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NCAA Men’s and Women’s Soccer Rules Committee announces potential changes for 2024

February 1, 2024, | Courtesy of

The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Soccer Rules Committee proposed substitution rules changes for Division I men’s competition, effective for the 2024 season.

All rules proposals must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel before becoming official. The panel is scheduled to discuss soccer rules recommendations April 18.

Committee members, who met in Indianapolis this week, recommended that no reentry be allowed in either half once a player leaves the game via substitution in Division I men’s soccer. Additionally, teams will have six moments to make substitutions in a game, and substitutions can occur during any stoppage of play. Teams would be awarded an additional moment to make substitutions in overtime.

In all three levels of men’s and women’s soccer, the committee recommended that the clock would stop on all substitutions in the last 15 minutes of the second half and in overtime periods.

Committee members discussed the substitutions options thoroughly and wanted to discourage using substitutions as a tactic to slow the pace of the game.

“This aligns with the sport that our incoming student-athletes are used to,” said Tim Cupello, men’s soccer coach at UC Riverside and chair of the rules committee. “It also aligns with the sport they would be playing if they are fortunate to continue playing after college into a professional career. The game model and coaching style will reflect what they had during their youth development.”

Currently, in all levels of NCAA soccer, players can reenter the game once in the second half and can substitute only on goal kicks, their own team’s throw-in, their own team’s corner kick, after a goal has been scored or when a player has received a caution. This would remain the same for all levels except Division I men. Also currently, the clock stops only when the team that is winning makes substitutions in the last five minutes of the game.

Expanded video review

The committee recommended expanding video review. If video review equipment is available, referees could initiate reviews on the following plays:

  • Potential penalty kick situations.

  • Potential straight red card situations.

  • Any potential offside violations.

  • A foul denying an obvious scoring opportunity.

“Whatever we can do to make the calls correct is a benefit,” Cupello said. “If we can provide an extra tool to the referees to help get decisions correct, it is a positive. Student-athletes will feel like their performance is rewarded correctly. That is the ultimate goal.”

Other rules proposals

  • The sudden-victory format would be used in postseason play.

  • Teams would have to provide copies of their rosters, with starters indicated, to the scorer’s table and the opposing coach 15 minutes before kickoff. A clean copy of both rosters would have to be provided to the referee.

Point of emphasis

Officials will be instructed to watch decorum by coaches and players in the coaching and team areas next season. The committee considered proposing that all bench personnel, except for the head coach, remain seated during play.

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