A player who carelessly, recklessly, or with excessive force (a) kicks or attempts to kick, (b) trips or attempts to trip, (c) jumps at, (d) charges, (e) strikes or attempts to strike, or (f) pushes an opponent; or who g) tackles without first touching the ball, (h) holds, or (i) spits at an opponent, or (j) handles the ball deliberately; shall be penalized by a direct free kick.
Any one of these ten offenses committed by a player in his own penalty area while the ball is in play will result in the awarding of a penalty kick to the opposing team.
Use of hands or arms primarily to protect the body (for girls, this includes protecting the upper torso) should not be penalized as handling the ball, unless the referee judges these moves were also used to trap or direct the ball.
A player committing lesser offenses such as dangerous play, impeding an opponent's progress, preventing the goalkeeper from releasing the ball back into general play; or while playing as goalkeeper, exceeding the limitations specified under goalkeeper privileges; or who commits technical violations such as offside, or making a second consecutive touch of the ball after taking a restart; will be penalized by an indirect free kick.
In a match designated as no heading (Spring 2016 U-12 and younger, Fall 2016 and later 6th grade and younger), if in the opinion of the referee, a player deliberately heads or attempts to head the ball, an indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team.
A player committing unsporting behavior, dissent against the referee's decision, or unfairly delaying a restart, or entering or leaving the field without the referee's permission, may be cautioned and shown a yellow card.
A player guilty of participating in violent conduct or serious foul play, or who uses offensive, insulting or abusive language, or who spits at any person, or receives two cautions (yellow cards) in the same game, will be sent off and shown a red card.
When awarding a second caution, the approved technique is to show the player the yellow card, then immediately show the red card. The referee may send off a player without a prior warning or caution if the offense committed calls for an immediate send off.
Rules now require the immediate sending off of a defender who by illegal tactics deprives an attacker of an obvious goal scoring opportunity on a breakaway (e.g., shirt pull, illegal tackle, dangerous play, etc.). The same penalty applies to a defender who deprives an attacker of a goal, or an obvious goal scoring opportunity, by illegal and deliberate handling of the ball as it approaches the goal.
Coaches or other persons responsible for a team may be cautioned (and optionally shown a yellow card) or dismissed (optional red card) by the referee. Such dismissed person must leave the bench area, and is not allowed to take part in the remainder of the game.
If a team is left without a responsible adult in charge with a valid coach's passcard, or if a team has more than two people ejected (sent off or dismissed) from a game, the referee will terminate the game and that team will forfeit. If both teams have more than two ejections, the outcome of the game will be determined by the Sportsmanship Review Committee.