8v8 League Rules

**IMPORTANT** Unless otherwise specified, Metro East Football Association referees will follow standard FIFA laws.  We hold our referees to a high standard; however, they are not infallible and sometimes will make mistakes.  Just like we as players may make bad passes.  Let it go.  The league does not have VAR, this is not the World Cup, and the referee can only see what is in front of them.  The league rules listed below supersede standard FIFA laws and are for everyone’s safety, in addition to controlling the flow of the game.

Keep in mind, our league rules are a “living” document and will be reviewed for modifications and/or updates prior to the start of each session.  While expected to be rare, updates to the rules may be changed midseason. Should you have a suggestion or want to see something changed, please contact us.  However, before contacting us, please do two things: First, think about reasons why a certain rule is in place;  Second, do not just complain about a rule – suggest a change and back up your position.

Flow of Play:

  • Matches will consist of two 25-minute halves. At the referee’s discretion, extra time may be added for excessive time wasting or injury. There is no guarantee that extra time will be added.  Games are typically scheduled back-to-back, which limits the ability for games to run past their allotted time.
  • Each team will have 8 players on the field, consisting of 7 field players and 1 goalkeeper.
  • To ensure accurate scorekeeping and reduce possible discrepancies, team captains should confirm the score with the referee at halftime and at the completion of the match.
  • Offsides is not called. Practically speaking, “cherry-picking” often results in having a player significantly out of position.


  • Substitutions can be done on any dead ball with the referee’s attention. For most substitutions the referee will not stop play; however, at their discretion, play can be stopped for the substitution to be completed in order to not create an unfair advantage.
  • The player coming off the field must be 100% off the field before the new player comes on.
  • Substitutions that occur without the referee’s attention or during the flow of play may result in a yellow card for the player that comes onto the field.

Sliding & Slide Tackling:

  • Sliding & Slide tackling is not allowed. Sliding means that your hip and/or butt is on the ground in a deliberate sliding manner.  This does not mean you are prohibited from stretching out or going down to a knee to win a ball.
  • Any sliding, even sliding to save a ball from going out of bounds, will result in an indirect free kick for the opposing team at the spot of the foul.
  • Fouls committed due to sliding and making contact with an opposing player, will be penalized in accordance with  the standard FIFA laws of the game. In most cases, this is a yellow card offense.
  • Goalkeepers are exempt from this rule inside their own penalty area where they can play within standard FIFA laws.
  • The referee will use their discretion on intent on any play resembling a slide.

Yellow & Red Cards:

  • Three yellow cards received in the regular season will result in a one game suspension. For clarity, if a player is issued a second yellow card in a single game (and then the subsequent red card that follows), those 2 yellow cards will not count against single issue yellow card accumulation.

    Card accumulation does not follow into the playoffs, however a 3rd yellow card issued in the final regular season match will still result in a 1 game suspension, which in that case is the first playoff game their team is playing.
  • A team that receives 5 yellow cards in one game will be required to play down one player for the remainder of the game. If a 7th yellow card is reached, the game will end in a forfeit win for the opposing team.
  • All Red Cards, regardless if it is a straight red or two yellow cards, will receive a minimum one game ban. Additional games may be added on to the suspension after review by the league board. Players rostered on multiple rosters may serve their suspension their next scheduled game, regardless of team. If the red card is received while playing as a guest player, the receiver of the suspension is ineligible to play for any team in the same league* until the team for which the suspended player was playing for when they received the red card has completed the number of games equal to the number of games suspended.  In a simple explanation, if you are suspended for 1 game, that means no guest playing with other teams OR playing on a secondary team you may be rostered on; you must serve your suspension with the team you were playing for when suspended.
  • Players that receive a red card should exit the field on the opposite sideline of the team sideline.  After the booking, further interaction with either the referee or the opposing team may result in additional game suspensions.
  • Suspensions carry over to subsequent seasons.
  • Fighting (actually taking a swing at someone) will result in a minimum 4 game suspension and will be reviewed by the league board for additional game bans.

*The term “specific league” references, for example; Friday 11v11 or Sunday 8v8, each of which are specific leagues; but Sunday 8v8 Div1 and Sunday 8v8 Div2 would be considered the same league.



  • Rosters will be “locked” the day prior to the start of the 4th week of a season. You may roster up to 18 players, but cannot have more than 16 players on a game-day roster.  “House” team rosters consist of all players registered individually for the season and are not limited to the 16 player maximum.
  • You must have a minimum of 5 rostered players for your team to be considered “present”.
  • During the regular season, you may utilize a maximum of 3 ‘guest players’ on your 16 person game-day roster as long as they are league eligible players (i.e. they have a valid player card) AND you have the minimum of 5 rostered players. Guest players may not be added to the game-day roster after the start of the 2nd half of a match.
  • For the playoffs, all players playing must be rostered on the team for which they are playing. No guest players are allowed for field players. Limited exceptions can be made for absent goalkeepers. 
  • All players must be over 18 or individually authorized by the league. Female players are welcome to play; however, there is no requirement for female players to be on the field.


  • Jersey Color: Make sure every player has the correct color shirt. A light blue shirt does not pass for blue when you are playing a team wearing white. The referee may require pennies to be worn by players not wearing a proper color jersey/shirt.  The goalkeeper must wear a different color than the rest of their team.
  • Cleats: Per O’Fallon Sports Park rules, no metal cleats, baseball cleats, or football studs are allowed. Molded cleats, turf shoes, flats are all acceptable. Cleats or turf shoes are recommended.
  • Shin Guards: We do not require shin guards to be worn; however, they are highly recommended.
  • Hoods, Hats, and Glasses: If playing with a hood, tuck it into your jersey. Beanies are allowed; however, hard billed baseball caps are not.  Sunglasses are not allowed unless they are prescription glasses.


  • Please do not forfeit a game. It is a disservice to the opposing team.  Games will be recorded as a 5-0 win for the non-forfeiting team.  Repeated forfeits may require the league to implement a forfeit deposit.

Playoff Seeding & Playoff Game Overtime:

  • Seeding and seeding tie-breakers will be as follows:
  • 1) Total Points (W=3, T=1, L=0)
  • 2) Goal Differential
  • 3) Total Goals Scored
  • 4) Head to Head Results
  • 5) Total Goals Against
  • 6) Coin Flip
  • Playoff games ending in regulation-time tie will play a 10-minute overtime split between two 5-minute halves; no Golden Goal. If the game is still tied, the game will be decided by a standard penalty kick shootout.

Inclement Weather:

  • We will make every attempt to postpone games more than 3 hours in advance. Winter games will not be postponed unless road conditions and/or the playing surface is dangerous or unplayable due to ice/snow.
  • If a game is canceled, we will let the team managers know via email/text message and post the announcement to social media. Every effort will be made to reschedule games in the same time slots as the league games; however, no guarantee can be made that makeup games will follow the same schedule.