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Sunburst 2023 Rules and Regulations




Player Equipment

Team Composition, Age and Eligibility




Length of Games


Semi-finals and Finals Matches 

Determination of Flight Standings 


Refund of Registration Fees

Miscellaneous Regulations

Inclement Weather



  1. General

All Tournament matches will be played in accordance with the “Laws of the Game” as issued by FIFA, unless modified herein. The following statements of Rules and Regulations supplement the “Laws of the Game."


Official tournament balls will be provided, and must be used for all matches throughout the tournament.


Full sided shall refer to U13 (2010) and older teams.

Small sided shall refer to U8 (2015) through U12 (2011) teams.

Small sided is further divided into:

7v7 for U8 (2015) through U10 (2013), and

9v9 for U11(2012) through U12 (2012).


The size of the fields and goals will be whatever the physical and logistical arrangements permit.


1st and 2nd place medals will be awarded to U8-U19 teams.


All referees will be U.S.S.F. registered.


Three-person referee crews will be utilized for all U11-U19 games, where possible.

U8-U10 games will utilize a 1-person referee.


  1. PLAYER EQUIPMENT                                           

    1. No metal cleats are allowed on soccer shoes.  No players may play with a cleat on the front of their shoes.

    2. All players must have uniforms with individual numbers on the jersey; every player must have a unique uniform number.

    3. When the color of the jersey is similar or identical, the designated home team (the first team listed on the schedule) will change jerseys. In playoff games, the team with the most points/highest ranking will be the visiting team.

    4. No jewelry (including earrings) may be worn by any player.

    5. Players wearing hard casts are not allowed to play under any circumstances. No exceptions will be permitted.

    6. Shin guards must be worn at all times by all players.

    7. Except where noted above, it will be at the Referee’s discretion to determine the safety and suitability of player equipment.


  1. TEAM COMPOSITION, AGE & ELIGIBILITY                                

    1. Age -Players must be born during or after the year indicated by the Age Divisions in which they are to compete as defined by New Jersey Youth Soccer for 2022-23 Travel Teams.

    2. Roster & Player Card Verification - Each team must be registered with a National State Association affiliated with US Youth soccer, or US Club Soccer and must present an approved and valid Official State or US Club soccer roster. Authorized player passes will be verified and compared to the “official team roster” at registration.

    3. Teams Not Based in New Jersey - Teams from outside of New Jersey must have a “Permission to Travel Form” signed by their Association if required.

    4. Member passes and official approved rosters must be present at the field for the duration of the game.


  1. Rules


A. REGISTRATION                                                      


Teams will register for Sunburst at the tournament's GotSport registration page.  Teams are required to submit payment at the time of registration and will be charged once their team has been accepted into Sunburst.  Only credit cards will be accepted. 


Mandatory Electronic check-in (E-check in) will need to be done to complete registration; no in-person check-in will be made available. Instructions and a deadline will be made available to team coach/contact prior to the Tournament for E-checkin.


Failure to complete E-check in will result in automatic disqualification and teams will need to contact the Sunburst coordinator to discuss refund elegibility. If a team is unable to complete an E-check in, they will need to contact tournament organizers.


B. CREDENTIALS                                                        

Only E-check in will be utilized for the mandatory registration check-in.   Teams must provide the required credentials.  All U.S. teams must provide USYSA or US Club Soccer Player I.D. Cards with photographs, an official roster, and signed medical release forms.  Teams from outside NJYSA must also provide approved travel papers which must include a roster listing all players authorized to travel. Proper player loan forms will be required at registration along with other required credentials, as required by the team’s State Association or US Club Soccer.



  1. Rosters submitted at registration for U-13 and older teams (full-sided) cannot exceed 18 players. Rosters for U-8 through U-10 cannot exceed 14 players.  Rosters for U11 and U-12 cannot exceed 16 players. Once a roster is submitted at registration, it cannot be modified during the tournament.
  2. A maximum of five (5) guest players is allowed per team. Any team utilizing guest players is still limited to the eighteen, sixteen or fourteen player maximum.
  3. Players can only be rostered for one team in the tournament.  Any team fielding a player who has played for another team during the Tournament will be disqualified from those games in which that player is used.
  4. All players and coaches must have a validated player’s card for the current year.
  5. All players must have a medical release form at registration.


C. SUBSTITUTIONS                                                    

Substitutions are unlimited at the following times:


  1. Either side's throw-in

  2. Goal kick

  3. After a goal is scored

  4. Half-time

  5. At the beginning of an overtime period

  6. After an injury when the referee stops play, substitutions may be made on a one-for-one basis for the injured player(s). The opposing team may substitute one player for each injured player for which a substitution is made.


D. LENGTH OF GAMES                                                                                                                                                            

  1. Full-sided games will have 30-minute halves.

  2. Small-sided games will have 25-minute halves.

  3. Half-time breaks will be no more than five minutes.

  4. If a game starts late, it may be shortened by the referee to finish at its scheduled time.

  5. If at least one-half of a game is completed, and is canceled for any reason before its scheduled completion, the game will count with the score at the time of cancellation being official.

  6. Games terminated during the first half will be considered a 1-1 tie regardless of the current score.  


E. ADVANCEMENT          

  1. Flights with 8 Teams that have two Divisions of four Teams

    1. Each team will play three within-division preliminary round matches.

    2. Teams will be ranked in their respective divisions according to Rule G and the top team in each division will meet in a playoff for 1st and 2nd place. Consolation games will be played by the remaining teams against the team in the corresponding place in the other division.

  2. Flights with 6, 7 or 8 Teams with 1 Division

    1. Each team will play 4 of the other teams. First and second place teams will be determined by Rule G.

  3. Flights with 5 Teams

    1. Each team will play the other 4 teams. First and second place teams will be determined by Rule G.

  4. Flights with 4 Teams

    1. Each team will play the others in a round robin format.

    2. The first and second place teams as determined by Rule G will meet in a playoff game for 1st and 2nd place. The 3rd and 4th place teams will play a consolation game.

  5. Formats may be altered at the discretion of the tournament committee.                                                            



  1. If a tie exists in a semi-final or final game, FIFA penalty kicks will determine who advances or is awarded the medal. Penalty kicks will immediately follow the game.

  2. Penalty kicks will decide the outcome, as follows:

    1. Only the players on the field at the end of regulation are eligible to participate in the penalty kicks.

    2. The referee shall decide the goal at which all the kicks shall be taken.

    3. The team winning the coin toss shall kick first.

    4. No player may shoot more than once until all eligible teammates have taken a kick.

    5. Each team takes five (5) shots, alternately.  The team scoring the most goals wins.

    6. If the score is tied after five shots by each team, the taking of shots continues, utilizing the remaining players on each team, alternating until one team scores more than the other does.

    7. Other than the shooter and the two goalkeepers, all eligible players must remain in the center circle while the shots are in progress.  




Teams will be awarded points on the following basis:


  1. Six points for a win.
  2. Three points for a tie.
  3. One point for a loss.
  4. One point for each goal scored, maximum of 3 pts awarded.
  5. One point for a shutout
  6. One point deducted for red cards
  7. Three points deducted for exceeding the maximum goal differential of 6 goals. (See Mercy Rule, below.)


At the end of the preliminary rounds, the flight winner shall be the team with the most points in their flight. In the event of a tie, the following criteria shall be used to determine the winner:


  1. Head-to-head results. If three or more teams are tied, proceed to next criterion.

  2. Most wins.

  3. Goal differential.

  4. Goals against.

  5. Goals scored.

  6. Penalty kick contest.


Penalty Kick Contest Rules: The Tournament Director or Site Coordinator shall set the time and place for penalty kick contests. Any team more than ten minutes late for such contest without prior permission from the Tournament Director shall be declared loser of the contest. Prior to the start of the penalty kick contest, coaches shall choose 11 players, one of whom shall be a goalkeeper. Five players (one of whom may be the goalkeeper) shall be chosen to take kicks as described in (3), below. The remaining six players shall take kicks, if necessary, as described in (5), below. No additional players shall be considered eligible to kick.


  1. Referee will choose the goal at which all kicks will be taken.

  2. Winner of a coin toss will choose whether they want to kick first or second. The Away team receives the honor to call their preference before the coin toss.

  3. Each team shall take five kicks, alternating teams between each kick. Each kick shall be taken by a different player.

  4. If one team has scored more goals after both teams have taken five kicks, that team will be declared the winner.

  5. If both teams have scored the same number of goals after both teams have taken five kicks, the taking of kicks shall continue until both have taken an equal number of kicks and one has scored one goal more than the other.

  6. Not until all eleven eligible players have kicked may a player of the same team take a second kick.


H. FORFEITS                                                                 

  1. Thirty (30) minutes prior to the start of each scheduled game, each team must present to the field marshal the team's player cards so the team may be checked in to play and the game started as scheduled. A team that fails to report within ten minutes after a scheduled kick off will forfeit the game.

  2. Teams forfeiting a game(s) cannot play in a final match.

  3. A forfeit will yield a 3-0 score for game point consideration. No shutout points are awarded / subtracted in a forfeit.

  4. To start a game a minimum of seven players is required for full-sided teams and five players for small-sided teams.  



  1. Tournament Cancellation Prior to Its Start:  If the tournament is canceled for any reason before the start of the tournament, for reasons such as weather, lack of field availability, etc, 80% of participating teams’ registration fees will be refunded.

  2. Voluntary Withdrawal of Team from the Tournament: If a team withdraws from the tournament after the close of registration, the tournament reserves the right to determine what, if any, refund of registration fees will be made to the withdrawing team.

  3. A drop of $500 will be incurred, if a team drops from the tournament within 3 weeks of the first day of competition. 



1. 7v7 Build out lines: Build out lines will be marked.


When goalkeeper has possession and on goal kicks, the defending team must retreat behind the buid out line and remain behind the line until the ball is played.


2. Termination of a game prior to its completion.


In case of severe weather that begins after the start of play, or due to an injury during a game, or for any other reason deemed to affect the normal course of the game, tournament officials, in consultation with referees may reduce the length, suspend, terminate, reschedule, relocate or cancel any game. Games terminated after the first half is completed will be considered a finished game and the score will stand. Games terminated during the first half will be considered a 1-1 tie regardless of the current score.

2.  Inclement Weather

a. General


In case of inclement weather or other circumstances, the Tournament Committee will have the authority to change games as follows:


  1. Relocate or reschedule any game(s).

  2. Change the duration of any game(s).

  3. Cancel any preliminary game(s).


Regardless of the weather conditions, coaches and their teams must appear on the field of play as scheduled, ready to play unless notified by a member of the Tournament Committee. Failure to appear will result in forfeiture of the match. Only the referee or Tournament Committee can cancel or delay a match.


b. Inclement Weather before or during the match – Semi-Final Round


The match will be considered completed and the score will stand if one half has been completed. If less than one half has been completed, a shootout will determine the winner. If a shootout cannot occur a flip of a coin will determine the winner.


c. Inclement Weather before or during a match – Championship Match


The match will be considered completed and the score will stand if one half has been completed. If less than one half has been completed, the Tournament Committee will award a 0-0 tie and both teams will be deemed Co-Champions. A coin toss winner gets choice of Championship and second place medals. The team that lost the coin toss will get the remaining awards. Both teams will gain the title of tournament Co-Champions.



  1. Protests. There are no protests. The tournament officials reserve the right to decide all matters pertaining to the tournament and tournament rules and regulations. The judgment of the Tournament Director(s) is final.

  2. Ejection. Any player or coach who receives a red card or two yellow cards in a single game or one yellow card in each of two consecutive games will be ineligible for the next scheduled game. Referees will report the infraction to the referee assignor and the Tournament Site Director.  Coaches ejected from a game for any reason may not participate in the coaching of the next game and may only be permitted to sit on the team’s sideline if no other parents or temporary guardians are present to supervise the player on the spectators’ sideline.

  3. Gross Misconduct. Any severe or gross misconduct will be reported to the Team's State sanctioning body for its review and possible action. Gross or severe misconduct, as determined by the Tournament Director can result in team's expulsion from the tournament. Referee assault or abuse as determined by the Tournament Director WILL result in team expulsion from the tournament. Any expulsion will result in forfeit of trophies and fees.

  4. Coach's Responsibility. Each coach is responsible for the conduct of the players, parents, and spectators on his / her team.

  5. Team Field Positions. The players and coaches of both teams will take a position on the sideline opposite that of the spectators. Only carded players and coaches will be allowed with teams on the sidelines.

  6. Golf Carts. Golf carts will only be operated by people with a valid New Jersey driver’s license and with the permission of a member of the Tournament Committee.

  7. Disclaimer. The West Windsor-Plainsboro Soccer Association is not responsible for any non-registration related expenses incurred by any team in the event the tournament is canceled, in whole or in part, or in the event games are discontinued or canceled, due to forfeit, inclement weather or adverse field conditions, nor will any refunds be made.

  8. No items of any kind may be sold at Tournament Headquarters, the playing fields, or surrounding the event areas for the duration of the Tournament without the express written approval of the Tournament Committee. A team found in violation of this rule will not be declared a division winner or permitted to advance to a playoff game. Determination of guilt will be by the senior Tournament Official present.

  9. Ball Size

    1. Size 5: U-13 and older

    2. Size 4: U-8 through U-12

  10. Mercy Rule. The maximum permitted goal differential in any game is 6 goals. In the interests of good sportsmanship, coaches are responsible to limit one-sided scores by any means necessary, including sitting starters, playing with fewer players than permitted, only permitting shots off volleys or headers, etc.  Teams come for a good time and competition, and whenever a game results in mismatched teams, coaches should remember how it feels to be on the receiving end of a blowout and lead accordingly.

  11. Tournament Director has final say and determination if a dispute arises. Site Supervisor is to contact Tournament Director and all parties are to remain calm and professional while Tournament Director makes a decision. Decision is final once given.