Covering High School Sports in America
The National Federation of State High School Associations announced three rule changes for soccer for next season.

The most significant is the elimination of the "soft red" card. Currently, a player is disqualified after receiving a second yellow card during a match and his/her team is allowed to substitute for that player.

Under the change approved by the NFHS Soccer Rules Committee at its January meeting, the player will still be disqualified but the team no longer will be permitted to replace that player on the field.

In addition, there was a modification to the rule regarding a player who deliberately handles a ball in his/her own penalty area to prevent a goal. As with the current rule, the player still will be disqualified if he/she is successful in denying the goal, but if a goal is scored on the play the penalty instead will be a caution.

Mark Koski, the NFHS director of sports and events and the liaison to the soccer committee, said in a release the above changes were made to continue "to focus on improving the level of sportsmanship in high school soccer."

The third chance involves penalty kicks. Per the NFHS release: "If some unusual situation occurs after the penalty kick is properly taken and before the ball is played or touched by another player, or before the ball hits the goalpost or crossbar, which necessitates a temporary suspension in play, the penalty kick shall be retaken."

Under the current rule, in such a situation (Koski used an example of the ball deflating immediately after the penalty kick) a drop ball would have resulted.