THE PITCH

Williamsburg, Brooklyn @ N. 14th & Berry

Facility rules

In order to help ensure a safe, friendly, welcoming and clean environment, every adult who registers for an event (e.g., league) at The Pitch automatically becomes an annual member of The Pitch.

Said membership, however, can be revoked  - without refund - if any of the following Facility Rules are not respected:
FACILITY RULES
  • Shoes. Only rubber cleats, indoor shoes and sneakers are allowed on the field. Plastic-molded cleats, metal cleats and tennis shoes aren't allowed on the field.  No exceptions. Ever.
  • Shin guards. Everyone must wear shin guards for league play. Our insurance requires it, and our referees' certification can be revoked if people under their watch aren't wearing shins. No exceptions.
  • Socks. For league play, socks must completely cover shin guards. This is a standard USSF rule - not something weird we cooked up. And it makes sense, from a safety perspective. 
  • Jewelry. No metal or plastic jewelry of any kind may be worn on the field. This includes rings, earrings, bracelets, nose-rings, lip-rings, and necklaces.
  • Balls. We provide top-of-the-line balls - washed daily - for all leagues, soccer schools, etc. Please do not remove any balls from the field, and please don't bring your own (dirty) balls onto the field.
  • Gum.  Absolutely no chewing-gum allowed on the field! 
  • Spitting. Any player who spits on the field or anywhere else at The Pitch but in a bathroom sink will be asked to leave the facility.
  • Food & Drinks. Food and drink may be consumed in our facility but not on the field.
  • Glass. No glass bottles, or anything else that's made of glass, may be brought in to the facility.
  • Swearing. The Pitch is a family-friendly environment, even after children out to be in bed! If any players are inclined to cuss when they miss shots or when shots get by them, they'll have to change their proclivities quickly! Repeated swearing will result in one having to leave the premises.
  • Nothing may be left on the floor, anywhere at The Pitch. Some of our staff are in wheelchairs and so must be allowed room to pass freely and quickly around the perimeter of the field. And we don't want anyone tripping on any bags, shoes, or water bottles left on the ground either. We have lockers for people's bags and other belongings. Please use them. Bring a lock or purchase one from us if you like. 
The following MATCH RULES are also crucial. Failure to follow some of them (e.g., those regarding violent conduct and respect towards officials) may result in a permanent ban from The Pitch and all New York Soccer Project leagues and events.
SHORT-FORM MATCH RULES

The following MATCH RULES apply to league play and also to pick-up / drop-in games.

  • Heading. The Pitch is a 'no heading' facility. Why, you may wonder? We like brains; we want you to have yours the next day and well into the future. More specifically: heading the ball in a small space comes with dramatically increased chances of head-to-head collisions, elbow-to-head contact, head-to-ground contact, and head-to-wall contact. It's a no brainer: no heading allowed. Sorry - pun intended!
  • Ball over head height. Similar to the 'no heading' rule, when a player kicks the ball so that it travels six feet in height or more, a free kick to the opposition team will be awarded unless the referee deems that it makes sense for play to continue (e.g., an opposition player gains the ball). The free kick will occur where the ball hits the ground. If a ball deflects up (or travels up in any other way by accident) to a point of six feet, play will continue. This rule only applies when the ball is intentionally kicked 6 feet high or more. (This rule helps to prevent head injuries, and it also helps to make the game played in such a way that's more true to its proper name: football.)
  • Slide tackling. Slide-tackling is strictly prohibited and should result in an automatic yellow card (and a red card if any contact is made - irrespective of whether the tackler won the ball in the process).
  • Tackling from behind. If you're behind someone who has possession of the ball and that person is within a body's length of a wall, you should not attempt to win the ball from them - even if you're sure you will win it cleanly, without touching them during any part of the process. Although the walls are padded, we wish to reduce the chances that someone will get tripped from behind and fall into said walls. Catch the player if you can and win the ball from the front or side!
  • Boards. The boards are live. Feel free to use them by kicking the ball into them. But they should not be used to shield the ball (e.g., a player should not place her/his hands on the wall and/or stick his/her rear out to prevent an opposition player from reaching the ball). Players should not place their hands on the boards (or on the netting) at any time unless it is to prevent a fall. 
  • Nets. If a ball hits the back netting, the restart is a goal kick. If a ball hit the side netting, it is a dead ball. Restart: kick to the opposition team.
  • Goalkeepers. Keepers can leave their penalty area but they cannot pass the half way line, and they cannot score.
  • Penalty Area. No player but the goalkeeper can enter the penalty area.
  • Scoring from attacking half. A player may shoot from her/his own half but cannot score off the shot, even if the ball deflects off others. Only a second shot, from the rebound, may count as a goal.
  • 4-person rule. No team may have all four field players in any one half at the same time. In other words, at least one defender must be in her/his own half and at least one attacker must be in the opposition half at all times. (This rule helps to ensure that the play doesn't resemble a swarm of hornets around the ball in what is effectively a relatively small beehive.)
LONG FORM MATCH RULES

RULES and REGULATIONS GOVERNING MATCH PLAY

I.  MEMBERSHIP & ELIGIBILITY TO PLAY IN WSP LEAGUES AT THE PITCH

A.  The Operating Committee shall determine, before each season, a date by which teams that played during the previous season must indicate their intention to participate in the upcoming season. This intention shall be indicated by submitting payment of League fees as set by the Treasurer and by identifying the field(s) on which the League has received a commitment for the upcoming season.

B.  After the above date, new teams and individual members will be allowed to enter the League (the latter members will be designated to their team of choice or appointed to a team by the League Commissioner). The Operating Committee shall establish procedures for the acceptance of new teams, and of individual players ('free agents') who wish to join the league but are not affiliated with an existing team.

C.  To play in WSP's leagues in the United States, all players must be 18 or over and must register as adult members of the United States Amateur Soccer Association. If players are already USASA members before joining a WSP league, there is no USASA membership fee during WSP registration; otherwise, there is a $25 surcharge to cover USASA membership fees when registering for one's first season in a WSP league). The annual renewal fee for USASA membership is $20.

D.  As stated in 'C' (above), all WSP players must be current USASA members - this includes replacement players/subs (i.e., those players a captain may bring in when a team is short on numbers for a given game). Team captains are responsible for ensuring that their replacement players are registered with USASA in advance of the match in which they wish their replacements to play. If a person intending to represent a particular team is on the field while the ball is in play and is not a USASA registered player - either through the WSP or another USASA-affiliated league - the team in question will be docked 3 points for the first offence in a given season and 6 points for a second offence. A third such offence will result in the loss of 9 points, plus the team losing its priority registration for the following season. It is the captain's (or acting captain's) responsibility to ensure that every person representing her or his team is registered with the USASA before entering the field of play.

E.  As per WSP rules and regulations concerning player misconduct (Section IV.I), WSP reserves the right to issue player-bans (from one-game suspensions to life-time bans from all WSP matches). No refunds will be given to players for games missed in the event they have been suspended or banned.

II. PLAYERS

A. No player may currently be under suspension from the League or from any other soccer organization or league.

B. Not more than five players on a team may be from a team that is currently under suspension or expulsion from the League or from any other soccer organization or league.

C. Each team must have a minimum number of players, as set by the Operating Committee and outlined on the League’s website, registered with the League one week prior to the start of each season. Players may be dropped from or added to the roster during the season, in accordance with policies set out by the Operating Committee and published on said website. No changes to the roster may be made after the halfway point of the season (the Commissioner may grant waivers to this rule in the event of an extraordinary situation).

D. Official player passes may be provided to each team representative for their respective team members. Each player pass must contain the player's name, a recent color photo of the player, the player’s birthday, the name(s) of the team(s) on which the player is registered and must be validated by the League. In such cases where player passes have been issued, a player will not be able to take the field if she or he does not have an individual player pass - unless approved in advance by the League Commissioner for an extraordinary situation.

E. A player may register with a maximum of two teams, if prior approval has been given by the League Commissioner. If a player is registered on two teams, the above player pass must indicate which team is the “primary” team and which is the “secondary” team. Players may change their primary/secondary status until the halfway point of the season by re-registering their player pass (or by obtaining written approval from the League Commissioner). If a match occurs between the two teams, the player must play for the team listed as “primary.”

F. Co-ed Requirements.

1. For 7v7 matches, two female players (not including the goalkeeper) must be on the field of play. The exception to this rule, unless otherwise noted at the beginning of the season, is in the Winter Season, when the minimum number of female players may be one. Teams are encouraged, however, to field two or more women at any given time in any season. The 'Winter' exception exists owing to the habitual difficulty of the large majority of teams to obtain a sufficient number of female players on their roster during the Winter season.

2. For 4v4, 5v5, and 6v6 matches, at least one female player (not including the goalkeeper) must be on the field of play. However, teams are encouraged to field more than the minumum requirement. 

III.  LEAGUE STRUCTURE AND STANDINGS

A. The league shall be organized into three Divisions, known as Division 1, Division 2, and Division 3, unless field access or player registration does not permit this number of divisions. Teams shall be placed into Divisions based on level of play as determined by the previous year’s record. Division 1 is the highest level, Division 2 is the next highest and Division 3 is the lowest. New teams will enter into the lowest division.

B. Each team shall be scheduled for the same number of regular season games, according to the schedule developed by the Operating Committee.

C. Winners shall be determined in each Division or Group based upon the total number of points accumulated; with teams receiving three points for each victory, one point for each tie, and zero points for each loss. In the event that two or more teams are tied in standing points at the end of the season, applying the following tie-breaking procedures, in order, until the tie is resolved shall break the tie:

 1. Head-to-head record (or record among all tied teams when more than two teams are tied);

 2. Head-to-head goal differential;

 3. Fewest goals allowed; (forfeits shall be scored 3-0);

 4. Most wins; and

 5. Coin toss (to be done by the Commissioner).

D.  Playoffs or a Cup Competition may be held within each Division following the completion of the regular season. Within a Division, each Group shall have representation in the playoffs/cup. The Operating Committee shall state by the midpoint of the season how all playoff/cup berths shall be determined.

E.  Division and Group alignments will be determined by the Operating Committee subject to the following provisions: The winner of each Group in the previous year shall be elevated to the next higher Division and the lowest finishing teams in each Group in the previous year shall be placed in the next lower Division. At its discretion, the Operating Committee may then elevate the second place team in a Group into the next higher Division and may lower the second to last place team in a Group into the next lower Division.

F. The regular season shall consist of an equal number of scheduled games for each team.

IV.                                    MATCH RULES

A.   Each player must wear League-provided uniforms with permanent visible numerals on the backs of the shirts, unless approval is given by the League Commissioner for a team or player to wear an alternative uniform. If prior approval is not given by the League Commissioner, a team must - if any player on the team is not wearing her or his team's uniform - play the first three minutes of the match with one player down.   

B. Except as provided herein, matches shall be played according to FIFA rules (and any of the following, additional rules may be adjusted according to particular circumstances, at the discretion of the League Commissioner):

1. No slide tackling is permitted, except by the goalkeeper when in her/his penalty area. Slide tackling is a yellow card offense if no contact is made with an opposition player and is a red card offence if contact is made. Players should try to avoid going to ground when shot blocking, as any contact with an opposition player resulting from a shot block attempt, other than by the goalkeeper in the penalty area, will be treated as if it were a slide tackle and consequently may result in a red card.)

2. Shin guards must be worn. If a player is on the field while the ball is in play and is not wearing shin guards, said player will be cautioned (i.e., given a yellow card) and asked to leave the field of play. He or she may re-enter the field of play when the match official permits her or him to do so. If a given player has entered the field of play without wearing shin guards twice in the same season, said player will be suspended for one match. If three or more players from a given team have entered the field of play without wearing shin guards in a given season, the team will be docked 3 points.

C.  For 6v6 and 7v7 matches, teams are allowed to substitute freely at the following times AND only after recognition by the referee (substitutions may be made 'on the fly' in 5v5 matches):

1. After either team has scored a goal, or been awarded a goal kick.

2. When the substituting team has possession of the ball on a throw-in.

3.  When a player on the substituting team has been injured (if a substitution is made, the other team may also make a substitution at this point).

D. All matches will begin at the time designated on the schedule, unless the League Commissioner approves alternative arrangements.

E.   The minimum number of players required by a team to play a match is as follows: 3 for 5v5, 4 for 7v7, 5 for 8v8 and 7 for 11v11. If a team does not have the required number of players to begin a game by 10 minutes after the designated game start time, the game is a forfeit by that team. (NOTE: Forfeits will result in a team fine of $100, which must be made payable by check or cash to the opposition team prior to the forfeiting team's next match.)

F.   Match referees shall be responsible for administering the League Rules during the match, and their decisions shall be final. If a League representative who is not a match official observes misconduct (or the breaking of any rule) that is not witnessed or dealt with by the match official, players and teams may be subject to sanctions including but not limited to the following: player-suspensions, the docking of team points, the loss of priority registration for the team, and the removal of the team from the League. 

G. For each match, the League Commissioner shall depute the necessary people to uphold these responsibilities:

1. The field must be properly lined (which may include the laying out of cones rather than actual lines.)

2. A minimum of two regulation size number 5 balls must be provided per game.

3. Nets must be provided and attached to the goal frame.

4. Goals must be anchored to the ground or weighted (e.g., with sand bags).

5. If the League Commissioner is unable to be present at League games, then she or he will designate one or more League officials to assume her or his role during said games. This role includes the reporting of any misconduct or foul play that the match official did not witness or not deal with if witnessed. [A League representative charged with reporting misconduct and foul play may not be a player registered on a given team or teams, but she or he may be a USASA-registered player who acts from time to time as a replacement player (i.e., sub) for one or more teams.] {The League Commissioner, if present at games, may also designate League representatives to assist with monitoring games for misconduct and foul play.}

H.   Any team may file a protest with the Commissioner, when it feels that a match or a part of a match has not been played in accordance with League Rules, provided that it informs the referee at the time it feels the rule has been violated and notifies the Commissioner within 48 hours of its intent to file a protest, and then subsequently files a written protest within one week of the date of the game.

I.    In addition to the standard match penalties, additional penalties shall be assessed based on the accumulation of demerits as explained below (Note: Four demerits will result in a fine of $25, to be payable by check to America SCORES):

1.  Yellow Cards count as 1 demerit when not on probation and 2 demerits when on probation. Two Yellow Cards in one game will count as one Red Card and will result in a one-game suspension.

2.   Red Cards count as 4 demerits when a player is not on probation and 6 demerits when on probation. When a player is not on probation, a red card offense carries a minimum of a one-game suspension. When a player is on probation, a red card offense carries a minimum of a three-game suspension. If the Red Card was issued for fighting, the following additional penalties will be assessed:

                  a. A Red Card for fighting, when the fighting is deemed by the Referee or other League representative to be self-defense, shall result in a one-game suspension. If the Referee (or other League representative) deems that a player had a safe opportunity to leave the situation, then the fighting will be considered retaliatory in nature; the penalty assessed will thus be the same as in 'b' (below).

                  b. A Red Card for fighting, when the fighting is deemed by the Referee or other League representative to not be in self-defense, shall result in a life-time ban from all WSP leagues.

3. Individual Player Suspensions

a. Four demerits in a season shall result in a minimum of a one-game suspension.

b. Eight demerits in a season shall result in a minimum of a three-game suspension.

c. Twelve demerits in a season shall result in a hearing before the Operating Committee, with a possible suspension of one-year or a lifetime ban.

d. Any suspension not fully served shall carry over and be served in the next season.

e. Suspensions shall apply to post-season play as well as regular-season play.

f. Demerits are not carried over into subsequent seasons; however, suspensions resulting from a previous season will carry over to a subsquesnt season.

4. Misconduct Toward Game Officials, Players and Spectators

a.  Misconduct against referees, players or spectators includes abuse or assault before, during and after the match, and during travel to and from the match and also at later times (such as when directly related to the duties of the game official as a referee). Abuse includes, but is not limited to, foul or abusive language, verbal statement (or physical act) that implies or threatens physical harm, or damage to ones’ property or equipment. Assault includes, but is not limited to, hitting, kicking, punching, choking, spitting at or on, grabbing, or bodily running into a referee, kicking or throwing any object at a referee, player or spectator that could inflict injury or damage a uniform or personal property (e.g., equipment, car, etc.).

b. Such acts as noted above, in 'a,' will result in strict suspensions, ranging from multiple games to one or more years, including a life-time ban. The League may also dock an offending player's team one or more points, especially if an offending player [players] has [have] been duly warned and/or suspended by the League for previous misconduct. Suspensions and the docking of points may result whether or not referees witness or act upon any misconduct during match play. If a Referee (or other League representative) observes misconduct that she or he thinks warrants review, the matter will be presented to the League Commissioner within 24 hours of the match's completion.

5. The League Commissioner shall notify the player of his or her suspension (and/or the player's team of any corresponding docking of points, loss of priority registration, or removal of the team from the League), in writing, within ten (10) days of receipt of the Referee's or the League representative's report. In cases of referee abuse or assault, the Commissioner may also notify the state association. The Operating Committee may increase the length of any suspension imposed by the Commissioner within one year from the incident.

6. The player or team captain may appeal to the Operating Committee, in writing, within seven (7) days of receipt of the notice of suspension, loss of priority registration, docking of points, or removal of the team from the league, using the procedure described in the League Bylaws. The above committee may reduce or extend the suspension after hearing the appeal.

J.   Any team that will not be able to compete in a match for any reason must notify the Commissioner a minimum of three (3) hours before the match in question. Failure to do so could result in team suspensions and/or team fines, in accordance with decisions made by the Operating Committee. 

K. The following conditions shall cause a team to forfeit a match (NOTE - forfeits will result in a team fine of $100, which will be payable in cash or check to the team that the forfeiting team was meant to play; the fine must be paid before the start of the forfeiting team's next game):

1. Failure to provide an appropriate uniform in accordance with Section IV(B).

2. Failure to have a minimum required number of players in accordance with Section V(D).

3. Use of a player in a match who does not meet the requirements of Section II(A), or who is not on the official team roster (which is maintained by a member of the Operating Committee) or who does not have a player pass as required in Section II(C).

L.   In the event of a forfeit, the forfeiting team shall be docked three standings points, and the winning team shall receive three (3) standing points. If the forfeiture results in a situation where referees show up and the minimum notice is not provided as per the above section, the forfeiting team shall, in addition to the aforementioned fine paid to the opposing team, pay the full amount of the referee fee for that game.

M. No alcoholic beverages are to be consumed during the game or at the field.

N.  A team shall be docked 3 points and will also be placed on probation by the League Commissioner when the total demerits amongst a given team's players reach 12 for a given season. The Commissioner shall inform a team that it has been placed on probation within one week after the Commissioner becomes aware that the probation status for that team is warranted. When team members accumulate 12 demerits, the team shall be placed on probation for at least the remainder of the season and possibly for a certain number of games - to be determined by the League Commissioner - in the subsequent season. When a team is on probation, any player receiving either a red or yellow card shall receive additional demerits pursuant to rule V(H). Additional demerits may result in a team losing its priority registration for the subsquent season, or in a team being banned for one or more seasons.

O.  Any game, which is postponed, must be rescheduled by mutual agreement of the two teams’ captains within two weeks of the postponement, or by the last day of regular season play, whichever comes first. The Commissioner must be informed of the date, time and location of the rescheduled game. If the captains are unable to reach an agreement concerning rescheduling, they shall ask the Commissioner to intervene; the Commissioner shall then the set a time, place and date for the game to be played, subject to field availability.

P.   In the event that a game, which has been started, is not able to be completed due to conditions beyond the control of either team, the game shall stand as a complete game if one half or more of the match has been played; otherwise, the match must be replayed in its entirety.

Q. The game outcome (score, forfeit, or game not played) must be reported to the appropriate recorder within 24 hours following the end of the match.

R. Replacement Players.

1. Definition: 'Replacement players' are those players that the League permits teams to bring in when teams cannot provide a full roster for a given game (i.e., they are players who are not registered members of the team for which they intend to play in a given game).

2. Replacement players may be used in a match in accordance with the following conditions:

All replacement players must be registered with USASA (through WSP) at least one business day prior to match day.

In 7v7 matches, a team must have at least 5 registered players available (or the match is foreited). With 5 regular players, that team is permitted to obtain as many as 4 replacement players. However, only 2 replacement players may be on the pitch at the same time. With 6 regular players, that team is permitted to obtain as many as 3 replacement players. However, only 2 replacement players may be on the pitch at the same time. With 7 regular players, the team may acquire 2 replacement players. However, only 1 replacement player may be on the pitch at a given time (unless two replacement players are making up the minimum number of female players required on the pitch and the team in question has no female players of its own available).

In 6v6 matches, a team must have at least 4 registered players available (or the match is foreited). With 4 regular players, that team is permitted to obtain as many as 3 replacement players. However, only 2 replacement players may be on the pitch at the same time. With 5 regular players, that team is permitted to obtain as many as 3 replacement players. However, only 2 replacement players may be on the pitch at the same time. With 6 regular players, the team may acquire 2 replacement players. However, only 1 replacement player may be on the pitch at a given time.

In 5v5 matches, a team must have at least 3 registered players available (or the match is forfeited). With 3 regular players, that team is permitted to obtain as many as 4 replacement players (for a total of 7 players). However, no more than 3 replacement players may be on the pitch at the same time. With 4 regular players, a team is permitted to obtain as many as 3 replacement players. With 5 regular players, the team may acquire 2 replacement players.

Special exceptions to the above ratios: When a team does not have any female players (irrespective of the number of regular male players available), the team may obtain the minimum required number of female players as replacements and play these female players at the same time. A male replacement player may also be on the pitch at the same time as said female players.

Sanctions when the above ratios are not followed: Any goals scored when the above ratios are not followed will not be counted. The referee will issue one warning when the above ratios are not followed. The second warning will result in a yellow card to the team captain. A third notice will result in a red card to the team captain.

To play in a cup championship match or playoff game, a replacement player must have played a minimum of one regular season game for the team she or he is playing for in the cup or playoff game.

A given replacement player can play one regular season game for a given team. For any additional game played, said replacement player must pay a pro-rated fee of $10 per game. This fee shall apply whether or not the player is a member of a team in the league/location in which the player is acting as a replacement/sub.

3. Any team that fields a replacement player without having first gained (a) the League's approval, (b) the referee's acknowledgement, and (c) the opposing team captain's acknowledgement will forfeit the game in question (which will also result in a fine in accordance with the aforementioned rules on forfeits).

4. Extra considerations: While the following are not hard and fast rules, they are guidelines to follow so that a game with replacement players is played as fairly as possible:

Captains are encouraged to NOT solicit the best players from around the league to act as replacement players.

However, as the best players from around the league may be the only ones available, captains are encouraged to do the following:

Play an 'elite' player out of position (e.g., if she or he is normally a forward, play her/him at defense).

Limit said player's time on the pitch so that he or she plays less than any regular member of the team (and this should be the obective even if the replacement player is not an 'elite' player).

If replacement players are 'elite' players or if they play on the same team as each other, either prevent or significantly limit their time together on the pitch.

Please be cognizant of the fact that, while competitive, this is a recreational soccer league and that winning should not be the principal objective in the WSP. The above rules and guidelines are in place to help ensure that games are played fairly and under a general principle of friendly competition.

S. Team captains are the only team players who should address concerns to match officials. If non-captains seek answers from referees on the nature of calls, and especially if the questioning may be construed as complaining or as dissent, these players should expect to be warned the first time; cautioned (e.g., to receive a yellow card) the second time; and shown a red card for the third such approach.