Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 32817

High School 10/20/2018

RE: Under 17

steve of oakland, CA usa asks...

why does high school feel the need to have different rules from FIFA/IFAB that all other youth leagues use? why do they make referees have to remember two sets of rules?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Steve
High School soccer is set in an educational setting so there is more to the game than just the Laws and Rules.
The differences occur because the goals and objectives of each organisation and the competition offered in each organisation are different. Education is a primary objective of the NFHS.
I would tend to look at this as Rules of Competition which is not unique in the FIFA game for Undersge, Youth etc and pick out the key differences such as cautions, timing, substitutions.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Steve
my Good friend & colleague Referee Manjone can best explain it given this is his area of expertise. In fact I hope he reprints his article describing such . My other colleague Ref McHugh touches on the educational school setting verses the competitive FIFA approach. But no one forces a referee to referee, it is a choice and as a job you take the responsibility to learn the job effectively. I find the changes are not that difficult to remember it is the mechanics that can be difficult if you switch in & out of the respective matches. As in any job do your best , show effort learn the rules or LOTG per your ROC!

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Steve,
Hopefully our colleague Referee Manjone, a long-time member of the NFHS Rules Committee, will be along to give a definitive answer to this question but in general terms I would agree with ref McHugh that the two organisations have a different 'target audience.' The IFAB tries to provide laws that are equally applicable to players of all ages in every country of the world with the main focus of their Laws probably being on the professional, adult game with, for example, provisions regarding Video Assistant Referees and Goal Line Technology that are only really applicable at this level. The NFHS on the other hand, provides rules that are to be used exclusively for games involving children of High School age.

You might want you consider that if the IFAB's Laws of the Game were written to apply only to children, they would probably be a little different to what they currently are.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

Sports rules in any contest are determined by the goals of the organization under which the contest is being held.
The primary goals in all high school sports are safety, participation and education. High school sports are considered an extension of the classroom. As a referee, you are participating in the education of the high school athlete.
Although, in my mind, FIFA goals are not as clearly defined, FIFA rules promote athlete development, scoring, and enhanced spectator appreciation. FIFA rules are made for the elite and result in development of outstanding athletes.
A rule that shows the difference in goals of the two organizations is when a player becomes injured. In high school, where safety is of primary concern, the game is to be stopped immediately. In FIFA rules, the game is stopped when the ball goes out of play or when a teammate of the injured player controls the ball. In FIFA, scoring is more important than the safety of the athlete.
Please note that many organizations other than high school have soccer rules that differ from FIFA. NCAA college rules differ, many community recreation programs differ, co-recreational sports differ, etc.
Very often during my career on Saturdays, I have officiated youth games in the morning, a high school game in the afternoon, and a college game in the evening. On Sunday, I then refereed adult league games. All of these games/matches were played with different rules. That is the challenge of officiating, and, for me, also the enjoyment.
Soccer is not the only sport where organizations have different rules. I also officiate football, basketball, baseball, softball, and volleyball. Again, there are rules differences at all levels because the governing organization has different goals.

Hopefully, this gives you a better understanding and appreciation for why there are differences and why they are. I also hope that you have a very successful officiating season.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe Manjone

View Referee Joe Manjone profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 32817
Read other Q & A regarding High School

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.