MDSA is specifically addressing slide tackling within its regional rules, as well as providing the following guidance to its coaches, referees, and players. All coaches are asked to read the following message to their players prior to their next practice or game, which ever occurs first. MDSA expects that all referees, coaches, and players will immediately adhere to these guidelines.

Slide tackles are difficult to execute and rarely result in clean contact with the ball without impacting the opposing player. If not performed properly, a slide tackle can result in serious

U10, U8 and U6 Age Groups

  • Coaches and Players: Effective immediately, slide tackling will be prohibited during all practices and matches for U10, U8 and U6 age groups. MDSA is requiring all coaches to discourage slide tackling and separately inform their players of the consequences for your team.
  • Referees: Effective immediately, any slide tackle will be immediately whistled as a foul, and for these specific age groups, result in an indirect free kick. It is highly unlikely that a caution or send off will occur at these age group levels. At the appropriate time during the match, the player should be “positively” instructed by the referee and coach that the slide tackle is dangerous and not allowed.

U12 and Older Age Groups

At the U12 and older age groups, few players, if any, have perfected the form of a slide tackle, especially if attempted from behind. The following guidance regarding all slide tackles is being provided to all referees, coaches, and players.


Coaches and Players: MDSA believes that slide tackles from behind should be actively discouraged by all players regardless of age group.
Referees: Referees officiating MDSA matches are instructed to issue caution (yellow card) to players attempting slide tackles from behind (regardless of whether the player attempting the slide tackle “gets the ball first”). Please keep in mind that such tackles from behind may also result in an immediate send-off (red card), depending on the degree of recklessness and seriousness of the foul.


Coaches, Players and Referees: While slide tackles from the side/front are permitted, referees are nonetheless instructed to consider the safety of the players first. Therefore, even a successful slide tackle that includes excessive physical or reckless contact shall merit either a caution or send-off. ‘Getting the ball first’ does not equate to a successful slide tackle.


Specific Slide Tackling Guidance for Referees and Coaches:

1. Clean tackle: A clean tackle can be defined as a tackle that comes from the side or from a reasonable angle that the attacking player can see and prepare for. During the tackle, the defender’s cleats are not shown to the attacker, and the ball is played. Any contact that happens between the defender and attacking player should be a result of the attacking player falling over the defender due to the attacking player’s forward momentum.

2. Foul: Same situation as #1, but in this instance the defender’s cleats are shown or the defender initiates contact with the attacking player. In other words, the defender plays thru the ball and into the attacking player, regardless of the defending player making contact with the ball first.

3. Caution (Yellow Card): Same as #2 with added force sufficient to take the attacking player down hard, or the tackle coming from an angle that an attacking player cannot see, or the defender has contacted the attacking player with their cleats. No exceptions should be made, regardless of the defending player making contact with the ball first

4. Send-Off (Red Card): Same as #3, along with any contact by the defender on the attacking player with his cleats above the ball or tackle from behind or in the attackers blind areas (defined as a 45 degree angle from the back of the attacking players shoulders.) The tackle comes from a distance (~10 yards or more) and with speed. This is reckless and dangerous play even if no injury occurs.