Tournament Rules

16th Annual Palm Beach Cup Tournament Rules 2024

pbsa log

1. Team Eligibility:

This tournament is open to all USSF affiliated teams comprised of properly registered youth players (as defined by the rules of their “National  Organization”) in all age groups U9 through U19 both boys and girls as indicated on tournament approval form, provided that such team is in good standing with its state youth association.

National organization teams will be certified by their state association by this definition based on the USYSA application to host tournaments, cups, and games as a club team which is “a travel or competitive team composed of players who are listed on the team’s roster of league play and which includes guest players from one or more Club teams.”

It shall be the responsibility of the national organization or the appropriate official designated by each national organization to certify the eligibility of the competing teams and to provide such teams with a state generated roster, permission to travel and proof of insurance.

2. Player Eligibility:

National organization players must be legally registered to their teams in accordance with national organization registration requirements. National organization player passes must be current and valid, indicate player’s name, national organization registration number and date of birth (birth certificate certified), and have a current photo I.D. NO REGISTERED OR GUEST PLAYER CAN PLAY WITHOUT A VERIFIED PLAYER PASS. The age classifications are as follows:

Age DivisionEligible BirthdatesAge DivisionEligible Birthdates
U9Born on or after 2015U14Born on or after 2010
U10Born on or after 2014U15Born on or after 2009
U11Born on or after 2013U16Born on or after 2008
U12Born on or after 2012U17Born on or after 2007
U13Born on or after 2011U18Born on or after 2006
  U19Born on or after 2005


3Playing Up Guidelines

FYSA teams must follow FYSA Rule 211.3 which states:

“It is FYSA’s policy that all players compete at a level they are capable of both physically and developmentally.”

  • Players up to U8 age groups will be allowed to roster up to two (2) years provided they have a parent permission and approved by the Club Board of Directors.
  • Players in the U9 to U14 age groups will be allowed to roster up to two (2) years, subject to the restriction that no player may participate in a FYSA sanctioned competition in which heading is permitted before their eleventh (11th) birthday.
  • Players in the U15 and older age groups will be allowed to roster up to any older age groups.

Non-FYSA teams must follow guidelines set by their National Governing Body (NGB). In no case can U8-U14 players play more than 2 years up without the approval of the Tournament Committee.

Each team will be allowed to have guest players who are properly registered through their National and State Association, Federation or any other USSF affiliated organization. FYSA teams and players must follow FYSA Rule 208 “Guest Playing” and will not be allowed to guest play with or have guest players from a non USYS affiliate organization.

Crossover between USSF affiliates and FIFA Federations will be allowed except as stated in FYSA Rule 208. Guest players must have permission to participate/travel from their National and State Association, Federation, School or any other USSF affiliated organization.

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

4. Game Schedule:

Teams will be assigned to groups based on information provided on
their tournament entry applications and up-to-date performance
information available to the Tournament Committee.

Team pairing, field of play, game times shall be decided by random
draw within each playing division with possible adjustments only to
secure equity and team/coach time conflicts known in advance. The
Committee reserves the right to make any schedule changes it deems
appropriate for the proper administration of the tournament and the
safety of the players, coaches, and spectators.

Each team will play a minimum of THREE GAMES (weather permitting) in
the Preliminary Rounds. The schedule will provide for no more than two
games per day in this round. The Championship Round will consist of a
single elimination, championship game.  USSF registered referees will
officiate all games and will be assigned by a certified Tournament
Assignor in accordance with FYSA and FSR assignment procedures.

RED: 9U – 19U Single Age Group
Brackets: The Red Division is for highly competitive teams
(State/Regional  Leagues,  Division I teams in Florida, out-of-state,
and international teams)

BLUE: 9U – 19U Single Age Group Brackets: The Blue
Division is for competitive Division 2 travel teams in Florida,
out-of-state, and international teams.

WHITE: 9U – 19U Single Age Group Brackets: White
Division is primarily for Developmental Level Division 3,  Division 4,
AYSO and new travel teams seeking comparative competition.

5. Pre-Tournament Procedure:

Each team coach or manager must present his/her team’s official national
organization roster (i.e. FYSA official roster, U.S. Club official
roster), players’ and coaches’ passes, guest player forms, and medical
releases for validation at the pre-tournament team check-in. 


Thereafter, a confirmation email will be sent by Tuesday May 7, 2024 with your approved roster.

6. Pre-Game Procedure:

The Field Marshal and/or Referee will conduct a pre-game check-in as follows:

  1. Verify the identity of each player with each player pass and confirm
    that all players present are listed on the roster. During the game, the
    Field Marshal will hold all passes.
  2. Players’ uniforms and equipment will be checked, and color conflicts
    resolved. Each team is expected to have two sets of jerseys. In case of
    color conflicts, the home team (listed first on the schedule) will
    change jerseys.

A player may be challenged by an opposing coach/manager only at the
pre-game check-in. Challenged players will be noted by the Referee on
the game report but will be allowed to play in the game as long as they
hold a valid, verified player pass and are listed on the validated
roster. A challenged player does not automatically constitute a game
protest but may serve as the basis for protest, should one be submitted.

No player will be allowed to participate without a valid, verified
player pass (with picture and all required signatures), or without
required equipment.

A player who arrives after the pre-game procedure can become eligible
to enter the game by showing his pass to the opposing manager/coach who
may challenge him/her at this time and any referee or assistant referee
who will check his/her equipment.

Each manager/coach must have a valid pass. If a team’s coach/manager
is ejected and there is no additional coach or manager with a valid pass
to continue, the game will be stopped by the referee and will be
declared a forfeit. In no case will a team be allowed to participate
without a properly registered coach or manager.

7. Concussions & Headers

  1. Pursuant to Florida Statutes (FS 943.0438) Florida in 2012 enacted a very stringent head injury and Concussion Law.  If the referee (or assistant referee) believes that, in her/her opinion, a player has suffered a head injury or possible concussion, the match must be stopped IMMEDIATELY.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. In conjunction with US Soccer and US Youth Soccer, FYSA will be instituting a heading ban for players age 10 and younger (2007 and younger).

In this tournament, U12 and under playing 9 x 9 will be non-heading and U12 playing 11 x 11 will allow heading.

All players must be 11 years old to play in the 11 v 11 (U12) game.

8. Laws of the Game:

All games will be played in accordance with the FIFA “Laws of the Game” except as modified below:

 Law I  Law II  Law III  Law VII 
Age DivisionThe Field of PlayGoalsMarkingsBall SizeCircum. (inches)Weight (oz.)Maximum # of players on fieldMaximum # on RosterMaximum Guest PlayersDuration of GameChampionship Game
U13 through U19RegulationRegulationRegulation#527-2814-1611226

2 x 30 min for U13 & U14

2 x 35 min for   U15 – U19

2 x 35 min for U13 & U14

2 x 35 min for U15 – U19

U12 (playing 11 x 11)RegulationRegulationRegulation#527-2814-16111852 x 30 minutes2 x 35 minutes
U11 & U12


55 x 70 yards

7 x 21 feet2/3 standard width#425-2611-1391652 x 30 minutes2 x 30 minutes
U9 & U10


40 x 60 yards

6 x 18 feet2/3 standard width#425-2611-1371242 x 25 minutes2 x 25 minutes


a) LAW I – The Field of Play – See chart above.

b) Law II – The Ball See chart above

c) LAW III – Number of Players – See chart above

U13 and Older Maximum Eleven (11) – Minimum Seven (7) per side per FIFA

U11 and U12 Maximum Nine (9) – Minimum Six (6) per side

U09 and U10 Maximum Seven (7) – Minimum Five (5) per side

U13 and Older Match roster shall have a maximum of 18 players.

Substitutions shall be unlimited except as indicated below. A substitute must be at the point where the halfway line intercepts the touchline between the two (2) technical areas before the stoppage of play and can enter the field only after receiving permission from the referee or assistant referee at the following times:

  1. Prior to his/her own team’s throw-in.
  2. Prior to a goal kick by either team.
  3. After a goal by either team.
  4. At the beginning of the second half or overtime periods, where applicable.
  5. At the referee’s discretion in the event of injury (both teams).

d) LAW IV – Player’s Equipment: Players equipment shall meet these requirements regardless of the rules of their home state or national association:

  1. All players must wear protective shin guards (worn beneath their game socks) at all times during the game.
  2. Teams will wear uniforms of matching color and design with easily distinguishable number on the back. Goalkeeper(s) jersey(s) must be distinguishably different than his/her or opposing team’s field jerseys. Teams should bring two jerseys to every game. In the event of a color conflict, the designated home team (listed first on the schedule) will change jerseys.
  3. It is the policy of FYSA that no player be allowed to wear ANY jewelry whole participating in any FYSA 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.
  4. Players wearing orthopedic casts of any kind shall not be allowed to play in any game. However, soft braces can be worn with written approval from a doctor, and judgment as to safety is at the discretion of the referee. FYSA rules will override all other regulations except that of the referee who at his/her discretion can refuse to allow that player to play. A player may be removed from a game if at any time a referee determines that he/she is using or is attempting to use the brace to injure another player.

e) LAW V – Referees: Following each match, a referee will complete and submit a USSF Game Report, supplied by the Tournament, including the game score, cautions and ejections issued, and any unusual occurrences. Coaches or managers may register a complaint in writing only if it involves misapplication of the Laws of the Game. This written complaint must be received by the Tournament Committee within 30 minutes after the conclusion of the match in question. There will be no extension of this deadline. No complaints will be entertained, in writing or otherwise, addressing opinion or judgment of the referee.

f) LAW VI – Assistant Referees: Two assistant referees will be used for matches U11 and above. For U9 and U10 (7v7 matches) a single center referee with no assistant referees is all that is required but the tournament will attempt to have a full crew on all matches dependent on referee availability. In the event one or both assigned assistant referees fail to appear, the referee Assignor must find suitable assistant referees. The game will be played as scheduled and will be official.

g) LAW VII – Duration of Game:  See chart on prior page. Half time will be 10 minutes long, discretion to shorten lies with the referees. The referee will blow the whistle at 8 minutes to signal the teams to move on to the field. The referee will give a verbal 1 minute warning at 9 minutes. The referee will start the clock for the second half after ten minutes, even if the teams are not ready play. During the Preliminary Rounds, no time will be added for injury or weather. The game is considered final after the end of the 1st half if the 2nd half is delayed or canceled due to weather or any other reason determined by the referee or tournament officials. Ties will stand at the end of regulation play of all Preliminary Round games, no OT.  For Semi-Finals and Championship Round games, the winner will be determined by two (2) 5 minutes overtime halves, followed by penalty kicks, if necessary. U9 & U10 will not play overtime. They will go directly to penalty kicks.

h) LAW VIII – Punting:  U9 & U10 age divisions – Goalkeeper punts are not allowed to cross the mid field line without first contacting the defensive half of the kicking team first. The offended team shall be awarded an indirect kick from the midfield line.  REFEREES – PLEASE NOTE THIS RULE!

i) Law 9 – 10

No change per FIFA “Laws of the Game”

j) Law 11 Offside

No change per FIFA “Laws of the Game”. 7v7 – The build out line will also be used to denote where offside offenses can be called. Players can be penalized for an offside offense between the build out line and goal line.

k) Law 12 Fouls and Misconduct

No changes per FIFA “Laws of the Game” with the following exceptions:

1) Deliberate heading is not allowed in age groups U12 and  younger.

2) If a U12 or younger player deliberately heads the ball in a game, an indirect free kick should be awarded to the opposing team from the spot of the offense.

3) If the deliberate header of a U12 or younger player occurs within the goal area, the indirect free kick should be taken on the goal line parallel to the goal line at the nearest point to where the infraction occurred

4) U11/U12 (9v9) matches an indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team at the center spot on the halfway line if a goalkeeper punts or drop-kicks the ball in the air from his/her penalty area into the opponent’s penalty area.

5) U9/U10 (7v7) field will have build out lines. Build out lines will be equal distance from end line to halfway line All opposing players must move behind the build out line once the ball is in possession of the Goalkeeper or there is to be a Goal kick.

6) U9/U10 (7v7) matches the goalkeeper may pass, throw or roll the ball to a teammate located within the build out line. If the punt occurs within the goal area, the indirect free kick should be taken on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the nearest point to where the infringement occurred.

7) Opponents must stay outside the build out line until the second touch on the ball. A keeper dribbling the ball will be considered a second touch.

l) Law 13-17

No changes per FIFA “Laws of the Game”

8. Control of Sideline Conduct:

Players, substitutes, coaches, managers, and team supporters are expected to conduct themselves within the letter and spirit of FIFA’s fair play and sportsmanlike conduct. The Tournament Committee has the final authority and responsibility to remove any person(s) from the tournament premises for any conduct deemed by the Committee to be unsporting and initiate disciplinary action by other authorities.

In addition to this general conduct overview, these specific rules will apply to this tournament:

a) One side of the field will be designated for the sole use of the players, coaches, managers, and equipment of both teams. Each team will choose one side of the halfway line. While the game is in progress, all substitute players of a team must be seated on their bench and the movement of coaches and/or managers is restricted according to the Laws of the Game.

b) Tactical instructions are permitted as per the Laws of the Game. Referees’ decisions in an ejection will be enforced with the ejected person being removed from the field. Ejected players must be removed to the check in tent and remain there till the conclusion of the match. The ejected player must remain at the check in tent till such time as they can be released into the care of an adult responsible for their care. Ejected Team staff must leave the park facilities and can NOT have any communication directly, through phone or text with any further teams under their care during any further matches while the ejection and/ or suspension is in effect during this tournament.

c) Absolutely no coaching by anyone is allowed from the opposite side of the field or behind either goal line.

d) Spectators and fans are to remain behind the restraining line or within three (3) feet of the touch line, on the opposite sideline. Under no circumstances is anyone to enter the field of play during a game without referee permission.

e) Coaches and managers are responsible for the behavior of their parents and fans. The referee, at his sole discretion, has the authority to terminate any match for cause.

9. Post Game Procedure:

  1. Both teams for courtesy should congratulate each other practicing social distancing.
  2. The referee will inform both teams of the official final score.
  3. The referee will report the score to the Field Marshal and complete the Official Game Report. The Tournament Team Packets and completed Game Report will be returned to Tournament Central at the conclusion of each game.
  4. Each team is responsible for the removal of all trash from their bench area.
  5. In the event of ejection(s), the pass(es) will be attached to the game report. The referee will complete the Game Report as soon as he finishes his current officiating tour and submit it to Tournament Central. Ejections will be forward to the Discipline Committee for immediate review and resolution.
  6. Leave the soccer complex immediately after the game. No grouping of players post game.

10. Discipline and Sanctions – FYSA Sections 502 & 504.1

The Discipline Committee will consist of three (3) members and will review and rule on all written complaints and Game Reports of unacceptable conduct by players, coaches, managers, officials, spectators, etc. using the FYSA standards as set by Rule Section 502.  The findings of the Discipline Committee are final. The following standards will be applicable:

  1. A player, coach or manager ejected or sent off the field will be suspended at least one game regardless of the ejection.  Duration of suspension is cumulative based on further misconduct after receiving the initial dismissal.
  2. Depending upon the severity of the violation or unacceptable conduct, the Committee may rule suspension for the remainder of the tournament and recommend further disciplinary action by the appropriate governing state or national association.  The Discipline Committee recommendations will be available to the affected parties no later than before their next scheduled game.
  3. Violation of local, county, state, and/or federal laws could result in legal prosecution.
  4. Per FYSA Rule 504.1, 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.”
  5. 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.

11. Tournament Rules – Behavior:

These rules are designed to maintain appropriate control of the tournament’s activities for the enjoyment and safety of all involved:

  1. Cautions (yellow cards) and ejections (red cards) will be enforced in accordance with FYSA rules and guidelines.
  2. The issuance of all cards and any conduct requiring subsequent reporting (i.e. gross misconduct of a team, its players, coaches, managers, and/or supporters) will be recorded and provided to FYSA within 72 hours of tournament completion.

12. Seeding Round I Game Points:

For Seeding Round I, teams in each age division will be assigned to a group of either three to eight teams. Each team will play either solely within its group or play crossover games with another group in the same age division and level. Teams will accumulate points in Round I based on the following:

3 points for a win

1 points for a tie

0 points for a loss

For placement purposes, ties in point total will be broken as follows:

1st:Head-to-head competition (not applicable if more than 2 teams tied on points)
2nd:Goal differential (total goals scored less goals allowed) with a maximum differential of +/- four (4) per game
3rd:Least goals allowed
4th:Most goals scored with a maximum of four (4) per game
5th: Penalty kicks per FIFA rules Taking of Kicks from the Penalty Mark
6th:Minus 1 game point for each Red Card/Send-off (applicable to Coaches or Players)

Where there are more than two teams involved, elimination will continue in the above priority to final resolution. The Tournament Committee will rule on disputes.

Mercy Rule: If the winning team reaches an eight (8) goal differential, the referee will mark that score as the final game score.

13. Determination of Championship Round Team Placement:

Team placement will be based solely upon Preliminary Round performance and ranking including the use of the point system and tie-breaking system if necessary. The format for team placement for this round will be based on the number of teams in the age division (see game schedule section), some examples are below:

Bracket of 4 Teams – after Round 1

Played in a single group of four teams in a round robin format
Two Teams with the most points play for championship.

Bracket of 5 Teams – after Round 1

Played in a single group of five teams with all teams playing each other once. The teams with the most points will be declared as the Champion. The team accumulating the second most points will be the Finalist.

Bracket of 6 Teams – after Round 1

Played as two groups of three teams. Each team will crossover and play three teams in the other group. The two teams with most points (Wildcard 1 and Wildcard 2) from all six teams will play for the championship.

Bracket of 8 Teams – after Round 1 (two brackets)
Winner of each division will play for championship.

Division winner will be determined by adding points for games played within the division; cross over game points will be counted for determining division winner.

14. Determination of Age Division Champions:

Each Championship Game will result in a winner either at the conclusion of regulation play, two (2) five minutes overtime halves, or by penalty kicks if the game is tied at the end of regulation play. No overtime for U9 & U10.  The single elimination format provides for only the winning teams of each game declared the champion.

15. Forfeits and Delay of Start:

A team shall be allowed a 15-minute grace period from the scheduled kick off time before the referee calls the game.  A forfeit is constituted if a team fields less than seven (7) players for U13 – U18, five (5) players for U11 & U12, and four (4) players for U9 & U10.  In such instances, the Committee will award a 3:0 forfeit to the team on the field.

16. Protests:

The tournament Committee shall have a Protest Committee of no less than 3 members that will review and rule on all protests. No persons who would benefit by any decisions of the Protest Committee shall have any vote with reference to the protest. For a protest to be considered, the following procedure must be followed:

  1. No protest of referee judgment, discretionary calls or game performance will be accepted;
  2. Verbal notification of intention to protest must be given to the Tournament Director immediately after the game;
  3. Protest must be in writing by the manager/coach and be delivered to the Tournament Director no later than 30 minutes following completion of the game or incident, and must be accompanied by a non-refundable cash fee of $50.00;
  4. The Protest Committee will review and rule on the protest and render a final decision no later than the beginning of the next scheduled game for teams involved in the protest;
  5. The decision of the Protest Committee will be final.

17. External Conditions, Weather, Lightning, Etc.:

In the event unusual conditions necessitate rescheduling, curtailing, shortening or canceling games, the Tournament Committee has the absolute authority to make changes to best serve the interests of the tournament as a whole keeping in mind the need to identify winners by a certain period of time. The referee has the sole authority on suspension or termination of any match as a result of adverse weather.

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 proceed as follow:

  • 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
  • May 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.
  •   May be rescheduled (time and location determined by Tournament Director)
  • May go to FIFA “Taking of Kicks from the Penalty Mark.” (time and location determined by Tournament Director)
  • May 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 five (5) penalty kicks. All 5 kicks must be taken by both teams.
  • At the end of five (5) kicks the game will be scored based on the results of the penalty kicks. The game score will be posted as 3-2.
  • In the overall standings, 3 points will be given for the win, 1 point for a tie and 0 points for a loss
  • The score of the penalty kick match will be counted for or against to determine the tie breaker for advancement Only referees or assigned officials can suspend a match already started due to weather conditions. Duration of any suspension will be determined by the Tournament Director.

18. Award Ceremonies:

Following the completion of the Finals of each Championship, the two finalists shall present themselves at the awards area to receive individual and team awards.

19. General:

The Tournament Committee, FYSA, and/or the Palm Beach Soccer Academy will not be responsible for any expense incurred by any team due to the cancellation in whole or in part of this tournament.

  1. The Tournament Committee and/or the PBSA’s interpretation of the forgoing rules and regulations shall be final.
  2. The Tournament Committee and the PBSA reserves the right to decide on all tournament matters and has the responsibility to uphold any previous suspensions imposed by the local state association or the USYSA.

20. Refund Policy:

After a team has been accepted into the competition, NO REFUND WILL BE GIVEN should the team decide to withdraw from the event.  Tournament entry fee returns/refunds will be granted as follows:

  1. Within five (5) days after notification that the team is not accepted by their application
  2. Within five (5) days upon cancellation of the tournament
  3. Within ten (10) days of withdrawal request of the application by a team prior to acceptance of that application by the tournament
  4. If not enough teams are realized within a single age group, the Tournament Director shall notify the participants as soon as possible.  The participants will be given the option to play up or to receive a full refund.45 days post tournamen