Grand Rapids Area Catholic Elementary Athletic Council (GRACEAC) Soccer 5th/6th & 7th/8th Grade Leagues – Boys

  • The Catholic Elementary Soccer League (CESL) shall consist of Catholic/Christian parish school teams that are members of the Grand Rapids Area Catholic Elementary Athletic Council (GRACEAC). Players must be enrolled in GRACEAC school or organization or be a member of a Catholic Parish. 
  • All other GRACEAC Handbook rules and regulations apply. 
  • All other game rules will be according to the National Federation of High School Rules. 
  • The roster of players and coaches shall be listed in TeamSnap and considered the official team roster. Changes to this roster may not be changed or altered without the GRACEAC Commissioner’s approval. 
  • The team listed as the home team for each contest will bring all student-athletes to the middle of the field and lead the group in pregame prayer. 
  • Opposing teams and coaches will meet immediately following the game at the center of the field to shake hands in demonstration of good sportsmanship. 


  • Schools requesting a merger should do by referring to the following guidelines: 
  • Schools shall not practice together prior to approval of their merger request by the league president. Violations shall be reported to the GRACEAC Commissioner. 
  • A principal or athletic director may request a merger. Coaches must seek approval through their school principal or athletic director for a merger request. Coaches may not request a merger. 


  • Practices typically begin on the Monday during the week of August 15th (* Rule P). 
  • All teams are limited, per week to: 

Pre-Season: 10 hours - 5 practice Season: 6 hours - 3 practices 

Practice time shall be limited to two hours per day. Coaches are encouraged to cut time for practice and number of practices when there is an opportunity to do so. (* Rule G) 

5th/6th & 7th/8th Grade Tournament 

  • Regular Season Standings and Tournament Seeding: 
  • The league regular season point system to determine regular season standings and tournament seeds will be two points for a win and one point for a tie. Regular Season Champion will be based on most points. If a tie occurs, head to head will be the tie-breaker. Otherwise, the teams will be co-champions. 
  • Teams will be seeded for the Final Cup based on regular season final point standings. If there is a tie for a tournament seed, the goals scored vs. goals allowed differential will be used to seed teams. 
  • There will be a league tournament at the end of the regular season for all 5th/6th & 7th/8th grade teams. 
  • Teams or player(s) may play more than one game in one day for the Tournament Cup. Game Eligibility & Minimum Playing Time 
  • Failure to field six players at the scheduled time will result in a forfeited game and the opposing team shall be considered the winner by a score of 1-0. Forfeit time is scheduled start time plus 10 minutes. 
  • To ensure total participation, it shall be mandatory that each student/athlete participate a minimum time per game of 15 minutes for a 5th/6th grade team. For the 7th/8th grade, the minimum is 15 minutes per game. 

Game Rules 

  • No team or player may play in more than one GRACEAC regular season contest per day.
  • Games will follow 8 v 8 format. Decision is subject to review and vote by the GRACEAC Commissioner. -8 v 8 rules: seven players plus goalkeeper. Team must have 6 players to begin a contest.
  • Field Size shall be 75 yards by 50 yards for 8 vs. 8
  • Game Ball Size:  A number five (5) ball will be the official size game ball for 7th/8th grade games. B. A number four (4) ball will be the official size game ball for 5th/6th grade games. 19. Game Times: 
  • 5th/6th grade games will have two 30-minute halves with a five-minute halftime. B. 7th/8th grade games will have two 30-minute halves with a five-minute halftime. 
  • For all games, there will be a running clock. No time will be added for interrupted play or delay of game. The game clock may be stopped at the discretion of the referee in the event of an injury. 
  • Substitutions: 
  • A team may substitute at regular substitution opportunities. 
  • For 7th/8th grade games, a substitute may be put into the game to replace an injured player when play has been stopped, to a yellow carded player, or at any time the substituting team has the ball. Coaches must have substitutes ready on the sideline to avoid unnecessary game delays. There will be no mass substitution break. 
  • Coaches and teams must coach from the sidelines on the same side of the field between the center of the field and the goal line. Fans and spectators must sit or stand opposite the side from the players and coaches. 
  • No players, coaches, or spectators may stand behind either goal line. 
  • Each game will attempt to use a two referee system and not require any volunteer lines people. When only one referee is available, each team must supply a linesperson. The linesperson will determine when the ball is out of play and which team has possession. The referee will make all offside calls. 
  • A defender may kick the ball back to their goalie, but the goalie may not pick the ball up with his/her hands. If the goalie does pick up the passed ball, an indirect kick will be awarded to the opposing team from where the goalie picked up the ball. 
  • When a team has a five goal lead, the coach is encouraged to take appropriate action to prevent the leading team from running up the score. This may mean reassigning their forwards to defense and substituting less skillful players. Unsportsmanlike behavior may result in a yellow card to the coach. 
  • Mercy Rule - At any point in the game when a team is ahead by 8 or more goals, the winning team will play down a player (8v7). This will remain in effect until the lead has been reduced to 6 goals. Additionally, at any point in the second half of an eight goal difference, no player who has already scored three goals may score again until the lead has been reduced to 6 goals.
  • Any coach yelling or complaining to the referee's will be yellow carded immediately. Two yellow cards are an automatic red card and game ejection for the remainder of the game. 
  • If a player or coach receives two yellow cards during the same game, they automatically are to receive a red card and are ejected from the game and field. Profanity, slide tackling, and goalie roughness are some causes for these cards. A player or coach issued a red card during a game will sit out the next scheduled league or tournament game. 
  • Slide tackles will be considered a dangerous play. A slide tackle inside the box is a penalty kick. A slide tackle outside the box is an indirect kick. 
  • There is no overtime in case of a tie during the regular season. Tournament games ending in a tie will have overtime as follows: a shootout with each team selecting five players. Remaining players must be behind the shooting players and remain quiet while each team alternates shooting a PK shot on goal. Whoever scores the most after five shots is the winner. If still a tie after the shootout, a sudden death shootout will take place. This means if team A's player scores on the first shootout attempt, and team B's player misses their first shootout attempt, the game is over and team A wins. If both teams score on the first shot, then each team shoots a second shot. If Team A scores on the second shot, and team B misses, the game is over and Team A wins. We must use shootouts because of limited time between games during our tournament. A coinflip will determine which team chooses to kick first or second. 

Player Safety & Injuries 

  • An unconscious or apparently unconscious player will be removed from the game by the coach. The player may not return to any game or practice, without written authorization from a physician (M.D. or D.O.). This authorization must be given to: 
  • the game official prior to the player's return, if for the same game. 
  • the Athletic Director before practicing again. 
  • A player who is bleeding, has an open wound, or has any amount of blood on his/her uniform must leave the game. The game official will stop the game and allow the coach one full minute to bring in a substitution. The affected player must sit out until the bleeding has stopped or the uniform is free of blood before returning to the game. Bleeding or blood is any amount on the uniform or skin that can be transferred to a player, opponent, or official. The player may not return until the bleeding has stopped, and if necessary, the affected area covered. If the player has any amount of blood on her uniform, the uniform must be changed. Coaches are encouraged to have extra shorts, jerseys, socks, etc. for the player to change into. Inexpensive numbered t-shirts can be used as long as they are of a similar color as the game jersey.

Inclement Weather 

  • Coaches will be notified via TeamSnap of canceled games due to inclement weather if decided prior to the end of the school day. If school is canceled games may still be played. Social media may also be used to report canceled games. 
  • Lightning, tornadoes, hail, or gale winds will result in a delay of game. Players, coaches, fans and officials are to seek cover in a building or car immediately. No discussion. Lighting is lightning. Thunder is thunder. Game delays more than 30 minutes will result in a canceled game. If a game is called by the referee due to inclement playing conditions, the game shall be considered completed if half the game has been completed, except in the case of a tournament game, which shall be played in full. Games stopped prior to an entire half being played, shall be played over in its entirety at a time and field mutually agreed on by the league president and coaches. 
  • Coaches, parents, and officials are expected to use GRACEAC’s TeamSnap. No exceptions. TeamSnap will contain Roster, coaching, practice, game and cancellation information. All are encouraged to use TeamSnap for the entire communication protocols for GRACEAC. Please see your AD regarding any concerns. 

Rules revised 4-14-22. Rules are in effect as written. CC/RJW


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