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GSL - Rules

League Management

The Goal Soccer League (GSL) is managed by the Regions and Area of AYSO 5B.  The Commissioners and acting Area Director are responsible for operating this middle school program and maintaining a current set of rules.  GSL encourages open communications with coaches/managers participating in the program and welcomes feedback on ways to improve the program.

Formation of Teams (includes Public and Private School Teams)

Each coach/manager is responsible for the formation of their school’s team.  Teams will register their players and coaches/staff with AYSO Area 5B and will be allocated to a region near their school.  This will cover the insurance of both the player and volunteer.  It will also include the background check on the coaches and staff.

Listed below are some specifics on the formation of teams:

  • This program is for players in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades.  GSL will allow a school to register a few 5th graders in certain circumstances. 
  • Teams can be formed of players from AYSO Core/Alliance/United program, Club teams, or new to soccer. Team formation is left up to the sole discretion of the coach/manager of each team.
  • Players must play for the school they attend.  If a school does not have a team that season, then a player can try out for another school close to their community.  This player is only allowed placement on the team if the team is short on players and no player from that school is cut for this placement.  Any player from another school that is placed on your team must be approved by GSL management.  (See Request to Transfer Teams).
  • Rosters can have up to 20 players.
  • Players are only allowed to play for one team. 
  • Players and Teams are ONLY allowed to participate in one (1) middle school soccer league per season.  Dual enrollment in other middle school soccer leagues or circuits such as (but not limited to) KISL (Knoxville Independent Sports League) and TACS (Tennessee Association of Christian Schools) is prohibited.  
  • Coed teams are allowed in the boy’s spring season.  Girls are only allowed to play during the boy's spring season if the team is short on players and no boy player from that school is cut for this placement. All girl teams are not eligible to play during the boys season.
  • If a school has more than one team, players cannot be added from other teams to form one tournament team.  Changes in rosters are not allowed once the season has begun including changes for the tournament.

Home School Students

  • All rules listed above regarding team formation apply.
  • Home Schooled players can try out and can only be placed on teams where they would be zoned for under the same guidelines as players with no school team. Document of address/zoned school will be checked at registration.  Home School players can also try out and play for their umbrella school as long as they meet the participation requirements and can provide proof of eligibility from the umbrella school in which they are registering for.
  • Players are only allowed to play for one team.
  • Home School Players are ONLY allowed to participate in one (1) middle school soccer league per season.  Dual enrollment in other middle school soccer leagues or circuits such as (but not limited to) KISL (Knoxville Independent Sports League) and TACS (Tennessee Association of Christian Schools) is prohibited.  

Team Placements

  • Coaches will have input on the placement of their teams in the bracket system.
  • The group will review as needed to see if a team needs to be moved.
  • The group will look at various formats/history as needed to place teams.
  • The main focus is that team is placed in a fair bracket to help them with development and enjoyment of their soccer experience.


Coaches/Team Managers will have all players register under the AYSO Area 5B site and note which team they are on.  These players will be placed onto a team roster and matched with the rosters submitted by coaches for accuracy.  All Players, Coaches and Staff will register in AYSO’s Sport Connect System.  Coaches will have access to a team page where they can communicate with there teams by various methods (email, text, etc).  To help with team communication we suggest that parents register their players.  This will help give parents access to the team schedule.


GSL encourages Coaches and staff to be trained to help in the development in the players on their team.  Training/certifications from other organizations are accepted.  Each coach and staff will need to complete Safe Sports, AYSO Safe Haven, CDC Concussion Training and State of TN Cardiac Arrest Training.  Starting in 2019, US Soccer will offer the Safe Sports Training to all their members for free.  GSL is a member and will help coaches access this online training when available.  If Coaches would like training opportunities please contact your Region’s contact or GSL management.

Practice Fields and Time

Once players, teams and coaches are fully registered they can begin practicing.  AYSO’s insurance can cover venues outside of AYSO Regions in case of an injury.  For practice fields outside an AYSO Region, please contact GSL Management to get the venue covered and a certificate of insurance.  Our teams will be made up of players from various organizations or clubs.  Please be considerate of their time when scheduling practices during the week and on weekends.


  • Games will be scheduled on Monday and Thursday nights.  Conflicts and makeup games may cause games to be rescheduled on other nights. 
  • Games will be scheduled at 5:30 pm or later.  Teams can decide to move game times to allow for travel issues/weather.
  • Coaches must contact the other team’s coach/manager to confirm games at least 2 days prior to the scheduled match.
  • Canceled games need to be made up during the season.  If you need to cancel a game please make sure the other team is notified including the referee scheduler and league management. 
  • Teams listed as Home Teams are responsible for making sure they have a field to play on for that game.  Home teams need to make sure the fields are safe and lined, nets on the goals and corner flags are placed.
  • Home team is to secure a certified and trained Center Referee.  A team has the option to provide additional officials as Asst. Referees.  Parents can serve as neutral Asst. Referees.
  • Players must be properly dressed for the game including shinguards.  No jewelry or casts (any types) are allowed.  Referees have the final say on whether some items are a safety issue.
  • Only approved and registered coaches are allowed in the coach’s area.  There should be 2 coaches present at all events.  Registered team managers can stand in for a missing coach.

Rules of the Game

  • Referees will use High School Rules of the Games to officiate all matches.  Format will be 11 v 11 and games will be 35 minutes halves with a halftime break.  The Referee will determine if playing time needs to be lessened to get the match completed.
  • Substitutions: Unlimited at all legal times once acknowledged by Referee.

Reporting Scores

  • Coaches or assigned team manager will need to email all scores within 24 hours to [email protected].  
  • We ask that each team confirm the posted score for accuracy.
Scoring and Sportsmanship

One topic that comes up each season concerns certain teams running up a score where they win by 10+ points in a game.  GSL wants teams to compete but to show good sportsmanship in every match.  We encourage each team to find ways to slow progression if they reach an 8 point lead over their opponent.  

In some cases, the referee may enforce the high school rule pertaining to a 9-goal differential.  The rule states, "If a 9-goal differential has been reached at halftime or at any time during the second half, the game shall be terminated."  GSL does not want to see this rule used so it is important that teams take steps to show good sportsmanship by allowing the game to end at the normal regulation time.

We are not trying to punish teams or tell players they can not score.  However, teams that constantly show evidence of excessive aggression during a game in regards to scoring could jeopardize their standings in their bracket or tournament.


Our top priority is to provide players, coaches, staff and parents with the best soccer experience.  One major factor to achieving this is with good sportsmanship.  Coaches must encourage good sportsmanship and show that by their actions.  Players need to remember they are representing their school’s community and display good sportsmanship before, during and after the match. 

Disciplinary Actions

  • Players that are red carded during a match could be subject to not playing in their next played game. 
  • Coaches and parents removed from the field could be subject to not participating in their next played game.
  • GSL management will create a group to review such incidents.

GSL Tournament Rules:  GSL - Tournament Rules
The Tennessee Board of Education nor any Tennessee School Systems are not affiliated with this program.

National Partners

Contact Us

American Youth Soccer Organization Area 5B/Goal Soccer League (GSL) Middle School Program

PO Box 345 
Powell, Tennessee 37849

Email Us: [email protected]
Phone : 865-680-7243
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