These 2022 Generation adidas Cup Finals Competition Guidelines (the "Guidelines") are intended to summarize the playing rules, regulations, and operational procedures to be followed by Major League Soccer, L.L.C., the Division I professional league in the United States and Canada ("MLS" or the "League") and each soccer team participating in the U15 Division (each, a "Club") during the 2022 Generation adidas Cup finals (the "Competition").
Strict compliance with the rules, regulations, and procedures described in these Guidelines are critical to the successful operation of the Competition.
Failure to comply to the requirements of the Guidelines will result in the imposition of discipline by the League.
MLS reserves the right to revise these Guidelines at any time at its sole and absolute discretion.
The Generation adidas Cup Competition Committee (the "Competition Committee") shall always have overriding, ultimate, and absolute League authority over the requirements set forth in these Guidelines.
1. PLAYER REGISTRATION
1.1. Player Eligibility
1.1.1. Each participating player must be a maximum of fifteen (15) years old by the end of the calendar year in which the Competition will conclude (i.e., all players were born on or after January 1, 2007).
1.1.2. By the time a Club registers for the Competition, each participating player who will compete for such Club must be duly registered with such Club and with the federation of the country in which such Club is located (e.g., United States Soccer Federation, Canadian Soccer Association), subject to the Guest Player initiative described below:
22.214.171.124. A maximum of three (3) guest players (each, a "Guest Player") is eligible to compete for a Club, provided the federation of the country in which the Club is located holds the Guest Player’s International Transfer Certificate ("ITC").
126.96.36.199. The Club must provide proof to MLS of each Guest Player’s ITC status (e.g., documentation from the federation of the country in which the Club is located that it holds the Guest
Player’s ITC), the sufficiency of which shall be determined by the Competition Committee in its sole discretion.
1.1.3. All players must provide proof of identification upon registration for the Competition. An unexpired actual or color photo-copy passport (or other identification document, as determined by the Competition Committee in its sole discretion) will be the only accepted proof of identification.
1.2. Club Rosters
1.2.1. Each participating Club’s roster must have a minimum of eighteen (18) eligible players and a maximum of twenty (20) eligible players.
1.2.2. Extreme Hardship
188.8.131.52. "Extreme Hardship" is defined as one (1) of the following two (2) potential scenarios:
184.108.40.206.1. Fewer than two (2) available goalkeepers.
220.127.116.11.2. Fewer than sixteen (16) available outfield players.
18.104.22.168. In the event a Club qualifies for Extreme Hardship, it may add eligible players to reach the minimum of eighteen (18)
1.2.3. Roster Submissions
22.214.171.124. Provisional rosters for the Competition must be submitted via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 5pm ET on Thursday, March 24, 2022.
126.96.36.199.1. Rosters will freeze and become final at 5pm ET on Thursday, April 7, 2022. At this time, no further changes will be accepted for the Competition except due to an Extreme Hardship. It is the responsibility of each Club to ensure that details for each of its players are complete and accurate in the Online Registration Portal by this date. Such details include, but are not limited to, player name, kit number, and date of birth.
1.2.4. Any use of an ineligible player will result in a forfeit (i.e. 3-0 loss).
2. COMPETITION FORMAT
2.1. All Clubs will compete in three (3) group stage matches (each, a "Group Stage Match") and three (4) knockout stage matches (each, a "Knockout Match"). Subject to performance in the Group Stage Matches, the Knockout Matches may be a quarterfinal match (the "Quarterfinals"), a semifinal match (the "Semifinals"), the championship match (the "Finals"), a placement match, and/or a performance-based match as dictated by the official 2022 GA Cup match schedule, pursuant to Section 2.2 below.
2.1.1. All matches will occur between Saturday, April 9, 2022 through Saturday, April 16, 2022. Please refer to the official 2022 GA Cup match schedule for specific times.
2.2. A total of forty (40) Clubs shall compete in U17 Division. The Clubs shall be divided into ten (10) groups. The First place Clubs will automatically qualify for the top ten (10) seeds in the Knockouts. The remaining six (6) seed (11-16) will be decided from the second (2nd) place Group finishers. All seeds will be determined by tiebreakers, as listed in 2.6, at the conclusion of the Group Stage Matches shall advance to the Round of 16. The winner of each Round of 16 match shall advance to the Quarterfinals. The winner of each Quarterfinals match shall advance to the Semifinals. The winner of each Semifinals match shall advance to the Finals.
2.3. Each match will consist of thirty (30) minute halves, with a halftime rest period of ten (10) minutes.
2.4. Each Club will be permitted seven (7) substitutions per match. For the avoidance of doubt, this number does not include any substitutions executed pursuant to Section 2.4.3.
2.4.1. A player may not re-enter a match.
2.4.2. Substitutions may be executed at halftime and/or at any moment during the first half of a match. During the second half of a match, each Club is permitted no more than three (3) moments to execute its substitution(s).
188.8.131.52. A moment refers to a match stoppage. For the avoidance of doubt, halftime does not count as a moment.
184.108.40.206. Where a Club uses a moment in the second half to execute a substitution and the opposing Club uses the same moment to execute a substitution, such moment will count towards each Club’s permitted three (3) moments.
220.127.116.11.1. Example: It is the second half. Club 1 has not yet executed any substitutions. Club 2 has already executed two (2) substitutions across two (2) separate moments in the second half. Club 1 decides to use a moment to execute its first substitution. Club 2 decides to use that same moment to execute a substitution. Once Club 2 executes such substitution, it may not execute any more substitutions during the match.
18.104.22.168. All teams may receive one (1) substitution in extra time: 1 moment during extra time.
2.4.3. Head Injury Substitution(s)
22.214.171.124. Each Club may substitute a player who is suspected to have suffered a head injury while he is being evaluated. The substitution for the evaluation of the concussion / head injury will not count against the Club’s total number of allowed substitutions / substitution moments. However, a Club must be in possession of at least one (1) substitution and one (1) substitution moment to execute this temporary substitution.
2.5. Three (3) points will be awarded for a win and one (1) point will be awarded for a draw.
2.5.1. In the event of a draw at the end of regulation, both Clubs will be awarded one (1) point pursuant to Section 2.5 above, and a FIFA-style shootout of kicks from the penalty mark will be held to determine a winner. One (1) additional point will be awarded to the Club who wins the shootout.
2.5.2. Notwithstanding Section 2.5.1 above, in the event of a draw at the end of regulation of the Quarterfinals, the Semifinals, or the Finals, two (2) five (5)-minute halves will be played in their entireties. There will be a three (3)-minute break between the completion of the second half of regulation and the start of the first extra time period. If the match is still tied at the end of an additional ten (10) minutes, both Clubs will be awarded one (1) point pursuant to Section 2.4 above, and a FIFA-style shootout of kicks from the penalty mark will be held to determine a winner. One (1) additional point will be awarded to the Club who wins the shootout.
2.6 The ranking of each Club in each of the four (4) groups will be determined at the end the Group Stage Matches based on the following criteria and in the order in which they appear:
2.6.1 Finish in Group (#1,#2)
2.6.2 Highest number of points per game
2.6.3 Highest number of wins in regulation
2.6.4 Highest goal difference in regulation
2.6.5 Most goals scored in regulation
2.6.6 Least goals allowed in regulation
2.6.8 Fewest Disciplinary Points
2.6.9 Coin toss (two Clubs) or drawing of lots (more than two Clubs)
3. TECHNICAL AREAS AND SUBSTITUTES’ BENCHES
3.1. Only one (1) person at a time is authorized to convey tactical instructions from the technical area.
3.2. No more than fourteen (14) people, which shall consist of a maximum of nine (9) eligible substitute players on the Club’s roster and a maximum of five (5) technical staff members, shall be allowed to sit on the substitutes’ bench and/or stand in the technical area during a match. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in the imposition of discipline by the League. This requirement may be waived by the League in its sole and absolute discretion.
3.2.1. Example: If eight (8) eligible substitute players are sitting on the substitutes’ bench and/or standing in the technical area during a match, then a maximum of five (5) technical staff members shall be allowed to sit on the substitutes’ bench and/or stand in the technical area during such match.
3.3. A suspended player or technical staff member will not be allowed to sit on the substitutes’ bench or stand in the technical area and must abide by the direction provided by the MLS staff.
4. MATCH EQUIPMENT
4.1. Each Club is required to have at least two (2) different sets of kits with corresponding numbers. Each player is required to have a consistent kit number throughout the Competition. Failure to adhere to this policy may result in discipline including, but not limited to, player ineligibility and/or awarding of disciplinary points, to be determined in the sole and absolute discretion of the Competition Committee.
4.2. Thermal shorts or pants (slide shorts) may be worn under uniform shorts if they are the identical color as a player’s uniform shorts.
4.3. Any apparel worn under the jersey must be the identical color as a player’s uniform jersey.
4.4. Adidas will supply, or has supplied, each Club with adidas balls. No other balls may be used in any Generation adidas Cup activities (e.g., practices, warm ups, games), other than the ones supplied by adidas.
5. PRE-MATCH PROCEDURE
5.1. For each match, each Club must submit a start list (eleven (11) selected players and a maximum of nine (9) substitutes) to the match commissioner before the scheduled time of kick-off via the MODULAR11 Digital Match Form.
5.1.1. Each Club is responsible for ensuring that their start list is completed properly and submitted on time and that only the selected players start the match. In case of any discrepancies, the matter will be submitted to the Competition Committee and subject to an assessment of Disciplinary Points at the discretion of the Competition Committee.
5.2. Match Changes in regards to injury may be completed up to fifteen (15) minutes prior to kickoff and must inform referee prior to
5.3. Five (5) minutes before the scheduled time of kick-off, players included on start lists and referees shall enter the field and shake hands FIFA-style.
5.4. Following the field entry described above in Section 5.2, team captains shall gather with the referee crew for the pre-match coin toss.
6. POST-MATCH PROCEDURE
6.1. Players shall shake hands (follow COVID-19 protocol) at midfield at the conclusion of each match.
6.2. The match report must be signed by both coaches, the head referee, and the Match Commissioner Leader immediately following the completion of each game.
7.1. Yellow Cards
7.1.1. A player must serve a one (1)-match suspension if, across the course of the three (3) Group Stage Matches the Round of 16, and Quarterfinals, he accumulates three (3) yellow cards. A player shall not be suspended for the Finals due to yellow card accumulation.
7.1.2. Yellow card accumulation thresholds do not reset for the start of the second Knockout Match. For the avoidance of doubt, any suspensions received prior to such reset must still be served.
126.96.36.199.1. A player who receives his second yellow card in
the third Group Stage Match is suspended for the Round of 16
188.8.131.52.2. A player who receives his second yellow card in the Round of 16 is suspended for the Quarterfinal
184.108.40.206.3. A player who receives his second yellow card in the Quarterfinal is suspended for the Semifinals
7.2. Red Cards
7.2.1. One (1) red card will result in a minimum of a one (1)-match suspension.
7.2.2. Red card accumulation thresholds are not reset at any point during the Competition.
220.127.116.11.1. A player who receives a red card in the third Group Stage Match is suspended for the Round of 16
18.104.22.168.2. A player who receives a red card in the Round of 16 Match is suspended for the Quarterfinals
22.214.171.124.3. A player who receives a red card in the Quarterfinals is suspended for the Semifinals.
126.96.36.199.4. A player who receives a red card in the Semifinals is suspended for the Finals.
7.2.3. The Competition Committee shall have the ability to increase a suspension depending on the severity and circumstances of the red card. Any Competition Committee decision is final and shall not be subject to an appeal.
7.3. Disciplinary Points
7.3.1. One (1) point will be assessed for each yellow card received during a match.
7.3.2. Three (3) points will be assessed for each red card received during a match.
7.3.3. Five (5) points will be assessed for any ejection of a technical staff member or player from the technical area or substitutes’ bench during a match.
8. ADIDAS COMPLIANCE
8.1. All MLS Academy players are required to wear adidas products (including, but not limited to, footwear) when participating in Generation adidas Cup activities (e.g., practices, warm-up periods, games, camps, filming, posing for photographs). Any violations will be subject to discipline pursuant to the League Enforcement Policy under Section XV of the Club Commercial Guidelines.