Correct Field Markings and Appropriate Uniform. It is important that games are played on fields marked in a consistent manner, and players wear uniforms according to NFHS rules. If a field is improperly marked and/or if a team wears an illegal uniform the referee shall contact the state association, who will work with school administrators to make appropriate changes. In addition, during pregame communication with school administration, game officials are also encouraged to communicate these corrective actions directly to administrators.
Understanding the Difference Between Fair, Hard Play and a Foul. Soccer is a contact sport and understanding the differences between fair and hard play and a foul that is either reckless or serious is important to ensuring fair play and the safety of the players. When a player acts with disregard of the danger to, or consequences for, the opponent, he/she should be cautioned for reckless play. When a player uses disproportionate and unnecessary force against an opponent, he/she could be disqualified for serious foul play. It is critical coaches teach players about their own safety and the safety of their opponents, and officials recognize the differences between reckless and serious and the corresponding penalties. Safety, fair play and sportsmanship should be emphasized in the pregame meeting. Communication between officials, coaches and captains should continue throughout a match, especially as the intensity increases. And when reckless or serious foul play occurs, officials should deal with the situation immediately – this kind of play should not tolerated.
Education-Based Soccer. High school athletics is education-based, and some mechanics of our game are intentionally different from other levels of soccer. The pregame meeting, for example, is a time for officials to communicate expectations to both coaches and captains. This REQUIRED meeting for both head coaches and captains should cover pertinent rules, sportsmanship, the coin toss, and properly and legally equipped players. This meeting is a purposeful start to an education-based interscholastic match.