7 on 7 Soccer Competitions

Bylaw: Article I, Section H, Item 1

“The maximum number of varsity games, contests or playing dates an institution may schedule is listed in Article I, Section G, Item 1… . Further, no student may compete in a sport in an academic year in more than the number of games, contests or playing dates listed below (this includes varsity, junior varsity, freshman, etc.), excluding NAIA-approved postseason participation.”


Outdoor soccer competitions* that include teams made up of 11v11, 7v7, or 3v3, is considered part of the soccer season per NAIA regularions of the 24-week season.  Therefore, while it is permissible to compete in 7v7 tournaments, participation in such tournaments must be counted towards each soccer team’s limit of 18 regular contests and two scrimmages. This also means all students must be eligibile and certified prior to competing.

Additionally, if a student competes in a 7v7 or similar outside soccer team that is not related to intercollegiate competition, the student will be subject to be charged a season of competition per the elite-level, competitive experience evaluative criteria.

*note- this interp is specific to outdoor competitions. For indoor competitions, see the indoor soccer interpretation.


A group of student-athletes hear about an adult 7v7 spring tournament that is being promoted locally, and decide to enter themselves. They do not wear an institutional uniform or in any other way reference their association to the school or school team. Does this tournament in any way impact NAIA rules?

The fact it is a 7v7 tournament has no bearing, and it must be evaluated through the same analysis that would be used if the student-athletes were participating in an 11v11 tournament. Because the student-athletes are organizing themselves, they may be able to meet the definition of unattached student-athletes here if school coaches are not involved and all the students are properly certified as eligibile to compete for the spring. If that’s the case, then the students are considered unattached and will not be charged a season of competition and the school team’s frequency of play limits are not impacted in any way.

If the students do not meet the unattached criteria (for example, the students are not certified to compete in the spring), then this would be treated just like any other non-intercollegiate 11v11 competition and potentially analyzed against the evaluative criteria to determine if it would charge any fo the students with a season of competition.

Related Bylaws

Article I, Section H, Item 5

Article I, Section H, Item 2

Article V, Section B, Item 19

Related Interpretations

Beach Volleyball

Indoor Soccer & Futsal

Frequency of Play for Split Squads

Scrimmages for JV Teams

Contest Limits: Scheduling More Scrimmages

NEC Interp – Creation date July 2006