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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 35085

Law 3 - The Players 8/27/2023

RE: Select Under 9

Bob of Cincinnati , Ohio Usa asks...

Hand ball in the box by the defense result in a penalty kick but can that team substitute their goalie with a position player before the kick

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Bob,
the answer is simply, yes they can!
In fact they could substitute a new keeper from the bench if there are no restrictions on substitutions whether or not the keeper was injured in someway.
I know often the larger talented quick players get to be the goal scorer as well as likely the best to react on shots at goal, and the winning aspect is a consideration, but it could show a lack of faith in the keeper to switch with the star Center Forward knowing why it was done and then change them out once the PK was over . . . kids know even at u-9. That said tactically it is not an unwise idea! The LOTG or rules that state the keeper must be different from the players could be waved if the shot was in extra time or there was going to be an immediate resub. Referees have no special rights to deny such a request to switch even if it was a delaying tactic, they could add time. The referee could demand the two players exchange jerseys though to conform to the LOTG to be different.

You also mention the PK was result of handling the ball, at u 9 given they cannot head the ball or be punished with an INDFK for doing so I tend to think they should NOT punish handling with anything more than an INDFK if at all . PLUS it best be a super clear no doubt stop of that ball from entering the goal. I just despise the handing call resulting in free shots at goal for being clumsy and flailing about. That though is a personal opinion nothing to do with the LOTG.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


If this was a high school game, the goal keeper can switch places with a field player for the penalty kick because the ball is dead and the clock is stopped. This is covered in NFHS Rule 3-5-1 which states: "The goalkeeper may change places with a player on the field whenever the clock is stopped or a substitution takes place provided the uniforms are legal." In high school play, goalkeeper uniforms must be different from either team. If a substitution also occurred because of an injury or card being given, the goalkeeper can also be replaced from the bench.

Most likely your high school rules, but knowing the high school rule may be of interest to you.

I hope your team has a successful season.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Bob
The answer in both FIFA and NFHS games is yes. A goalkeeper can be changed either by way of substitution if available or by an an outfield player as play has been stopped. The referee is advised of the change. Some times it is required due to an injury or a card.

Now the only question I pose is that at Under 9 is it worth the hassle and delay of jersey changes, maybe a gloves change to just make a position switch when there is no injury just putting into goal a player who may be considered a better shot saver. It may even require a change back at the next stoppage. I suspect you may have asked maybe because the referee did not allow it. I would say that most referees know this is allowed yet the referee may not have wanted the delay or the hassle to do so.
But anyway I digress and I have seen it all the way up to Under 16. After that it is rare as the nominated goalkeeper will want to stay in goal and probably outfield players do not want to .
I have seen in also in penalty shootouts at Underage where a bigger field player has been put into goal just for the kicks. Some times a team can have two goalkeepers on the team and one may play outfield so a change can be a tactic.

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