By Cory Smith (The Stokes News)

CHAPEL HILL — The N.C. High School Athletic Association passed new rules regarding high school soccer at the annual Spring Board of Directors meeting.

The first change involves the process in which coaches and athletic directors report the accumulation of yellow and red cards.

NCHSAA rules previously stated: Coaches and athletic directors will be responsible for tracking yellow cards accumulated by their players and all team personnel (including coaches).

The NCHSAA now requires that coaches or school administration enter yellow and red card data into MaxPreps within 24 hours following the conclusion of a contest. The guidelines regarding certain punishments issued every five cards accumulated by one player/team personnel/coach remained the same.

According to the NCHSAA rulebook:

Yellow Card Tracking and Ejections: Coaches and athletic directors will be responsible for tracking yellow cards accumulated by their players and all team personnel (including coaches).

(1) Five yellow cards accumulated by the same player will result in a suspension (miss next contest at that level and all contests in the interim). No report should be submitted to the NCHSAA.

(2) An additional five yellow cards accumulated by the same player (season total of 10) will result in an ejection.

(3) The player will be suspended from all sports for the remainder of that sports season on the 15th yellow card (or second ejection). This should be reported to the NCHSAA both after 10 and after 15.

(4) A red card disqualification that is not an ejection is the equivalent of two yellow cards.

(5) Yellow cards are reset to zero once state playoffs begin (after conference tournament); however, all previous penalties must be served.

(6) With three yellow cards in playoffs, player is suspended for next game.

(7) A total of five yellow cards means player is out for remainder of playoffs and may carry over to other sports.

(8) Penalties are enforced at the conclusion of the game, and an ejection report must also be filed at the appropriate time for accumulation of yellow cards.

In addition to the update for reporting yellow and red cards, the NCHSAA also announced changes to both the scheduling of playoff matches and overtime procedure.

Soccer playoffs for men and women previously took place on a Wednesday, Saturday format for the early rounds. Playoff matches will now be moved to a Monday, Thursday format for the early rounds.

The final rule change states that, for regular season soccer matches, teams may end games with a tie following two 10-minute overtime periods. Previously, the NCHSAA had required a winner to be determined for conference matches while non-conference matches were allowed to end in a tie.

In previous years, the NCHSAA rules stated:

Ties must be broken in all conference matches, which would include a conference tournament if one is held. If a tie score exists at the end of regulation play during each conference varsity game, there will be two, complete five (5)-minute overtime periods—not sudden victory. If the score is still tied at the conclusion of the two five (5)-minute overtime periods, the tie will be broken by kicks from the penalty mark.

This impacts how teams will be seeded for postseason competition. For example, Mount Airy High School and Bishop McGuinness shared the Northwest 1A Conference Regular Season Title for boys in 2018. Bishop won the first meeting, and then the score was tied 1-1 after two five-minute overtime periods in the second meeting.

Mount Airy went on to win the game in penalty kicks and then won the tiebreaker to earn the conference’s top playoff seed. Had the game ended in a tie, Bishop would’ve won the conference title and subsequent playoff spot.

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