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Professional Training for all Players

Playing Time in Tustin AYSO

AYSO Philosophy: Everyone Plays®

The AYSO philosophy of Everyone Plays® is implemented through the AYSO rules and regulations to enforce that all players shall play at least half of every game. Most regions, including Tustin have increased this to three quarters for at least their standard primary program.

Game Duration & Minimum Play Time

Age DivisionGame DurationMinimum Playing Time
Core Program
see below for details and exceptions
Under-5 & 6Four 8-minute quartersThree quarters
Under-7 & 8Four 10-minute quartersThree quarters
Under-9 & 10Two 25-minute halvesThree quarters
Under-11 & 12Two 30-minute halvesThree quarters
Under-13 & 14Two 35-minute halvesThree quarters
Under-16Two 40-minute halves50% of game
Under-19Two 45-minute halves50% of game

Substitution Rules

Under-8 and younger

Substitutions may be made between each quarter and for injury.

Under-9 through Under-14

Substitutions may be made at halftime, the substitution breaks halfway through each half and for injury.

Under-16 & Under-19

Substitution may be made at halftime or any stoppage of play with the permission of the referee.

Minimum Playing Time Requirements

Summer Season

All players are to play at least three quarters of each game.

Fall Season

Standard Primary Program, Regular Season - Under-5 through Under-14

All players are to play at least three quarters of each game.

Mayor's Cup (Regional Playoffs) - Under-9 through Under-14

All players are to play at least three quarters of each game. (New, effective Fall 2013)

Area & Section Leagues/Tournaments

All-Star, EXTRA, Spring Select, Tournament & Regional Champion teams

To maintain an equitable level of competition with teams from other regions, all players must play at least half of each game. Coaches are encouraged to play each player three quarters.

Under-16 & Under-19 Teams, all seasons

Due to these teams being allotted larger rosters and play against other regions, the U16 and U19 teams are subject to the rule that each player must play half of each game. As these teams play games using free substitution, the timing and adherence to minimum play time may be approximate. For instance, a common tactic is to have two players share a position where each player plays half of each game, but since stoppages to allow substitutions are according to the flow of the game coaches are unable to precisely manage the game to give both exactly half.

Determining Play Time and Enforcement


In the event a player is injured during play and must leave the field, the coach has two options: (1) Substitute the player, in this event the player who started the quarter receives credit for playing that quarter in determining play time. (2) Play short and return the player to the game later (with the referee's permission).

Too Many Players

In the event that the team has more players in attendance than would allow for all players to play three quarters, some players will need to play only two quarters. However, in a game where at least one player plays only two quarters, no player may play all four quarters. Additionally, any player who has played only two quarters in one game shall not play only two quarters in another game until all players have sat out two quarters in a game.

Playing Privileges in AYSO

The above minimum playing times are regardless of ability or prior game/practice attendance. Should the coach feel the need to discipline a player for attitude by reducing playing time, all such requests must be approved by the Regional Commissioner (only extreme incident requests will even be considered). If anyone (including your coach, team parent, teammate, or other parents on the team) even suggests that you should voluntarily play less or not show up to a game for any reason other than injury or official suspension (from the region), please contact your division coordinator.

Enforcement of Minimum Play Time

As a volunteer organization, we do not have the resources to monitor the play time of all players. It is incumbent on the parents of a player not receiving their due time to report to their division coordinator. Coaches who abuse these rules are violating AYSO's original and core philosophy. Disciplinary action may include removal as a coach and a future prohibition on coaching in AYSO.

Referees are specifically instructed to not enforce playing time. They may mention to remind the coach if they become aware of a possible violation, but may not require that player to be played nor may they demand an explaination prior to restarting play. The referee's duty is to report to the league those players who played including the amount of playtime. The league will determine if any infractions occured and take action if warranted.

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