Soccer Games and Additional Soccer Dates

Bylaw: Article I, Section H, Item 1

For the sport of soccer, the frequency of play limits state: “18 games played at any time during the sport season. Three additional dates to be played only after the fall term has concluded. The three additional dates may be played only during weekends and other nonscheduled class dates, according to the academic calendar.”

Bylaw: Article I, Section H, Item 2

“The following number of scrimmage dates per sport (two dates for the sport of soccer) will be allowed in addition to the maximum number of varsity games, contests, or playing dates which an institution may schedule or in/on which a student may compete.”


The sport of soccer has an 18-game frequency of play limit, plus two additional scrimmage dates, all of which can be used at any time during a team’s 24-week season. The team determines exactly when the 24-week season applies.

As it relates to the 18 games, the part of the bylaw that states “during the sport season” should not be interpreted to mean that this limit applies to the fall season only. The NAIA does not limit games, contests, or dates to the sport season, but rather the frequency of play limit applies throughout a team’s 24-week season to be used however and whenever the team decides.

Unlike the 18 games and two scrimmage dates to be used at any time throughout the 24-week season, the wording describing the three additional dates is drawing the distinction in that these dates are limited to a particular time-frame (“to be played only after the fall term has concluded”).

The overall frequency of play includes 18 games + 2 additional varsity scrimmages (to be conducted at any time during the 24-week season) + 3 dates (to be conducted after the fall term has concluded).


The three additional spring dates do not have to be scrimmages necessarily, although the vast majority of teams use the dates in this way and refer to it that way. If an institution wanted to conduct a game on one of these spring dates because it wanted to sell tickets, promote the game and score to market the upcoming fall season, etc., that is permissible. The game would count as one of the additional spring dates for frequency of play purposes, but despite being a game could not count towards stats, W/L, etc.,


A men’s soccer team has scheduled two scrimmages to take place on two separate dates prior to the fall season starting. During the soccer fall season, the men’s soccer team competes in 18 games. In the following spring academic term, the team competes in five games on three separate dates. Did this team exceed their frequency of play limits?

No. Per the frequency of play bylaws, a limitation expressed as a “date” does not limit the number or type of contests that can occur on that date. The three additional dates that the men’s soccer team is allowed to have does not limit the number of games that can be held on each date. Therefore, the men’s soccer team is within the frequency of play limits with 2 scrimmages + 18 games + three additional spring dates.

Related Bylaws

Article I, Section H, Item 2: Additional Scrimmages

Related Interpretations

Indoor Soccer & Futsal

7 on 7 Soccer Competitions

NEC Interp – Creation date unknown. Current as of August 2018.