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Soccer Tournament Rules & Laws of Play

Play will be governed by the FIFA Laws of the Game, except where amended by USYSA Rules of Play, The State Soccer Association Rules of Play and/or the tournament rules. We will be using the FIFFA Laws of the Game 2019/2020 edition. A player may play on multiple teams during the tournament. Any ineligible player discovered will cause the team on which he/she played for to forfeit all games already played. 

Updated Laws of Play

- At a goal kick and a free kick for the defending team in their own penalty area, the ball is in play when it is “kicked and moved”, i.e., it can be played before it leaves the penalty area.

- For defensive walls, attacking team players must be at least 1 yard away from the defensive wall.

- On dropped balls, the ball will be dropped for one player of the team that last touched the ball at the point of the last touch. All other players must be at least 4.5 yards away.

- On the coin toss at the start of the match, the team that wins the toss can now choose to take the kick off or which goal to attack.  


OFFSIDE-Cherry picking rule

- The Halloween Cup will be the first indoor tournament to apply the offside (Cherry Picking) rule. No goal will be allowed from offsides in any of the tournament games. 


Team, Players and Coaches Credentials 

Players must be registered to the team making application. Teams must be registered and paid in full prior to the beginning of their first game. Teams may have up to 2 guest players; guest player forms will be required. Player picture identification cards are to be present and available at all matches. A player can play on multiple teams during the tournament. A roster on a certified roster form by your league certified by your leave of play must be submitted before or at tournament check in.


Any team participating must carry valid 2020-21 player’s passes. All player and coach passes must be laminated. All teams are also required to carry written medical releases from parents/ guardians in case emergency medical care is necessary.


Foreign teams or a team coming from a CONCACAF nation: Players must present passports at registration or, if from a nation that the United States does not require a passport, proof of entry into the United States that is required by the United States. Teams are also required to have player picture identification cards. You must also have the required completed form from your Provincial or National association approving the team’s participation in the tournament. 


Home Team

The home team will be responsible for wearing an alternate color jersey, if necessary, as determined by the referee. The team listed first in all rounds shall be the home team.


Teams must have matching uniforms, and should have numbers on the back of jersey. Goalkeeper must have a different color, preferably not black. If team colors conflict the “Home” team is responsible for changing colors. All player equipment is subject to Referee approval. All players must wear shin guards and the referee has the right to request players to put on shin guards that are sized properly. 


4-TEAM BRACKETS (one four-team bracket): Bracket play is round robin games with each of the other teams in the bracket.There are no play offs and no championship games. Tournament winner is decided after the bracket is played.


5-TEAM BRACKETS (one five-team bracket): Bracket play is round robin games with each of the other teams in the bracket (each team gets four games). The high point team is the Champion.


6-TEAM BRACKETS (two three-team brackets): Each team will play 2 group games. The four high point teams (two from each 3 team bracket) will advance to the semifinal games. The 2 low point teams (one from each 3 team bracket) will play in a consolation game. The winners of the semifinal games will advance to the Championship game.


8-TEAM BRACKETS (two four-team brackets): Bracket play is round robin with high point teams in each bracket (one from each 4 team bracket) advancing to a Championship game.


10-TEAM BRACKET (two five-team brackets): Each team will play 3 round robin games within their bracket. The highest point total team from each bracket (one from each 5 team bracket) will advance to the Championship game. If there is a tie for points in a bracket, please refer to Tournament Tiebreakers.


12-TEAM BRACKET (two six-team brackets): Each team will play round robin games with three of the other teams in the bracket. The two high point teams (one from each 6 team bracket) will advance to the Championship game. If not enough teams have registered for a specific age bracket the Tournament Director and Committee reserves the right to combine age group brackets. 

Point System and Bracket Winners: 

Bracket winners will be determined by the following point system:


Win - 3 (three) points

Loss - 0 (zero) points

Tie - 1 (one) point

Shutout - 1 (one) point


A team that forfeits a game will give up 3 (three) points to the declared winner of the game and shall not advance to a final match. The match will be scored as a 4-0 win for the declared winner. If a team is not scheduled for three bracket games, that team's point total will be prorated based on the number of scheduled games played. Point total thus determined will not be rounded off.


U9/U10 teams will receive trophies as awards. U11-U16 team player awards will be given to the players on the teams finishing first and second. 


If at the conclusion of bracket play, two or more teams have the same point total, the following tiebreakers will be applied in the order listed until a team is eliminated. Once a team is eliminated, winners amongst the remaining teams shall again be determined by the tiebreakers in the order listed starting with head to head competition.


1. Head to Head

2. Goals Scored Minus Goals Allowed (Max. diff. of 4 goals – ex. game score of 7-1 would be scored 5-1)

3. Goals Against

4. Goals For (Max 4)

5. Most Shutouts

6. Fewest Red Cards

7. Coin toss (To be done with only both coaches present) 


U09 - U12 – during course of play without referee notification. Unlimited.

U13 - U18 – during course of play without referee notification. Unlimited.


GAME LENGTH - All games for all age groups in all brackets are 27 minutes long. 

Red Cards

The player(s) receiving the Red Card and the Coach must report to Tournament Headquarters following the game. Player will be suspended for a minimum of 1 game. The suspension may be increased depending on the severity of the incident. 


Referee Abuse 

Referee abuse will not be tolerated during the tournament. Referee abuse by the player, coach, or fan will be reported to their Home State Association within 48 hours of the end of games. The player, coach or fan will be removed from the soccer complex and will not be allowed to return. 



The Halloween Cup will do its best to schedule a minimum of three (3) or more games for each team. However at the Tournament Director’s discretion, the number of games may be reduced. The tournament is not liable for any expenses and no refunds for the tournament application fees will be given except under the circumstances listed below:


a) No games played: 75% refund of entry fee

b) 1 game played: 50% refund of entry fee

c) 2 or more games played: no refunds will be given


All refunds will be sent to the club treasurer or identified team contact. 

Playing Conditions 

Teams will be expected to play according to the schedule of games regardless of weather. Only the Tournament Director(s) may reschedule games or alter the competitive format because of inclement weather or other just cause. Games shall be considered complete if one half has been completed and play is stopped by the Field Representative or Referee, Referee Director or the Tournament Director(s). When necessitated by playing conditions or just cause, the game format may be altered to include shortening of games, penalty kicks or coin tosses. 

Inclement Weather/Unplayable Field Conditions 

In the event of inclement weather, the Tournament Director and Committee reserve the right to modify all tournament rules in order to safely and fairly end the tournament successfully. Games may be shortened or eliminated in case of inclement weather or unplayable field conditions. Coaches, team managers and spectators are asked to be patient and remain flexible – changing the format of the tournament is a major undertaking.


The referee and/or Tournament Director may temporarily suspend play due to unsafe weather conditions. Teams should remain (safely in cars or under shelter) in the vicinity until game resumption. If lightning alerts are issued, the referee will immediately suspend play and clear the field. Play will resume once it is deemed to be safe to do so. 

Teams, Players and Coaches 

All teams and players must be affiliated with the USYSA or a sanctioned affiliate. Players may be registered to any teams playing in the tournament. Player passes and roster may be checked prior to each match. 

Game Roster

After check-in/registration, teams may not alter their rosters or make additions/subtractions at any time. 

Team Discipline

A coach is responsible for the words and actions of his players and their fans. Verbal abuse of the opponents or referees by players, coaches or spectators will not be tolerated. Violations may result in forfeiture of the game and/or expulsion from the tournament.


A red carded player and his/her coach must report to tournament headquarters immediately after the game in which the card was given to determine the player's status for subsequent games. Decisions will be based upon the rules of the New York Youth Soccer Association, the sanctioning organization for the Halloween Cup. 


Protests must be presented in writing by the head coach to the tournament headquarters within one hour of the completion of the game, and must be accompanied with a $100.00 cash bond, which will be returned only if the protest is upheld. Only protests that concern the Laws of the Game and ineligible players will be considered. Referee judgment will not be a basis for protests. Decisions of the Tournament Director are final and may not be appealed. 

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