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Phoenix Desert Cup

Rules of Play:

FIFA Laws of the Game will apply as modified by USYSA and AYSA as described herein.

Duration of Games and Overtimes, by Halves; all ages will play with a size 5 Ball:

  • All Divisions U13 – U19 – Duration of games 35 minute halves
  • Championship Games will be 35 minute halves
  • Games can end in a tie at the end of regulation play.
  • Half Time: Half time will be exactly 5 minutes OR shortened/extended at referee discretion.

Substitutions: Free substitution will be allowed in all age groups. However, teams may substitute only with the referee’s permission and only at the following times:

  • Prior to a throw-in by the team in possession
  • Prior to a goal kick, by either team
  • After a goal, by either team
  • After an injury on either team when the referee stops play
  • At halftime
  • On a caution, only the cautioned player may be substituted at that time


The home team as appears first on the game schedule will supply the game ball, unless supplied by the Tournament.  The game ball will be subject to Referee approval. The Home team will be required to switch to alternate jerseys to accommodate a color conflict as declared by the referee. If the Home team cannot supply alternate jerseys, the Home team will forfeit the game. The Home and Visiting teams will sit on the designated side of the field marked for teams

Spectators must side on the opposite side of the field across from their team’s bench.


It will be at the Referee’s discretion to determine the safety and suitability of player equipment including the wearing of an orthopedic cast or hard brace. Shin guards are mandatory for all players.

  • Players must wear numbers on the back of their uniforms and these numbers shall coincide with those listed on the team’s roster.
  • Where uniform colors are similar, the designated home team will change colors. Home team is listed first on the schedule.
  • Both teams will take the same side of the field. All other supporters will take the opposite side. Only three (3) carded team officials are permitted on the sidelines with their players.
  • No one is permitted behind either goal/end line.
  • Spectators must remain behind the spectator line and coaches must remain in the coaches’ area.
  • All teams should arrive at their field 30 minutes prior to the scheduled kick-off time.
  • The home team will provide the game ball.

Orthopedic  casts  are  not  permitted;  however,  soft  braces  can  be  worn  with  written approval  from  a  doctor,  and  judgment as to safety is at the discretion of the referee, the ultimate authority is the referee.

It is the policy of the Phoenix Desert Cup that no player be allowed to wear ANY jewelry while participating in any sanctioned match.  The only exception that may be allowed is a medical alert bracelet or necklace when taped to the body.  The referee shall make the decision as to the safety of the player and the referee’s decision is final.


Halftime will be exactly 5 minutes, unless the center referee or Site Director determines that halftime should be shortened/extended due to unforeseen delays in scheduled match start times, extended break due to injuries, weather conditions, etc.



Weather permitting, each team is guaranteed a minimum of 3 matches, with a maximum of two matches per day. The following formats will be used.  The Tournament Director may modify formats as necessary.  Teams affected by such changes will be notified of the appropriate rules for the associated format.


Divisions will consist of two groups of four teams.  Each team will play the others within its group for a total of three matches.  The group winners will then play in a Final.  There is no consolation match.


Divisions will consist of 2 groups of 3 teams.  Each team will play the others within its group and one cross over game for a total of 3 games.  The group winners will play in a Final.  There is no consolation match.

Odd Number Brackets

Due to odd number brackets, a Wild card will be awarded to play in the finals.  See below for details on Wildcard.


In group play, there will be no overtime matches. Standings in a group will be determined by the following:

Match Points:

  • Three (3) points for a Win
  • One (1) point for a Tie
  • No (0) points for a Loss
  • Three (3) points for a Forfeit Win (scored as a 2-0 Win)

In the case of a tie in group standings, placement will be determined by:

  • Head to head result
  • Most Wins
  • Net goal differential, maximum 6 goals per match
  • Goal Against
  • Goals Forward
  • If a two-way tie exists after steps one through four, FIFA Kicks from the Penalty Mark will be taken fifteen minutes prior to the scheduled start of the Final match.

If a multi-way (three or more) tie exists after steps one through four, steps two through four will be applied to attempt to eliminate one or more teams.  If one or more teams can be eliminated in this manner, steps one through four are again applied to the remaining teams.  If these procedures do not resolve the remaining tie, FIFA Kicks will be taken after a draw by the Tournament Committee.  For the draw, the following rules will apply.  In a three way tie, the first team drawn will receive the bye; the remaining teams will participate in a shootout with the winning team competing against the bye team in penalty kicks to determine the group winner.  The bye team will be the home team.  In a four way tie, the Tournament Committee will draw the four teams into two FIFA Kicks contests whereby the first two teams drawn will be paired and the second two teams will be paired. The winners of these contests will shoot-out to determine the overall winner.

In a odd team bracket, the wildcard will initially be determined by the team with the highest point total.  In the event of a tie, the tiebreaking procedure for the determination of group winner will be utilized.

The tournament reserves the right to adjust pairings in the consolation round.  The tournament will also reassign wildcard teams to prevent a replay of a group play match in a Semi-final match.  The wildcard team will be passed to the group winner with the highest point total.  In the event of a tie between group winners, the wildcard team will be passed to the winner of Group B.


AGE DETERMINATION: the player’s playing age is determined by the following USYS guidelines for 2016/2017.

Age Division                           Birth Year                  Maximum Roster               Guest Player Limit**

Under 19 Girls/Boys               Born in 1998                            22                                            6

Under 18 Girls/Boys               Born in 1999                            22                                            6

Under 17 Girls/Boys               Born in 2000                            22                                            6

Under 16 Girls/Boys               Born in 2001                            22                                            6

Under 15 Girls/Boys               Born in 2002                            22                                            6

Under 14 Girls/Boys               Born in 2003                            22                                            6

Under 13 Girls/Boys               Born in 2004                            22                                            6

Players may not play for more than one team in the tournament.


If the referee (or assistant referee) believes that, in his/her opinion, a player has suffered a head injury or possible concussion, the match must be stopped IMMEDIATELY. The injured player if able to leave the field on their own must be escorted to their coach and the coach must be told that the player cannot return for the duration of the match. If a trainer is brought onto the field because the player is incapacitated, the referee must still notify the coach that the player cannot return to the game. It is the responsibility of the coach and the player’s parent(s) or legal guardians to seek medical attention. The player may not resume participation until he/she has been cleared by a medical doctor. The Referee HAS NO FURTHER responsibility beyond removing the player from the match in which the player was injured. The referee crew must ensure, that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES or due to the appeal from any coaching staff that the player is allowed to return to the game.


All Coaches have total responsibility for the conduct of their players, substitutes, and spectators at all times. Coaching from the sidelines, giving direction to one’s own team on points of strategy and position, is permitted, provided:

  1. No mechanical devises are used;
  2. The tone of the voice is instructive and not derogatory;
  3. Each coach or substitute remains within (10) yards on either side of the halfway line;
  4. No coach, substitute, or spectator makes derogatory remarks or gestures to the referees, other coaches, players, substitutes, or spectators;
  1. No coach, substitute, or spectator uses profanity or incites, in any manner, disruptive behavior


A Player or coach receiving two cautions (yellow cards) in a single game is considered to have been given an ejection (red card) for the purposes of awarding points for the Tournament competition. A player who has been ejected (sent off) will not be replaced. A player or coach who has been ejected will not return for that game (The Tournament will follow the AYSA Red Card Standards & Procedures).

A player or coach who assaults a referee will be expelled from the Tournament. For the purpose of this Tournament a Coach can be carded.  All Send Off Reports will be sent to AYSA following the tournament.

When a player receives a last game red card, the player pass must be pulled and sent, along with the referee report, to the State Office (AYSA).

For U.S. Teams, each State Association will be notified of any disciplinary action taken or required to be taken. For Foreign Teams, The Federation will transmit the disciplinary action taken or required to be taken to that team’s provincial or national association.

The Tournament will conform to the established guidelines as set forth by the State sanctioning body (AYSA)

Showcase Offences:

Second Caution – 1 game suspension

Foul or Abusive Language directed at anyone other than a game official – 1 game suspension

Serious Foul Play – 1 game suspension

A more Serious Foul Play – 2 game suspension

Violent Act – 3+ game suspension

Foul or abusive act or language towards official – 3 game suspension



If in the opinion of game officials a game must be suspended (for any reason), the game may be resumed, but is subject to being ended not less than (5) minutes prior to the start of the next scheduled game. If in the opinion of the game officials, a game must be terminated for misconduct of players, coaches, or spectators, the offending team could be suspended from further player and forfeits that game and all remaining games. All previous points earned remain as played. Additionally, the home league and State Association will be contacted as appropriate.


Any player who is involved in a fight for any reason will be ejected from the tournament. Any player, coach, or spectator who enters the field during a fight will be ejected from the tournament regardless of the reason for entering the field. If more people are involved in a fight than the referee can clearly identify, the match will be terminated and the entire team or teams will be ejected from the tournament.

Any player who removes their shirt or does anything else to avoid identification before, during, or after an altercation will be identified by whatever means possible, will be ejected from the tournament and may cause his/her team to forfeit the match and face expulsion from the tournament.



Coaches are responsible for the conduct of their players and fans. Referees have complete authority during all matches and will not allow abusive or profane language or threats. If, in the opinion of the referee, a match must be terminated due to serious or persistent misconduct, the match will be abandoned. The team or teams at fault may be suspended from further play and/or required to forfeit all points previously earned, according to the judgment of the Tournament Director. Tournament Representatives, referees, and other volunteers are not expected to accept verbal abuse from anyone. If the Tournament Director determines that there has been excessive verbal abuse, he may expel a team from the tournament. An expelled team has no right to refunds, awards, or other considerations.

Additionally, upon check-in, each team will be required sign a code of conduct.

There will be trash barrels at each field.

It is the coaches’ responsibility to make sure that both sidelines are cleaned up after each match.

No alcoholic beverages or glass containers will be allowed on or near any of the tournament fields.


It shall be solely the team’s responsibility to determine the status of its players.  Any suspension from  a tournament, local league,  etc. is the responsibility of the team to notify the Tournament Director of this suspension at the time of the player’s check in.

Red Card suspension or send off suspensions can only be served with the team with which the suspension was earned in games played by their team. Players may not serve suspensions as “guest players.”

The Discipline Committee will review and rule on all reports of unacceptable conduct by players, manager, coaches, referees, spectators, etc.

All players and managers/coaches shall be subject to USYS/AYSA – Discipline and Sanctions.

A  player,  manager,  or  coach  ejected  will  have  an  automatic  minimum  one  (1)  game  suspension  regardless of  the cause  of  the ejection.  Duration of suspension is cumulative based on further misconduct after receiving the initial dismissal.

The referee(s) are in jurisdiction of the match while in the vicinity of the game. Players and bench personnel may be issued a Red Card either before or after a game.

A coach or spectator who is ejected must leave the field of play area a minimum of 100 yards immediately. Failure to comply will result in suspension from the entire event and jeopardize inclusion into future events.

Coaches serving suspensions may be located on the spectator side of the field but may not coach or communicate with the team in any manner; players serving suspensions may sit with the team but may not be in uniform.

Depending  on  the  severity  of  the  unacceptable  conduct,  the  Discipline  Committee  may  recommend  the  suspension  of  up  to  the duration  of  the  tournament  with  further  disciplinary  action  by  the  appropriate  National  and  State  Association,  Federation  or  any other  USSF  affiliated  organization.  The  Discipline  Committee  recommendations  will  be  available  to  the  affected  parties  no  later than before their next scheduled game.

A complete report will be sent to the AYSA Review & Discipline Committee within seventy-two (72) hours of the conclusion of the tournament for possible further discipline and/or forwarding to the appropriate State and National Association.


Delays of the game due to injury will result in appropriate time being added to the full game time, based on the judgment of the referee. However, all preliminary games will be terminated not less than (5) minutes prior to the scheduled start of the next game. Rules state:

“No player shall be allowed to play in any match with an injury which can be aggravated by playing or which constitutes a danger to others. No player wearing an orthopedic cast shall be permitted to play in any match. No player shall be permitted to wear anything in a match that could cause or aggravate injury to either the player himself/herself or to any other player.” The referees have responsibility for the safety of players on the field. If a referee determines that a cast, splint, bandage, or dressing is unsafe, the wrapping must be changed and approved by the referee or else the player will not be allowed to play.

CONCUSSION/HEAD INJURY:  Report immediately to closest field marshal and/or athletic therapist for examining, ambulance/hospital will be on call.


A team shall be allowed a fifteen (15) minute grace period after the scheduled kick-off time before the match is awarded to their opponent. A minimum of seven (7) players constitutes a team and if (7) players are present; the game will not be delayed.

In no case shall a team, which forfeits a game, be declared a group winner. If an apparent group winner forfeits a game, the team in that group with the next best record shall be named the group winner. In addition, in divisions where the second place team of one group plays the first place team of another group in the semi-final game, in no case shall a team, which has forfeited a game, be declared the second place team in a group. The team with the next best record in the division shall be declared the second place team and play in the semi-final game.

If a team is the cause for termination of a game, that team will be considered to have forfeited that game. The determination as to which team is the cause for the termination shall be at the sole discretion of the referee on the field and the decision may not be protested.

A forfeit shall be awarded to the opposing team as three (3) points for a win. The score for all forfeited games will be recorded as a 2-0 result.


In the event of inclement weather, the Tournament Director reserves the right to modify all tournament rules to fairly and safely complete the tournament. The health and safety of players is our first priority.  The Tournament has an obligation to protect the fields and facilities that are being used for tournament play. All decisions will be based on field conditions with input from the Parks and Recreation departments of the city. DO NOT CALL FOR INFORMATION. We will work diligently to keep you informed.

Regardless of weather conditions, players and coaches must be on the field at the scheduled time, ready to play.

In case of inclement weather or field conditions, games may:

Be shortened – The Tournament Director may reduce the length of matches due to weather conditions before the start of a match; all such matches will be considered official.

Be shortened – The Tournament Director may reduce the length of halves due to weather conditions before the restart of a match once delayed due to weather; all such matches will be considered official.

Be re-scheduled (time and location determined by Tournament Director)

Go to “Taking of Kicks from the Penalty Mark.” (time and location determined by Tournament Director)

Be canceled – the tournament committee has the right to cancel any match that has no bearing on the scoring and progression of tournament play.

If the Tournament Director rules that during the preliminary round “Taking of Kicks from the Penalty Mark.” will be done due to inclement weather or field conditions, the following rule will apply:

  • Each team will take a maximum of five (5) penalty kicks.
  • At the end of five (5) kicks the game will be scored as a 1-0 win for the team that has scored more penalty kicks, or a 0-0 tie if both teams are tied in penalty kicks at the end of five (5) kicks
  • In the overall standings, 3 points will be given for the win, 1 point for a tie and 0 points for a loss
  • The 1-0 win in penalty kicks will not be counted for or against to determine the tie breaker for advancement
  • If regular games have been played in the bracket and the Tournament Director has determined that other games go to penalty kicks due to inclement weather or field conditions, the regular games score will revert back to a 1-0 win or a 0-0 tie.
  • If penalty kicks do not take place due to extreme weather, the game will stand at 0-0.

Only referees or duty manager can suspend a match already started due to weather conditions. Duration of any suspension will be determined by the Tournament Director.

In case of extreme weather (heat/humidity), a break will be given at the midpoint of each half of regulation time and at the end of each overtime period (if played) for player hydration. This break will be given at a normal stoppage of play and it is mandatory for any sanctioned match during which the air temperature is or is expected to reach eighty-five (85) degrees.


  • Any teams accepted and paid and decides to withdraw at any point will not receive a refund.