The National Premier Leagues (NPL) is a national competition platform created to elevate and change the competitive youth soccer landscape by:

  • extending developmental principles espoused by U.S. Soccer into more age groups and clubs
  • linking competition with player development and identification platforms
  • providing meaningful weekly competition culminating in a national postseason

NPLs are leagues unified under one national competition platform and based on a common technical framework, including:

  • focused on long-term player development
  • high-level games scheduled with higher training-to-game ratios and elimination of calendar congestion
  • worked closely with U.S. Soccer staff regarding player identification, and player and coach development
  • designed and structured by the clubs, based on the needs of the clubs
  • culminating in qualification for the Girls NPL Finals and US Club Soccer Boys National Championship

Below are general information and rules applicable to NPL competition.

Roster Rules

Player Registration. All players on a NPL Roster must be NPL Registered Players (see Discovery Players exception below).

NPL Game Day Roster. A maximum of eighteen (18) NPL Registered Players from a NPL Team’s NPL Roster will be eligible for each game in NPL Competition (the “NPL Game Day Roster”). If more than eighteen (18) NPL Registered Players appear on a NPL Roster, the “active” players for the NPL Competition must be identified on the NPL Game Report. 

Younger Players Playing Up. A NPL Registered Player may play for any NPL Team in the NPL Club for which the player is age eligible.

Under-13 age group. No player may be handwritten onto the NPL Game Report at the Under-13 age group. In order to participate in NPL

Competition at Under-13, the player must be printed on the Under-13 NPL Roster.

Discovery Players. Each NPL Team may have two (2) Discovery Players on their NPL Roster at each age group.

A “Discovery Player” is a player that is not a member of the NPL Club, and is not otherwise currently registered to another US Club Soccer team

Competition and Participation Rules

General. Unless otherwise provided in these Regulations, all NPL Competitions shall be played in accordance with the FIFA Laws of the Game in force at the time of competition as provided by the International Football Association Board.

Competition Referee Assigning. It is the responsibility of the home club (or host club for neutral venues) to contact and pay the club’s referee assignor(s) to schedule referees for all NPL Competitions.

Referee Fees. Each NPL shall submit a proposed referee pay scale for NPL Competitions to US Club Soccer for approval prior to the beginning of the NPL Season.

Each NPL Team playing at home shall be responsible for payment of referee costs for each NPL Competition based on the pay scale set forth by the league and approved by US Club Soccer. If any NPL Competition is played at a neutral location, the NPL Clubs shall agree on which NPL Club is responsible for payment of referee costs. If no agreement is reached, the NPL Teams playing at a neutral site shall split the cost of the referees.

Substitutions. A Player substituted in one half may not re-enter the game for the duration of the half. A Player substituted in one period of overtime may not re-enter the game for the duration of such overtime period. There shall be a maximum of seven (7) substitutions in any half or in any overtime period. Substitutions can be made at any stoppage. Due to COVID-19, each league may decide to modify this rule.

Game Length. NPL Regular Season Competitions shall be played with the following game lengths. Leagues may play under different time lengths based on their local regulations and should be detailed on a separate attachment.

U-13* – U-16: 2 x 40 minutes

U-17 – U-19: 2 x 45 minutes

*League may choose to play 35 minute halves at the U-13 age group, especially when multiple games are played in a weekend. Confirm with the coaches before beginning the game.

Age Groups for the 2021-22 Season are provided below – Boys and Girls:

U-13 – Players born on or after January 1, 2009

U-14 – Players born on or after January 1, 2008

U-15 – Players born on or after January 1, 2007

U-16 – Players born on or after January 1, 2006

U-17 – Players born on or after January 1, 2005

U-19 – Players born on or after January 1, 2003

Players may play for their own age group and for “older” age groups

NPL Rules

NPL Referee Report

Game Fees

Home pageusclubsoccer.org/npl