Indoor and outdoor soccer

On this page

  1. COVID-19 safety procedures
  2. Pick-up games
  3. Division and Standings
  4. Outdoor game cancellations
  5. League rules

COVID-19 safety procedures

To come inside a recreation centre you need to show proof of vaccination or a valid exemption, fill out a screening form and provide contact info.

1. Proof of vaccination or valid exemption

You must show proof of vaccination or have a valid exemption to come inside.

Read full vaccine and exemption rules

2. Complete screening and provide contact info

Each person coming inside must complete a health screening form on the same day as your activity. This will include contact info for tracing purposes.

Activity participants

Activity participants must complete a PDF form.

This can be done through:

We will help you complete screening at the door if you don't have a device or forgot to do it.

Spectators, parents/guardians and visiting teams

Spectators, parents/guardians, and members of visiting teams (including their parents/guardians and spectators) must complete a paper form for screening and contact tracing.

We will provide these at the door.

3. Wait outside entrance to be greeted

A staff member will greet you at the marked entrance to confirm proof vaccination/exemption and completion of screening.

Entrance locations and map

Participants should arrive dressed for their activity and line up outside the facility Entrance A per the map below. Participants must follow all floor marking and signage.

RIM Park facilities map

Important info for using indoor rinks, gym and fieldhouse

  1. Food concessions are not available at this time.
  2. Dressing rooms are only available for ice users.
  3. Washrooms are available but are not to be used as dressing rooms.
  4. Warm ups are not permitted in any common areas of the facility.
  5. Guardians must remain in the designated activity space and wear masks.
  6. Players are only allowed to remove masks while playing.
  7. Participants must ensure physical distancing is maintained on players benches.
  8. No participant or guardian shall spit or blow their nose freely anywhere in the facility.
  9. If using ice, please leave the playing surface immediately after buzzer sounds.
  10. Ensure all equipment is picked up in advance of the buzzer sounding to enable an immediate exit.
  11. Participants are encouraged to fill water bottles before arriving.
  12. Groups must be adequately equipped with their own first aid supplies.

Pick-up games

Pre-register, pay and guarantee your place on PickupHub. Games take place at RIM Park Manulife Sportsplex and Bechtel Park.

Indoor co-ed 5-a-side - Tuesdays (18+)

Indoor co-ed 5-a-side - Thursdays (18+)

Indoor men's 5-a-side - Mondays (18+)

Indoor men's 5-a-side - Fridays (18+)

Outdoor game cancellations

During poor weather, check our field conditions page for the status of outdoor pitches. No final decisions will be made before 4 p.m. on game day. Captains will be notified of a cancellations.

League rules

Five a side


All teams are expected to have enough players to meet the minimum numbers at the start of the game time. Any team not meeting the minimum number of players 10 minutes past the official start of game time will be subject to a forfeit. A team may lend players to their opponent however, they must determine if the game will be a forfeit or an official game prior to playing. The forfeit score will be recorded as 5-0.

If any team forfeits two games during a season their status in the league will be under review and may be ejected from the league without refund.

In this scenario a forfeit will be deemed as a team not showing up for a game and/or insufficient amount of communication; CARL administration will review all forfeits for the betterment of the league.

If more than 48-hours notice is given prior to your game, the possibility of a rescheduled game on a future date may occur.

CARL administration will review any team with multiple occurrences and may remove a team from the league.

Teams are required to have a minimum of four players (coed: one player must be female) to avoid a forfeit.

Teams are encouraged to work with CARL administration if they are having issues fielding a full team on a regular basis.

Exception: if captains agree that a team can play with less than the minimum required the score will count and the game can be played. Furthermore, forfeit or non-forfeit needs to be agreed upon by the 10 minute mark; if an agreement cannot be reached then the forfeit stands.

Rosters and subs

A team can have 20 players listed on their roster. Exceptions may be made upon review from CARL administration.

A full team on the field consists of five players (four players + one goalie).

Coed - the team must have a minimum of two female players on the field at a time.

Open - a team's roster may have any ratio of male and females on the field during game play.

All teams are required to have a captain present at every game. If a team's listed captain is unable to be present; an acting captain must be assigned for the game.

All players must be listed on the team's official roster to play in the league. Go to ActiveWaterloo to set up an account and add themselves to their team's roster.

A team may bring in extra players prior to the fourth week in the season as long as they have been on the team's official roster.

Following the roster deadline, CARL staff will do regular random roster checks.

Following the roster deadline; a team may challenge any player on their opponent's roster during the game and must be done by the team's captain. Any challenge must be requested prior to the end of the game.

If the player is being challenged on a roster the following procedure will occur:

  • upon notification of the challenge the CARL associate will record the score at the time of the challenge
  • the CARL associate will blow their whistle and force the challenged player to take a substitution to present their full name and identification
  • this player may re-enter the game during the challenge

Upon completion of the challenge the following results will occur:

  • if the challenge is successful, the player will be asked to leave the game immediately
    • if the challenged team has scored any goals the score will be reverted back to the recorded score at the time of the challenge
    • if the challenging team has score any goals the score will remain the same
  • if the challenge is unsuccessful, the player is deemed to be eligible
    • the challenging team's captain will receive a three minute short-handed penalty
    • if the challenging team has scored any goals the score will be reverted back to the recorded score at the time of the challenge
    • if the challenged team has scored any goals the score will remain the same

If a player's full name is not listed (i.e. John instead of John Smith) they will be deemed as ineligible.

Players are responsible for having valid ID at the game. If a player fails to have ID, they are considered to be ineligible and will be removed from the game.

Any ineligible player caught playing in a game will result with following:

  • the player being removed from the game
  • the team's captain being suspended for the next game
  • a second offence will result in a three game suspension for the captain
  • a third offence will result in a suspension to the captain for the remainder of the season

A team may use players from a previous game from that night and league however, they may only use players from within their division of play or lower and to bring their team to the minimum full line-up of players. You may not use players from another team to give your team subs for the game.

Once a legitimately rostered player arrives at the game a borrowed sub must discontinue play, unless the opponent agrees to have the player stay in the game.

You may not use players from a previous game in playoffs.

A team is required to have a minimum of four players (coed: one must be female) to avoid a forfeit. Players must be at the field and ready to play prior to the forfeit time.

Schedules and standings

CARL works to develop an equitable schedule for all participants, ensuring each team has an average equal number of games and a fair distribution of time slots.

All schedules will be sent to each captain and posted on the CARL website a minimum of one week prior to the start of the season. Schedules are subject to change. CARL administration will give notice of changes as soon as possible.

Teams are expected to report scores and spirit ranking to the CARL associate following their game. The CARL administration will have standings updated online no later than 48 hours following your game.

Regular season games may end in a tied score.

A score cap of a five goal differential will be applied to all games.

Once a team has reached the score cap of five goals additional goals will not be recorded. Once the trailing team scores another goal, the leading team must score another goal to have it counted.

The score recorded will not reflect a point differential greater than seven goals.

How teams are ranked:

First criteria: total points will be determined from a team's wins, losses and ties. Wins will be three points, ties will be one point and a loss will be worth zero points.

Second criteria: point differential a team's difference between points for and against.

If there is still a tie in the standings:

  1. record head to head between the teams involved
  2. point differential between games involving the teams tied only
  3. spirit points for each team involved
  4. coin toss


Any team with an average spirit ranking of 3.5 or lower will not be eligible for playoffs.

To be eligible to participate in playoffs, a player must be on their team's official team roster.

All teams are guaranteed the same number of playoff games however, not all teams will receive the opportunity to play for the championship.

If a league has eight or more teams the top eight teams will play for the championship in a single elimination style playoff.

If a league has less than eight teams, the top four teams will play for the championship in a single elimination style playoff.

Losing teams will play consolation matches to finish the season.

Any team not part of the championship playoffs will receive consolation games that will equal the same number of games as all other teams.

CARL administration has the right to change the playoff format at any time to ensure the quality of the league.

Sportsmanship is an important part of playoffs. Any team displaying poor sportsmanship in playoffs will have their win reviewed and CARL administration has the right to overturn any win. Poor sportsmanship by both teams in a playoff game may result in a loss by both teams.

Playoff games cannot end in a tie, the following format will only be used in playoffs to break a tie game:

  • each team will quickly assemble three team members for a shootout
  • coed - one of the three members must be a female shooter
  • winner of a coin toss will determine first shooter
  • teams will alternate shooters
  • in the event of a tie still remaining additional team members (who have not shot yet) will compete in a sudden death format to determine the winner
  • coed - in the sudden death tiebreaker, the first shooter must be a female, teams will then alternate male, female
  • team members cannot repeat as a shooter until everyone present for the game has been used (excluding goalies)
  • Penalty shot marker for soccer - penalty shot will be taken from the white dot at RIM & Bechtel

Game times

Players should arrive 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start time of their game. They will receive this time to warm-up for their game.

All players will receive a total floor time of 60 minutes. The clock will begin at the scheduled start time of the game. Players are expected to begin their game on time, beginning late will not result in extra time added to the end of the game unless otherwise noted by the CARL associate.

Games will be a total of 50 minutes in length with two 24 minute halves and a two minute intermission.

In regular season games may end in a tie, there will be no overtime.

The clock will continue to run during the game, there will be no extra time unless noted by the CARL associate.

All games will end with a buzzer; any goals scored after the buzzer will not count.

Game expectations

Prior to the start of the game captains are encouraged to meet to discuss any issues and determine who will begin with possession of the ball. During this meeting captains are encouraged to clarify any misunderstanding of rules.

It is expected that only captains are communicating issues during the game.

If there is an issue that cannot be resolved by the team captains they are expected to request the assistance of the CARL associate to mediate the conflict. The CARL associates decision will be final and all players are expected to accept it.

Players are expected to discuss any issues with the opposing captain and/or the CARL associate during the game.

Player expectations

Warm-up in the hallway is not allowed. Players are expected to use the 10 minute transition time between games for warm-ups.

All players must wear some type of athletic shoe (basketball, tennis, jogging, etc.). A player is not allowed to play in street shoes, socks, or bare feet.

Players may wear any style of cleat excluding any form of metal cleats.

All players must wear shin pads and must have them covered:

  • if a player is on the field without shin pads the CARL associate is required to ask them to leave the playing surface
  • if the player does not have shin pads to use for the remainder of the game they may not re-enter the playing surface
  • if the player refuses to cooperate the game will be stopped until the player leaves the playing surface
  • if the captain is not willing to aid in the adherence of the rule the game will be forfeited

All players wearing braces that contain plastic, metal or bolts/screws are required to have the brace covered.

If there is a colour conflict between teams, the CARL staff will give pinnies out to be worn. The away team will be the team asked to change. It is not optional.

Jewelry is not to be worn by any participant during a game. The only exception is wedding bands, studs and medical bracelets.

Foul language, trash talk, or any other offensive actions or words will not be tolerated and will be followed up in accordance with the Sportsmanship Guidelines.

Start and restarting play

Prior to the game captains will meet and determine which team will begin with the ball. This should be determined by a coin toss.

A kick off from centre will begin the game. Kick offs are not required to travel forwards however, the ball may not be touched again by the kicker until touched by another player.

Teams will switch sides at halftime.

In the second half, the team who did not start with possession of the ball at the beginning of the game will receive possession from centre.

A goal may not be scored directly from a kick off.

General play guidelines

Playing area - the field will use the identified sidelines and end lines for boundaries:

  • any ball that contacts the roof or any other part of the structure will be considered as out of bounds, an indirect kick will be taken from the point where the ball hit the roof or structure
  • there will be no off-sides

Ball out of play - a ball will be considered as out of play when it has fully crossed either the end or sideline regardless of whether it is on the ground or in the air:

  • when the ball goes out of bounds on the sidelines an indirect kick will be taken from the point where the ball went out of bounds
  • opposing players must stand at least 5 feet away from the player kicking the ball
  • the player kicking the ball in may not play the ball until touched by another player

Corner kicks - when the ball goes out of bounds on the end lines and was last touched by a defensive player the opposing team will take a corner kick:

  • the ball will be placed on the intersection of the sideline and end-line
  • defensive players must stand at least 5 feet away from the ball until it goes into play
  • the kicker may not play the ball again until it is touched by another player
  • a corner kick will be indirect; it may touch any other player before entering the net

Goal kicks - when the ball goes out of bounds on the end lines and was last touched by an offensive player the opposing team will take a goal kick:

  • the ball may be placed anywhere in the crease area and must be static before kicking
  • the ball must bounce before half from a goal kick
  • offensive players must stand at least 5 feet away from the crease until it goes into play
  • the kicker may not play the ball again until it is touched by another player
  • a goal kick must clear the crease area before it is touched by another player

Indirect free kicks - all infractions will be taken as indirect free kicks, there will be no direct kicks:

  • an indirect free kick will be taken from the point of the infraction
  • the opposing team must stand at least 5 feet away from the ball until it has been kicked except when this is not possible due to boundaries
  • the ball must travel one metre prior to being touched by a teammate
  • the ball must be touched by a teammate before it can count as a goal, excluding corner kicks which may be touched by any player
  • if a goal is scored prior to being touched by a teammate the goal will not be counted and the ball will be taken as a goal kick by the opposing team, excluding corner kicks

Penalty kicks - any handball by a defensive player within the crease will result in a penalty kick:

  • the ball will be placed on the penalty mark
  • all other players must be behind the penalty mark on the non-goal side of the field
  • the goaltender must stand on the end-line and may not move their feet until the ball has been kicked
  • the kick must go forward
  • the ball must be touched by another player before it can be touched by the kicker again
  • a goal may be scored without the ball touching another player before entering the net

Crease area - the crease area is marked by a yellow semi-circle at RIM Park Manulife Sportsplex and Bechtel:

  • when a defensive infraction occurs within the crease an indirect kick will occur; the ball will be taken out of the crease to the point nearest the infraction

Goaltenders - the goaltender may play the ball with their hands within the designated crease:

  • the goaltender is allowed to come out of the crease to play the ball
  • the goaltender may not touch the ball with his hands outside of the crease, this will be considered a handball
  • the goaltender may not cross the centre line
  • the goalie may kick the ball from the ground or throw it; there will be no drop kicks
  • a live ball played by the goaltender may go beyond half without bouncing first, the goaltender may score a goal
  • a goal kick must bounce prior to the centre line before crossing half
  • a thrown ball must be touched by at least one other person before entering the net as a goal.
  • the goaltender can only have the ball in their hands for a maximum of five seconds; once the ball is put to the ground it must be played
  • a goaltender may not slide feet first to make a save

Violations and penalties

All players are expected to know the CARL five a side rules and call their own infractions and violations during the game. Players should not wait for their opponent or expect others will call their infractions during a game.

The player who commits the foul will call the foul. If teams cannot come to an agreement on an infraction, the CARL associate can be used to mediate, their decision will be final. This is a recreation league and players are expected to show respect towards their opponent and make calls within the spirit of league as outlined.


  • there will be no slide tackling in CARL five a side soccer
  • a violation in soccer is an illegal play that results in a loss of possession and an indirect kick to be taken by the opponent. More severe violations may result in the player(s) receiving penalties or being asked to leave the game
  • there will be no off-sides in CARL soccer
  • CARL soccer will not use the advantage rule; when an infraction is called the play will stop and an indirect kick will occur
  • When the CARL associate notices a player slide tackling they will receive a warning, a second offense will result in a two minute penalty to the player and a third offense will result in removal from the current game

List of violation examples:

Handball - when the ball touches a player's arm from the bottom of the shoulder to the fingertips, excluding the goaltender in their own crease.

Slide tackling - moving along the ground towards your opponent feet first in a sliding fashion.

Body contact - making contact with your opponent in a careless or aggressive manner.

High kick - when the foot goes above the waist while trying to play the ball near your opponent.

Holding - using your arm(s) or body to impede another player from progress while running towards or playing the ball.

Tripping - causing your opponent to fall to the ground when challenging for the ball, this can be intentional or unintentional.


  • reckless or unsportsmanlike play - all players are expected to be playing in control of their emotions and body during the game. During the game if the CARL associate deems any player to be playing in a reckless or unsportsmanlike manner they will have the right to ask that player to sit out for two minutes not shorthanded
  • if the CARL associate deems the action to be severe in nature or in violation of the Zero Tolerance Guidelines they may ask the player(s) to leave
  • any player who receives a penalty during a game may receive further discipline following review from the CARL administration