When the 2012 soccer season kicks off throughout Frederick County, there will be two significant rules changes implemented by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
The first is the elimination of the so-called soft red card. When a player receives a second yellow card during the course of a match, the player will be disqualified from the game and his or her team will no longer be allowed to substitute another player. In the past, a team was allowed to sub on for the disqualified player.
“I don't think it will change too much with what we're doing,” Walkersville boys' soccer coach Kevin Conley said. “I think that caused more headaches before anyway because not all counties abided by that regulation anyway. I think giving it the continuity across the state is a good thing.”
In addition, players who deliberately handle the ball in their own penalty area to prevent a goal will be disqualified only if the attempt to deny the goal is successful. If the attempt is made, but a goal is scored, there will be a yellow card issued. In the past, a player was disqualified for attempting to stop a goal from being scored by illegal means regardless of whether or not it was successful.
Conley said this rule isn't as cut-and-dry.
“As far as the handball goes, that will be a little bit more of an interesting situation,” he said. “If there's a handball that stops the ball from going in and that guy can get ejected, that might be a little different. But that's not something that's real common anyway, so we'll see what happens.”
Two of the significant rules changes prior to this season were intended to improve the level of sportsmanship displayed by players, according to the NFHS, an umbrella organization that oversees scholastic sports rules across the nation.
“The Soccer Rules Committee continues to focus on improving the level of sportsmanship in high school soccer,” said Mark Koski, NFHS director of sports and events and liaison to the Soccer Rules Committee, in a press release.