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Huntington Beach & Fountain Valley

The Mercy Rule The Mercy Rule

Sportsmanship Mercy Rule

Reminder to All R117 Referees of our Sportsmanship Mercy Rule:

All Coaches and Referees have been trained on this in our R117 classes.

Region 117 has a Sportsmanship Mercy Rule. (Note: not all regions do) This can be found in the 
Coaches Manual and is here below for your reference.

  •  This is mainly the responsibility of the coaches, but the referee has the added responsibility of assisting in the application and compliance of this rule during a game.
  • This applies more to lower age divisions, U5 – U14.
  • You as a referee are looking for the dominating teams coach to be making changes in strategy in a sportsmanlike manner as described below. If those changes are not evident to you than it is your responsibility to discretely remind the coach. 99% of the time you will see and /or get compliance.
  • Be sure that your communication with the coach is discrete, sportsmanlike and in a non-confrontational manner. But to be sure, we do not want to see blowout scores of 7-0 and 11-1. Please make sure that this does not happen!
  • If a coach, or anyone, is acting in an unsportsmanlike manner than the referee has the obligation to deal with that behavior. Law 18 can also cover this.
  • Report abuses or non-compliance of this policy to the Regional Coach Administrator and the Regional Referee Administrator on a Game

Misconduct / Incident Report.

3.14 MERCY RULE (from Coaches Manual)

Once a team is ahead by three goals, the coach of the leading team must make changes to his lineup to
soften his team’s attack and reduce the chance of their scoring additional goals. The coach should begin to emphasize defense and de-emphasize attack and scoring. These changes should done discretely in a way  that is subtly noticeable by the referees and opposing coaches, but not by the opposing players.

Once a team is ahead by four goals, the highest-probability scorers should be substituted, and highprobability scorers should be pulled back to defense.

Once a team is ahead by five goals, high-probability scorers should be pulled of the field and the winning team should play a player or two short. The center referee should be made aware of shortage, but, again, this should be done in a way to avoid attention by the opposing players.

Goal differentials of five or greater will be reviewed by the Coach Administrator. Coaches who continually post five goal differentials will be reviewed by the Coach Administrator, Referee Administrator, and Commissioner. Continued negligence may result in suspension of the coach and will be considered during assignment of future coaching positions.

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AYSO Region 117

9114 Adams Ave. #150 
Huntington Beach, California 92646

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