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Game Procedures and Rules

The procedures and rules displayed below supersede all other published tournament rules. Some of our procedures and rules have been changed and updated to better enhance the competition and fairness of the tournament. All managers and coaches must read these updated procedures and rules so there is no confusion come game time.


General Rules




Tournament Sections

There will be up to 4 Flights (in some cases more) at each age level for the Invitational & College Showcase. We offer acceptance to all competitive teams. Teams can apply for a particular division based on their level of play, but final placement will be at the discretion of the Tournament Committee. The Needham Memorial Day Tournament 2 Offers 2 Divisions the following divisions:

  • College Showcase (Open to all levels of competition): Boys U16 – U19, Girls U15 – U19
  • Needham Invitational (Birth Year): Boys U11-U19, Girls U11-U19

Player Eligibility

11v11 teams may carry up to 22 eligible players on their roster including up to 5 guests. 9v9 teams may carry up to 16 eligible players on their roster including up to 4 guests. Eligibility is based on amateur and age status. Coaches are responsible for verifying and certifying their players’ amateur status. An on-line roster along with a player identification card or picture ID, or a birth certificate and picture ID will be used to verify each player’s age both at Team Check-in prior to the team’s first tournament game. The tournament reserves the right to spot check team rosters throughout the tournament weekend.  Age requirements are as follows:

Birth Year – Invitational and College Showcase Divisions

  • 19 and Under Born on/after 01 January 2002
  • 18 and Under Born on/after 01 January 2003
  • 17 and Under Born on/after 01 January 2004
  • 16 and Under Born on/after 01 January 2005
  • 15 and Under Born on/after 01 January 2006
  • 14 and Under Born on/after 01 January 2007
  • 13 and Under Born on/after 01 January 2008
  • 12 and Under Born on/after 01 January 2009
  • 11 and Under Born on/after 01 January 2010

While playing for more than one team is strongly discouraged, a player may appear on the rosters of two teams in the same age group as long as they are not in the same flight nor bracket, subject to the approval of the coaches of both teams AND one of the player’s parents. In the event of conflicting game schedules, a player appearing on multiple rosters may only play for one of the teams. Guest players may only appear on one roster. UNDER 8 POLICY Needham Memorial Day Tournament Driven by Yokohama supports Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association’s Policy Regarding Play at Under 8.  Click Here to review policy…

Game Scheduling

Qualifying games will be played on Saturday and Sunday between 7:40 AM and 7:30 PM with semi-final and championship games on Monday. A small number of qualifying games for local teams will be played on Friday evening after 4 PM. Coaches may coach more than one team as long as each team has a different, credentialed Assistant Coach, and within 1 week of acceptance into the tournament, coaches may request special consideration as to when their teams’ games are played. The Tournament Committee will endeavor to accommodate all reasonable requests; however, once the schedule has been published, no further changes will be made (unless a team drops out, field conditions change, or other issues come up that require a schedule change).


Qualified officials will officiate each game. All games for both 9V9 and 11V11 will be officiated by a referee and 2 assistant referees although the availability of qualified referees might necessitate the use of fewer linesmen at some games. The Needham Memorial Day Tournament Zero Tolerance Policy is in effect for the duration of the tournament.

Game Length/Team Colors

Subject to weather and other conditions beyond the control of the Tournament Committee, each team entering the tournament is guaranteed 3 qualifying matches (unless a team forfeits). Invitational Qualifying matches shall be 60 minutes in length (two 30 minute halves) with one 5 minute half time interval. College Showcase Qualifying matches shall be 80 minutes in length (two 40 minute halves) with one 5 minute half time interval. There will be no extension of time for substitutions, injuries or balls out of play – the play clock will run continuously. At the conclusion of each game, the two coaches and the referee will sign the scorecard attesting to the game score. Game lengths for the championship games will remain one hour in length. If any game is terminated after one half of play, the score at the time will stand and the game will be considered official. Teams named first in the schedule will be considered the home team. In the event of a color conflict, the home team must change color.

US Soccer Heading Rule

Teams playing in a U11 age group throughout the tournament cannot head the ball deliberately.  Infraction – If the ball strikes a player in the head, and if deliberate, then an indirect free kick will be awarded to the opposing team.  If the infraction occurs within the goal area, the indirect free kick shall be taken on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the infringement occurred.


In the case of inclement weather, every attempt will be made to play all scheduled games in the tournament. At the sole discretion of the tournament committee, some games may be declared a 0 – 0 tie and not made up. The following priority will be given to making up games:

  • Teams that have not yet played a game in the tournament
  • Teams that have only played one game in the tournament
  • Games that will have a material impact on the final standings; however all play is considered final even if games cannot be scheduled for a makeup.
  • All other games

If inclement weather affects your game and it is rescheduled by the tournament, the time and field location then becomes final. Failure to play the game will result in a forfeit. The lightning policy for the tournament is as follows: At the first visible sign of lightning (regardless of the estimated distance from the field) all play will be stopped and players and spectators will be asked to move to a safe location. For all games that were in progress, the game clock will continue to run. If time runs out and the game was at or past half time when play was stopped the result at the time of play being stopped will stand. If 5 minutes or less remain in the first half and the score has 2 or more goal differential the game will be declared final.  If the game had not reached 5 minutes or less before half time (in other words 24 minutes or less have played) every attempt will be made to make up the game at a later date and time. Play will not resume until 30 minutes after the last visible lightning is seen (regardless of the estimated distance from the field). When play is resumed the scheduled game closest to the time play is to resume will begin. For example, if play is stopped at 2:50 pm and restarted at 5:20 pm the teams scheduled to play closest to 5:20 pm will play, NOT the teams scheduled to play at 2:50 pm. Every attempt will be made to make up the 2:50 pm game at a later date and time. When play is stopped or resumed due to lightning it is at the sole discretion of the referees and the tournament committee and strict adherence to the above policy will be enforced by the referees and tournament officials. No appeals will be allowed. Personal safety is the number one concern of the tournament and it will supersede any game situation. If weather prior to or during curtails or cancels the tournament every reasonable attempt will be made to assure teams play but no refunds will be given.


Eligible players from the roster shall be allowed to substitute for players on the field subject to permission and signal by the referee. Substitutions may be made at any stoppage of play subject to the Referee’s Discretion. Less the than 2 minutes of play remaining in the game it will solely be up to the Referee’s Discretion. In the event of a cautioning, only the player(s) cautioned may be substituted for, (not mandatory): the opposing team is entitled to a like number of substitutions at that time. In the event of injury, both teams may substitute freely.

Maximum Goal Differential

For qualifying matches, in the event of a strongly one-sided game, the maximum goal differential that will be recorded will be 4 goals even if the margin of victory was greater than 4 goals.


All teams are expected to be at the appropriate field at the time when they are scheduled to play. In the event of a team not appearing at the scheduled time, a 1-0 win may be awarded to the opponent after consultation with, and at the discretion of, the Referee and Tournament Committee. All decisions of these committees are final.  Any team that does not play all 3 games will be ineligible for the playoffs. (In other words, even if you qualify for the playoffs after 2 games, you need to play your 3rd game)

Advancement to Championship Play

Section winners are determined by the total points earned within their section (Win = 3, Tie = 1, Loss = 0). In the event of teams being equal in points within their group after the qualifying games, advancement to championship play will be determined according to the following:

  1. Head to Head
  2. Most Wins
  3. Goal Differential (Maximum of +/- 4 goals per game)
  4. Most Goals For, Maximum of (5) goals per game
  5. Goals Against, Maximum of (5) goals per game
  6. Most Shutouts

In the case of more than a two-way tie, the above rules will be applied until one team is eliminated. The process repeats (starting at Criteria 1 each time) until one team is left. If a winner cannot be determined the following procedure will be used: Knock out competition under the supervision of the Referees’ Committee according to the “Taking of kicks from the penalty mark” procedures. Upon agreement of both coaches, the Referees’ Committee and the Tournament Committee, a coin toss may be substituted for a knockout competition. Coaches who are in contention to advance to play on Monday must consult with the Tournament Committee with respect to advancement to the Semi-Finals. The Tournament Committee, in conjunction with the Referees’ Committee, reserves the right, if necessary, to hold knock out competitions either at 7 PM Sunday evening or at 7 AM on Monday morning.


The number of teams advancing to the semi-finals is dependent upon the final schedule of the tournament. In most instances, the first and second teams in each section will advance to the semi-finals. In some instances, only section winners will advance to the semi-finals; and in some instances, there will be no semi-finals, with section winners advancing directly to the finals. If there are three sections within an age-specific division, the three-section winners advance to semi-final play. One of the three second-place teams will also advance to the semi-finals as a wild card team according to the following criteria: 1. Most points: if tied, then 2. Criteria 2 – 6, in that order, from “Advancement to Championship Play” above The wild card team will play the highest-ranked team regardless of what section they are in. Semi-final games will be sixty minutes (two thirty-minute halves) with a five-minute interval between halves unless the tournament committee determines that semi-final games need to be shortened due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. No overtime. In the event of a tie, FIFA knock-out competition rules for the “Taking of kicks from the penalty mark” shall apply.

Championship Games

Championship Monday games will be sixty minutes for Invitational games (two thirty-minute halves) with a five-minute interval between halves. It will be eighty minutes for College Showcase games (two forty-minute halves) with a five-minute interval between halves unless the tournament committee determines that championship games need to be shortened due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.   In the event of a tie at the end of regular time, two equal overtimes of Five minutes each will be played NO Golden Goal, NO Sudden Death. There will be no break between overtimes (although the players will change ends). In the event the game is still tied, FIFA rules for the “Taking of kicks from the penalty mark” shall apply. Teams will alternate kicks at the same goal, with the goal selected by the referee. Best of five, (or more, if necessary), kicks shall prevail. All eligible players, including the goalkeepers, must kick before any player may repeat. Only players on the field at the conclusion of extra time will be eligible to take kicks, these players must remain within the field of play after the conclusion of extra time. In the event that one of the two teams qualifying for the championship game declines to appear, at the discretion of the Tournament Committee, the next highest-ranked team in that division, based upon tournament record, may be substituted for the team declining to appear.

Player Safety

It is expected that coaches will keep players who have sustained injuries off the field. Referees and coaches must not allow anything dangerous to be worn that could be harmful to a player or an opponent on the field. The referee’s judgment shall determine what is safe and what is dangerous. Some examples of items that are considered unsafe (but not limited to those stated) are braces, splints, prior injuries, jewelry, hats, barrettes, and faulty cleats. Under no circumstances will a player be allowed to play with a cast of any type. There are no exceptions to this rule. The common hard-billed baseball cap is not considered to be safe. The referee must err on the side of safety and his/her judgment will be considered final. There is no such thing as precedent. Prior play, other referees, other days, other games in this tournament do not set precedent. Each game and situation is judged on its own at the time the referee makes a decision. Safety is first. Our ATC (Certified Athletic Trainers) will oversee all injuries that occur prior to, during and post games at our tournament fields. Our ATC will determine if a player will be allowed to return to play in a game or the tournament. Without a note from a licensed medical doctor, our Athletic Trainers will have final say on tournament participation.  Licensed Medical Doctors cannot determine to play with a cast or similar protective device. Concussion If our AT has determined that a possibility of a concussion has occurred then the player and parent must follow the protocol of the AT.  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 in the tournament unless a licensed medical doctor Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) has cleared the player. 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. Any coach or parent insisting on returning the player to the game without approved clearance will result in the referee or tournament official ending the match.

Player Deportment/Player Clothing

The shirt must be tucked inside shorts. Shin guards must be firmly in place and covered by socks. Non-standard attire, accouterments, and apparel must be cleared prior to the Tournament with written U.S.S.F. approval: otherwise, Rule 4 of the FIFA rules applies. The Referees’ Committee will continue to be the sole arbiter as to what is legal and what is not legal. The issuance of all red and yellow cards and other matters involving the conduct of a team, its players, coaches or supporters will be recorded and reported immediately to the home state association and the home/club league. Any player or coach ejected from a game shall be ineligible to appear in his/her team’s next game. Knock out competitions, (taking of kicks from the penalty mark), are not considered games. Assault or abuse by players, coaches, or supporters will result in an immediate suspension for the balance of the tournament based on a Referee Committee and Tournament Committee Review of the incident. If warranted notification will be sent to MYSA or home state for further action. Coaches are responsible for the conduct of their players, as well as their fans. The Tournament Committee asks for your support in helping to provide the players with safe and enjoyable games during the Tournament.

Field Marshals

Field Marshals will be present at all fields. All participants should be aware that the Marshals have the authority and right to remove any unruly or uncivil spectators from the game field perimeter and/or the field complex area.

Tournament Committee

In the event of conditions beyond the Tournament Committee’s control, final decisions with respect to game cancellations, shortenings or terminations shall lie solely with the Tournament Committee. The Tournament Committee, in conjunction with the Referees’ Committee, reserves the right to change field assignments. In addition, the Tournament Committee reserves the right to change sectional and divisional assignments in the interest of fair and balanced competition.


No protests will be considered.

Refund Policy

If a team is not accepted, the entry fee will be returned in full. If a team withdraws after being accepted, the entry fee is forfeited. If due to a team withdrawing in your bracket and teams do not receive a full complement of 3 games a partial refund will be offered to those teams. Partial Refunds are not available to teams, when a team forfeits a game but has played in the tournament.