JD's 14 highlights of changes to the Laws of the Game:
1. Coin toss: Winner chooses kickoff or side to attack. Loser chooses side if winner takes kickoff.
2. Showing cards to coaches and other team officials (something we already do) is now included in the Laws.
3. Substitutes must usually leave the field at the nearest boundary line. Still have to enter at the halfway line. The pinni-exchange method of substituting is obsolete. Substitutes still have to wait to enter the field until the substituted player is off. Should result in shorter stoppages for subs. However.... most youth leagues are igmoring this guidance, so we will igmore it too.
4. On free kicks coming out of the penalty area, including goal kicks, the ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves. While opponents must still retreat outside the penalty area (or build-out line) there is no longer a requirement to wait for the ball to cross any line before touching it. This means players can rush the ball as soon as it is kicked. Should result in fewer retakes, especially for our U8s and U9s.
5. Deliberate handling is now called 'handball,' which is what most spectators yell at us already. Still has to be deliberate to be called, though we have a unique definition of what we mean by 'deliberate.' Failure to make a split-second to get your arm out of the way is still not a violation.
6. Goalkeepers only have to keep one foot on the goal line on a penalty kick. They may not touch the goal post or crossarm until the kick is taken.
7. Dropped balls in the penalty area go to the goalkeeper. No contesting for it.
8. Dropped balls outside the penalty area go to one player of the team that last touched it. No contesting for it - stay at least 4.5 yards back.
9. If the ball hits the referee and enters the goal, or team possession changes, or a promising attack starts, we will blow the whistle, then restart with a dropped ball.
10. Attackers are not allowed within one yard of a defensive wall of three or more players.
11. Goalkeepers cannot score by throwing the ball into their opponents' goal.
12. Goalkeepers who fail at clearing the ball may then pick it up, inside the penalty area of course.
13. If a team takes a quick restart before the referee has time to show a card, the referee may let play continue and show a card at the next stoppage.
14. Stoppages for verbal offenses, whether a card is shown or not, are restarted with an indirect free kick, not a PK or direct kick.
Here is a link to a document created by US Soccer to briefly (in 42 slides) explain the Law changes:
This document is intended for our returning referees who already understand the Laws, but I expect there will be a learning curve similar to our implementation of build-out lines two years ago.
Here is a link to the complete 246 pages of the Laws of the Game:
AFTER you have read these documents, please send me any questions and I will do what I can to research answers for you.