Tournament Rules 

As of 7/7/2023

2024 D.C. Cup 


REGISTRATION: All registration must be done online via GotSport. Teams will be required to upload their official rosters through a US Youth Soccer affiliated carding program. You will also be require to upload player passes and the D.C. Cup Release of Liability form. This must be completed 5 days prior to the start of the tournament. Once a roster is set and submitted, there will no changes allowed. 

CREDENTIALS: At the Mandatory Check-In, teams must provide the required credentials. All U.S. teams must provide valid laminated Player I.D. Cards with photographs, and signed Medical Release Forms. U.S. teams registered through AYSO, USSF, USYS, USAAA, or US Club Soccer must provide the appropriate travel documentation (for US Club, Approved roster from the US Club website) for the organization to which they are affiliated.

International teams must provide a certified Team Roster (this will be used for International teams in lieu of player cards), League Identification Cards (if applicable), medical release forms, and Passports.


For U12 (2012) – U14 (2010) age groups

  • Up to eighteen (18) players (USYS)
  • Up to twenty-two (22) players (US Club)

For U15 (2009) – U19 (2005) age groups

  • Up to twenty (20) players (USYS)
  • Up to twenty-two (22) players (US Club)

Players may not play for more than one team in the tournament. Players MUST have jersey numbers and may not change numbers once registration is complete. Players are also NOT allowed to change jerseys during the tournament. 

GUEST PLAYERS: Teams are limited to 7 guest players (with the same sanctioning body) but any team utilizing guest players is still limited to the stated maximum roster size. ALL PLAYERS MUST USE THE SAME SANCTIONING BODY PLAYER CARDS. MEANING, US Club and USYS player cards cannot be combined on any team. All players must have ONE OR THE OTHER and they must all be the same. USYS State Associations may be different when using guest players but ALL players must have the same sanctioning body player cards to be eligible to play.                            


FIFA Laws of the Game will apply as modified by USYS and MSYSA as described herein. Players in U11 and younger players playing up in the U-12 or higher age groups, may not deliberately head the ball in soccer matches. If a player deliberately heads the ball and the ball remains in play, the referee will immediately stop play and restart with an indirect free kick


During the preliminary stage of the tournament, teams are bracketed in groups of four and matches will not have overtime periods.  Matches will be counted as: Win - 3 points; Tie - 1 point; Loss - 0 points. In the elimination stage, if the score is tied at the end of regulation time, for U12 - U17, kicks from the penalty spot as per FIFA laws will decide the match. In the elimination stage, if the score is tied at the end of regulation time for the U19 group(s) at the tournament, then two (2) 10 minute overtime periods will be played. If the score is tied at the end of the two over time periods, kicks from the penalty mark as per IFAB laws will decide the match.

  •   2010 - 2012: 11 v 11, two 35-minute halves, ball size 5
  •   2007- 2009: 11 v 11, two 40-minute halves, ball size 5
  •   2005 - 2006: 11 v 11, two 45-minute halves, ball size 5

The official match report for each completed match must be verified (i.e., score, cautions, send offs) immediately after the game by the team coach or manager.  Match reports that are not verified stand as submitted and may not be contested or appealed.

In the event a tie breaker is necessary to determine which teams will advance beyond the round robin, the following order of tie breakers will apply:

For All Age Groups:

(1) goal difference in overall competition; (2) highest gross goals scored in overall competition; (3) head to head competition; (4) least amount of penalty points (caution = 1 point, send off = 2 points); (5) Tournament Manager's decision.


  1. Age groups consisting of 4 teams will have 1st and 2nd place teams playing in the finals. Age groups consisting of 8 teams will have the 1st and 2nd place teams in each bracket advance to semifinals.  Age groups consisting of 12 teams will have the 1st place team in each bracket and a wild card team with the most points per (7) above advance to semifinals.  Age groups consisting of 16 teams will have the 1st place teams in each bracket advance to semifinals or the 1st and 2nd place teams in each age bracket advance to the quarterfinals at the Tournament Managers discretion.  Age groups consisting of 20 teams or more will have the 1st place team in each bracket, and if applicable, the wild card team(s) with the most points per (7) above, advance to the quarterfinals.
  2. Note: In the pre-determined pairings for the first game of the elimination stage, adjustments will be made if the wild card team comes out of the same preliminary round bracket, to avoid teams that have already played each other having to play each other again. No adjustments will be made after that.

HALFTIME: Half Time will be exactly five (5) minutes.

GAME CHECK-IN CONDUCT: Prior to the start of each scheduled game, the referees will perform safety checks on all players. Team managers hold on to the player cards during the game unless requested by the referee in the instances of red cards or other questions that the referees may have. Team managers MUST ALWAYS HAVE THE MEDICAL RELEASE FORMS FOR EACH PLAYER AND THE LAMINATED PLAYER CARDS. The referees and field marshals will manage the Game Cards. There is no need for the managers to sign the Game Cards nor take them from game-to-game.

SUBSTITUTIONS: Teams may substitute only with the referee's permission and only at the following times:

Except as provided by USYS or MSYSA, substitutions shall be unlimited except where specified otherwise in the rules and regulations for a special competition. Substitutions may be made, with the consent of the referee, at any stoppage in play. (USYSA Rule 302)

PLAYERS’ EQUIPMENT: It will be at the game Referee's discretion to determine the safety and suitability of player equipment including the wearing of a hard brace.

Subject to the foregoing, FIFA laws, as modified by USSF and MSYSA rules and USYS policies, apply.  Please note that per FIFA Laws of the Game number 4, the wearing of shin guards by players is mandatory.  No player will be allowed to play without shin guards.

COACHING: All Coaches have total responsibility for the conduct of their players, substitutes, families and spectators at all times. Coaching from the sidelines (giving direction to one's own team on points of strategy and position) is permitted, provided:

  • No mechanical devices are used;
  • The tone of the voice is instructive and not derogatory;
  • Each coach or substitute remains within 10 yards on either side of the halfway line;
  • No coach, substitute, or spectator makes derogatory remarks or gestures to the referees, other coaches, players, substitutes, or spectators;
  • No coach, substitute, or spectator uses profanity or incites, in any manner, disruptive behavior.

CAUTIONS AND EJECTIONS: A player receiving two cautions (yellow cards) in a single game will be ejected (red card). A player who has been ejected (sent off), will not be replaced. A player who has been ejected will not return for that game and will not be allowed to participate in the next scheduled game. A player who is ejected for violent conduct or serious foul play will not be allowed to participate in the next TWO scheduled games. Any team, parent, spectator, player or coach who assaults a referee will be expelled from the Tournament. A coach who has been ejected (sent off) will be suspended the same as a Player ejection.

During game suspension(s) for coaches: there can be NO contact between the team and the coach before, during or directly after the game and the coach must be out of sight and sound of the field.

Additionally, the coach must not be involved in unacceptable conduct (defined as coaching his/her players by any means or method, or harassment of opponents/players/referees/staff). Failure to adhere to this rule will result in an immediate ejection from the tournament for the coach.

Any player or coach sent off during the tournament or any player receiving multiple cautions during the tournament may be required to attend a Disciplinary Committee hearing. Players must be accompanied by their coach and/or manager.  Official Match Reports will be reviewed by the Disciplinary Committee, and they will determine if a hearing is necessary. Any hearing could result in the player or coach being required to sit out additional matches or being withdrawn from the competition.  Team officials will be notified as soon as possible if a hearing has been scheduled.

SUSPENDED AND TERMINATED GAMES: If in the opinion of the referee a game must be suspended (for reason), the game may be resumed, but is subject to being ended not less than five (5) minutes prior to the scheduled start of the next game. If in the opinion of the referee, a game must be terminated for misconduct of players, bench, coaches, or spectators; the offending team could be suspended from further play and will forfeit that game and all remaining games. Additionally, the home league and State Association will be contacted as appropriate.

INJURY: Delays of the game due to injury will result in appropriate time being added to the full game time, based on the judgment of the referee and on the length of time that needs to be added as all games must be completed before dark. Added time that impacts or delays the start of other games will not be added.


REFEREE DECISIONS: The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play are final. The referee may only change a decision on realizing that it is incorrect or, at his/her discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee, provided that he/she has not restarted play.

DETERMINING WINNERS: This is a Cup and Champions will be awarded with trophies and medals. Second place teams will also be awarded medals. 

HOME TEAM: The Home Team will be the team who appears first on the game schedule. The HOME team will wear LIGHT jerseys. The AWAY team will wear DARK jerseys. In the event of a color conflict the HOME TEAM will change jersey. The HOME TEAM will kick off and the AWAY team will choose direction in the first half. There will be no coin toss.


  •   The game ball will be supplied by the Tournament.
  •   Team benches and tents will be provided at all fields.
  •   Hydration stations will be set up at all fields.
  •   There will be multiple athletic trainers at each venue in case of injury.

SPECTATORS: All spectators are to be on the opposite side of the field from the Team Benches. In the spirit of sportsmanship, we ask spectators to be on the same half as their team and MIRROR their team.

Do not change ends at half-time. Do not mix in with the spectators of the opposing team. Each team is to remain on their half of midfield.

FORFEITS: An automatic forfeit will be given if any of the following occur:

  1. A team is not present and ready to play with a minimum number of eligible players, an eligible coach, and verified player cards within 5 minutes after the original kickoff time.
  2. A team whose actions as determined solely by the referee cause the game to be terminated.

With regards to #1 above and in the case that players, coach or player cards arrive after the match has been forfeited, by mutual consent the teams may elect to play a shortened match that must end on the game's originally scheduled end time.


DISPUTES: Game conduct is under the jurisdiction of the referee and the tournament will not overrule a referee’s decision. All disputes off the field of play will be settled by the Tournament Director or by his designee and the decision will be final.

GUEST TEAMS: The Tournament may accept a team as a “Guest Team” in order to fill a late vacancy in a Division.