Laws Of The Game: AYSO/Region 20 Modifications


Laws Of The Game: AYSO/Region 20 Modifications

The “LOTG” and IFAB

The “Laws of The Game” (LOTG) are used around the world to keep “the beautiful game” fair for everybody. The International Football Association Board (IFAB) was founded in 1886 and is the body that determines (and updates/makes changes to) the LOTG. The IFAB is known to take a highly conservative attitude regarding changes to the LOTG.

The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), recognizes the IFAB’s jurisdiction over the Laws. FIFA formed in 1904 to oversee international competition (now made up of 211 national football/soccer associations) and is known as the sport’s top governing body.

Sometimes the wording of the LOTG can be confusing, and there are occasionally changes that are made to the Laws (that deserve at least a yearly re-read) but in the “Region 20 Referee Corner” we will try to clarify the important concepts behind each of the 17 Laws, especially the ones you will tend to have to deal with frequently out on the field.  Please follow our discussions/explanations of the LOTG and how they apply to youth soccer in our region. Also, if you ever have a question about the content or correct application of a rule, guideline or law please feel free to reach me at:


The idea behind the LOTG is that “the game [will be] essentially played and refereed the same way on every football field from the FIFA World Cup Final to the smallest village” (including the tiny Village of Santa Monica with fields like Clover Park, Marine Park, Lincoln Middle School, McKinley School, Will Rodgers Learning Community, and John Adams Middle School).

AYSO has been authorized, by the IFAB, “to modify all or some of the following organisational areas of the Laws of the Game for football,” in order to make the game more age-appropriate for our younger players and to “promote participation and enjoyment” from the grassroots level up.

AYSO, therefore, incorporates 5 modifications to the Laws:

  • Law 1–the Field of Play: Size of the field of play and size of the goals–depends on age/division
  • Law 2–the Ball: Size/weight/material of the ball–depends on age/division
  • Law 3–the Players: AYSO small-sided games and the use of “return substitutes”
  • Law 7–the Duration of the Match: Duration of the two (equal) halves of the game (and two equal halves of extra time)–are age/division specific

Modifications: The LOTG, AYSO and Region 20

Region 20 AYSO is made up of several different Age Divisions and each division has somewhat different rules and guidelines that it follows to optimize the game for younger players.  Go to the following link for the 5U-14U Division Guideline Table

Please note that some of the modifications will differ from other regions (outside of Santa Monica/Region 20) and also from some of the guidelines proposed by National AYSO and USSF. These differences are partially due to Region 20 field availabilities/equipment resources (size of field of play and goals) and the number coaches and players (roster sizes, number of players on the field, use of goalkeepers, use of the Build Out Line, etc.) participating in the Region. Every year the Region 20 Board of Directors gather to discuss and fine tune the Division Guidelines in order to best utilize our resources and optimize the soccer experience for our young players. If you have any questions about the Guidelines please let me know: