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Keeper Protection

Keeper Protection



AYSO Region 418 Guidelines: Things to Keep in Mind

  1. Goalkeepers are special players and play can be dangerous in their proximity.
  2. Field players are NOT to challenge for a ball in the goalkeeper’s possession.
  3. The goalkeeper is considered to have possession at any time that any part of his hand (including a finger) is holding the ball against any part of his body (including his other hand) or the ground.
  4. The determination of the extent of possession and the extent of illegal challenge is solely at the judgment of the center referee. A moving ball could be considered in possession; a juggled ball is not in possession.
  5. Referees will rule in favor of the goalkeeper in close circumstances.
  6. Balls not in the keeper’s possession are open to challenge, but again referees will err on the side of goalkeepers in close circumstances.
  7. Contact between goalkeepers and opposing field players is governed by the same laws as contact between other players, but due to the vulnerable situations goalkeepers typically find, referees will err on the side of goalkeepers in close circumstances.
  8. Misconduct may be called against illegal challenges and contact, including a yellow card for unsporting behavior and even a red card for serious foul play / violent conduct (but please try to avoid cards in U10 and use them sparingly at U12).

Questions or Comments?

If you have any questions about these comments, please contact Rob Randolph, Regional Referee Administrator, at or another Referee Advisory Board member.