laws of the Game" shall apply to competition sponsored by the League.

3.2 Substitution shall be unlimited in number, subject to the consent of the referee only at the following times:

  1. Prior to the taking of a throw-in in your favor or in the other team's favor if they substitute.
  2. Prior to the taking of a goal kick.
  3. After the referee stops play for an injury. Substitution is one-for-one for the injured player.
  4. After a goal is scored.
  5. At half-time.

3.3 Regulation season games shall consist of two 45 minute halves (outdoors) or two 20 minute halves (indoors), unless otherwise agreed upon by both team captains and the referee before the start of the game. If a game's start time is delayed as set forth in Rule 3.5(a), the referee has discretion to shorten the length of the game by a corresponding amount of time. There will be no overtime period except in championship or tournament games.

3.4 The home team will be responsible for providing a lined field in reasonable playing condition within regulation size limits, with corner posts and nets unless otherwise agreed upon by both teams at least one day prior to the scheduled game. Any team which fails to provide a lined field for a game shall forfeit that game, regardless of whether the referee or the other team agreed to permit the game to be played; this sentence shall not apply to a poorly lined field, but rather to a field wholly lacking lines.

3.5 Regular season games must be played on the scheduled day and on the scheduled field, unless postponed by agreement of both teams and notification of the referee Assignor and referee (or Division referee coordinator, if one is appointed by the President) forty-eight (48) hours prior to the game. Any postponed games must be rescheduled for a date prior to the close of the current season. If the postponed game is not rescheduled, it will be considered a forfeit by the team which initiated the postponement, unless reasonable effort can be shown. In the event the League maintains a web-site on which the game schedule is posted (including fields/maps), that schedule is the official schedule, subject to change without prior notice; teams are responsible for checking the schedule as posted on the web-site for changes. If a team does not show to a scheduled game or has not notified the other team, referee Assignor and referee (or Division referee Coordinator, if one is appointed by the President) of cancellation due to sudden changes during the day of the game (rain, etc.) two (2) hours prior to the start of the game, this team will forfeit the game and pay a $50 fine, which the league will use for administrative costs. This will include all other forfeits.

Any team that does not show for a playoff game or withdraws during the playoffs will be considered as forfeiting and will be fined $100 and further penalties may be imposed at the discretion of the board. Any team can opt out of the playoff games by July 15th and will not be assessed any fine.

3.5(a) No team will be allowed to cancel or forfeit more than one (1) of its games in either the Spring or Fall seasons or to cancel or forfeit more than two (2) games in the Summer season, excluding those games canceled due to unplayable weather-related conditions. If this occurs, the League officers shall have discretion to penalize the team over and above payment of the full referee fee, including by way of example and without limitation, suspending the team from the League.

3.5(b) Summer games must start at 6:15 p.m. unless otherwise agreed by the teams and the referee (or Division referee coordinator, if one is appointed by the President) has been notified. During the Fall season, games may not be scheduled to start after 3:00 p.m. Games held at Glacken field may have a 4:00 p.m. start time for the Fall Season only. Games can start if either team has at least seven (7) players. The referee may leave the field 15 minutes after the designated start time if the game cannot be started (that is, if each team still has less than 7 players.)

3.5(c) In the event a game is stopped due to weather conditions after play has begun (e.g., due to a thunderstorm), the game shall count only if at least the first half has been played; in that event, the final score shall be the score at the time the game is stopped.

3.6 Home teams are responsible for submitting game scores to the person designated by the President as soon as possible after the completion of a game. Both teams are responsible for submitting referee evaluation sheets to the person designated by the President (presently, the Division referee coordinator) as soon as possible after the completion of a game.

3.6(a) Teams are ranked into four Divisions each season. In the Summer, the Divisions shall be: Division I (premier and/or most competitive); Division II (competitive, but less so than I); Division III (competitive, but less so than II); and Division IV (most recreational). In the Spring and the Fall, there also shall be four Divisions: Division I (combination of teams that are Summer Division I and, at their option if competitive enough, upper II), which may be smaller than the other Divisions; Division II (the remainder of II); Division III; and Division IV. These Divisions may be further divided based upon the competitiveness of the teams and/or their geographic location.

3.6(b) With respect to the Spring and Fall seasons only, the team with the lowest ranking in Division II at the end of the season shall be relegated to Division III for the next season and the team with the highest ranking in Division III shall be delegated to Division II. Likewise, during the Spring and Fall seasons only, the team with the lowest ranking in Division III at the end of the season shall be relegated to Division IV for the next season and the team with the highest ranking in Division IV shall be delegated to Division III. Such relegation and delegation is mandatory. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this paragraph, the President shall have discretion in relegating and delegating teams and, without limitation, geography may be considered as a factor. Placement in Division I for any season is at the discretion of the League officers.

3.6(c) During the Summer season, the top-ranked teams in Division I shall compete in a three game dates playoff after the end of the regular season. The top-ranked teams in Divisions II and III shall participate in a two game dates play-off after the end of the regular season.

3.7 Any team seeking competition with a non-EMWSL affiliated team must schedule those games as to not interfere with any regularly scheduled EMWSL game or championship game. This rule does not apply to the extent that USSF rules give the game against the non-EMWSL team priority over League play (such as is the situation with National Cup competition games).

3.8 Any team playing an ineligible player or a player not then rostered and registered with that team shall forfeit any game in which that player played, regardless of whether the referee or the other team agreed to permit that player to play. Protests involving a dispute over whether an ineligible, unrostered, or unregistered player in fact played in a particular game must be submitted in writing to the Vice President, as Chair of the Disciplinary Committee. The Disciplinary Committee will vote on the protest.

3.9 Red cards: On receipt of a red card, the referee and both teams will notify the referee assignor (or Division referee coordinator, if one is appointed by the President). The player who receives the red card is ejected from that game and is unable to play the next game following the game in which she received the red card. The referee assignor (or Division referee coordinator, if appointed by the President) will notify the team to be played next by the team with the red-carded player on it of the suspension. A player who receives a red card as the result of a fighting infraction will be suspended for the next two games following the game in which she received the red card, and the opposing teams shall be so notified. Players may be banned from the League at the discretion of the League officers.

3.10 Teams must wear uniform shirts with numbers, and the shirts may have any length sleeve or be sleeveless provided that the bodies of the players’ shirts all are uniform. The home team is responsible for wearing alternative color shirts if the visiting team's color matches the home team's color. In that event, the alternate shirts do not need to be numbered. Players wearing knee braces shall cover them so that no metal surfaces are exposed.

3.11 Teams are responsible for splitting the cost of paying the referees and the referee Assignor. For regular season games, Division I and II referees are paid $60 per game, for Division III and IV referees are paid $55 per game and the Referee Assignor is paid $3 per game.

3.12 The President shall appoint a committee of with an even number of representatives from each Division to make decisions between the League's biannual meetings on matters not otherwise covered by these Rules, which committee is called the Competition Committee. In the event the Chairperson deems it advisable, an issue principally affecting a particular Division may be decided by the Committee members representing that Division. Division I shall have four representatives on the Competition Committee, two from year-round teams and two from summer only teams. In the event that the members of the Competition Committee have a deadlocked vote on an issue, the Chairperson shall cast the deciding vote.

3.13 In the event that the assigned referee does not show up at a scheduled game, the game shall count for purposes of League standings only if (a) the teams specifically agree before the start of the game that it will count, and (b) the teams agree on a person or persons to officiate the game, and that person(s) does so. No League game shall be played or count for any purposes unless officiated by either an assigned referee or such a substitute referee.

Rule IV - Team Responsibilities

4.1 Teams must attend all League meetings (two (2) a year). Failure to do so results in a $100 fine for each meeting missed. Any team missing two (2) meetings in a row also will forfeit their entire bond and incur a one year no-play penalty at the discretion of the League officers. They also will cease being incorporated in the EMWSL and will not be eligible for reincorporation until a representative attends two (2) consecutive League meetings as provided in Rule 5.1.

4.2 Teams that wish to continue to receive mailings from the League but do not wish to participate in League play may do so by maintaining or replenishing their bond and by submitting a request for inactive status, subject to approval by the League officers. Inactive status will be noted on the League contact list. Teams with inactive status are not subject to the $100 fine for meeting absences; however, they shall forfeit their vote on all subsequent League matters during the period that they are inactive. Whether such teams are permitted to resume play in the League is up to the discretion of the League officers; if they are permitted to resume play, they are required to attend the next scheduled biannual EMWSL meeting with full voting privileges, but again subject to the fine for non-attendance.

4.3 After one (1) full year of having been incorporated into the EMWSL, all teams shall be placed in an administrative help pool to handle seasonal duties (for example, the Fall tournament and the newsletter). Failure in any of these team responsibilities, as determined by the current League officers, will result in a one year suspension of the team or a $100 fine, at the discretion of the League officers.

Rule V - Miscellaneous

5.1 Teams will be eligible for incorporation into the EMWSL as a member after one (1) season of play and simultaneous with, but not preceding, the attendance of a team representative at two (2) League meetings. Teams will cease being incorporated in the EMWSL (i) after three (3) consecutive seasons of not playing in the League, or (ii) upon the absence of a team representative from two (2) consecutive League meetings. Notwithstanding anything else in these rules, unincorporated teams are not permitted to cast votes on any League business (such as rule changes).

5.2 By simple majority vote of a quorum present at a Bi-Annual meeting, the members shall elect persons to hold the administrative (non-officer) positions of New Player/Team Coordinator, Referee Assignor, Game Scheduler, Referee Administrator and Competition Committee Chairperson . These positions shall each be for two year terms. The New Player Coordinator, Game Scheduler and Referee Administrator terms begin in odd number years; the Referee Assignor and Competition Committee Chairperson terms begin in even number years.

5.3 The League's Board of Directors shall consist of the League's current President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Registrars, Game Scheduler, New Player/Team Coordinator, MASS Liaison, Referee Coordinator and the Competition Committee Chairperson. The President shall be the chairperson of the Board of Directors.

5.4 (a) The Vice-President shall be the chairperson of the Protest/Disciplinary Committee. The Protest/Disciplinary Committee shall consist of the Vice-President and a representative from each Division appointed by the President. If the Vice President, as chair of this Committee, is challenged on any decision, the President may ratify the decision.

5.4 (b) Game protests must be submitted in writing and postmarked within seventy-two (72) hours of the game date during the Fall and Spring seasons, and forty-eight (48) hours of the game date during the Summer season. Six copies of all protests must be mailed to the Vice President with a $50.00 fee. If a protest is upheld, the fee shall be refunded. Offensive conduct by any team, player or spectator that a team believes requires disciplinary action, may be filed within the same time period without the corresponding fee.

5.4 (c) A protest of any Board action or officers' decision shall be submitted within seventy-two (72) hours of notification of that action. If a fine is upheld or not protested, payment must be made by the next registration date. Failure to do so will void the registration of the team.